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Tourist Places To Visit In Panchmarhi
Panchmarhi, at 1067 m height is a hill station said to have been discovered in 1857 by Colonel James Forsyth. At the time, Col Forsyth who was a Bengal Lancer, was going to Jhansi. While he was on the way he saw the beautiful region full of natural beauty. The area was thereafter developed by the British for use as a resort for the British forces. Col Forsyth further added to Panchmarhi’s popularity by showering praise about it in a book he wrote named ‘The Highlands of Central India’.
Much of that charm still lingers in the cantonment with its bungalows and cottages which reflect the high quality of architecture of the British. Today Panchmarhi and the forests that surround it are a part of a Biosphere Reserve under the UNESCO. There are a large number of tourist places to visit in Panchmarhi. These are discussed in the succeeding paragraphs.
It is believed that Panchmarhi was visited by the five Pandava brothers during the period of their exile and the 5 caves of the Pandavas gave the name Panchmarhi since the word ‘marhi’ means caves while of course Panch means five. These five caves are still maintained and these form one of the major tourist spots. However, according to the geologists these caves existed much prior to the Mahabharata period.
This waterfall is listed among all the country’s waterfalls as the one with the highest single drop of about 351’. From Apsara Vihar the waterfall is about a ten minutes walk over boulders and rocks. The shape of the waterfall is like a horsetail and during the dry period it becomes a thin stream, hardly visible. However, during the monsoon the fall is very beautiful and memorable. For this reason the scenery attracts nature enthusiasts and photographers. Earlier visitors have found this the best spot in Panchmarhi.
Jata Shankar Cave
The Jata Shankar Cave, located to the north of Panchmarhi, is a natural cave that houses a Hindu shrine. The cave contains stalagmites that have been formed naturally over the years and these are worshipped as lingams. The location of Jatashankar is inside a deep ravine and there are huge boulders that are perched on top. Today the cave attracts tourists as well as pilgrims who come to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva. In the area you will also find two springs, one of hot water and the other of cold water and these feed two ponds.
Panchmarhi British Architecture Church
Panchmarhi in MP is famous for its rich biodiversity and numerous waterfalls. It is also famous for British bungalows and other buildings besides its beautiful churches. One of these churches is the Christ Church which is a perfect example of fine British architecture. This is one church that reminds you of the old world and its forgotten charms. Built in 1875 or thereabouts, the church has an amazing architecture with its Gothic lines and a structure of red sandstone. A ribbed hemispherical dome surrounds the sanctum-sanctorum. There are twelve panes of stained glass that adorn the walls. These were all brought from Europe. The glass creates a grand view once the sun’s rays fall upon it. The church is on a gentle slope that has a cluster of trees and all this gives the church a perceptibly calm look.
Satpura National Park
Satpura National Park in Madhai is around 8 km from Panchmarhi. It is today a tiger reserve covering 524 sq km although not as well known as the other reserves at Pench and Bandhavgarh. Not many tourists frequent this park and for this reason the forest has remained pristine and attractive. The Denwa River that encircles the reserve is an added attraction. The best part of the park is that it has excellent arrangements for safaris. You can take your pick of the safari from among boat, elephant and jeep. It is possible that you may not be able to sight either the tiger or the leopard but take heart. The park is beautiful and it has a fair number of deer and plenty of birds. You are likely to see the Indian bison as well. Look out for sloth bear and the giant squirrel.
Dhoopgarh is the highest point in the Satpura Range or Mahadeo Hills in MP. It is about 10 km from Panchmarhi. It has an elevation of 1352 m and was earlier known as Harvatsa Kot. This spot is ideal for viewing sunrise and sunset and from here you can enjoy a very picturesque view of the entire valley below. At night you can see the lights of Itarsi, a neighbouring town. You can reach the top either by trekking or by road.
The hills around Panchmarhi are very beautiful. The region containing Panchmarhi abounds in rock shelters. These shelters, such as the ones in Mahadeo Hills, were once occupied and liberally decorated by our ancestors for a fair amount of time. These shelters can be found in the surrounding forests and all over the hills. However, there are some sites that are located along the riverbanks and the foothills and these appear to have been favoured. The depiction covers multiple topics and this art represents a heritage of great importance left behind for us and our generations to come. The art goes back to the Mesolithic period which is around 8000-20000 years ago.
Chauragarh Temple is a site where pilgrims are headed for worship at the temple of Lord Shiva right at the top. Sangram Shah of the Gond dynasty built the Chauragarh Fort and the site is excellent for capturing some breathtaking shots at sunrise. Of course one has to climb some 1365 steps for reaching the top. It is the top for which all disciples of the Lord are headed on Nagpanchami and Mahashivratri. There is a huge collection of about two lakh tridents or trishuls that have been stacked in the front of the temple.