Things To Do In Champaranya
Located at a distance of 56 km from the capital city of Raipur in Chhattisgarh is a small town by the name of Champaran. This town is the birth town of the founder of Vallabh sect (Pushti Marg), Shri Vallabhacharyaji; he is highly respected and revered by his devotees and thousands flock every year to Champaranya in order to visit his brithplace and Baithakji (where he read Shrimad Bhagwad). The town is primarily a religious town and has lot of temples, but there are several other things to do in Champaran that will keep you entertained as well. Let’s have a look at some of the things you can engage in during your stay at Champaran.
Stroll through Purani Basti
Purani Basti is one of the most ancient civilizations that are still present in India; the words literally translate to ‘old colony’. This place comprises of tribal people living with old customs and traditions and it is also said that the first barter system of giving fruits and vegetables and getting something else in return first started at this place. This place is usually crowded and taking a car there is not the best idea, you rather walk and explore. You can even find people selling handmade artifacts and other local products. This is a good way to explore the culture of local people in Champaran.
Go on a Safari
When you go to Champaran, you are sure to visit the Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary which is located close by and when you do, going on a safari is something that should not be missed. The sanctuary houses several species of plant and animals, especially the ones that are endangered and are local to the region. On your safari, you are able to see many animals like leopards, cheetahs, tigers, Sambhar, Wild Boar, Neelgai and over 150 species of birds that are both local as well as migratory birds. These birds can be best observed on a safari during winters as there are more birds coming in for breeding purposes.
Celebrate the Birth Anniversary of Vallabhacharya
Champaran is the birthplace of Shri Vallabhacharyaji, the founder of Vallabh Sampraday, also known as Pushti Marg. He is a prominent figure in the Hindu religion, and the Bhakti Movement. If you are visiting this town on your trip to Chhattisgarh, you must visit during Shri Vallabhacharyaji’s birth anniversary. He was an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna and his birth had taken place during Krishna Paksha Ekadashi, which falls in the month of March or April. These are the months when his birth anniversary is celebrated with great pomp and enthusiasm. Visit the temples in Champaran during this time to get a good feel of the festival.
Stay at Sudamapuri
Looking for a place to stay, pray and meditate while you are in Champaran? Visit the temple of Shri Vallabhacharya, one of the most famous temples in town and stay at the Dharamsala over there. This dharamsala is also known as sudamapuri and is one of the most peaceful places to stay in this village. You can even call Sudhamapuri and tell them that you are coming and they will send someone to the railway station to pick you up and help you with your luggage. The Dharamsala also has simple lunch and dinner that is served to the people free of cost. This is something you must do when in Chamapran.
Attend the Champaran Annual Festival
The annual fair in Champaran is held during the time of Shri Vallabhacharya’s birth anniversary. This fair is held on Magh Sankranti during the summer months of March/April and attracts several Vaishnavas from all over the country. The annual fair comprises of various religious activities where a lot of pilgrims take a dip in the holy watyer that flows through Champaran to wash off their sins. There are other things like astrologers and palm readers who will tell you your hororscope and you can even buy idols of gods and goddesses and several other handicrafts that are locally made by the tribal people of the region.
Learn About the Hareli Festival
Hareli is a popular festival in Chattisgarh and especially in Champaran; this is a festival observed and celebrated by farmers of the region and it happens during the month of Shravan, falling somewhere between July and September. Basically the farmers thank the almighty for all the agricultural tools and equipments they own and the cattle that they own, they show their gratitude and then they pray for a good harvest and a good year. This tradition has been going on for years and is still followed by the indigenous farmers in Champaranya. See this festival unfold in front of your eyes and learn more about the people of the region.
Sing Kirtans at Gurunanak Gurudwara
Visit the amazing Gurunanak Gurudwara close to Champaran in Raipur city to complete your religious journey. This Gurudwara was constructed in 1940 and people of all caste and creed can enter the place of worship. The structure of the Gurudwara itself is massive and beautifully made. The best time to visit this place is during Guru Nanak Jayanti, when the decorations are on full swing; there are brightly lit mandaps that are beautifully decorated, delicious langar along with devotees singing a lot of kirtans. It is a beautiful time to experience the Gurudwara at its best.
Visit the Dual Gods at Mahamaya Temple
The Mahamaya Temple that is located close to Champaran is a popular place of worship for Hindus. The temple is dedicated to two goddesses; Laxmi and Saraswati and is one of the shakti peeths in the country. The shrine of Mahamaya Devi is also known as Goddess Kosaleswari and it was established somewhere around the 12th or 13th century by the king of Kalachuri, Ratnadeva. The temple also has a tank of water where the devotees can dip and wash themselves before performing any ritual in front of the shrine. The Nagara style of architecture of this temple is unique and beautiful.
Be a part of Various Festivals
Champaran is a village that exhibits deep culture and traditions with Hareli happening around monsoon which is followed by Pola and Teeja festival. Pola is a festival where bullocks are worshipped and fed and also bull races are held for the entertainment of the people. Many people also sell clay toys of Nandi Bail. This festival is followed by Teeja; a festival that is celebrated by women, especially married women who pray for the welfare and longevity of her husband. All these festivals that are held throughout the year are celebrated to bind the culture and reflect uniqueness and togetherness as well.
Attend a Fair
The town of Champaran as well as surrounding regions are culturally very rich and they hold fairs to exhibit this rich culture and show off various traditions. On your visit to Champaran you must attend one of these fairs. The list includes music festivals where folk songs are sung by the locals of the region, the First Fruit Festival where farmers pluck the first fruit of the season, Pola Festival that has bull races and Champaran Mela that has several rides like Ferris wheels, vendors selling cotton candy and what not. These fairs are fun to attend and are something that you can think of doing on your trip to Champaran.