Chhattisgarh was formed on 1st November 2000 by partitioning ten Chhattisgarhi and six Gondi speaking districts of Madhya Pradesh. Chhattisgarh literally means ‘Thirty- Six Forts” and it has 36 feudal territories under it. The Capital of the state is Raipur which is the fastest developing city in the nation.
The cultural life here mixes the form of various tribal dances, folk songs, traditional arts and crafts, regional festivals, and fairs. The tribal people are proud of their rich culture, modesty, and religion. Chhattisgarh is home to many tribes and the state has the oldest tribal community of the nation living in Bastar. The tribe is 10,000 years old and after some time Aryans took possession of the Indian mainland.
The prominent tribes of the state are Bhujia Korba, Korwa, Bastar, Gond, Abizmaria, Bisonhorn Maria, Mainpur, Muria, Dhamatri, Kamar Surguja, Halba, Parja, Jashpur, Munda Dhurva, Dantewara-Muria, Dandami Mariya, Dorla, and Halba Manji.
There are different religious sects also like the Satnami Panth, Kabirpanth, Ramnami Samaj and others. It is believed that during the exile period Lord Rama with his wife Sita resided at Bastar for 10 years. Hinduism is the popular religion however there are followers of Islam and Buddhism also.
Chhattisgarh is home to several ethnic groups and tribes. They are creative with their fabric, apparels and clothing style. The women proudly flex their tribal designs in their tribal and modern outfits. The women here wear a saree called Lugda in kachhora style with a blouse called Polkha. The saree of the women is full length or knee length. They wear loud fabrics, metal jewellery, wooden bangles, silver ghungroo and shells.
Tie and dye is a common technique to make fabric. Maheswari saree, Chanderis sarees, Odisha silk sarees, batik sarees are commonly worn by the tribal ladies. Men wear dhotis made of cotton, jute, or linen with sleeveless jackets and headgear of cotton tribal. The urban women wear salwar suits and sarees, men wear shirts and pants.
Hindi is the official language of the state while Chhattisgarhi is widely spoken amongst the people. Chhattisgarhi is a eastern Hindi language with heavy vocabulary and linguistic features from Munda and Dravidian languages.
Chhattisgarh is known as the rice bowl of India and thus rice is the staple here. Apart from rice wheat, rice flour, millets, high protein lentils, Bajra, jowar, and maize. The food here is influenced by the cuisine of neighbouring states. Chilla, a flatbread prepared with rice and urad dal, is a breakfast menu.
Iddhar is a traditional dish made from urad dal and kochai patta. The Chhattisgarh thali consists of rice, roti, dal or kadhi, chutney and bhajji. Sweet gulgula, moong bara bidiya, doodh fara, bafuli, anarsa, kusli, balooshai, singhara, thikur, and khumi are eaten.
In drinks a brew made of small creamy white fruit from a local tree known as “mahuwa’ is very much in demand.
Culture of the state is based on the celebration of several festivals like Holi, Diwali, Durga puja and each tribe has a special way of celebrating it. The main festivals here are Hareli festival, Bhagoria festival, Bhoramdeo festival, Fagun Wadai, Pola Festival and Teej festival. Dussehra is very important here especially Bastar Dussehra and is different from Dussehra of North India. The Bastar Dussehra is dedicated to Dhanteshwari goddess.
Another important festival is the Madai festival celebrated amongst the Bastar locals. Bhagoria festival is celebrated by the Bhil tribes and Bhargoradev or the lord moves is venerated during the festival. Kajari festival is another important festival that comes in the Shravan month.
Several celebrations associated with farming are also celebrated like the Hariyali, Navakhani, Kora, and the Cherta festival. Several fairs are also organised here in different places like Rajim Lochan Mahotsav, Bhoramdeo Mahotsav, Chakradhar festival, Goncha Festival, Narayanpur Mela and Shivrinarayan fair are very popular.
As there are several tribes here there are numerous tribal dance forms also. They are performed to please the Gods and Goddesses. Each dance has a special outfit and moves. The popular dance there is Saila Dance done with a stick during the harvest season. Karma is a folk dance done during the autumn festival by the Gonda, Baigas, and Oraons. Sua Nacha and Suwa folk dance is a parrot dance done on the occasion of Goura Marriage or month before the Diwali festival. Raut dance is done by the cowherds after Diwali. Panthi dance is done by the Satnami community of Chhattisgarh.