Chitrakoot & Banda

Bundelkhand

Situated at the traditional boundary between the north and the south and at the historical crossroads between the territories of Avadh, Delhi, Deccan and the Central provinces, Bundelkhand has a distinct cultural personality of its own. Having witnessed much of India’s turbulent past, its ancient heritage is reflected in the physical, spiritual, architectural and cultural landscape of the region today.

History, Architecture & Cuisine. 

Its history folds and unfolds to include almost all prominent dynasties north of Narmada including the Chedi, Maurya, Sung, Shakya, Hun, Kushan, Nag, Vakataka, Gupta, Kalchuri, Gond, Chandela, Khangar, Bundela, Mughal, Maratha and British, in that order. Not surprisingly, Bundelkhand has a rich and diverse cuisine and an abundance of ancient forts, rock cut reliefs and stone temples dating from 3th to the 19th century A.D.

The Mahua Trail. Early humans from the stone age marked their presence in the region in the form of rock paintings and the many Adivasi tribes who have lived here for countless millennia, continue to find innovative solutions for new challenges. Besides being endowed with a deep knowledge of the forest, these communities are practicing repositories of Indigenous medicine, art forms, cuisine and many age old practices inspired by nature.

Note for the Evolved traveler: A wild, sparsely populated and exceedingly beautiful country, the landscape is made for some very rewarding explorations: Think long drives through the wilderness and hikes through forests with Adivasi companions. Lazy rivers to swim in and spectacular waterfalls to stand under. We experience tribal hospitality in a village or camp out in abandoned forts. Explore stone age cave paintings and ancient temples carved out of massive cliffs. Amazing food all through and of course informed facilitators who love to talk about History.

Best time to visit: Monsoons and Winters.
Duration: Minimum 3 days

More details

Geography of the Bundelkhand ‘Pathaar’. Bounded by the Yamuna in the north and the Vindhya mountain ranges in the south, Bundelkhand is a unique Geological unit where the plateau meets the plains. A rain deficient area, much of the broken plain is covered by large patches of denuded forest alternating with farmland. Driving across the land, you will come across dramatically rising Monadnocks (Isolated hill of bedrock standing above the surrounding plains) and plateau escarpment eroded by a web of rivers and often interrupted by spectacular waterfalls.

Antiquity. The region is known for numerous locales associated with Indian mythology, including legends from the “Sagar Manthan”: (Lord Shiva meditated at Kalinjar after drinking ‘halahal’), the Ramayan: (Chitrkoot was home to the exiled trio for the first 12 years of ‘Vanvas’) and the Mahabharat (Ved Vyas is said to have written the epic at Kalpi, his birthplace). Interestingly, many of these sites are located near spectacular natural settings (caves, hills, river pools, water sprouts, ashrams in a forest, sculpted rock cliffs etc) and more often than not make for a pleasant excursion.