Things To Do In Guru Ghasidas (Sanjay) National Park
Guru Ghasidas National Park, also popularly known as Sanjay National Park is one of the most popular national wildlife reserves in the country. This national park shares its boundaries with two states that is Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. In Madhya Pradesh it is known as Sanjay National Park and in Chhattisgarh, it is known as Guru Ghasidas National Park. The state of Chhattisgarh is known for its green landscapes, dense forests, mountain ranges and other natural resources and Guru Ghasidas National Park is a perfect example of the above. There are a lot of things to do in Guru Ghasidas National Park, both within the national park, as well as the region around it, which includes Koriya District. Let’s have a look at some of the things one can indulge in during their stay here.
See Karma Festival in Villages
If you are looking to dive into the culture of the people living in the region, one of the best ways to do so is by celebrating festivals like Karma. Celebrated on the occasion of Bhadrapad Suklapaksh-Ekadashi, this festival is celebrated right after the Kharif season, which is the harvest season in India. After the harvest, the entire community prays to ‘Karma Dev’ A God revered by all people of the region. This celebration is also celebrated to signify the hard work and labor that was put in during the harvest season. This is celebrated every year and if you visit the villages of Koriya, this festival is something that you must celebrate with the locals.
Witness Community Tribal Dances
Dance and music are some of the most cultural things that are till date followed by several tribes in the country. These community dances in the small villages of Chhattisgarh signify togetherness and tradition. The Saila dance is done in the month of Aghan where people from several villages come together to perform and celebrate; the dance is performed using sticks and is quite similar to Bihu. The other kind of dance is the Suaa Dance that is performed usually by women; in this dance form, sticks are used as well and the movements occur on basis of the movement of the sticks. These dances are fun to watch and a great way to indulge oneself in the culture of the place.
Now, when you are visiting Guru Ghasidas National Park, it goes without saying that you will engage in forest related activities. One of them being photography! This is the most loved activity in the park and pursued by many, both amateurs as well as professionals. You can see a variety of flora and fauna in Guru Ghasidas National Park that are unique to that region of the country. You can find animals like leopards, tigers, elephants, unique trees and plants and of course a variety of birds that are native as well as migrants from other regions. This is one of the top most things to do in the national park.
Attend Festivals Nearby
Chhattisgarh is a hub of culture and tradition with a lot of native tribals living in the place. These tribal people have a lot of festivals that involve dancing and singing. These festivals are the main part of their diverse culture and they like to keep it intact by taking part in the festivals. There are several festivals that are celebrated in these villages in Koriya district like Ganga Dashera, Chherta, Navakhai and Surhul. All of these festivals are celebrated for different reasons. Some are celebrated to pay homage to the sun god, another is celebrated during the coming of spring when the flowers bloom while the other is celebrated in the Kharif season signifying a good harvest.
Explore the Lifestyle of Tribals
If you are more of a person who would like to get involved in the local life and lifestyle of the region, then you must explore the beautiful villages of Koriya region. Staying close to Guru Ghasidas National Park, these villagers are very much dependant on the forest resources for their lifestyle. Most of them practice agriculture and yield crops for the entire community while others are more of artists who make handmade stuff that are eventually sold to tourists who visit their shops. Other than visiting their shops and have a friendly chat with them about their lifestyle in the village, you can even choose to do a home stay in one of the houses to get an authentic feel of the place.
Go on a Safari
When in Guru Ghasidas National Park, it goes without saying that you would go on safari. This is also one of the top most things to do in the park and is absolutely a delightful experience. Once inside the premises of the park, you can go up to the authorities to book a safari; it could either be a group safari or a solo one with your family. This is a great way to see and observe the lifestyle of the animals in the park and also see them up close, something that you cannot do out of the ordinary. This is a great thing to do especially of you are with children and if you have a keen interest in wildlife, marine life and bird life. You can also go on a river safari on the Hasdeo River where you can see a variety of birds on the swampy marshlands.
Go on a Jungle Trek
Koriya district is known for its greenery and lovely scenic spots. Since it is the home of the beautiful Guru Ghasidas National Park, it consists of massive dense forests that houses a variety of birds and animals. If you want to get an adrenaline rush, you must go on a trek in the jungle. This is thrilling and educational at the same time; reach some of the highest points in the district by passing through the woods that have vibrant wild flowers, unique plant life as well as a variety of animals that you are also able to see. There are trails that are set up by the state government for this purpose, make sure you follow these trails and don’t get lost in the wilderness.
Boating on Hasdeo River
Once you are close to the end of your trip, you must find something relaxing to do, for example go on a boat ride on the Hasdeo River. This is a calm river, passing by Koriya district and has a very serene effect on the people of the place. You can find several vendors giving out boats along with a person rowing the boat to take you around the place. On the banks of the river, you can even see a many temples; the best time to go on a boat ride is early morning or evening because this is when you can hear priests chanting prayers and ringing bells at the temples. Other than this, the serene beauty of the place is absolutely impeccable in the evenings.
Set up Camp
Have an innate passion for wildlife and love observing them? This is your chance to live up your dream! When you visit Guru Ghasidas National Park, setting up a camp is a must do. You can hire tents from the local authorities of the park, after which you will be assigned an area to camp out along with other people. This is particularly fun as you get to meet new people who have the same interests. You can spot several animals coming to drink water in the night from the river. The best time to visit and go on a camp is during winters, as you can see a lot of wildlife activity during this time.
See Rock Paintings
Looking to do something different? Head over to Sonhat Tehsil in Koriya district to do some rock painting. Situated quite close to the national park, Sonhat is a small village that has small and big rocks that are pre historic and villagers have painted these rocks in order to beautify the place. Some of these paintings were done in the pre historic era itself signifying how people communicated amongst each other. These rock painting re worth seeing with some of them depicting an entire family, some of them depicting animals and birds of the region and so much more. This is a great way to dive into the culture of the place.