What if I told you that there is a stone somewhere in Chhattisgarh on which if you stand the whole ground will shake will you believe me? Or there is a place in Chhattisgarh where there is a constant earthquake? Or there is a place in Chhattisgarh where the ground shifts? You must be thinking that I have gone crazy and trust me even I felt the same when I was told these ‘stories’.
Mainpat which is around 250 kilometers from Bilaspur is a treasure trove for tourism. I my earlier blog I have told you about Ulta Pani and Magnetic Hill which is also located out here in Mainpat and in this blog I have a tourist spot called ‘Daldali’. Don’t be surprised if you hear various variations of this name such as Dal Dala, Jal Jala, Jal Jali, Zal Zala, Zal Zali, etc. I was constantly trying to figure out what in reality this place is and honestly, I still do not have the answer. The name seems to keep changing depending on who you ask.
Coming back to Daldali this place is something, which I have never ever heard or never believed ever existed in India. After visiting Ulta Pani and Magnetic Hill we were supposed to go back to Bilaspur but we insisted on checking this place out just to solve the mystery. The problem is that there was no proper directional signage and we kept going around Mainpat.
At one point we reached a village next to a coal mine and finally, some villagers on their motorbike decided to guide us towards Daldali. Apparently, we had passed by this road several times but instead of taking the right turn we took the left turn thus missed reaching Daldali. It was getting dark and we had to visit this place as we have to return back to Bilaspur.
Finally, we reached a place where stood a horse and a couple of food shacks selling peanuts, tender coconut, and popcorn. A large board in Hindi Read “Daldali” thus confirming that we have reached what we had been searching for so long.
There was another board warning people not to venture deep into the bog (Daldal) and to be careful while clicking selfies. This piece of information is very important which we came to know later when faced with the situation.
Seeing the horse for a moment I thought that like any other hill station we have to take a horse ride to reach the spot else take a long hike. Fortunately, the walk was just fifty meters and we had to just cross a small mud and stone dumb and mage our way downhill littered with boulders. What lay in front was a vast open space resembling a massive football field. In fact, it was large enough to fill three football fields.
Experience at Daldali
As we approached the ground we did not notice anything out of the ordinary but it all changed after walking about twenty to thirty feet on the ground. Suddenly we felt a little vibration on the ground and it stopped the moment we stood silently to feel the vibration. The vibrations again returned as we started walking. The intensity of the vibrations became much easier to feel as we moved towards the center of the field.
It is then one of us realized that the grounds were actually not vibrating but they were bouncing with our footsteps. When we started jumping all at once it made the ground bounce more violently as it its was not solid ground but a land filled with a thick jelly.
What it was all about was slowly coming clear to all of us. The whole flat ground was like a thick layer of soil floating on water layer making it bouncy yet not letting anyone sink in.
Video of Daldali
This experience is difficult to explain through photographs thus please watch the video to get a better understanding.
Is Daldali Dangerous?
The answer is a simple yes and we saw this first hand. While most sections of the ground have a top hard layer but there are sections with the very soft top layer. If by chance, your leg happens to fall in these sections it will sink in like quick sand. Avoid sections that look wet and dark and wet and these sections have porous top layer so it’s best to avoid these spots.
The locals also warn you not to venture deep into the open field as further down there are bigger patches of these soft ground. One of friend accidentally stepped into one of these soft sections and within a second, his one full leg sunk below the ground. He tried desperately to get his leg out but the soft sticky mud made it impossible to do so. Only after being helped by a local did he manage to get out of it.
Thus stay on the outer edges and do not venture out on your own deep into this place. Be careful when clicking photographs and selfies as we often fail to see the ground below us.
So what is Daldali?
This place is a ‘Bog’ but the problem lies here that there are various types of bog all around the world and the most common being a ‘Peat Bog’ which are known to have a weaker top layer. However, the physical attributes of bog changes from its environment thus the exact type of bog can be difficult for me to ascertain.
Encyclopedia describes a bog as a wetland of soft and spongy ground, which is formed by partially decaying plant matters. These usually happen when a lake gets filled up by plant material and when these dye they accumulate within the lake and after a tipping point the quantity of these moss and plant materials overcrowd the waterbody. When the dead plant decay they release acidic chemicals resulting in the dead plant materials to remain in a soggy state not mixing with the soil. This creates soggy type soil known as ‘Histosol’. This Histosol slowly gets converted into peats.
While some part of the bog has a thick upper layer the bottom layer continues to have watery subsoil thus creating the bouncy upper layers. The portions which are weak have water floating on top as they seep up easily. These soft portions are dangerous as heavy objects can easily sink in.
Overall, this was an experience of a lifetime, as I had never visited a bog ever in my life and Chhattisgarh being a centrally located is easy to travel from most part of the country thus do not miss this opportunity to experience something different.
I would like to thank The Aananda Imperial for inviting me along with other bloggers and vloggers to experience their hospitality and to explore in and around Bilaspur. Other team members included Anusreea Paul Mukherjee & Swarnava Mukherjee, Luna Chatterjee, Amrita Sen, Prithwiraj Ghosh, and Raj Dey.