Department of Public Relation:Government of Madhya Pradesh

Fact File - Inhabitants



It is mentioned in the Bhishmaparva of Mahabharat that the water  Chitrotpala (Mahanadi) was used for drinking by the people of Bharat. This can be interpreted to mean that the Aryans had already, in the time of Mahabharat settled in regions close to the banks of the Mahanadi.

The temples of Rajim are both historically and architecturally important. Of them, the Rajivalochana temple is the oldest not only chronologically but also from epigraphical and sculptural evidence.

Besides, a large number of remarkable sculptures belonging to different periods have been located at Sirpur, Malhar, Kharod and several other places. These  mainly represent Brahamanical, Buddhist and Jain deities, Nagas, Nagins dvarapalas, etc. Malhar is well known for its Buddhist, Jain and Hindu ruins and sculpture ranging from the second century BC to the twelfth century AD.

Sheorinarayan is another great cultural and religious centre of South Kosal It is situated on the left bank of the Mahanadi in Bilaspur district. It has been place of pilgrimage from ancient times. It attracts visitors because it is on the road to Puri from Central India.

Chhattisgarh is also famous for its Satnami sect whose greatest figure GURU Ghasidas was born in the Raipur district in 1785 A.D. He devoted his life to the upliftment of the downtrodden. It was due to his sustained efforts that the human sacrifice was stopped in the Danteshwari temple of Bastar district.  

Kipling had long ago made the Mahadeo hills famous as tiger country but at present the king of the forest may be sighted at Kanha and Bandhavgarh. Equally at home here in the jungles of Kanha and Bandhavgarh is the Gaur who does not fear the tiger.

Another native is the Barahsingha, the only swamp deer who has adapted to hard ground. Chitals can be sighted in hundreds. Sloth bear, the leopard and the buffalo are much less  common.

At times one is surprised that wild life has survived so well despite the decades of senseless slaughter indulged in by the so called big game hunters. Many of the princes marked out areas as their personal hunting reserves: Shivpuri near Gwalior for instance, which has served in recent years as the nucleus of a wild life park; others like Kanha have become a national park.  Kanha combines, what were in the thirties two sanctuaries marked out as hunting reserves for the erstwhile princes - Hallon and Banjar, stretching over 250 and 300 square kilometres each.

The area remained protected till 1947 and was declared a sanctuary in 1952.National park came into being by a special statute in 1957 and since then a series of stringent conservationist measures have been adopted to protect the flora and fauna. It has the reputation of the best managed wild life reserves in the world and has formed the core of the Project Tiger since 1974. 

Kanha has some 22 species of mammals. The three striped palm squirrel, common langur, jackal, the wild pig and the black buck are easily spotted. Tiger needs more persistent tracking. Barking deer, dhole the Indian wild dog are even more difficult to sight but,-well worth the effort. Striped hyena, jungle cat and the leopard, mouse deer and the porcupine also reside here as do the wild chinkara and the ant-eating pangolin The smooth Indian otter and the small civet enrich the wild life in the park.

In addition Kanha has 200 bird species. Waterbirds frequent the many rivulets and the lake Sarvantal. Commonly sighted are cattle egret, pond heron, crested serpent, hawk eagle, racket tailed drongo, various flycatchers, wood pecker, king fisher, babbler and myna.

One can occasionally see the grey horn bill. Bamani Dadar or the sunset point is perhaps the most beautiful area of the park wherefrom the dense luxuriance of the forest can be best enjoyed. One can only hope that the lush forests of sal and teak would escape depredations at the hands of unscrupulous poachers and the wild life would manage to remain undisturbed for coming generations to enjoy and take pride in.

Near Bhopal again, at Vidisha, one can see the votive pillar installed by the Greek Heliodorus which testifies to the fact that this region was exposed to cosmopolitan influences in the centuries before the birth of Christ.

Vidisha also known as Besnagar was listed amongst the major metropolitan centres from pre Mauryan times. This is where Ashoka in his youth had served as a viceroy and must have liked the place well enough to commission the construction of a stupa at Sanchi after his conversion to Buddhism. The grand stupa at Sanchi marks an important stage in the evolution of Indian architecture. It records the transition from wood to stone architecture and was to become the model for subsequent  Buddhist construction elsewhere.