If Rudyard Kipling had to name a home for Mowglie and his friends, it would definitely be Chaugan on the edge of the alluring Narmada River in Madhya Pradesh. This picturesque tribal settlementwith the Baiga and Gond communities is about 32 km from Mandla, close to the route for Kanha National Park which inspired Kipling to chronicle his famous 'Jungle Book'. The local community has a rich heritage, complemented by their art and culture. This village will offer the visitor an experience of life among the tribal community, away from the bustle of the city.
Chaugan District: Mandla State: Madhya Pradesh Distance from District HQ - 32 km Community: Chaugan consists of 100 households of Baigas, Gonds and a few Yadav families settled in 4 hamlets. They are dependent on farming and forest produce. Living completely in harmony with nature, the Baigas possess a wealth of knowledge in magical herbs, fauna and flora. Travel Season: Tourists can visit Chaugan round the year. A visitor can enjoy nature's own dishes to taste in Chougan like forest honey, farm products and uncultivated food items.
The handicraft items and souvenirs made by using localskills and raw material (Lantana Americana) is not only an attraction for handicraft lovers, but also lets one realize the story of success of the family members, who have never got an opportunity to use their skills and resources in a sustainable and profitable way. Wood carving is another attraction in Chaugan. Visitors can purchase different models carved out from scrap wood pieces by the village artisans. Tribal art forms like Karma, Dadariya, Shaila are performed at the site by trained groups of artists. The groups have been performing their art at different popular tourist sites like Kahna and Bhopal. Visitors can enjoy the tribal art forms during their home stay. Adventure and natural walk experience: Traditional honey harvesting groups harvest honey in the dense forests after sunset. The technique used in the process is interesting and breathtaking, involving suspending a long rope atop the branches of the tall trees where the beehives are located. Then comes climbing to the real spot with out spoiling a single leaf of the tree. The harvesters wear a special uniform for protection from bee stings, and accumulate matured honey and wax without killing a single bee or larva. The taste of pure forest honey is beyond compare!
Fairs and festivals: Tribal spiritual seat Madhiyaji attracts thousands of pilgrims from remote villages of M.P., Chatisgarh and Maharashtra during the nine day long festival known as Chaitra Navaratri. The rituals used to perform here have a lot of uniqueness. As an innovation in the project activities, a tribal art performance has organized in the site by inviting performing artists from various places. Burning ashes and metal tridents comprises the symbol of goddesses in side the sanctum sanctorum of the seat, unlike the decorated deities and illuminations in other place of worships. November is the month of festival in the villages located in the banks of river Narmada. Chaugan is popular for its harvest festival Madhai.
Chaugan is in the vicinity of the world-famous Kanha National Park. The rich rural life, coupled with the art and culture of the Baiga and the Gond tribes, expressed in their traditional rituals, is an enchanting experience for any visitor. Their heritage monuments from the period of the glorious Gond kingdom are important centers of tribal pilgrimage. The memoirs of Gondwana Kingdom and a number of pilgrim spots also locate within twenty kilometer radius of the site. A magical view of black rocks brings memories of several myths and local unwritten histories when we proceed towards Kala Pahad range. Adventure tourists can find out their ideal tracks and a day long experience. It will remind you of the hill top from where Mowglie and his friends would watch the valley underneath.