Chhattisgarh: the heart of rural India

Kate Eshelby and family enjoy the pristine lands and age-old ways of the people of Chhattisgarh state

Three men in huge straw hats covered in peacock feathers and tinsel are playing wooden flutes as they herd cows and water buffalo on the edge of the jungle. Even the animals sport necklaces of bright flowers.

This is Chhattisgarh state, in east-central India: little visited, yet rewarding, it’s a land of elusive leopards, tigers and animist beliefs that gained independence from neighbouring Madhya Pradesh in 2000. I’m here with my husband Mark and our two boys, aged four and two. This may sound an unusual choice for a family holiday but Chhattisgarh works, because it’s quiet and rural and free of India’s city chaos.

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