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Pachmarhi

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Widely known as the “Satpura ki Rani” or Queen of Satpura, Pachmarhi is a hill station located in Madhya Pradesh, in the Hoshangabad district. It was one of the towns that was founded by the British Raj during their occupation of the Indian subcontinent. It is a saucer-shaped hill resort some 210 kilometers from Bhopal, situated at a height of 1000 meters above sea level.

While Pachmarhi is a popular tourist retreat, the town itself is not very large, having only a population of about 10,000 people, most of them being in the Army since the place lies in the Pachmarhi Cantonment and under Indian Army control. The civilian part of the town is found towards the tip of a lake, with some hotels, a movie hall and a bazaar.

Pachmarhi got its name from Panch-Marhi, which literally means “five caves.” It is often thought that Pachmarhi was the abode of the Pandava brothers in the Hindu epic the Mahabharata.

The place was introduced to the rest of the world in 1857, when Captain James Forsyth of the British Army discovered it while checking the region; the first point he saw was what is known now as Priyadarshini Point. Forsyth recommended that the area be developed into a sanatorium for the British forces that were stationed in the Central Provinces  area. In 1901, the population was only 3020, but across the years, that number doubled, especially during the hot summer months, when the place served as the summer capital for the Central Provinces.

Pachmarhi is primarily a tourist retreat, and there are very few places in central India that are worthy of the recognition. The hill town’s elevation and the forests of the Satpura Range complete with waterfalls and streams all combine to create a place that is both picturesque and serene, and has served as home for varied wildlife.

The nearby Satpura National Park houses rare species such as bisons and sambhars. Several rare plants including orchids that are uncommon thrive in the unique topography of the place that contains rocky and treacherous ravines and thick forests. All these are surrounded by low-lying rugged hills, 12 beautiful waterfalls and quiet glades.

The unique rocks and ravines are also steeped in ancient history; they once served as shelters for hunters back in the Stone Age. There are a number of significant paintings and cave men drawings that are left on these rocks, some of which depict hunting scenes and warriors riding horses. The different styles and the materials used in coloring these works have enabled experts to classify the time period which they have been made. The earliest works dated back 10,000 BC. Jata Shankar and Handi Khoh are among the principal ravines and caves that show these historical paintings.

Due to the influx of tourists and Pachmarhi’s reputation as a wonderful tourist spot, the town has many tourist hotels and accommodations, one of which is run by Madhya Pradesh’s Department of Tourism. A Bharath Scouts and Guides camping site can also be found some 4 kilometers away from the main town, for those who want to engage in picnics and leisure. The weather in Pachmarhi is favorable most of the time, making it a wonderful destination to relax and unwind.

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