Chhattisgarh has several destinations that are still unexplored. And going to an offbeat getaway devoid of the usual crowd is rejuvenating; where you can simply walk in leisure without bothering about the honking traffic or the onlookers. Manipat was a chance discovery during our trip to Chhattisgarh. About 258 km from Bilaspur, it lies atop a plateau surrounded by emerald valleys. The hill station with its thick forests, gushing waterfalls, and gentle-flowing streams has earned itself the sobriquet of “Shimla of Sarguja.” The Tibetan settlement in the village was another pleasant surprise. This locality seemed every bit like a mini Tibet with colourful prayer flags lining up the streets. We were told that this hill station is also popularly known as Mini Tibet.
The trip from Bilaspur by bus through Jarabhata along the National Highway 111 took us about four and half hours. But the view en route was beautiful and that is one of the reasons why I love road trips. We headed straight to the Tibetan restaurant next to the beautiful settlement and helped ourselves to the piping hot thukpa and a plateful of momos. We decided to visit this place once again before heading back. Chit-chatting with the people around in the restaurant we got our itinerary chalked out. We also came to know that there were seven different refugee camps in the village.
Our first stop was at the Dhakpo Monastery. This quaint monastery was a little small compared to the ones we had seen elsewhere. But it stood squeaky clean and elegant glistening under the afternoon sun. You can interact with the monks here who are very friendly and also with the people around.
Though we couldn’t spot any tigers, we had a good view of the cascading waterfalls from the road level itself. There are steps to take you down to the bottom of the falls. But be careful while climbing down, it can get slippery. A check dam nearby adds to its beauty. It is said that tigers were sighted in the area many years ago, lending it its present name.
This point with a flowing river is picturesque. It is called Fish Point because a certain type of fish is found here. As we climbed uphill, the view was breathtaking. The sound of the gushing waterfall invaded the tranquility of the place, and it couldn’t have been better without the crowd around.
We finally walked through the Tibetan camps accompanied by some lamas. They were happy to show us around. We were taken to a handicraft shop selling some mementoes, where we got some goodies for friends back home. At the end of the day we invited the lamas, who heartily took us around, to join us for some momos at the Tibetan restaurant.
You can easily get a bus from Bilaspur, Raipur and Ambikapur. Or you can hire a taxi and make a day trip. Check out for buses at Ticketgoose.com if you are travelling on this route.
Where to stay
There are a couple of places where you can spend the night. Saila Tourist Resort (Tariff-Rs 1,500 onwards) and Mercury Resort and Restaurant are some of the places worth opting. The latter has some adventure sport facility for the adrenaline junkies.
If you are looking for an offbeat destination far away from the bustling city, there couldn’t be a better choice than Manipat. You can visit this place just for its untouched beauty.