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Sunday, 10 May 2015

Pachmarhi a small town in Madhya Pradesh with so many waterfalls

Pachmarhi or Panchmarhi, also known as “Satpura ki Rani (Queen of Satpura)”, is a hill station in Madhya Pradesh state of Central India. It is situated at a height of 1100 m in the Satpura hill range in the Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh. 

Blessed with very rich flora and fauna, lush greenery, waterfalls, rich and rare wildlife, Pachmarhi is well connected from Bhopal, Nagpur, Hoshangabad and Pipariya. The nearest railway station is Pipariya (on the Itarsi-Jabalpur section) which is nearly 55 km away. From Bhopal, one can reach Pachmarhi in 5 hours by road and the distance is 200 km. Pachmarhi is a popular tourist retreat and one can visit the place through-out the year. 

The pleasant time to visit the place is from October to December, but during this period the water in the falls is too cold to get a bathe. Even in the March the water in the falls is a bit colder to some people.

The highest point in Pachmarhi is Dhoopgarh which is 1350 m, an ideal place to see sun rise and sun set, although watching sun-rise is now banned by the forest department and the forest barrier opens up only after 9 am. On way to Dhoopgarh, one can see Bison and Peacock, particularly during rainy season. Pachmarhi once served as the summer capital of the Central Province. Pachmarhi is also listed among the Biosphere reserves in the UNESCO list.

Pachmarhi is a small town dependent mainly on tourism and most of the area is under the administration of Pachmarhi Cantonment Board serving the Indian Army. The only petrol pump is the police petrol pump. There are many budget hotels along with hotels and resorts run by M.P.Tourism Department.

Most interesting places to visit in Pachmarhi are:
  Rajat Prapaat or Silver fall,
  Apsara Vihar and Paanchali kund,
  Bee fall,
  Rajendra Giri,

The places of devotional interest (pilgrimage site) are:
  Jata Shankar,
  Bada Mahadev,
  Gupt Mahadev,
  Old Church which is now closed to visitors.

Near to Pachmarhi are 3 wildlife sanctuary/park namely, Bori sanctuary, Satpura National park and the Pachmarhi Sanctuary. These three are collectively called Satpura tiger reserve. The jungle nearby has tigers, panthers, bear, bison, apart from wide variety of birds and small animals such as monkeys (they are also visible in the town and nearby your hotel).

To see the waterfalls and other similar locations one has to hire a Maruti Gypsy, which is the best or the only vehicle available in Pachmarhi to go through the ghats. A full Gypsy can be hired for 1200 INR; one can also pay per person which goes to about 250 INR per head. Apart from this one has to pay the forest fee and guide hiring fee of 900 INR /vehicle/ day to the forest department. In day one, you can visit Pandav caves, Silver falls, Apsara Vihar, Paanchali kund, Bee fall, Reechgarh and Dhoopgarh.

Silver fall

Sunset on a cloudy day at Dhoopgarh
The next day one can go to Duchess fall, although for Duchess fall there is a trekking path of nearly 2 hours (to and fro), so one has to be mentally prepared to visit the Duchess fall. But it is a really nice waterfall to visit, calm and peaceful as compared to Bee fall.

Above the Duchess fall is the AC fall where one can see water in bulk pouring down through a small gap of some 3 feet width. Unlike some of the falls, all the waterfalls in Pachmarhi has waterfall throughout the year.  Similarly for Chouragarh, one has to walk through the hills for some 2 or 3 hours. Other devotional places can be approached by your own vehicle.

Pachmarhi is perhaps among the highest visited hill station in Central India. It is a very nice place for a 2-3 days break at an affordable price. The people are cooperative and easy and special preparation is needed.