There are two kinds of small hillstations in India,the normal ones and the underrated ones.Mainpat falls in the latter type.With green slopes,beautiful valleys,gently flowing brooks,unexplored waterfalls,virgin forests and the scope it offers for exploration Mainpat is a gem of a hillstation still hidden from the public.A Tibetan settlement here only adds to the charms of this place and offers an excellent chance to interact with a different culture.It doesn't feel like Chhattisgarh when you are in Mainpat area.Granted this happens only during the rainy and winter season.But it will mesmerize you like it did to me when I visited it with my friends last month.Here is the full account
On Sunday 7 of 2013, we set out for Mainpat in two Scorpios.We were a group of 14.(As an aside look at the diversity we had.Out of 14,seven people were Telugu speaking,three were Bengali,one was Marathi,one was Odiya,one was Malayalam and myself Urdu) We started out at 7am in the morning from Tamnar.(40km from raigarh, in the north)We had our breakfast in the town of Lailunga.It has nothing much to offer but samosas and Badas to eat.we had to ascend a mountain and then descend before we reached lailunga.There are some good views en route.We again made a stop in Pathalgaon which is a big town.I was quite surprised to find a big town like this in these parts.After reaching Sitapur,on the Ambikapur Highway,we made a detour towards Mainpat.
The first point to visit is the tiger point so called because tigers were spotted here long time back.
There is a waterfall here which drops from the road level to some 10m down.While driving on the main road some 20km before the town of Kamleswarpur,a road branches off into the jungle.This will lead you to tiger point.This point offers some good views. Theres a small check dam also here.There are steps to take you to the bottom of the fall.Those were very slippery on account of the algae that was formed.Anyway the view of the falls as you descend down the stairs is great!
We got down to the base and sat on the rocks for some time.Ashwin and myself decide to go downstream and reach an area where we could find the darkness of he jungle but the algae on the rocks prevented our progress after some distance.We had quite a few near misses and falls while moving over the rocks.I got a small bruise on my elbow when I slipped and fell.It was nothing compared to what Ashwin experienced though he did not get an injury,he fell head first into a pool of water.He was crossing a part of the stream with the help of a branch of a tree when it broke off and took him head first into the water with his whole body following quickly.Since we all bought an extra pair of clothes it didn't prove to be much of a problem.
|Tiger Point downstream|
From here we moved on to our next point.I was very much interested in visiting the Tibetian settlements around here.Yes,you read it right theres one right here in Chhattisgarh.Back around the time of independence and after when the tibetians were being given refuge in India some of them settled in these 1000 MSL high areas finding it somewhat similar to their homelands.(when compared to the plains)
We then passed by a Buddhist inspired restaurant It was closed I think when we approached.On the opposite side a dirt road leads to Camp no.2 of the Tibetan settlement.The settlement is beautiful with small quaint cottages spread around dotted with a few brick buildings.Perfect for a stroll.Some of us took one and walked around the camp.We found a Tibetan restaurant inside.
We called up everyone and decided to have our lunch here itself.We had momos,thokpos and some other dishes whose names I don't remember.All were delicious and when we had our fill we moved out.Some of us stuck up small conversations with some Tibetans and got to know about the history of the place.They found the place peaceful and were living a content life.Most of them were second generation Tibetans. I especially wanted to interact with an old woman who was sitting in the restaurant but she was reluctant to talk so we dropped out queries after the first few tries.
|The signboard towards camp2 restaurant|
We took many wrong turns before we reached the falls.The route passes by the Chhattisgarh Govt resort.This area is called the fish point because of a particular type of fish found here.As we were reaching here just some distance from it we met a group of travelers returning from it.Their car was stuck in the mud and they were trapped here for the last four hours.Fortunately for them we came at just the right time.It was evening and they were beginning to get scared about the failing light.We got down to help them.Soon we realized that if we continued helping them none of us would the chance to see the falls.
So we made groups and while some helped them some set off towards the falls.I was among the first group of people to go.We could hear a distinct sound of water splashing,so we headed in that direction.We found an opening in the bushes and reached the area where the water falls off the cliff.We were at the top area.We sat here for a while enjoying the view and then set off to find a path that would lead us to the bottom where we could see the whole falls.We searched a lot bit were unable to find a safe way. Thats the beauty of this place it is still unexplored and you can still experiment with the paths and views here.Just a little ahead the valley takes a turn and the views here are spellbinding.I just stood there imagining how nice it would be set up a table right at that spot,sit around and drink coffee.I made a mental note to return to this place with better equipment and explore the region.The light was failing and we knew the dangers of being left behind in the dark there with no proper mobile network.So we quickly hastened our steps and made our way back to the car.We headed back to the main road but not before we made a wrong turn and that took us to yet another place which offered excellent views of the countryside.Two people returning back from work saved us the trouble by guiding us correctly back to the main road.From there we started off on our return journey.We had our dinner in Pathalgaon in a restaurant near the bus stand.It wasn't good but enough to fill our hungry stomachs.By 10pm we reached our hostel in tamnar and that was the end to our visit to the underestimated Mainpat.
|The Tibetan Restaurant in Camp 2|
Mainpat is 178km from Raigarh and 80km from Ambikapur.
Best time to visit is in the monsoon season and winter season.
Staying options include the privately owned Mercury Resorts and a Govt owned Resort.
A car can be booked from Raigarh.It costs around Rs3000 - Rs4500.People here genrally charge Rs11 per km here.Buses ply between Ambikapur and Raigarh but they are largely unreliable and not comfortable.