Raipur is a city in the Raipur district of the Indian state of Chhattisgarh. It is the capital city of the state of Chhattisgarh and is the administrative headquarters of Raipur district. It is also the largest city in Chhattisgarh. It was formerly a part of Madhya Pradesh before the state of Chhattisgarh was formed on 1 November 2000. As of 2011, the municipal corporation of the city had a population of 1,010,087. While, the urban agglomeration population was 1,122,555. The Raipur Municipal Corporation was ranked 6th out of 21 Cities for best governance & administrative practices in India in 2014. It scored 3.5 on 10 compared to the national average of 3.3.
Raipur has been in existence since the 9th century; the old site and ruins of the fort can be seen in the southern part of the city. Raipur district is important historically and as a point of interest archaeologically. This district was once part of the Dakshina Kosala Kingdom and later considered part of the Maurya Empire. Raipur has been the capital of the Haihaya Dynasty Kalchuri kings, controlling the forts of Chhattisgarh for a considerable period. Satawahana kings ruled this part until the 2nd–3rd century.
The 4th century AD king Samudragupta conquered this region and established his domination until the fifth–sixth century when the area came under the rule of Sarabhpuri kings. For some time in the fifth and sixth centuries, Nala kings dominated this area. Later on Somavanshi kings took control and ruled with Sirpur (“City of Wealth”) as their capital. Mahashivgupt Balarjun was the mightiest emperor of this dynasty. His mother, the widow queen of Harshgupta of the Somavansh, Rani Vasata built the brick temple of Lakshman. Kalachuri dynasty kings of Tumman ruled the area for a long period making Ratanpur the capital. The old inscriptions of Ratanpur, Rajim and Khallari refer to the reign of Kalchuri kings. It is believed that King Ramachandra of this dynasty established the city of Raipur and subsequently made it the capital of his kingdom.
Another story about Raipur is that King Ramachandra’s son Brahmdeo Rai had established Raipur. His capital was Khalwatika (now Khallari). The newly constructed city was named after Brahmdeo Rai as ‘Raipur’. It was during his reign in 1402 that Hajiraj Naik the temple of Hatkeshwar Mahadev was constructed on the banks of the Kharun River. The decline of this dynasty’s rule came with the death of King Amarsingh Deo. This region had become the domain of Bhosle kings after Amarsingh Deo’s death. With the death of Raghuji III, the territory was assumed by the British government from Bhonsla’a of Nagpur and Chhattisgarh was declared a separate division, the Chhattisgarh Division of the Central Provinces, with its headquarters at Raipur in 1854. At the time of the independence of India Raipur district was included in the Central Provinces and Berar.
Raipur is located near the centre of a large plain, sometimes referred as the “rice bowl of India”, where hundreds of varieties of rice are grown. The Mahanadi River flows to the east of the city of Raipur, and the southern side has dense forests. The Maikal Hills rise on the north-west of Raipur; on the north, the land rises and merges with the Chota Nagpur Plateau, which extends north-east across Jharkhand state. On the south of Raipur lies the Deccan Plateau.
Raipur has a tropical wet and dry climate, temperatures remain moderate throughout the year, except from March to June, which can be extremely hot. The temperature in April–May sometimes rises above 48 °C (118 °F).These summer months also have dry and hot winds. In summers, the temperature can also go up to 50 °C. The city receives about 1,300 millimetres (51 in) of rain, mostly in the monsoon season from late June to early October. Winters last from November to January and are mild, although lows can fall to 5 °C (41 °F).
Raipur Junction railway station is situated on the Howrah-Nagpur-Mumbai line of the Indian Railways (via Bhusawal, Nagpur, Gondia, Bilaspur, Kharagpur) and is connected with some major cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Saugor, Katni, Itarsi, Gondia, Kolkata, Jamshedpur, Chennai,Bangalore, Kota, Ahmedabad, Jaipur Vishakapatnam, etc. Raipur still lacks direct rail connectivity with Indore, Ujjain, Ratlam, Kolhapur, Jodhpur, etc. A branch line from Raipur to Vizianagaram via Mahasamund – Titlagarh originates from here and most of the produce of Chhattisgarh reaches Vishakhapatnam by this railway line. There is also a narrow gauge line connecting Raipur to Rajim and Dhamtari via Abhanpur, which is being converted to broad gauge and realigned to serve the city of Naya Raipur as well.
A city bus service is provided by Raipur City Bus Limited (RCBL) for the intra-city travel. Raipur Municipal Corporation launched the Raipur City Bus service on 25 February 2008. The company runs 40 buses out of which 32 are low floor Tata Starbus. Paratransit in the form of auto-rickshaws and tuk-tuk are available all over the city. 100 new city buses under JNNURM have been inducted by Raipur Nagar Nigam Transport Limited (RNNTL), which serve the Raipur and connect Naya Raipur also.
Raipur enjoys a cosmopolitan city culture. Although it has a large population of Marwaris, Jains and Sindhis, one can find people from various parts of the country, including the original Chhattisgarhis . The city is mostly influenced with food from Punjab, Rajasthan & Gujarat. There are certain South Indian food joints too. Poha and Jalebi is something people often eat here for breakfast. The city celebrates all type of Indian festivals.
Raipur has become the educational hub of Central India due to presence of many institutes of National importance in Engineering, Management, Medical and Law. It is the only city in India which is home to IIM, NIT, AIIMS, Hidayatullah National Law University, and IIIT. IIT Chhattisgarh is proposed at Bhilai which is 30 km from Raipur.