Pachmarhi, fondly known as “Satpura ki Rani” located in the Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh, is a verdant gem in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
Legend says the Pandava brothers visited Pachmarhi during their exile.
One of India’s most unusual gateways,Pachmarhi is not easy to get to,which is what helps preserve it’s status as a quiet little hill station ( except during long weekends ).
It is the highest point in Madhya Pradesh,nestled in a saucer-shaped plateau that comprises jagged peaks and red sandstone escarpments. The hills encircle a landscape of lush sal and bamboo forests,which is indented by deep gorges and canyons,and overrun by cascading streams.
In fact, what really distinguishes Pachmarhi from other hill stations is it’s abundance of water bodies. You can have a picnic down at a chilled rock pool bathed in sunlight or swim and make merry near a waterfall or a confluence of streams. Where is the stream enters the gorges, it is even possible to swim up long narrow pools.
This beautiful region in the hills, was discovered by Captain James Forsyth in 1857.It is a pristine hill station located under the belt of Satpura mountain ranges providing complete tranquility. Bridle tracks are taking visitors to the dense groves of jamun, wild bamboo, and delicate thickets of bamboo and Sal forests. Pachmarhi, situated at a height of 1100 mts, is a man-made archaeological land to complement the nature’s splendor.
Mahadev Hills has several caves where rock paintings are truly astonishing. These paintings have been made somewhere around 500 to 800 AD. Some of the oldest paintings are made around 10,000 years ago. Pachmarhi is listed in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve for it’s flora & fauna. Pachmarhi also features one of the the heighest water falls in India,the Rajat Falls which has a drop of 351 ft.
As per mythology,the Pandavas stayed in Pachmarhi during their exile. Pachmarhi is a part of the Satpura National Park. To relax and unwind, Patchmarhi is simply an ideal place. Victorian rulers and traditions governed the lives of people here and this small town enjoys calm gentility.
Pachmarhi has the usua de rigueur roster of places from where you can enjoy gorgeous views : Dhupgarh ( the highest point between the Himalaya and the Nilgiris, at 4429 ft ), known for its famous sunsets; Bee Falls; Fairy Pool, which entails a decent on foot and Duchess Falls,which is slightly difficult to get to but well worth the effort, despite the crowds ( visit during the off-season period to avoid the rush ).
Fairy Pool, extremely popular with tourists, is a shining silver waterfall that cascades down five levels to form five tiny bathing pools, collectively called Panchali Kund. It plunges another 30 ft to create the spectacular pool itself.Duchess Pool is another sought-after destination. Here you will be rewarded with some unique sights: a formation of trees bowing down to form a bridge, a flitting Kingfisher, the sudden glimpse of gushing waterfall,etc. Away from the water, there are great views to be enjoyed if you climb up the linga shaped peak of Chauragarh.
For a scenic two hour walk, take the bridle path around Astachal ( the old Monte Rosa )that rejoins the road near the huge cave of Reechgarh.Wind up the walk with a visit to the Dorothy Deep rock shelter bosting prehistoric cave paintings.
Within the civil area are the Buddhist period rock-hewn Pandav caves,the landscape government gardens and Bison Lodge, a museum.Pandava caves or Panch Mathi, is where Pachmarhi derives its name from. It is believed that the Pandavas of the Mahabharatab spend some time during the exile. The town consists of a small bazaar,an army station,a sprawling civil area that retains a distinct Colonial ambience with church spires rising about the treetops.The neighbouring woods and hills can be easily assist by four wheel driven vehicles, and sometimes even on foot, ideally assisted by a professional guide.
Catholic Church,built in 1892, has stained glass windows from Belgium that create marvellous hues, but is now open only to the Army. Christchurch,built in 1875,is considered Madhya Pradesh’s one of the most beautiful churches. It has stained glass panels that where imported from Europe.
For some interesting treks around the area, contact the trekking club set up by the youth of an adivasi tola ( hamlet ) with the assistance of an NGO. Many of these walks were very well known in the days of the Raj but now have been forgotten with the passage of time and do need a guide to navigate them. You must walk to discover unique offerings, and in taking a guide for a modest fee you will be supporting a local livelihood.