Formerly a part of Madhya Pradesh, Raipur today is the capital city of Chhattisgarh. Having had many kings and emperors in the bygone era, this place boasts of a rich culture and heritage. While Raipur is mostly known as the manufacturing centre of the country (houses one of the largest steel markets), its rich heritage is still intact courtesy the many existing temples, ashrams, lakes and museums here.

The most important attraction is the Mahant Ghasidas Memorial Museum. The museum houses sculptures, swords, guns and even cooking utensils – all over 5000 years old – taking you on an intriguing journey through the history of Chhattisgarh. The double-storey museum also displays intricate art works of indigenous artists as well as a huge variety of books, journals and magazines.

Doodhadhari Monastery and Temple is another gem located in the southern province of Raipur. Set against the banks of Maharajbadh river, this 17th-century temple is dedicated to Lord Rama, and is well-known for its exquisite murals and delicate carvings. There’s a monastery next to it, devoted to Swami Balbhadra Das, who was believed to have survived only on ‘dood’ (milk), lending the place its name. Another temple to be visited is the Mahamaya Temple, dedicated to Goddess Durga.

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Amongst the lakes here, Budhapara Lake is unmissable. Believed to have been built in the 15th-century, the pristine waters of the lake radiate a sense of calm and serenity. It makes for an ideal weekend getaway for those who seek harmony, away from the bustle of everyday life.

Vivekanand Sarovar, also known as Budha Talab, is a favourite among people for picnics. Apparently, the lake got its name from the great philosopher Swami Vivekanand, who is said to have meditated on the banks of the lake. There’s a huge 37 feet high statue of Swami Vivekananda in the garden beside the lake.