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Pachmarhi: Queen of the Satpuras

Monday - April 15, 2019 10:21 am , Category : TRAVEL

Every direction offers a breathtaking view of the scenic hills, ancient caves and waterfalls. Pachmarhi has got its name from five caves


WTN- Pachmarhi is a much sought-after hill station of Central India.  The Satpura range that cradles Pachmarhi is a refreshing change from the regular hilly destinations of India. Here, encircled by a spread of Teak, thick Sal and bamboo forests, walking is a delight.

Every direction offers a breathtaking view of the scenic hills, ancient caves and waterfalls. Pachmarhi has got its name from five caves known as Pandava caves where the Pandava brothers are believed to have stayed during their exile. They have been carved out of a low hillock and are now considered ‘protected’ monuments.

These five caves also became the shelter to Buddhist monks in the 1st century.  The town is dotted with several old churches and old forest buildings that are reminiscent of the Colonial saga in architecture. It was here that the forest department of MP was born, when the soldier turned forester Captain James Forsyth of Bengal Lancers constructed the Bison lodge in 1862, now a beautiful museum showcasing the flora and fauna of Pachmarhi.

Forsyth discovered the saucer shaped valley in 1857 during one of his excursions on horse-back from Jabalpur. The British fell in love with the hill station and developed it as their summer capital. The Christ Church built in 1875 by them has a fascinating sanctum-sanctorum and imposing Belgium stained glass panes adorning the walls. The nave of the church does not contain even a single pillar for support. Behind the Church is a cemetery having graves dated to 1859, World War I and II.

The famous point where Captain James Forsyth first stood awe-struck looking down the verdant valley is popular today as Priyadarshini Point. Watching sunrise and the sunset from here is a treat to the eyes. One can see from the point, the three major peaks of the Satpura Range, Chauragarh, Mahadeo and Dhoopgarh- the highest peak of the state. The Mahadeo cave shrine atop the Mahadeo hill, located 10 kilometres from Pachmarhi has an impressive Shivlingam.

One reaches the shrine after a winding climb through the Sal forest. To the east of the hill is an excellent cave shelter with beautiful rock cave paintings estimated to be 10,000 years old. Shivratri is celebrated here with huge enthusiasm. The Jata Shankar is another sacred cave with a rocky formation resembling the locks of Lord Shiva. 

The Jambu Dweep stream flows down a mass of loose boulders over the cave. The Chhota Mahadeo in valley has a mass of rocks overhanging a stream and a spring. Towards the north of Jambu Dweep valley are six shelters covered with pre-historic paintings. Part of this cave cluster is Harper’s Cave, named so as it has a painting of a man seated and playing a harp. Another cave is nicknamed the Chieftain’s cave, for the battle scene that covers its walls. The Kite cave has fine cave paintings, majority in white or outlined in red. Also dedicated to Lord Shiva is Chauragarh, 4 kilometres from Mahadeo.  A prominent landmark of the area, the summit is crowned with emblems of Mahadeo worship. Close to the Pandav Caves is a scenic waterfall cascading into a pool known as the Apsara Vihar. The standing waters of the pool are ideal for taking a dip.

The Rajat Prapat can be reached by a trek uphill from Apsara Vihar. The Bee Fall is a spectacular fall in a stream that is the water source for people of Pachmarhi and a popular bathing point. If the Handi Khoh ravine with a 300-feet high precipice was not dramatic enough, a trek to the mouth of the cave where a stream goes underground and then emerges over a Khud to fall in a splattered manner forming the Irene pool will surely fulfill the thirst for adventure.

The Jalawataran or Duchess Falls is a trekker’s delight. Walking downhill to cross the Duchess Falls and further down in the south-westerly direction one reaches the Sunder Kund, a huge rocky pool that beckons for a restful swim. The Tridhara is a popular picnic spot where two streams meet in a junction. -Window To News