Chitrakote Falls

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The Chitrakote Falls (alternative spellings Chitrakoot; Chitrakot; Hindi: चित्रकोट जलप्रपात) 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 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.

The Chitrakote Falls, which spreads over three braids during the low flow season, is a single sheet of flow over a free fall of about 30 metres (98 ft) forming a horseshoe shaped gorge. However, during the monsoon season, when the Indravati River is in floods, the falls cover the entire stretch of the horseshoe from the left to the right bank covering a width of about 300 metres (980 ft). Though it is about one third less in width compared to that of the Niagara Falls, its visual splendour is described as equally impressive. Water flow conditions over the falls vary with the seasons. During the flood season or the monsoon season, the flow is filled with silt. It is India’s widest waterfall.

The beauty of falls is seen throughout the year, particularly during sunset. As the fast flowing water of the river flows over the sharp near vertical rock exposure at the widest reach of the river, it generates misty clouds and then hits into a pond formed in a semicircular shape at the bottom of the falls. Adventure sports enthusiasts use boats in the stormy part of this pond. Pilgrims bathe in the calmer part of the lake. In the low flow season, paddle boats are used in pools formed in the upstream part of the falls. In the pool below the falls, swimming is permitted and paddle boats are permitted. Local boatmen can paddle their boats under the spray below the falls.

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

Best time to visit
One can visit the Chitrakoot Falls throughout the year. However, from the months of July to October, the waterfall attains its wild and extreme form. If you want to enjoy the calm white waterfall, the best time to visit the Chitrakoot Falls is during winter months from November to February.