chitrakot-waterfall

The Chitrakote Falls is a natural waterfall located to the west of Jagdalpur, in Bastar district in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh on the Indravati River. It is located at a distance of 38 kilometres (24 mi) to the west of Jagdalpur.

The height of the falls is about 29 metres (95 ft). It is the widest fall in India, Because of its width and wide spread during the monsoon season, it is often called the Niagara Falls of India.

The Chitrakote Falls is located on the Indravati River. The river originates in the kalahandi region of Orissa, in the Vindhya Range of hills, flows westward and then forms a fall at Chitrakote, enters Andhra Pradesh and finally flows into the Godavari River, after traversing 240 miles (390 km) in the state, at Bhadrakali. The free drop of the falls is a sheer height of about 30 metres (98 ft). Because of its horseshoe shape, it is compared with the Niagara Falls and is given in the sobriquet ‘the Small Niagara Falls’. During the rainy season, from July and October, rainbows are created with sun rays reflecting on mist from the waterfall.

On the left bank of the Chitakoot Falls, a small Hindu shrine dedicated to the god Shiva and several naturally created grottos named “Parvati caves” (named after Shiva’s wife Parvati) are located. The weather in the area is generally pleasant except in the summer season when it is hot due to absence of vegetation in the area. The river flows sluggishly on the upstream side of the falls due to its meandering nature as it drains through the plains of Jagadalpur. This reach of the river valley has very little forest cover. Below the falls the river traverses the Bodhghat forested area and the river regime undergoes drastic change in its flow conditions. Aeration process and the forest in the downstream area filters the silt in the river.

Chitakoot Falls is one of the two of the waterfalls located in the Kanger Valley National Park, the other is Tirathgarh falls.

The geological formation of the Indravati River valley as it rises and flows downstream consists of quartzitic sandstone and changes to the Archaean granite and gneisses near the Chitrakote Falls. It is one of the six waterfalls in India which is classified as a geomorphosites/geoheritage site, geomorphological landforms under the category of natural waterfalls; this classification is based on research studies carried out by geologists on ancient geological features of heritage value existing in different parts of the country. Geomorphosite/geoheritage sites are ancient geological sites of scientific, cultural and socio-economic significance. These have been studied and discussed in seminars by geologists, and studies have received the support of international institutions such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), and the International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG).

The Ministry of Tourism and Development of the Government of India had assessed the potential of this site in 2003 as of a natural “ambience” suitable for development of eco-tourism. Based on this assessment, plans were drawn up to develop facilities such as local restaurants, nature camping sites, a playground for children and platforms to view the falls, and also to improve the road condition, fix signs along the road from Jagadlapur to the falls, and beautify the site. Environmental conditions in the vicinity of the falls are in a preserved state but need attention as eco-tourism develops. As of 2010, some infrastructure facilities had improved. There is a government run hotel at the top of the fall. A series of steps from the garden of the hotel leads to the falls. “Chitrakote Log huts” with basic and modern cabins have also been built at the location. Some of the cabins provide views of the falls.