Chitrakoot Waterfalls is India’s widest fall covering 980 ft, which has earned it the sobriquet Mini Niagara. During the monsoons, the whole span of 980 ft, is one continuous sheet of raging, thundering muddy water as the Indravati river carries huge amounts of silt downstream. The sight is both frightening and awe inspiring. Although this is the time the waterfall is at its voluminous best, the muddy waters are not fit for swimming. Boating at the base of the fall too will be difficult if not impossible, as the water comes down with extreme force.
Beginning its journey in the Vindhya Hills in Kalahandi district of Odisha, the Indravati river flows westward towards Chattisgarh. Thirty-eight kilometers west of Jagadalpur, the river takes a vertical leap over granite cliffs at Chitrakoot, to plunge 95 ft. into a swirling pool at the base.
Although the beauty of the fall can be enjoyed throughout the year, visiting just after the monsoons may be a better plan. That is, if you intend to swim or do boating or just paddle in the waters.
The falls can be viewed from 6.30 a.m. onwards and boating at sunrise below the falls is an experience not to be missed. The rays of the sun emerging through the mist above, gives a wonderful diffused glow to the morning. On the banks of the pool below the fall, several Shiva Lingas and rusty iron Trishuls can be seen. On the left bank, steps come down from a rocky ledge and as you climb down naturally formed niches house stone slabs that are carved with images of deities. This lends it an atmosphere of spiritualism and mysticism. There used to be a tiny hut with Shiva and Ganesha images in it.
In the pool below the fall swimming and boating are both permitted. The adventurous take their boats to the raging inferno below the fall while the more conservative are happy to boat upstream. Paddle boats are available for hire. Local boatmen are quite happy to row you close to the falls so you experience the emerging spray. So, refreshing! Often you find local people fishing in the upstream part of the river.
During sunset, the falls look wonderful with rainbow hues visible. Floodlights later in the evening, bring a special magic to the place as the falls are lit up.
Please remember, safety should be uppermost in your mind. There are no barricades so one has to always move with caution, especially if there are children in the group. The rocks are damp and slippery so step carefully. A holiday is completely ruined by an accident.
A high end resort run by the State Tourism has rooms that overlook the fall with spectacular views from the balconies. Apart from the resort there are some bamboo huts overlooking the waterfalls. That said, most people prefer to make a day journey to the falls and return by night to Jagadalpur, which will certainly have more hotel options. There are no good restaurants either, just the roadside shacks peddling tea, cold drinks and snacks like biscuits.
Getting to Chitrakoot Falls:
Jagadalpur is the nearest town, about 48 km away. Jagadalpur railway station on the Kirandul- Vishakapatnam line is the nearest station to Chitrakoot Falls. Shared taxis are available from Jagadalpur station to the falls.
Air travelers can fly to Raipur or Vishakapatnam, and then take a train, bus or taxi to Jagadalpur and on to Chitrakoot.