Chhattisgarh, formerly known as Southern Kosal, spans an area of 135,191 sq km, and holds a population of approximately 20 million. It has a literacy rate of 43 percent.
Revenue derived from the forests, amounting to 44 percent of the total revenue, has been the main source of income. This mineral-rich state has substantial deposits of limestone, iron-ore, copper ore, rock phosphate, manganese ore, bauxite, coal, asbestos and mica. It contains about 525 million tones of dolomite reserves, accounting for 24 percent of the country's share. Chhattisgarh contributes to more than 70 percent of India's total production of tendu leaves that are used for making beedis (small country-made cigars).
Chhattisgarh has a rich cultural heritage, with its own dance styles, cuisine, music, and traditional folk songs. The musical narration of the epic Mahabharata (called 'Pandwani'), the folk dance of the cowherds (known as 'Raut Nacha'), and the Panthi and
Suwa dance styles are very popular in the region. Sohar songs are related to child-birth, while Bihav songs are associated with wedding celebration. Popular entertainment songs are Karma songs, Danda songs, and Dewar songs. Goura songs (worshipping Lord
Parvati at Diwali), Mata Seva songs, Janvara songs, Bhojali songs, Dhankul songs, and songs of Nag Panchami are the major regional folk songs.