Bastar, one of the most panoramic and age-old areas of the country is situated in Chhattisgarh. The history of the region dates back to the Stone Era.
According to Ramayana and Mahabharata, this area was known as Dandakarnya, the legendary forest through which Lord Rama, passed during his 14 years of exile. As per Ramayana, Lord Ram pierced seven Sal trees, using his bow and arrow in dandakaranya, to prove his identity to Sugreev. Sage Valmiki’s asharam has been identified by the researchers of the state. Even the local people of Gobraoen area of Keshkal Panchvati believe that this place was part of King Karna’s Kingdom, during the Mahabharat era and during Ramayana era, Lord Rama visited this place.
This was the place, inhabited by lots of Rishis like Kank, Lomesh, Shringi and Angira. Bastar is also considered to be a part of Dandakarnya region of the kingdom Dandak Janpad mentioned in Purans. But the early history of this ancient land lies in obscurity. Archaeological surveys and investigations have not so far been properly carried out, to unearth evidence regarding the antiquity and socio-political history of Bastar.
The stromatolite imprint in Machkot forests and in the Gharlahanga areas indicate the existence of life in the area 800 Crore years when the areas were under water. Prof. H. Jha of Geology Dept. PG College has done a lot of research on the subject and there are also articles on the subject in the journals of Geological Society of India and Geological Survey of India.
Whatever is known about the history of Bastar, is by way of chronological reconstruction of events on the basis of inferences drawn from Sanskrit literature, contemporary rock inscriptions and sporadic research based on copper plates and coins etc, found in the area.
From the 4th century onwards, there are evidence that, Nala, Trikut, Gang Kings, Nag Dynasty and from the 13th century onwards, Raja Anam Dev (Kaktiya King) and his lineage ruled Bastar and its adjoining areas.
A sequence of 23 templates from a knoll in Gobarhin, 32 gold coins obtained from the excavations at Adenga and remains of earthenware from Bakawand, Jaithgiri inscriptions obtain from Artakot etc, speak about the ancient heritage of the area and its glory.
The exceptional scenic beauty of the region, with dense forests, waterfalls, caves, wildlife, ancient temples, palaces, tribal dance and music are worth a visit for any traveler or nature enthusiast. Far away from the crowded tourist destinations of the country, these eastern uplands and plateaus, mostly tribal are covered with one of the richest and unspoilt tropical and natural forests.