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Pachmarhi

travel Updated: Feb 03, 2010 16:15 IST
Highlight Story

Pachmarhi is Madhya Pradesh's most verdant jewel, a place where nature has found exquisite expression in myriad enchanting ways.Green shades embrace the mountains, and everywhere is heard the gentle murmur of flowing water. Bridle paths lead into tranquil forest glades, groves of wild bamboo and jamun, dense sal forests and delicate bamboo thickets.

Complementing the magnificence of nature are the works of man; Pachmarhi is also an archaeological treasure-house. In cave shelters in the Mahadeo Hills is an astonishing richness in rock paintings. Most of these have been placed in the period 500-800 AD, but the earliest paintings are an estimated 10,000 years old.


Did you know ?

The year was 1857 when Captain James Forsyth of the Bengal Lancers was galloping hard up the Satpura ranges. He chanced upon this saucer -shaped valley and recommended its development as a sanatorium. Churches and cemetries bring back memories of the colonial past of Pachmarhi which has managed to escape reckless plunder suffered by other hill stations of India.


Facts

The valley, ravines and maze of gorges, sculpted in red sandstone by the wind and weather, add their own colouring to this palette of shades, and cascading waterfalls flash silver in the sunshine. Deep azure pools are hidden delights and everywhere wild life watchers will be rewarded by fascinating glimpses of the animal and bird kingdoms.


Must see

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.

Handi Khoh
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 (Big 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'.

Irene Pool
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.

Jalawataran (Duchess 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.

Mahadeo
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.

Chhota Mahadeo
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.

Chauragarh
4 kms from Mahadeo, it is one of Satpura's prominent land marks, the summit crowned with emblems of Mahadeo worship.

Jata Shankar
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.

Dhoopgarh
The highest point in the Satpura range, with a magnificent view of the surrounding ranges. A very popular spot for viewing sunsets.

Pandav Caves
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.

Reechhgarh
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.

Catholic Church
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.

Christ Church
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.

Satpura National Park
Set up in 1981, Satpura National 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.

Bison Lodge
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.

Harper's Cave, 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.

Important Note: While visiting Pachmarhi's beautiful spots, please avoid littering. Carry back with you all empty plastic bags and other trash and leave every point as you found it, spotlessly clean.

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