Last month, work took me to perhaps the prettiest place I have visited in a long time – Pachmarhi. Our clients, Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Developement Board had commissioned a string of books and Pachmarhi is a part of it (Check with your nearest book-shop for our travel guides on Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Indore, Mandu and Orccha).
This is your typical Pachmarhi landscape with tall, rocky mountains, plunging ravines and in this case, two feet from where I am standing, a thousand-feet drop. What you see in the pic is the insignificance and helplessness of man vis-s-vis nature. What you don’t see, however, is the effort it required on my part to keep a straight face.
Another of Pachmarhi’s marvels. The rock, as big as three buses put together, rests as it does between two rock faces. Below it is a pond which is considered holy by the local people. I wonder how big the splash would be if one day, the rock decides to take the plunge!
I finally manage to reach to top of the Chauragarh Hill, after 3.4 kms of uphill treks and negotiating 1,380 stairs. The view from the top made me forget hunger, fatigue, sunburn, thirst … pretty much everything I was afflicted with at the moment. Now I know what Led Zeppelin were thinking when they wrote ‘Stairway to Heaven’
Pachmarhi is a land full of legends related to Lord Shiva. My guide, conspicuous with a bright vermillion tilak on his forehead, explained how this is where He stays when He is not in His penthouse atop Mount Kailash. On the way to Chauragarh, I stopped to rest in a cave and there He was! He did not speak to me though.
More signs of his Presence!
With the coming of the British, came a different deity – Jesus of Nazareth. A different god demands a different temple, so churches were built. Different people worship differently, hence there was built a Catholic Church and a Protestant one as well! They are however, closed to the general public. Same tree, different wood.
The Bee Falls is one of the busiest places in Pachmarhi and also the source of the town’s potable water. For the latest trend in waterfall-wear, consult the bathers at the bottom of the falls!
Pachmarhi can be visited throughout the year! If you are coming from Delhi, like I did, catch the Delhi Jabalpur Sridham Express which will drop you off at Pipariya at 0400 hrs. Right outside the station, from in front of the Strate Bank of India ATM, you can get a bus or share a taxi to Pachmarhi, 54 kms away. Dont sleep on the journey, you dont know what you will miss!
For more information, please buy our Pachmarhi Travel Guide…hang on..we’re still working on it. It should be out by the first week of September.