By Manika Jain:
Pachmarhi is a very famous hill station in central India. It is popularly referred to as ‘The Queen of Satpura’ and is the only hill resort in Madhya Pradesh. The nearest railway station is Pipariaya, which has little connectivity; hence, it is advisable to take a bus from Bhopal or Indore.
Journey by road is pretty comfortable and you really don’t feel the ditches which are symbolic to the roads in Madhya Pradesh. The town is developed enough to provide with good food and accommodation in every price range and small enough to be away from commercialisation. One has to be aware of monkeys, who are trained to scare tourists in order to steal their belongings. The monkeys will carry away whatever they lay their hands on; they stole toothpaste from our car once.
The name of the place has been borrowed from Panch Marha (five caves) in the region, which is believed to be the abode of the Pandava brothers during their period of exile. The caves are beautiful and well preserved; however, if you are claustrophobic, it is advisable to skip getting inside as they are suffocating. The Apsara Vihar, a natural bathing pool formed by a tiny waterfall offers a refreshing dip in mountain water.
For the adventure seekers, there is a 4 kilometer trek to reach Duchess Fall which is not too easy. You trek through green forest area to see the beautiful water fall from multiple creeks; if you are tired after this, you should straight away head towards Bee Falls, which would again require you to climb 400 meter deep in the valley, and the harder part is to climb back but you can also go by a Jeep with a forest guide.
My personal favourite is the picturesque sunset point- Priyadarshini Point. Here, the sun sets among 3 peaks- – Chauradeo, Mahadeo and Dhupgarh, playing with various hues amidst clouds. It takes you into a fairy-tale cottage in the middle of the clouds, where you can see the sun set in the most soothing way. Earlier, it was known as Forsyth Point, named after Captain James Forsyth who discovered Panchmarhi.
There are a number of other spectacular places including a couple of churches and a few points that one must visit.