Pachmarhi is the one and only hill station in Madhya Pradesh state of central India, also known for the Pachmarhi Cantonment. It is widely known as "Satpura ki Rani" (Queen of Satpura), situated at a height of 1000 m in a valley of the SatpuraRange in Hoshangabad district. The highest point in the central India region and the Vindhya and Satpura range; Dhupgarh at 1100 m is located here.
The town is not very large, and most of its area is under the administration of the Pachmarhi Cantonment Board, serving the Indian Army. The population of Pachmarhi is about 10,000 persons, most of whom are connected with the Army installations in the area.
Pachmarhi is a popular tourist retreat. Tourists visit pachmarhi through out the year. There are numerous hotels but only few of them are located in civil area of pachmarhi away from houch pouch market area to stay in peaceful location. Pachmarhi's elevation and the forests of the Satpuras, with their streams and waterfalls, are picturesque and home to much wildlife. Pachmarhi lies within the Pachmarhi Biosphere Preserve, created in 1999 to link two forest reserves into a larger wildlife conservation area at the highest point in Central India. Pachmarhi also has a lot of cave paintings in the forests, some of which have been dated to be as much as 10000 years old. Shown in the picture is the garden at the base of a tourist attraction called PandavaCaves, the caves are actually Buddhist in origin but the name persists. The place has rich timber reserves including teak, but being a part of a reserve no new construction or felling of trees is allowed. Having a rich and rare flora as well as fauna, Pachmarhi needs central and state government approval for any new construction outside the town area.
History of Pachmarhi: It is discovered by British Army Captain James Forsyth in 1857 when he was sent their to suppress famous revolt for freedom by freedom fighters like Rani Jhansi, Tatya Topa who use this area as a safe hideout and inspires local tribal people to participate in fight for freedom. It is general believe that Pandavs have spend some time in aforesaid 5 caves during exile (Agyatvaas). In Mahadeo hills one can see famous Rock-painting also. There are many scenic point, temples, Picnic spots, water falls etc.
Pachmarhi is 47 km from Pipariya. Pipariya is on Itarasi-Jabalpur rail line, 2 hours from Jabalpur and approximately 1 hour from Itarsi. Pachmarhi can also be reached directly by bus from Bhopal, which is 210 km away by road, Itarsi or Jabalpur.
Pachmarhi can also be reached from Nagpur. The Mahrashtra State Road Transport Corporation has started 2x2 luxury buses, which take eight hours to reach Pachmarhi.
While there are several sites within 5-6 km radius, the best way of getting around is to hire a four-wheeler, Maruti Gypsy being the norm in Pachmarhi. Gypsy can be hired through open market or hotel can arrange with Gypsy operators. It gets comfortable if one visits places of heart-attraction in Pachmarhi in their own vehicle.
Tourist attractions in Panchmarhi
We recommend following Popular Sightseeing spots in Panchmarhi:
Bee Falls: It is a spectacular fall in the stream that provides drinking water to Pachmari and is easily accessible.
Chauragarh Dhupgarh: These are two separate hills in Panchmarhi from where one can watch the spectacular Sunrise and Sunset. The ancient Shiva temple of Cahuragarh is worth seeing and sunrise at Dhupgarh leaves one mesmerised.
Jatashankar: This is the sacred cave under a mass of loose boulders where Shiva is believed to have hidden himself from the demon king Bhasmasur.
Mahadev: This cave is 30 meter long and water is always seeping inside the cave. The source of this water has been traced to a waterfall. In the middle of the cave is a small pool of water.
Pandav caves: Pandav Caves are the famous caves from which Panchmarhi takes its name. According to popular belief, the Pandav brothers spent a part of their exile here.
Tamiya: Tamiya is more beautiful than Panchmarhi and is totally unvisited by tourists. The Sunset point at Tamiya is where one can sit for hours and enjoy the setting sun. Any other thing cannot match this experience. One is bound to be lost in the scintillating beauty of the Satpura hills here.
Some of the places of tourist interest here are:
Priyadarshini (Forsyth Point).
This vantage viewing point marks the place from where Pachmarhi was discovered by Captain Forsyth in 1857. The British developed Pachmarhi as a resort and their influence is embodied in its churches and colonial architecture
Jamuna Prapat (Bee Fall)..
A spectacular fall in the stream which provides drinking water to Pachmarhi. The bathing pools above the fall are very popular.
Pachmarhi's most impressive ravine has a 300 feet high precipice and dramatically steep sides.
Apsara Vihar (Fairy Pool).
Easily accessible from Jai Stambh, this 'fairy pool' is an ideal picnic spot for families with small children, since the pool is shallow, deepening only towards the base of the fall.
Rajat Prapat (Silver Fall).
Those seeking adventure will find it in this ten-minute walk over rocks and boulders from Apsara Vihar to the top of Rajat Prapat, the 'big fall'.
This pool was discovered by Irene Bose, wife of Justice Vivian Bose, and named after her. The route upstream leads to a cave, through which the stream goes underground and then over a khud in a series of falls.
The descent is steep and the trek strenuous for almost all of the 4 km to the base of the fall's first cascade.
Sunder Kund (Saunder's Pool).
Crossing the stream below Duchess Fall and following a footpath about 2.5 km in a south- west direction, brings one to a huge rocky pool that is excellent for a refreshing swim.
Regarded as holy for countless of generations, Mahadeo hill has a shrine with an idol of Lord Shiva and an impressive Shivlinga. On the East side of the hill is an excellent cave shelter with beautiful cave paintings.
Revered as a sacred spot, this is a narrow point in the valley with rocks overhanging a stream and a spring from where water cascades down.
4 km from Mahadeo, it is one of Satpura's prominent land marks, the summit crowned with emblems of Mahadeo worship.
A sacred cave under a mass of loose boulders in which the Jambu Dwip stream has its source. A rocky formation of this place resembles the matted locks of Lord Shiva, hence the name.
The highest point in the Satpura range, with a magnificent view of the surrounding ranges. A very popular spot for viewing sunsets.
Five ancient dwellings excavated in the sandstone rock in a low hill. Pachmarhi derives its name from these caves which, as the legend goes, once provided sanctuary to the five Pandav brothers. These caves are now protected monuments.
Tridhara (Piccadily Circus).
A popular picnic spot where two streams meet in a junction.
Vanshree Vihar (Pansy Pool).
A beautiful spot on the Denwa stream, cool and shady among trees, ferns and semi-tropical vegetation.
A wonderful natural amphitheater in the rock, approached through a cave-like entrance on the South-side.
Sangam (Fuller's Khud - Waters Meet) This is the lowest of the picnic spots on the Denwa and offers fairly good bathing pools both below and above the meeting of the waters.
Built in 1892 by the British, the Catholic Church is a blend of the French and Irish architecture. Its Belgium stained-glass windows add rare attraction and beauty to the building. The church has a cemetery attached to it and graves date from 1859, World War I & II.
Built in 1875 by the British, this Church's architecture is fascinating; its 'sanctum-sanctorum' has a hemispherical dome on top with its ribs ending with faces of angels. The stained glass panes adorning the walls and rear of the altar were imported from Europe. They present a gorgeous view as the sun rays pass through them. The nave of the church does not contain even a single pillar for support. The baptismal font is a rare brass piece and the bell is as old as the church and its chimes can be heard from a long distance.
Set up in 1981, SatpuraNational Park is 524 sq km in area. It spreads through dense forest of evergreen sal, teak and bamboo. The high peaks of Dhoopgarh and Mahadeo, Bori's legendary teak and bamboo forests, Pachmarhi's fascinating natural beauty of deep valleys, high mountains, rivulets, waterfalls and Tawa's vast reservoir combine to give this park unique beauty and a breathtaking variety of attractions. The park is home to the bison, tiger, Leopard, bear, four-horned deer, blue-bull and a rich variety of birds.
Constructed in 1862, the Bison Lodge is the oldest house in Pachmarhi. It now houses a beautiful museum depicting the rich flora and fauna of Pachmarhi.
The Cave Shelters.
Some of the best cave shelters and groups of shelters around Pachmarhi are: Dhuandhar, approached from the footpath to Apsara Vihar, the paintings mostly in white include a group of archers with the typical Gond bun and hooped earrings. Bharat Neer (Dorothy Deep), has well executed animal paintings and when excavated in the 1930s yielded many pottery shards and microliths. Asthachal (Monte Rosa), there are four shelters with paintings, comparatively early linear drawings. Along the northern side of Jambu Dwip valley are some six shelters with many paintings of animals and human figures, including a detailed battle scene.
So named because of one of its paintings - a man seated and playing a harp is close to the Jata Shankar Shrine. The Chieftain's Cave derives its name from a battle scene showing two chieftains on horses. A terrace that runs the length of the South, South East and East faces of Kites Crag has some fine cave paintings, the majority of which are in white or outlined in red.
The Ancient Dwellings
The Pandava Caves as the name implies is the five rock cut caves that was home to the five Pandava brothers (characters from Hindu mythology). These thousand of years old caves are also believed to have been the abode of the Buddhist monks in early times. These five deep cut dwellings are of sandstone and is also the reason behind the name Pachmarhi. Another important cave is the Hearer's Cave that derives its name from the painting that showcases a man playing a harp. Chieftain's Cave, is another cave famous for it paintings, while lying to the southeast is the Kites Crag, which is renowned for its red and white outlined cave paintings.
Pilgrims for the Spiritualists
Come to the Hills of Mahadeo, an extremely holy place for numerous generations, is in deep ravines and cliffs. This is an important pilgrim destination that has ancient Lingam. It is also a destination for Shivratri Mela, held in February and March. The cave shelters here are abundant in rock paintings.
Want to get bedraggles in holiness, come to the most revered holy places of the hill station. The Jata Shankar Temple, that is secured inside a natural cave. It is a treat for ardent spiritual lovers as well as casual tourists. Domesticating two naturally formed sacred Lingams that appears like the hair (Jata) of Lord Shiva, this temple is also the originating point of the Jambu Dwip stream. Legends have it that this was the place where Lord Mahadeo rested to save himself from the fiend king.
The Chauragarh Shrine, is another spiritual place at a distance of 4 kms from Mahadeo. To reach this shrine you will have to take a steep 1300 steps walk to the Mahadeo. A triangular temple housing the image of Lord Shive atop, one can see spirited followers carrying Triscends (Trishuls that were weapons of Lord Shiva) on their shoulders, especially during Shivratri. However, if you get tired you can always enjoy a peaceful rest at the dharamshala.
British Landmarks in Pachmarhi
British colonization in Pachmarhi is very well evident by the presence of two beautiful churches. Catholic Church, is a fusion of French and Irish architecture and was constructed in 1892. The main attraction of the church lies in its Belgium stained-glass windows and also homes a cemetery built for the soldiers who lost their lives during the two world wars. Christ Church, is another church that was built during the year 1875 and the main highlight of this church is its architecture. Considered to be the most beautiful small church in Madhya Pradesh, the hemispherical dome of the sanctum-sanctorum of the church has faces of angels at the end. The most noteworthy aspect is that there are no pillars for support and one must watch the splendid view the sun rays passing from the exclusive glass panes.
The Points and Spots
Priyadarshini (Forsyth Point), is the most revered point as this is the place from where the British officer Captain Forsyth in 1857 had discovered this hill station. Want to see the landscaper's paradise ! Visit the Chhota Mahadeo, 4 kms from Mahadeo, which has overhanging rocks and a stream that flows down. Go high on the Dhoopgarh, which is the highest point in Madhya Pradesh. A popular sunset point, take a look of the magnificent valley from here. Reechgarh, is another spot, where one can enjoy the view of a natural aureole in the rock that can be approached from a cave like entrance.
Falls in the Gem of MP
Pachmarhi is known for its scenic beauties, verdant woods and tranquil waterfalls. So if you go without enjoying these things, then there is not a bigger loser. Anywhere your eyes will go the astringent and adamant stones seem to be forming a stream. One of the most popular waterfalls is the Jamuna Prapat (Bee Fall) is the main source of drinking water for Pachmarhi. The bathing pools here are the most cherished ones. One has to take a walk of ten minutes from Apsara Vihar, making it the most accessible waterfall among all. Notice the shades of the 50 m high cascade that seems to be divulging from the red to the green and then to the brown. Rajat Pratap is another famous fall and is also known as the 'Big Fall'. This 110 mt high waterfall is also a junction for the adventure lovers. Jalawataran (Duchess Falls), is another acclaimed fall located 3 kms from the Belle view. This is the most attractive fall among the waterfalls in Pachmarhi, and the main attraction of this waterfall is the three distinct waterfall, from the point it tumbles down.
Picnicking Around the Pure Pools
Want to enjoy some swimming, so what are you waiting for. Capriole in the Sunder Kund (Saunder's Pool), that lies on the crossing of the Duchess fall. This 2.5 kms long stream brings you to a huge rocky pool perfect for swimmer. However, if you want to play it cool, then try the Apsara Vihar (Fairy Pool), apt for picnicking and here as the pool is very shallow, even the children can enjoy. Looking for some cool resort among the wilds then come to the Vanshree Vihar (Pansy Pool), which lies among the semi tropical vegetation and is a beautiful spot on the Denwa stream. Pave way for the Sangam (Fuller's Khud - Waters Meet), the lowest of all the picnic spots also a great place for swimming. All these pools are very refreshing an provide an excellent opportunity for family picnicking.
Wildlife In Saputara National Park
Once in Pachmarhi, do not miss the Satapura Naional Park that sprawls on an area of 524 kms. With wonderful topographical conditions, this sanctuary is renowned for its wildlife habitat. The fauna includes Tiger, Gaur, Indian Giant Squirrel, Sambar, Leopard, Sloth Bear, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, Chital, Rhesus Monkey, Langur, Nilgai, Wild Dogs, Smooth Otter, Hyena, Pangolin, Porcupine, Mars, Ratel, Four Horned Antelope and many other species of wildlife. While one can also sight the avian population like the Malabar Pied Hornbills, Crested Serpent Eagles, Crested Hawk Eagles, Paradise Flycatchers, Honey Buzzards, Pittas, Thrushes, Peafowl, and Pheasants.This park is Satpur's gift to the photographers. Visit early in the morning to sight the birds, while afternoons are best for hunting the wild and ferocious beings.
Madhya Pradesh Wildlife
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