Infinite stretches of Lush green mountains. Valley dotted with colonial style bungalows, beautiful churches, waterfalls and much more. Sounds like a picture straight from story book. Isn’t it?
Pachmarhi, popularly known as “Queen of Satpura” is one of the best tourist destinations in Madhya Pradesh, the central state of India. Lesser known as compared to other popular Hill stations in India, Pachmarhi is still untouched by the hustle bustle of regular tourist activities. A perfect weekend gateway from Bhopal, this quaint little hill station has many places to explore, ranging from caves, hills ,waterfalls, temples etc. Recognized as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Pachmarhi is one of the jewels amongst many in Madhyapradesh.
Given its proximity to Bhopal, my hometown, Pachmarhi used to be our favourite weekend getaway. Thinking of it, brings back the nostalgic memories of picnics and short weekend trips with family.
In this blog, I am sharing all that you need to know about this popular weekend getaway in Madhya Pradesh including the best places to visit in Pachmarhi.
Location: Situated at an Altitude of 1100 m , Pachmarhi is nestled amidst the mountains of magnificent Satpura range.
190 Kms from Bhopal and 339 km from Indore, the two major cities in Madhya Pradesh.
How to reach Pachmarhi from Bhopal: Hiring a cab or driving yourself is the best option and takes around 5 hours. No direct trains are available, Nearest station is Pipariya at 50 km away from Pachmarhi. Direst buses are also available from Bhopal.
Best time to visit : Aug to Feb, that’s when temperature is pleasant and there is greenery all around.
Best places to visit in Pachmarhi
Situated on a hillock overlooking a beautiful garden and spectacular Satpura range as a backdrop, Pandava caves are a must visit. According to popular belief the Pandavas ( from the epic Mahabharata) stayed at these caves during their exile. Built in the 9th century, Pandava cave is a group of 5 rock-cut Buddhist temple.The history of these caves dates back to 1st Century AD.
At 1352 meters, Dhoopgarh is the highest point of Satpura range, and one of the most popular tourist spot in Pachmarhi. Witnessing the sunset from Dhoopgarh is an absolutely mesmerizing experience. From here one can also enjoy the splendid view of entire valley. You can reach up to the hilltop by a trekking route which is not very challenging
The 106 m high, Rajat Prapat or Big Fall is Pachmarhi’s tallest waterfall. Silver streaks of water cascading straight into the gorge is a sight to behold.
Although Pachmarhi has many water falls, Bee fall is the most popular among them. Also known as Jamuna prapat, this 35 m cascade is the favourite picnic spot among tourist and locals. Silver streaks of water gushing through rocks and foliage offers a splendid sight.
Like every hill station, Pachmarhi also has many viewpoints. Handi Khoh is a 300 feet precipice in the middle of dense forest. According to locals, Handi Khoh was a lake earlier, guarded by a huge snake .The lake dried up as a result of furious battle between Lord Shiva and the Snake. Today this place is popular for trekking, photography, horse riding etc.
Jata Shankar Caves
As believed, these are the caves where Lord Shiva concealed himself from the wrath of Bhasmasur. Jata Shankar caves boast of a natural Shivalingam under the gigantic rock. Stone formation in the cave closely resemble the mythological hundred headed snake Seshnag. This beautiful limestone cave comprises of stalactites and stalagmites that look like matted hair of Lord Shiva, hence named as Jata Sankar caves.
Ancient Catholic Church
Build in 19thCentury, this 150 year old Catholic Church in Pachmarhi depicts the old world charm with its beautiful architecture, tainted windows and neo gothic alters. This quint church also has a cemetery attached to it with graves dating from 1859, World War I and II.
40 m long cave that enshrines the idols of Lord Ganesh and Lord Shiva. The path that leads to Gupt Mahadev cave goes from inside the Bade Mahadev. The path is challenging for Claustrophobic people as one has to enter sideways to the cave and that too one person at a time. A flashlight is required if one wants to explore this cave temple. An idol of Lord Hanuman is enshrined at the entrance of the cave
Second highest peak in Pachmarhi, Chauragarh peak has a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva situated at an altitude of 1330 m.
Out of the many places in Pachmarhi, Chauragarh is one of the most sacred spots belonging to Lord Shiva. Keep an extra day in your itinerary if you are planning to trek to Chauragargh.To reach the temple, there are two ways: the conventional and paved one has about 1250 steps, while the adventurous route takes you through the forests and shrouds of many trees.
Located amidst forest, Duchess Fall is a small yet pretty waterfall. The water from the fall accumulates in a shallow pond by which you can sit and spend some time enjoying the beauty of the place.
Most of the phone networks don’t work here.
Be careful of Monkeys. Specially in the cave temples.
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