Places covered: Handi Kho, Gupt Mahadev , Bada Mahadev , Jata Shankar Mandir, Priydarshni , Rajendragiri Point and Champak Jheel in Pachmarhi. Balancing Rocks, Dhuandhar Jal Prapat, Chousath Yogini Temple, Bheda Ghat, Bargi Dam and Dumna Nature Reserve in Jabalpur
Time of Travel: April 2014
We began our last day in Pachmarhi with a sign board, which made us smile. In fact, it’s natural that you tend to smile more often when you are in pachmarhi, even if you overlook such sign boards.
After having good breakfast at our rest house and instructing on what we will have for lunch, we reached Handi Kho. It is a 300 ft deep narrow ravine. It gets scary if you try lean forward and look deep inside. Fencing is broken at some places so small kids should not be left alone here. Apart from feeling the depth of the gorge, there is nothing much to do here, so we started for Gupt Mahadev after spending tem minutes here.
There are two very famous Shiva temples in Pachmarhi, Gupt Mahadev and Bada Mahadev. Photography inside the temple was not allowed at both the places. Gupt Mahadev is a long cave, in which idols of Shivling have been enshrined. The cave that leads to Gupt Mahadev is very narrow and only a well-in-shape (read relatively thin) person can cross it by turning side in about a minute. The main site inside the cave, where the idols are place cannot accommodate more than three people at a time, so devotees go turn by turn. It is believed that escaping from Bhasmasur, Lord Shiva lived at this place. If it is not crowded, it will not take more than half an hour to do the darshan here. Bada Mahadev temple is near to Gupt Mahadev. This is much bigger cave compared to Gupt Mahadev, with dripping water from the walls. The cave is quite cool and dark from inside but with the loud chants of Har-Har Mahadev, it will take you to a different world. Drizzling from the Walls was most fascinating thing for us here. People take home the water collected from walls as ‘charnamrat’. There are few other caves also adjacent to the main cave, like parvati cave, hanuman cave etc.
There were abundant monkeys, so one need to be very careful while taking out something to eat. One monkey took away a bagful of fruits from our open gypsy. Outside the main temple, we found a strange pair of old trees, which were looking two from the bottom, but completely impossible to identify the branches of each when look above.
Priydarshni point was next spot we covered; one has to walk some 500 meter to reach this point. This point gives a good view of the Pachmarhi. Nothing very special and unique about this place, you may pay a visit only if time permits, but tracking in Satpura jungle is always been a good experience as I mentioned earlier.
Now, next we were to cover Jata Shankar Temple, which initially sounded to us like any another Shiv temple by its name, but we found it to be very interesting when entered the premises. It’s located deep inside the cave and requires hundreds of stairs to be climbed down to reach the bhawan, which is nothing but a cave in its original natural form. While going down to the main cave, we noticed a piece of rock hanging comfortably for years between two ridges and a pool of water underneath, collected from the cave walls. Trishul rising from the water gives this whole scenery an amazing glow. It had all, a divine feeling with picturesque landscape. The rocky formations inside caves resembles to Jata (long hair) of Shankar Bhagwan, so the name adopted as Jata Shankar Mandir. The most fascinating thing about the cave temples in Pachmarhi is the sacred water, which comes directly from the walls of cave. We really liked the aura and beauty of this sacred place, and spent some hours here. We also found our MP trip trademark Nimboo-Paani stalls on the way here as well, so took few shots to get refreshed. Then we headed to our rest house for lunch.
In the evening we reached to Rajendragiri Point. It’s a beautiful garden apart from being a sunset point. It offers a good view of mountains and forests of Satpura range. A nice picnic spot for the families and hours can be spent here gazing the natural beauty. Garden was though small but very well maintained with large verities of flowers and plants.
Out last destination in Pachmarhi was Champak Jheel. It’s a beautiful manmade lake in the army area, which is open for boating. We took a pedal boat, and took several rounds of this lake till sunset. Awesome experience in itself. Other kid’s actives like horse riding, small swings etc, are also available, so families with kids prefer to spend time here. It was already getting little dark by that time, so we moved to our rest house.
Next day morning we took a taxi to reach Piparia railway Station, from where we needed to board the train to Jabalpur. Our train got late and we reached Jabalpur in the evening instead of afternoon. After some rest we decided to make the best of the day (whichever is remaining). So we hired a taxi, and began our Jabalpur yaatra. First we visited the balancing rocks. Miraculous balance between two rocks, one over the other. This structure has sustained a powerful earthquake of 6.2 on the Richter scale and has not fallen apart. Nothing much to see around, so we clicked few pictures and moved to our next target ‘Dhuandhar Jal Prapat’
Dhuandhar Jal Prapat is the most iconic place in Jabalpur. Completely true to its name, this waterfall creates huge amount of smoke or water mists due to its immense fall and makes the flowing water milk like white. This fall is a mini version of the Niagra and an absolute delight to the eyes. While standing near to the fall you can feel water droplets on your face and hear the loud roar of the falling water. This makes the visit to this place a mesmerizing experience. You can purchase souvenirs made of white marble from here, which are made by local artists and sold via small shops on the way to fall.
After getting our soul drenched in Dhuandhar Jal Prapat, we moved towards Bheda Ghaat. There is a very famous temple of chousath yogini in between, so stopped over to pay a quick visit. It wasn’t actually quick, as the temple is situated at a good height and involved climbing up of around 100 straight stairs. It’s a very old temple, where you can find numerous (should be sixty four, I suppose) stone carved out statues of devi ma with different names. Most of them have been badly destroyed by ancient rules, but still this temple has old age charm and worth a visit. It also offers a good view of the Narmada River due to its location.
Now we reached to Bheda Ghat, which appears to be any other Ghat (except it was cleaner), till we started boating in Narmada. But then, we realized it was so differently beautiful to see the crystal clear river flowing between the while marble rocks. We took a small ride of 30 minutes in a shared boat with 10-12 people in total, including rider and guide. It was slow moving boat with super fast talkative guide, who explain everything in very funny and interesting manner. I had read about this experience from one of our Ghumakkar’s post, but feeling it right there was just stunning.
After boating, we just sat on the ghat, putting our feet inside the river to watch the ravishing sunset. The river water was so clear on the ghat itself that we could see everything inside it. It was very surprising for people like us who saw Ganga and Yamuna since childhood with multi colored steams and never clean. Sitting at the Ghat was one of the best times we spent in Jabalpur.
Next day was our last day in MP and we decided to explore Bargi Dam. Apart from Bheda Ghat and Dhuandhar, it the next name many of our friends suggested us, as not to be missed in Jabalpur. So we hired a taxi to reach this place, which is like 40 km away from the main city. It’s a huge dam built on Narmada River and its reservoir can easily give you a feel like standing in front of an ocean. The place is well maintained and it has only one MPTDC resort bang on the site, which offers terrific view of the dam and river water. We regretted not having stayed here. Bargi Dam has variety of water activities available, we chosen to ride the cruise, which turned out to be a very good idea to enjoy the area in that bright sunny afternoon. The vessel used for the cruise was new with good music arrangement in it. I would suggest taking the upper deck ticket (which is cheaper) instead of lower one, as it gives you a better view with open space. It was approx. one hour ride, which was full of fun and masti, people started dancing on the floor, and kids were enjoying the cruise experience. The view around was extraordinary, and we felt like lost in the sea. Total paisa vasool, one should not miss this in Jabalpur for sure.
Now the last spot before heading to railway station was Dumna Nature Reserve. It is near to Jabalpur airport and has one MPTDC resort inside the reserve. We straight way went to the resort first to have lunch and then entered the reserve, which can only be covered by feet, no vehicle allowed. Its total area must be in few kilometers, has good flora & fauna and a lake too, meant for a habitant animals (although we could not spot any). It is a perfect day picnic destination for people staying nearby. The reserve also has a toy train inside, but it was not operational at that time. We all walkthrough the whole reserve in one hours and spent remaining time sitting near the lake, which reportedly was the home of many crocodiles. While sitting, you can spot various birds and can appreciate the serenity of nature, which was an ultimate experience.
Here we concluded our marvelous tour in MP. The time we spent in the heart of India, will be cherished forever in our hearts. Bye-Bye Hindustan ke Dil………we will come again……