Imagine relaxing in a hill station that is rich in nature, wildlife, and historical treasures that speak of the great culture and legacy, away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, while enjoying a hot cup of Adrak chai. Nestled in the heart of India, Pachmarhi is a tranquil destination in Madhya Pradesh. Pachmarhi is widely known as Satpura ki Rani because of its location in the Satpura valley. This place has it all: lush landscapes adorned with cascading waterfalls, ancient caves and dense forests make it an alluring retreat for a weary traveller in search of some sanity. If you are planning a trip to this breathtaking destination, here is your ultimate guide, covering everything from what to see to where to go. (Also read: Escaping the heat: Top destinations in Madhya Pradesh for a memorable summer getaway )
History of Pachmarhi
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The Pandavas of the Mahabharata are known to have lived in the panch (five) madhis (caves), hence the name Pachmarhi. According to legend, the Pandavas spent much of their exile in the five caves. Pachmarhi had faded from public consciousness until the early colonial era when a British captain of the Bengal Lancers stumbled upon its unspoilt beauty. Captain James Forsyth and his soldiers faced off against the powerful Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi in 1857. But along the way, his troops encountered unexpected terrain. Lush green undergrowth replaced the barren tree trunks and dry yellow grass. Ferns and moss covered the damp banks of streams that flowed with clean, cool mountain water, providing a welcome respite for his thirsty and exhausted warriors.
Forsyth described this mountain beauty as “as far as the eye can see lie range upon range of forest-covered hills, tumbled in wild confusion.”
Places to visit in Pachmarhi
1. Bee Falls
Pachmarhi is home to a number of stunning waterfalls, with Bee Falls being one of the most popular. Known as Jamuna Prapat, it supplies water to the historic centre of Pachmarhi. You have to climb over 400 steps to reach this waterfall. However, it is well worth the effort as the 150-foot waterfall offers some of the most breathtaking scenery you will ever see. The nearby pool is full of small fish and many people dip their feet in for a free, all-natural pedicure. However, use additional care around young children and the elderly as the presence of algae makes the ground extremely slippery.
2. Satpura National Park
Put your hat on, grab your binoculars, and buckle up for an exciting trip in the Jipsee through Satpura’s lush, green forests, where you might be able to see tigers roaming free and the rare black giant squirrel. As a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, it is also home to numerous leopards, bison, wild boars, and more than 1300 different plant species. The Denwa River flows through the centre of the park, adding to the beauty of the landscape when you are on the safari. There is a Rs. 1250 entry fee for Indian citizens to enter the park, which is open from 8 AM to 6 PM.
No trip is complete without watching a stunning sunset with your loved ones. Dhoopagrah is the highest point in the Satpura range, rising to a height of 1352 m. One has to endure a rigorous trek to reach the top, though one can also take a jipsee. The exquisite sunrise and sunset views from the top make you forget that you are part of the earth. We are sure it will be one of the most breathtaking sunsets you have ever seen.
4. Pandava Caves
These caves, as their name suggests, are a collection of five Buddhist temples carved out of rock that were given to five Pandavas as sanctuary during their exile. These were constructed in the ninth century, and the cave contains numerous exquisite carvings and sculptures. The cave also boasts a lovely garden with some of the most exquisite flowers you will ever see. One should take some time to enjoy the tranquillity and solitude of this location.
5. Pachmarhi Lake
One of Pachmarhi’s calmest and most serene locations is this lake. The boat ride is one thing you really must not miss, and it is right in the midst of the town. Banana rides and speed boat rides are only two of the thrilling water sports that are offered here. The lake is a great place to spend time with friends and family since the scenery looks absolutely gorgeous at sunset.
How to reach:
The best way to reach Pachmarhi is by train, which is very well connected and maintained to all the Indian cities and nearby towns.
By air: The closest airports are in Bhopal or Jabalpur, both of which are located around 210 and 285 kilometres from the hill resort of Pachmarhi. Bhopal and Jabalpur have direct flights from several cities. Following your landing, you can use the frequently running local bus or taxi services.
By train: Pipariya Railway Station is the one that is closest to Pachmarhi. The fact that Pipariya is immediately connected to a number of significant Indian cities makes it convenient for many visitors to visit. You can catch a train up to Itarsi railway station if there isn’t one available for Piparia.
By bus: Bus services are available to get you to Pachmarhi by road. Most major cities have direct bus service to Pachmarhi, including Bhopal (210 km), Itarsi (122 km), and Chhindwara (137 km). When you get there, you can take a bus to Pachmarhi.
Regional delicacies of Pachmarhi
Pachmarhi offers several dining options, but don’t miss the local Malwa cuisine. Here you can enjoy regional specialities in one of their richest and most authentic forms. In addition, the area is home to a variety of well-known cuisines, so there are plenty of options. Dal bafla, biryani, kebabs, bhutte ki kees, korma, poha, rogan josh, jalebi, ladoos and drinks like lassi and cane juice are some of the regional specialities and must-try delicacies of Madhya Pradesh.