Chhattisgarhi is a language spoken in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, by 24 million people. It is an Eastern Hindi language with heavy vocabulary and linguistic features from Munda and Dravidian languages. Chhattisgarhi is also known as Dakshin Kosali and Kosali as in ancient times Chhattisgarh was known as Dakshin Kosal. Chhattisgarhi has been known by the name Khaltahi to surrounding hill-people and by the name Laria to speakers in neighboring regions of Odisha to Chhattisgarh. The speakers are concentrated in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh and in adjacent areas of Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Jharkhand. Chhattisgarhi cultural and political movements, with origins from the 1920s, affirmed Chhattisgarhi linguistic and cultural identity and sought greater autonomy within India. This came about in 2000 when 16 districts of the state of Madhya Pradesh became the new state of Chhattisgarh.
Chhattisgarhi is most closely related to other Kosali group of languages known as Bagheli and Awadhi (Avadhi), and these languages are classified in the East Central Zone of the Indo-Aryan languages or Kosali Language Group, the Indian branch of the Indo-European language family.
Its precise relationship to Hindi is complex and as with other members of the Hindustani dialect continuum, its status as a dialect or separate language is to some degree a judgment call. According to the Indian Government, Chhattisgarhi is an eastern dialect of Hindi, but it is classified as a separate language in Ethnologue.
Chhattisgarhi has five different main dialects on the basis of geographical division:
1) Kedri (Central) Chhattisgarhi
This is purest form Chhattisgarhi, which is spoken in most of the Mahanadi Basin. Kedri Chhattisgarhi is uninfluenced by any other languages except Hindi. Mostly spoken in Bilaspur, Durg, Bemetara, Raipur, Rajnandgaon, Dhamtari, Kanker district of Chhattisgarh.
2) Utti (Eastern) Chhattisgarhi
Utti Chhattisgarhi, also known as Laria, is mostly spoken in Raigarh, Mahasamund, Gariaband, Raipur district of Chhattisgarh.
3) Budati / Khaltahi (Western) Chhattisgarhi
Marathi-language influence can be seen in Khaltahi Chhattisgarhi. Mostly spoken in Balaghat (Madhya Pradesh) and Kabirdham, Bemetara district of Chhattisgarh.
4) Bhandar (Northern) Chhattisgarhi
Also known as Sargujia Chhattisgarhi, it is mostly spoken in Koria, Surajpur, Sarguja, Jashpur, Balrampur district of Chhattisgarh.
5) Rakshahun (Southern) Chhattisgarhi
Mostly spoken in Dandkaranya region (Bastar) of Chhattisgarh. Godi and Halbi are other dialects which are widely spoken.