Raipur is the capital city of a newly established state of India, Chhattisgarh, and is a major commercial centre. Raipur covers a land area of 226 square km and is surrounded by River Mahanadi in the east and the Maikal Hill to the northwest. The northern part of Raipur has the Chota Nagpur Plateau and the thick forest cover of the Baster Plateau lies in the southern region.
The presence of different tributaries of the River Mahanadi like Sendur, Pairy, Sondur, Kharun, Joan and Shivnath makes the land fertile for cultivation of different crops. It is also referred as the Rice Bowl of India as numerous varieties of rice are grown in the large plains of the region.
Raipur was ruled by the Mauryans in the ancient times and it has a long history of being the capital centre of the Haihaya kings. The towns early existence and wide history can be made out from the remains of ancient sites that are believed to be from the 9th century. The Kalchuri king, Ram Chandra, discovered Raipur in the 14th century.
Earlier, Raipur was a part of Madhya Pradesh and its major source of income was agriculture and saw mills that were located in different regions of Raipur. Over the years, Raipur developed into a major provider of coal and related industries that dealt in aluminium, steel and power. The establishment of the Chili steel plant in the region assisted in the development of the city into a major commercial sector.
Apart from the recent development in the commercial sector, Raipur is also growing as a tourist destination. Some of the popular places to visit in Raipur are Mahant Ghasidas Memorial Park and the Hirakud Dam.
Another popular place is Mahant Ghasidas Museum, which was constructed by Raja Mahant Ghasidas, king of erstwhile Rajnandgaon state, in the year 1875. Close to this museum lies the Guru Tegh Bahadur Museum, which is another popular place built in honour of the Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur.
Many tourist attractions here reflect the ancient history of the place and help in defining the culture of Raipur. These are Mahakoshal Art Gallery and Doodhadhari Monastery. Some popular religious places here include Mahamaya Temple, Budhapara Lake, Vivekananda Ashram, and Shadani Darbar. The art gallery of Sushilpikangan is an example of the quality of workmanship and handicrafts of Dokra arts.
Raipur has many options when it comes to shopping. Tourists can buy handicrafts, textiles decorated with intricate work like zari and zardosi as well as wooden carvings and other items. Metal jewellery and exquisite furniture are other things travellers can shop for in Raipur.
The best time to visit this place is the months of October to March. Summers are very hot but with the arrival of the monsoons, the weather becomes pleasant.