Visiting rain-washed Satpuras (Bhojpur, Bhimbetka)

Three families with 6 adults, 4 children aged 3, 4, 5, and 7 started off from Delhi and met at the Nizamuddin Railway station to catch the Bhopal Express leaving at 9 p.m. Amusingly, each family had at least one member representing some portion of the state of Madhya Pradesh, our destination – Bhopal from the Singh family, Sanchi from the Lamba family and Vidisha from the Dutta family. The train left at exactly on schedule. We had packed a dinner of aloo paranthas, aloo sabji, and achaar along with some sandwiches for the children. We completed our dinner as soon as we got settled in the train. After spending some time sharing our expectations and apprehensions about the ongoing trip, we decided to call it a day and wrapped off for the night in our respective AC 2-tier berths leaving the rest to the soft lullaby of the rocking train whistling past the countryside.

I could not get enough sleep with my restless 3-year sharing the same berth with me and welcomed the first rays of the morning sun on the rain-washed countryside and a pretty rainbow across the cloudily sparkling sky. We reached Bhopal at around 6.45 a.m. roughly on schedule. The sightseeing and the stay, inclusive of all meals, were booked through the MP tourism office at Delhi and we had a 7-seater Tavera at our disposal to go anywhere and everywhere.

Tiredness vanished from the passengers faces and got lit up with the glow of anticipation as we started the day. Luggage was packed off at the rooftop and securely tied and bound, protectively covered with a yellow plastic, an action that made us wonder if it might rain intermittently. We headed excitingly for our first destination, Bhojpur, about 30 kms from Bhopal. It was a 45-minute ride and before long we could see the shadowy outline of the ancient Shiva Temple atop an elevated rocky mound. The rocky temple jutting out of Mother Earth was unlike any other temple that I could imagine seeing. The huge Shivling was awe-inspiring. From the top of the mound, you could feast your eyes on the lush green countryside interspersed with the bellowing smoke from a rare factory and faint outlines of some man-made structures. Cameras were busy clicking and washing off the stains of tiredness from the smiling faces.

Ancient Shiva Temple of Bhojpur

Ancient Shiva Temple of Bhojpur


The stupendous and overwhelming Shivlinga of Bhojpur Temple

The stupendous and overwhelming Shivlinga of Bhojpur Temple

Next, it was time for freshening up in a motel (Hotel Highway Treat – Bhimbetka), also handpicked by MP tourism. The motel is conveniently located en-route to Bhimbetka adjacent to a train line. They opened a couple of rooms for us to freshen up. After a satisfying breakfast of paranthas, puris, aloo sabji, dahi, bread toast and omelette, steaming cups of coffees and teas, we were ready to set out. Breakfasting was a pleasure with the trains passing by just outside the restaurant windows shaking and vibrating us with all their incredibly fast motion.

Motel Highway Treat on the way to Bhimbhetka

Motel Highway Treat on the way to Bhimbhetka

Bhimbetka was 10 kms from the motel and took us around 15 mins to reach. The cave paintings of Bhimbetka revealed hoards of information about seven different periods starting from Paleolithic age to Mesolithic, Chaleolithic, early historic, and medieval age. An informative guide enlightened us with bits and pieces of information pertaining to early civilizations. The paintings depicted wild life, hunting sequences, tribal dances, birds, musical instruments, mother and child, pregnant women, musical instruments, men carrying dead animals, drinking, and burial scenes. Medieval paintings also show the colours used the cave dwellers prepared by mixing manganese, haematite, red stone, cola, animal fat, and leaf extracts. Cameras were busy once more in an attempt to freeze time and memories.

Caption – Ancient cave paintings of Bhimbhetka

Caption – Ancient cave paintings of Bhimbhetka

Natural ancient caves formed during the historic past when the whole area was submerged

Natural ancient caves formed during the historic past when the whole area was submerged

Pachmarhi was the next and the main destination waiting for us around 175 kms away from Bhimbetka. Starting off at around 12, we could reach the Champak Bungalow only at about 4.15 p.m.

The picturesque drive from Bhimbhetka to Pachmarhi

The picturesque drive from Bhimbhetka to Pachmarhi

MP roads did not have anything to boast with the nagging monsoon worsening the conditions. It was past lunch time and the hungry children had started throwing tantrums. We got hold of our room keys and vanished for a quick session of getting fresh before attacking the late lunch. The spaciousness of the rooms and the rain-drenched fresh beauty all around were too obvious to miss. It was only after lunch that people started expressing their admiration for Champak Bunglow and we were all happy at our choice of selection.

Champak Bungalow

Champak Bungalow

With no set plans for the evening we decided to explore the resort, its miniscule library, the flowery gardens, and its shimmering lake view dotted with colourful rowing and pedal boats. Evening rolled in and out silently while elders had tea and children ran about wildly having all the fun they could get. Elders chatted away contentedly comfortably nestled in the wicker basket-like plush chairs sipping evening tea – a perfect idea of vacation. An early light dinner and we were off for the day just as the rain drops started hitting the nature’s bed with full gusto. With the rain drops dancing merrily outside the cottages, we slept off peacefully gathering energy for the busy next day.

9 Comments

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Let me take the opportunity to comment first on your first post on Ghumakker.

    First of all on the behalf of Ghumakkar family I welcome you on aboard.

    Panchmari is very much in my wish list, lets see when the dream comes true, because the wish list is too long. :-)

    Waiting for your next post.

  • Manish Kumar says:

    I have been to Pachmadhi & have written about it on Ghumakkar. I have heard lot of things have changed in last few years. Hope to see the sam in ur forthcoming posts.

  • Sahil Sethi says:

    Bidisha ,

    Very nicely written supported with very good pics.
    You are right , MP roads are very bad. But Thankfully , the places are worth visiting.

    Sahil

  • Sundar Shastry says:

    Very good blog. Never been to MP before. Your post made me add it to my “To Do” list. What would be the best time of the year to visit these places?

    • Bidisha says:

      Hi Sundar
      According to me, the best time to visit would be after the rains. Anytime between October and March would be pleasant, I suppose.

  • Bidisha

    First of all welcome to Ghumakkar………..

    Very beautiful post with equally supported pics, especially that shivalinga…………….

    Keep Travelling …..Keep posting……………………

  • venkatt says:

    Bidisha, excellent post. Beautiful pictures and narration.

  • vinaymusafir says:

    Welcome to Ghumakkar!
    Well narrated post with less but good pics.
    Cheers!

  • Nandan says:

    Welcome aboard Bidisha.

    I think a lot of Ghumakkars didn’t get the humor in the opening lines :-) since they may not be aware about them.

    I have been to Bhimbetka highway retreat and it is a great concept. The caves are simply out of word and it was heartening to not find too many souls there, one could just spend hours gazing at those paintings. I was told by the staff there that they have opened only a very small section and there are so many more of those caves there, nicely snugged behind those trees.

    Very well written Bidisha.

    Also, please respond to comments when you find time. Its a good way to build a conversation and to share the humor. :-)

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