Adventure Tourism in Dantewada Chhattisgarh; Visit Dholkal and Phoolpad Waterfalls

Dantewada surprised me! Its untouched pristine forests and mountains charmed me beyond words. The amount of green cover Dantewada easily makes it an ideal tourism spot from several angles. Adventure tourism in Dantewada can take off very well. Hidden in the interiors are 2 destinations in hill top worth trekking to; Dholkal and Phoolpad Waterfalls. Locals consider Dholkal a purely pilgrim destination but for trekkers this is one challenging spot to conquer. Phoolpad on the other hand is Mother Nature’s gift to Dantewada, it has a beautiful waterfall.

Adventure Tourism in Dantewada

Adventure Tourism in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh

Trek to Dholkal, Dantewada

This trek to Dholkal is 16kms both ways. There are 2 temples in the 2 mountain tops side by side, one Surya Temple and another Devi Mata temple in Dholkal of which nothing remains except a huge idol of Lord Ganesha. Our destination was the ruins of Devi Mata Temple in Dholkal. Only an idol of Lord Ganesha and few stones remain there now. The 9kms uphill took almost two and half hours. I had stuffed myself with a good south Indian breakfast, hoping the energy would last the 16kms trek. It was through a forest, the green trees provided good cover from the rising blazing sun. Sights of little streams, huge human size ant hills, hanging roots, and balancing rocks made the journey uphill interesting. But we didn’t pause at the spots long lest the whole trek gets delayed.

Trek through Dholkal forest250m before the final destination the terrain changed. There were huge boulders of rocks, it was an indication we neared the hill top where no more trees grew. This part is much more difficult than the 8kms+ I had covered. Yet we went on, all thanks to the encouragement and motivation from our tour guide, Mr. Jeet Singh Arya (scroll down to read more about him).

My Trishanku Moment

Just 20m prior to the tip I faced my Trishanku moment, frozen with fear. The view from this part of hilltop, however gorgeous it may have been was scary for me. The thought that I can slip off the rocks or the rock on which I was standing will give away froze me. I was neither able to get down nor able to move up further. After some time I found myself alone and I had to decide something. And as if God sent, a group which had completed the trek were descending. They left behind a guide, a local tribal, for me. Thank God for him I completed the next 20m a thin narrow stretch. Not once did I look down. The idol was exactly 180degrees opposite to the place I stood for so long. 10 minutes approx, but it seemed ages to me!

Lord Ganesha at Dholkal

The divine sight of elephant headed, pot bellied sitting cosy, Lord Ganesha in Dholkal was worth all the effort. This is right at the peak of dhol (drum) shaped mountain, Dholkal. All round is green forest cover of mountain sides. It is presumed that the idol was made during the rule of Nagvanshi dynasty in the 9th or 10th century. This spot has ruins of Devi Mata Temple, the structure lays scattered there. From this spot we saw the Surya Temple in the next peak.

Lord Ganesha at Dholkal

Lord Ganesha at Dholkal

Walking down 9km to start point would be easy I thought but that was equally strenuous. Since there was no clear cut path, and loose gravels here and there, it was an effort holding back and place steps carefully lest we slip. We halted at several places devouring the sights we had rushed past while on our way up. Finally I spotted cow dung and I was so happy… you know why? It meant the plains are close and that meant we were closer to start point. This trip too took close to two and half hours. By the time we all assembled together again it was 3.30PM, a good 6 hours spent in trekking.

Surya Mandir Dholkal, Chhattisgarh

Surya Mandir at Dholkal, Chhattisgarh

Trek to Phoolpad Waterfalls, Dantewada

Mother Nature has blessed Chhattisgarh with several little pockets of scenic spots. Though land locked the hilly terrains have created some very beautiful waterfalls. Chitrakoot Waterfalls being the most famous of all. The state has immense potential for Eco tourism. We trekked to an offbeat destination of Dantewada, the Phoolpad Waterfalls. This can be included in the itinerary for Adventure Tourism in Dantewada.

Comparatively this Phoolpad trek was much easier than Dholkal trek. The distance was roughly 3kms to and fro. Half the distance was covered through concrete steps. While descend was easy, ascent had my lungs bursting. The entire trek can be covered in 2 hours

Phoolpad Waterfalls, Dantewada

Phoolpad Waterfalls Dantewada Chhattisgarh

Jeet Singh Arya, the Trek Guide

Mr Jeet is an MBA graduate who has no passion for corporate jobs. Instead he has turned into an entrepreneur promoting tourism in Chhattisgarh. It was his childhood desire to be a local guide to the various tourist destinations in his state. Fortunately his father understood his passion and has always encouraged him to pursue his dream.

Jeet Singh Arya

I interacted closely with him during the trekking episodes. One sentence of his which comes to mind is: “Ma’am darr ke aage jeet hain!” which translates to “Ma’am there is success beyond fear!” This was a tag line for one of the beverages in India some years back. Mr Jeet uses this quote, which coincidentally is his name, wisely to inspire the trekkers to overcome fear and climb new heights. While at Dholkal he single handedly encouraged and inspired all of us to cross the last 250m treacherous path. I was amazed how he knew each boulder so well. Mr Jeet constantly kept guiding where to put the foot, which edge to be gripped. To his credit he has guided trekkers aged as old as 70 years to trekkers as young as 12 years! Indeed commendable!

Check out his website: Unexplored Bastar. He actively participates and promotes trekking, camping, hiking, adventure sports, culture tourism and adventure tourism in Dantewada. He also has contacts with some ‘home stay’ there. For all that he is doing for his state Mr. Jeet Singh Arya deserves to be rewarded. Our country needs more youngsters like him!

Jeet Singh Arya at Dholkal

Thanks to Dantewada District Administration I could experience this adventure tourism in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh.

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39 Responses

  1. Nice to know about Mr. Jeet. Hope he can inspire more people to be like him. Waterfall looks very beautiful.

  2. Very nice read and great pics ! It must have been terrifying to be alone like that. Thank God you got somebody to help you to proceed with the trek. Great to hear about prior like Mr Jeet too.

  3. Nisha says:

    Just 2.5 hours for a 9 Km trek is good speed! But I think the path was easy mostly. I can imagine about your Trishanku moment, probably I would have felt the same way. How were you left alone? And who goes up there to worship Ganesha? 🙂

    Nice to meet Jeet, we need more people like him.

    • Indrani Ghose says:

      Left alone means nothing serious, people were around but out of sight because of huge boulders and that was may be for 10 minutes or less. Locals worship the idol.

  4. Beautiful place and great information… I would be terrified because I have a 1 year old who would be jumping off the rocks and down the road! But maybe when he kids are gone this would be an amazing trip for my hubby and I. I will have to save it for a grown up trip! Thank you for sharing!

  5. Jennifer says:

    It looks like a beautiful waterfall and well worth the strenuous trek! Down is always worse for me these days just because it’s so rough on my knees.

  6. Hugo Cura says:

    Beautiful hike and trails. Totally worth it for those lovely views! I really dig waterfalls, so I’d enjoy doing this as well.

    Thank you for sharing 🙂

  7. What a fabulous trek. With so much to see along the way in addition to the natural beauty of the region it would definitely encourage me to walk a little further than my normal comfort level for the day.

  8. Leah says:

    I think I might even be willing to hike to Lord Ganesha in Dholkal. The view is simply magnificent!

  9. Fiona Mai says:

    You were quite brave and adventurous to go on this trek alone. Luckily you bumped into a local guide later on and successfully completed the trek. The view from the top is just amazing!

  10. I love a good hike and this one looks beautiful! I will have to try it out. I am so happy you had a great guide to take you! A good guide can really make or break your experience, in my opinion!

  11. Suruchi says:

    You have been to so many offbeat beautiful places. I love trekking but this seems to be the tough one. The views from the top might be amazing.

  12. Wow that Phoolpad Waterfalls looks pretty trek I wouldn’t mind trekking far to see this beautiful falls.

  13. amanda says:

    these both look great! But it certainly looks like you earnt your amazing views with some full on hikes!

  14. Meghan says:

    This sounds like an excellent hike! I would have definitely stopped a lot too. The temples at the top seem interesting. Was it crowded at all while you were there?

  15. That trek looks really gorgeous, if somewhat dangerous. I am glad that you did not fall and that the other group came along at just the right time!

  16. Evanne says:

    Wow, that sounds like a real adventure! Worth the view though, I hope. That terrain must have made the trek a good workout.

  17. This trek looks really stunning. The nature is untouched, and the waterfall stunning. I wish I could visit it soon.

  18. Jenna says:

    I’d never heard of Dantewada before, but it looks amazing! I would love to explore this area sometime. The waterfalls and the trekking look like so much fun and the scenery is gorgeous! Looks like you had a great time!

  19. This whole scenery reminds me of Greek landscape! I have never been trekking, even though I would like to give it a try, at least once! I like your photos, especially those with the waterfalls!

  20. Megan Jerrard says:

    Really is so much potential for eco tourism here! I would love to trek to Phoolpad Waterfalls – we’re big fans of the outdoors so try to focus our travels on areas which lend itself to natural beauty and adventure 🙂 Thanks for the heads up on Dantewada!

  21. WOW! I am a hiking lover and just made me put this on my bucket list for my next visit to India! Too many things to see in India, :p !

  22. Niranjan says:

    Glad to know about these places. The trek sounds interesting. Yeah, there is definitely succuss beyond the fear or tough times.

  23. I am TERRIFIED of heights so i really appreciated reading articles like this & seeing the pictures as its something i’d never be able to experience for myself!

  24. This looks amazing! I love any kind of waterfalls. I would love to do this tour when I’m in the area.

  25. I’d be going to India this February… Hope I’d be able to do an eco tour like this! The view from the top is breathtaking, and the waterfalls look great for a quick dip. Here’s to climbing new heights! 🙂

  26. 32 km hikes seems like a great way to spend a day hiking. The views look amazing. I would love to spend some time photographing the Phoolpad Waterfalls. I would really like to know what country this is in?

    • Indrani Ghose says:

      Hi Jennifer, Chhattisgarh is in India. It is 16kms two ways not one way. I am sure you will enjoy this trek. 🙂

  27. Kim says:

    The 6 hour trek looks to be worth it from the wonderful pictures and views you captured.

  28. It was so sweet of that guide to stay with you and help you. I can understand how scary it must have been. But the views definitely look like the ordeal was worth it!

  29. Two temples at the top?! Okay, that seems worth the 16 km each way! Beautiful part of the world, thanks for sharing 🙂 Happy travels!

  30. Pedro says:

    I must confess I’ve become quite lazy and 16km hike nowadays is quite a lot for me. But the chance to see such beautiful landscapes and 2 temples at the top definitely make it worthwhile.

  31. Trayee says:

    Nice to read this adventurous trekking journey….so beautiful pictures….

  32. Shaivi says:

    Each time I have heard about Dantewada is in the news for all the odd reasons, so when I read the title of ur post, I was wondering y would someone embark on that journey. But after reading about the amazing experience, I am relieved. Also, hats off to ur trek guide Mr. Jeet. Indeed, the country needs more youngsters like him!

  33. Chattisgarh has a lot to offer,but the extremism becomes a problem,of course no tourist is reported to be in problems because of it.That’s the great point.

  34. Yogi Saraswat says:

    It is very beautiful and still less explored as fear of Naxalites is there but slowly slowly the rate of adventure like travelers is increasing. Beautifuuly narrated Indrani ji

  35. A great experience for you. My son recently went for an adventure tourism in Chemchay, Sikkim with his school.

  36. The site of Lord Ganesh perched on the top of that hill is mesmerizing and stunned that how people had decided to have one there!

  37. kondapalli Sarma says:

    Regarding Mr. Jeet singh Arya, I met him on FB ,but he helped me in arranging my 3 days tour to Jagadalpur and other areas, very effectively, and safe travel all through.Very warm personality,committed to tourism of Chattishghar.

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