Bilaspur is a city in Bilaspur District in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, situated 133 km (83 miles) north of the state capital, Naya Raipur. It is the second-largest city (after Raipur-Bhilai-Durg Tri City Metro area) in the state. Chhattisgarh State High Court at village Bodri, District Bilaspur privileges it to host the name ‘Nyayadhani’ of the state. It is the administrative headquarters of Bilaspur District. Bilaspur is the commercial center and business hub of North East Chhattisgarh region. It is also an important city for the Indian Railways, as it is the headquarters for South East Central Railway Zone and the Bilaspur Railway Division. It is also the headquarters of South Eastern Coalfields Limited.
Bilaspur is known for its aromatic Doobraj rice, handloom woven colorful soft Kosa silk saris, and more for its rich, varied and colorful culture. After the formation of Chhattisgarh state Bilaspur has emerged as the most favorable place to live in the state and developed city townships.
The name of the district derived from the city of Bilaspur, the administrative headquarters of the district. The name ‘Bilaspur’ originated from Bilasa, a fisherwoman who founded it according to a legend.
The area which comprises present-day Bilaspur District was under the control of the Bhonsla Rajas of Nagpur until 1818 and was governed by a Maratha ‘Subah’ (district officer). In 1818, the British started administering the area on behalf of the Raghuji III who was minor. The area was administered by a commissioner. In 1853, after the death of Raghuji III, British annexed the Nagpur Kingdom to British India as Nagpur Province, and in 1861 when the new Central Provinces was born, Bilaspur was organized into a separate district.In October 1903, a new province ‘The Central Provinces and Berar’ was constituted and Bilaspur District became a part of the Chhattisgarh Division of the province. In October 1905, on transfer of Sambalpur District to Bengal Province, Chandrapur-Padampur and Malkhurda estates were transferred to Bilaspur District. In 1906, when the Drug district (presently Durg District) was formed, a part of the Mungeli Tahsil was transferred to the new district. Also, another part of the district was transferred to the Raipur District.On 25 May 1998, the original Bilaspur District was split into 3 smaller districts, present Bilaspur, Korba and Janjgir-Champa.
In 2012, seeing the bad condition of the development of roads and other amenities, youth of the city joined together on social networking sites to form a group named ‘Concern 4 Bilaspur’ to try to take every citizen’s attention towards the scenario and finding solutions to solve them.
Bilaspur district is situated between 21º47′ and 23º8′ north latitudes and 81º14′ and 83º15′ east latitudes. The district is bounded by koria on the north, Anuppur District and Dindori District of Madhya Pradesh state on the west, Kawardha on the southwest, Durg and Raipur on the south and Korba and Janjgir-Champa on the east. The area of the district is 6377 km². Bilaspur is also known as the cultural capital of the state and also boosts various cultural and social events. The district is also the medical hub of Chhattisgarh due to several world class hospitals ex Apollo Hospital. Education at the primary and higher level has considerably improved in the past decade due to opening of several international standard schools (D.A.V PUBLIC School, DPS, St. Xaviers, Maharishi Vidya Mandir, The Jain International School). The city is also witnessing high rate of infrastructural growth due to the several initiatives taken by the state government to improve the basic infrastructure of the city. It now has two malls, Rama Magneto and 36 Mall namely which attract a large crowd of people especially the youth.
Bilaspur is the headquarters of South Eastern Coalfields Ltd. the largest and most profitable subsidiary of Coal India. The district of Bilaspur also has the largest number of cement factories in the state consisting of manufacturers such as Lafarge, Century, ACC. etc. The Bilaspur railway zone has been fifth time in a row awarded as the most profitable railway zone by the ministry of Indian railways this year. The district is also well connected to the rest of the country by means of rail and road network hence improving the economy of the city. The city’s main commercial hub is Vyapar Vihar, Telipara, Link Road, Sepath Road, Bus Stand Road, Rajiv Plaza and Goal Bazar. Bilaspur is also the Regional Headquarters of Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board, headed by Chief Engineer (BR). The Chief Engineer (BR) has the jurisdiction of Bilaspur, Korba, Janjgir-Champa and Raigarh Districts for supply of electricity to all LT and HT consumers. After Regional Headquarters of Raipur of CSEB, the Bilaspur is the second largest jurisdiction for supply of electricity in Chhattisgarh State.
Business travel and hotels
As an industrial city, Bilaspur also receives a large number of business travelers from within India and other countries, which requires the city to have good hotels. There are many hotels in Bilaspur, however the very first notable hotel and the only international brand hotel ‘Courtyard by Marriott’ opened in April 2014. The hotel is located near Mangla Chowk and is next to Citymall 36, a prominent shopping destination in the city. All Bilaspur’s other hotels are locally run standalone units and although they do not offer high quality, they are relatively inexpensive.
Various archeological sites and temples in Bilaspur attract tourists from all over the world. Achanakmar Wildlife sanctuary is one of the renowned ecotourism spots in Chhattisgarh. Hasdev Bango Dam is 105 km from Bilaspur. Malhar and Ratanpur are the centre of archeology. Ruins of forts to ancient temples are found here. Talagram is famous for “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. Khutaghat is a scenic spot and is wanted by nature lovers. Forests, dam and hills comprise the surrounding of Khutaghat. Kabir Chobutara at a distance of 41 km from Bilaspur is a hub for mahatmas (saints). Bilaspur is situated on the banks of the Arpa, the main river. Leelagar and Maniyari are other small rivers of the district. Sonmuda is another tourist attraction which gives a panoramic view of valleys, hills and forest. The River Sone originates from Sonmuda. Places of interest in and around Bilaspur include: