A refreshing escape to Pachmarhi

Sunset view of the Satpura mountain range from Dhoopgarh
Image courtesy: ©ImagesofIndia / Shutterstock.com

Pachmarhi is Madhya Pradesh’s only hill station, surrounded by waterfalls, canyons, natural pools, cave temples and the forested ranges of the Satpura Tiger Reserve, and offers a refreshing escape from steamy central India.

The most popular tourist activity is touring a selection of places of interest, beauty spots and natural pools by jeep (with a few short walks from parking places). It’s also possible to reach some places by foot, bicycle or normal car.

Here are a few places which you must visit if travelling to Pachmarhi as a tourist.

Dhoopgarh

An almost mandatory final stop on jeep tours, Dhoopgarh looks west over endless valleys, hills and forests and has a broad stepped terrace for everyone to do their sunset selfies on. Dhoopgarh mountain, just behind, is the highest point in Madhya Pradesh.

Duchess Falls

This 100m-plus fall is a difficult 4km hike from the road that leads to Reechgarh.

Jai Stambh

This concrete pillar, erected to commemorate Indian independence, stands in the middle of a seven-way junction in the southwestern part of the town.

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Reechgarh

 

Image courtesy: ©ImagesofIndia / Shutterstock.com

Accessible by road 3.3km west of the Jai Stambh, this is a strange natural amphitheatre, reached through a cavelike passage between rocks.

Pandav Caves

These five ancient rock dwellings are believed to have been carved by Buddhists as early as the 4th century. The foundations of a brick Buddhist stupa have been excavated on top of them.

Apsara Vihar

A pool underneath a small waterfall, above a canyon southeast of town, this is the best of Pachmarhi’s natural pools for swimming. It’s a drive of about 1.5km past Pandav Caves, followed by a walk of about 700m.

Rajat Prapat Viewpoint

A short distance downstream from the Apsara Vihar pools, the stream plunges off the cliff in central India’s highest single-drop fall (107m), Rajat Prapat (Silver Fall or Big Fall). Steps up from Apsara Vihar lead to a point with magnificent views of the fall and gorge.

Mahadeo Cave

Ten kilometres south of the Jai Stambh by paved road, a path leading 30m into the damp gloom reveals a lingam with attendant priest. This is the beginning of the pilgrim path to Chauragarh (about five hours’ return hike).

Chauragarh

Chauragarh, Madhya Pradesh’s third-highest peak at 1308m, is topped by a sizeable and very panoramic Shiva temple that attracts tens of thousands of pilgrims during the Shivaratri Mela. It’s a return hike of about five hours from Mahadeo Cave – 3.5km each way, with 1365 steps to climb and descend.