Hills and hill stations always attract me, a visit to any hill station takes me near to nature. A visit to any hill station adds to my experience and makes me feel that how fascinating can be a visit to hill station. I venture to go to uncommon hill stations. In the month of November, I got an opportunity to go to a beautiful hill station called ‘Pachmarhi‘ in Madhya Pradesh State of India.
Pachmarhi is situated in the State of Madhya Pradesh and is in Satpur Range of hills. It is 210 Kilometers from the State Capital Bhopal. It is situated on the south side of Madya Pradesh State. Nearest Rail head is Pipariya, which is on the Mumbai Howrah mainline and just 47 kilometers away. Pachmarhi is also connected by road by regular bus service, originating from Bohal, Hoshangabad, Nagpur and Pipariya. It can be visited through out the season. It is at the altitude of 1100 meters above sea level. Its temperature ranges between 14.9 degree Celsius to 25 degree Celsius. It is Madhya Pradesh’s most fascinating jewel, a place where nature has found exquisite expression in myriad enchanting ways. Abundant Greenery embrace the hills and the gentle murmur of flowing water and water falls can be heard everywhere.
We reached Bohpal from Delhi and stayed there for a day. On the second day, we took a taxi from Bohpal and started our journey towards Pachmarhi. On our way we also visited Bhojpur. Bhojpur is famous for remains of its magnificent Shiva Temple and cyclopean dam. The temple is called Bhojeshwar Temple. It has one of the largest Shiv-lingam in India. The Lingam in the sanctum is 7.5 fee high and its circumference is 17.8 feet. It has been set upon a massive platform of 21.5 feet. We had a quick lunch over there.
Once we were finished with our lunch, we proceeded to Pachmarhi. We reached Pachmarhi around nine O’ clock at night. On the way we could not enjoy the scenic beauty, as much as we would have liked to because the sun had set and it was not possible to see anything in the dark. The road to Pachmarhi was not very steep and not very sharp bends were there. We covered many mountains before reaching Pachmarhi. We had made the arrangements for our staying at Pachmahi, earlier. We had booked a suitable accommodation over there. We straight away landed at our Guest House, which was ideally located between the hills. It was quite calm and cool when we entered our rooms. Rooms were well maintained with attached bathroom and toilets. We had double bed, two chairs and a table in our room. The room had sufficient space for two people. We were tired, we ordered for a cup of tea. We had our tea and them we went for some stroll. Thereafter, we had our dinner in the restaurant attached with the guest house and retired to bed.
The next day, we had our breakfast in the morning and then decided to visit the places at Pachmarhi. We hired a jeep and we straight away headed towards a point called ‘Forsyth Point’. It is also called Priyadarshini Point. Our guide over there told us that India’s Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi visited that point sometime in the past and in her memory this point has been re-named as Priyadarshini Point, as Priyadarshini was the nick name of Mrs. Indira Gandhi.
Forsyth Point is actually a viewing point. The vantage viewing point marks the place from where the place called Pachmarhi was first discovered by Captain Forsyth in 1857. Probably, the Britishers developed Pachmarhi as a beautiful resort and settled there. We observed that huge trees and eye-catching beautiful plants were in abundance and their presence was creating an awesome scene. From there we headed towards a place called ‘Handi Khoh’ – meaning thereby a deep gorge with shape of a big round shaped utensil. It is Pachmarhi’s most impressive ravine and it has 300 feet high precipice and it is very deep inside. We were told that local people do not venture to go inside the gorge, however some tribal leaving in those hills dare to go inside the gorges for collecting wood, honey and other medicinal value plants. We took some photographs with our camera to capture the scenic beauty. We wanted to capture the depth of gorge in our camera, which we could not because a normal camera does not pick up three dimensional effects.
Our next halt was a place called ‘Mahadeo’. We were told by your guide that Mahadeo hills has a shrine with an idol of Lord Shiva and an impressive Shiv Lingam. As we entered in a narrow and dark cave like structure, we could see the Shiv Lingam in the holy shrine in a dim light. We were gathered from there that Lingam had formed naturally at that place, therefore, it is believed to be very sacred place. As we came out of the cave, we saw lots and lots of monkeys around us, we had to somehow rush up from that place to save ourselves from agile and pouncing monkeys. We also visited some other caves viz. Chhota Mahadeo and Jata Shakar. Jata Shankar cave is a mass of loose boulders in which the Jambu Dwip stream has its source. It is a rocky formation. By the time, it was afternoon, we came back to our guest house for a quick lunch and for taking some rest.
We resumed our trip around 3.00 p.m., this time in Jeep, and reached a place called ‘Bee Fall. It was a steep downhill journey to reach the mid-point of the fall. The road was bumpy and there were many sharp curves and bends on the way. We saw that a magnificent view of a water fall coming down from the top of a hill and it was descending very deep at the base. We managed to reach the stream which was in between the fall’s high point and base. The constant sound of falling water was creating a kind of mesmerizing effect and the sound was creating a kind of natural music to our ears. We took photographs of flowing water amidst hard rocks and enjoyed ourselves in the water. From the point, we just glanced to the base of the fall, which was down below. We noticed that some courageous tourists had ventured to go to base and they were taking bath in the pool which was there at the base of the fall. After spending an hour or so we returned from ‘Bee Fall’.
Our next stop was a place called ‘Dhoopgarh’. It is the highest point in the Satpura range of hills. It throws a splendid view of the surrounding ranges. It is very popular spot for viewing sunset. At Dhoopgarh, we were shown a hill top on which is always covered with sunlight from dawn to dusk. We rushed to that spot from where we had to watch sun set. It was around 5.35 p.m., we were told that sun would set around 6.00 p.m.. There were sitting arrangements on the spot to witness the sunset. We found that many of the tourists were already there to watch the sunset. We settled ourselves on the seats and started observing the movements of the sun. The sun started slowly turning orange and light around it started receding, then it turned crimson red and became like a round ball and simultaneously started descending down as it was going behind the hill or seemingly in the lap of the hill and in a few moments it completely disappeared. It also started becoming dark. It was really a worth remembering experiences to witness sunset. We used our video camera and digital camera to capture the various moods of sun for our memory.
By the time, we came out to proceed to our guest house it was dark. In the darkness, we noticed that it was complete calm and silence, even the whispering of wind and leaves could be felt. There was no noise of traffic or anything else and no air pollution. The calmness was overwhelming. We returned to our guest house and talked about the day’s activities and we concluded that we had one of the most enjoyable trip of our life. We stayed there overnight and started for Bhopal early in the morning.