Etymology of Bilaspur
As per the records from the Imperial Gazetteer of India, Volume 8 (1908), it is stated that in the 17th century, the city of Bilaspur was named after a fisherwoman by the name of Bilasa Bai. And for a long period of time, the city was a fishing hamlet and only consisted of few fishermen’s huts.
History of Bilaspur
It was during the reign of the Marathas around 1741, the city of Bilaspur came into prominence when a Maratha official took up his abode there. Earlier, Bilaspur was controlled by the Kalachuri dynasty of Ratanpur. The Bhosales of the Nagpur kingdom were the last Maratha clan to rule this region. It was eventually in the year 1818 that Bilaspur was taken over by the British East India Company, during which time it suffered from many famines and droughts. Though Bilaspur was blessed with 25 years of prosperity, later, there was very little rain leading to drought conditions again. Between 1820 and 1830, Guru Ghasi Das, who belonged to the farming community, started a religious movement called Satnamis, who preached that God is a synonym of truth that cannot be found in idols. There is a university in Bilaspur named Guru Ghasidas University in honour of him and his contributions. And between the periods of 1880-90, the first railway track was laid between Rajnandgaon and Bilaspur. During 1908, the major industries of the city included cotton clothes and tasar silk industries.
Geography of Bilapsur
Bilaspur is situated at an altitude of 264m from the sea level on the bank of Arpa River. This rain fed river originates from the high Maikal Range located in Central India. The city is rich in dolomite and the northern part is adorned with dense green forests whereas in the eastern region coal mines of Hasdeo valley are found. Bilaspur has a pleasant climate with mild winters, hot and dry summers and moderate rainfall.
Climate of Bilaspur
The city of Bilaspur has a tropical climate and the average annual temperature is 26.8 degree Celsius with an average precipitation of 1259 mm. The warmest month of the year is May with an average temperature of 35.5 degree Celsius while the month of December is the coldest month of the year with an average temperature of 20 degree Celsius. The driest month is November, with 2mm of rainfall and the difference in precipitation between the driest month and the wettest month is 386 mm.
Demographics of Bilaspur
The city of Bilaspur is known to be the fourth largest city in the state of Chhattisgarh. As per the reports of Census India 2011, the total population of the city was 452, 851 out of which the males constituted 51 percent of the population while females 49 percent. Children between the ages of 6 years and below make up about 15 percent of the total population of the city. The average literacy rate of Bilaspur was 91.29 percent, which was higher than the national average of 60 percent. The male and female literacy of city were 92.94 percent and 88.33 percent respectively.
Culture of Bilaspur
The city of Bilaspur is rich in its cultural heritage and tradition and is known to have its own dance styles, cuisine, music and traditional folk songs, of which Sohar songs, Bihav songs and Pathoni songs, which are very famous. Sohar songs are related to child birth and Bihav to marriage. While the Pathoni songs are about Gouna or Bidaaee, which is the departure of a bride to the bridegroom's home. All the major festivals of the country are also celebrated in the city with great splendour and vigour. Apart from these, an important regional festival of the city is the colourful Raut Dance Festival which is celebrated in the month of November.
Economy of Bilaspur
Bilaspur forms one of the major centres of the electric power generation in the country. The railway zone of Bilaspur is highest revenue generating railway zone of India. Apart from this, South Eastern Coal Fields Limited (SECL) also contributes in the economy of the city which is a subsidiary of Public Sector Unit Coal India Limited (CIL).
Tourism in Bilaspur
Various archaeological sites and temples in Bilaspur attract tourists from all over the world. Malhar and Ratanpur is the centre of archaeology. Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the renowned ecotourism spots in Chhattisgarh. Hasdev Bango Dam is 105 km from Bilaspur, the ruins of forts to ancient temples are found here. Talagram is famous for the Deorani-Jethani Temple. Bubble Island and Radhika water park are the parks which amuse the local people as well as tourists. Belpan has a huge pond as well as Samadhi. Then there is Khutaghat, which is a scenic spot and is wanted by nature lovers. There are forests, dam and hills which comprise the surrounding of Khutaghat. The place called Kabir Chobutara is at a distance of 41 km from Bilaspur and is a hub for saints. Sonmuda is another tourist attraction which gives a panoramic view of valleys, hills and forest. The River Sone originates from Sonmuda.
Visiting Information on Bilaspur
The Bilaspur Railway Station is the regional hub for the railway system and is known to be the busiest junction of Chhattisgarh. It is well connected to the rest of the nation through the Indian Railways. And via roadways, the city of Bilaspur is connected to Mumbai and Kolkata through the National highway network. The nearest commercial airport is the Swami Vivekananda Airport of Raipur and is about 131 km away from Bilaspur. The city also has its own airport at Chakarbhatta for VIP and military operations, which is known as the Bilaspur Airport.