I landed in Raipur (the closest airport) and we drove to Bhilai (second-largest city of the state, around 25km from Raipur on NH6). Bhilai is a small industrial township featuring the government-owned steel plant that was built in collaboration with the USSR and that started production in 1959. Nearby mines supply iron ore among other resources. The whole state is rich in natural resources and a major producer of rice.
From Bhilia, we drove through the regional villages to another small town – Dhamtari. We stayed overnight at my wife’s uncle’s place, who’s a physician at the Dhamtari Christian Hospital. He gave us a tour of the hospital, and the next morning we all drove down to the Gangrel Dam (on the Mahanadi river), where we had our breakfast amidst the vast waterbody and the open sky. The solar-powered resort next to the dam is a delight to stay at, and it has one of the most beautiful views of the vast reservoir.
Moving on from Dhamtari, we drove to Sankra to visit some relatives. We also visited Raj Nandgaon (another small town towards the west of Durg), where my grand father was once stationed as a government employee. In Nandgaon we also visted the Church that my wife’s grand father founded in 1954.
The lifestyle is quite laid back and easy going across the region (as with many other small towns in India), but the pace of development has increased since the formation of Chhattisgarh as a separate state. Although 10-12 days was not quite enough to visit all the places of interest, but it was a pleasant journey.