Day 2 of the Trek – – -> Jata Shankar —>Begum Palace—-> Handi Khoh —> Priyadarshini Point —> Gupt Mahadev —-> Bada Mahadev —-> Pachmarhi
The next day we woke up early in the morning,finished the daily routine chores and then checked out of the hotel. The points in this trek mostly included temple caves and shrines. I was greatly exhilarated because i will be surrounded by mysticism and divinity of Mahadev Shiva for the whole day. Mahadev is a great source of inspiration ,he is a yogi and a warrior bestowed with great powers.
Jatashankar is a cave temple.One has to go deep into the ravine about 200-400 meters with the help of narrow stairways laid down supported by enormous rocks on both sides.These are sedimentary rocks mainly sandstone thus having loose gravel.In simpler words if one throws a sandstone it breaks.
It is said that Lord Shiva ,after seeing the intense penance of Demon Bhasmasura ,granted him a boon of burning down anybody whose head he touches.
Going downwards a cave appears where Lord Shiva has foregone his long (hair),called “jata” in hindi to get a disguise so that Demon Bhasmasura who, in his false vanity thought of putting down Lord Shiva to ashes by touching his head, would not find him hiding here.
The entrance of the cave with Sheshnag snake-like rock structure The entrance of the cave and overhead appears like a snake etched above ,many say it is depiction of “Sheshnaga”, a large snake which is also considered as a deity by the Hindus.
There is a natural Shiv Linga inside the cave .The Linga is natural stalagmite stone which normally appears in limestone caves …In simpler words it happens at places submerged in water at some point of time and emerges out as soon as the water starts to recede. The whole cave gets submerged during heaving monsoon periods in the month of July and August every year.
Next we moved towards Begum Palace which is on the road connecting Piparia before entering Pachmarhi. Not much was known of this palace but i assume that Hoshangabad was once under the rule of Sultans of Malwa and Begum Palace must date back to their ages. It was an old palace almost rusted in time,broken and wailing in its ruins.
Next our taxi walla took us to Handi Khoh . A 300 feet gorge ,which looks most impressive when one hears the sound of the gloriou water flowing downwards ,although i was unable to see any stream of water below. The point gives some breathtaking scenery standing as a testimony to the ethereal beauty of Pachmarhi. We stayed here for almost 20 minutes bending down the fence,trying to measure its depth with insatiable curiosity.
Next was Priyadarshini Point some kilometers away from Handi Khoh.
James Forsyth had his first glance of Pachmarhi from this point thus making the point named Forsyth Point until it was renamed as Priyadarshini point after the name of Late Mrs. Indira Gandhi after her visit in the year 1964.
Priyadarshini Point It was already 2.00 pm and we had to rush towards our next point safely placed within the Mahadeo Hills – – the other two Mahadev shrines (Gupt Mahadev and Bada Mahadev) . I was thinking about the relevance of Lord Shiva in almost so many places of the country majorly in the mountainous terrain ,where one can encounter various ancient shrines and caves dedicated to Shiva …Mahadev.
The road leading towards the Mahadev shrine and caves had more spiral curves and altitude towering its scales .
It is almost 10-12 km from main Pachmarhi Town ,gets barely inaccessible without a vehicle.
We reach Gupt Mahadev temple another hiding place for Lord Shiva from the demon Bhasmasura .
It is a narrow cave ,sitting inside is a priest who performs the religious puja for the devotees. I saw one devotee coming out of the cave panting and gasping for air. We didn’t venture inside the cave as there were many people lined up in a queue.
Let me elaborate about the natural beauty of the area surrounding these caves which was so enigmatic to the extent that i can write a whole book on it…….. ha ha again a metaphor –..
A little stream of water, a rivulet was flowing ,seemingly estranged trying to find a way to meet with its alma mater —- Denwa River
A tribal lady selling eatables near Mahadev Tribal’s were sighted selling ber … or bore as we call in hindi ,salted cucumber and other eatables at … oh my god!!!!!!! in dirt cheap rates …
This is a picture of a very hospitable tribal woman . I clicked her picture and started to move . She beckoned me from back saying “photo le liya to kuch kharid ke bhi jao”. I tried to move forward unashamedly but later thought unwise to pass off like this — moved towards here and bought handful of ber salted with masala for only Rs.5/- . It was such a generous pack that we were unable to eat the whole packet owing to its abundance.
The Bada Mahadev shrine is at a walking distance from the Gupt Mahadev. We along with all other revelers started to walk towards the Bada Mahadev Shrine which is housed inside a big cave. The cave is so dark and water drips inside the cave making it very dark and moist. It is believed that Lord Vishnu killed Demon Bhasmashura by tricking him looking like a beautiful women by attaining his Mohini Avatar here .
Near Bada Mahadev, after visiting the shrine we sat relaxing ,discussing about the grandeur and majesty of this massive rock-cut caves,at local dhaba sipping a cup of coffee.
After visiting the shrine we sat relaxing ,discussing about the grandeur and majesty of this massive rock-cut caves ,at local dhaba sipping a cup of coffee.Look at this guy getting samosa for us.I exchanged words with the locals trying to get their version of the story about the cave. It was almost 4.30 pm and we decided to move towards the parking to get into our taxi .
I was thinking about Dhoopgarh which was missing from my schedule owing to the fact that we had to catch the train back to Delhi the same evening. I kept Dhoopgarh as a reason for my subsequent visit to Pachmarhi which will surely happen one day. Dhoopgarh is the highest point in the Satpura Hills scaling an altitude of 4000 feet above the sea level. It gives a panoramic view of all of the Mahadeo Hills. It is a very good sunset and sunrise point .
Though i have not visited the point but for the readers i would like to share a picture of Dhoopgarh. Dhoopgarh ,gigantic in stature stands tall acting as a vantage point for viewing all the peaks,cliffs and hills surrounding Pachmarhi till some parts of Chinddwara.
Returning back to Pachmarhi we were unable to stop at multiple spots to click pictures ,reason being irresistible sightings ……… with abundance of natural spectacles.
Green Valley Another point was known as Green Valley where one can view a lush green valley with a large expanse of thick vegetation of Sal and Bamboo forest.
While returning traversing from the same path ….. I was thinking of inventing a time machine. Pachmarhi is in itself a great subterfuge skillfully nested within the Satpura Ranges.
It was evening and the sun was seen swallowed by the horizon, inviting dusk aboard to spell darkness putting the whole valley to sleep.
Returning back to the concrete jungle was seemingly tough for me …. I was going through a “chemical locha” fondly remembering Billy Ocean’s song “When the going get’s tough,The tough get’s the going”.
Reaching Piparia by 7.30 pm …………….. reaching Delhi the next day in the morning.
Hope this narrative acts as a utility to all the revelers ,backpackers, wanderers and nature lovers. This narrative is dedicated to all the knight errant like us.
Looking forward for your feedback ….. till then happy reading .
See you soon with more posts.