Central India’s Premier travel mart is happening in MP from 14 to 16 October and I am super excited because my blog has been invited for the travel mart as well as the familiarization trip following it. The event will be attended by Mr. Rahul Bhatia, a well traveled and one of my favorite blogger. I am glad that he has agreed to cover the event on behalf of Pendown and show us beautiful facets of Madhya Pradesh.
Madhya Pradesh is one state that not only is the biggest in area but also happens to be the heart of India. It is one place that has everything for every age. Ranging from wildlife, lush green forests, waterfalls, architecture, fun, food and religious places the list is an endless one.
As I traveled through Heart of India
My journey commenced from New Delhi for Jabalpur on a hot summer evening of June. The train chugged through the populous cities of UP and through the ravines of MP to reach Jabalpur station. The cold wind and the all-round cloak of greenery was a welcome relief from the sweltering heat of Delhi. The city is well known for the rich history of Kalchuri and Gond dynasties and subsequently as an army cantonment developed by the British. A short stay in the cantonment gave a peek into the discipline and meticulous upkeep of the place by the men in olive green. A visit to Rani Durgawati Memorial and Museum and Madan Mahal was in order to get a feel of the long history that one can breathe in the air. The Red stone Statue of Lord Shiva and Parvati engaged in a game , other prehistoric relics and collections of Mahatma Gandhi housed on the second floor are some well-preserved prized possessions of the Museum. A long trek to climb the Madan Mahal atop a hill was like visiting a long forgotten place which is slowly crumbling. The place looks eerie but offers a lovely panoramic view from the terrace of the city. It is said to have long tunnels and some treasures still entombed in the precincts’.
Bhedaghat situated about 20 km away from the city that can be easily reached by local transport and private taxis were our next halt. The beauty of the marble rocks in different hues with a quite flowing Narbada is a feast for the eyes. A boat ride on the river is a must to appreciate the beauty of rocks where the sunrays dance and one gets lost in the reflections from the crystal clear water. A number of movies have been shot on this classic locale including ‘Ashoka ‘ starring Shah Rukh Khan. One kilometer downstream is that derives its name from the smoke like mist created by the splash of water that cascades 90 feet down. A little more effort of climbing a flight of 150 steps brings one to the historic Chausath Yogini temple built during the Kalchuri reign. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Parvati and their sixty four yogini in unique postures. It was a long rewarding day when we returned to Jabalpur.
We continued our journey through Chhindwara an industrial town once known for the date plantations around it. A brief stopover at night with a good rest set us in spirit to get a brush with wild life at Kanha National Park that is almost 200 km away. The journey through the lush green jungles was punctuated with steaming hot tea and samosas. By the time we reached Kisli, on the outskirts of the National Park,the sun had set. We stopped over at Hotel Machan Complex in Khatia village just one kilometer away from the National Park. The night spent under the blanket of stars and thatched roof of the Machan constructed ten feet above the ground was a memorable one. The lullaby of pecking birds in their nests and flashes of fire flies was interrupted by calls of hyenas and jackals from the park, as the day broke. A drive through the park with occasional sighting of herds of deer and wild buffaloes was interrupted by the sighting of fresh pug marks of a tiger near the water stream. Alas, the tiger remained elusive and we came back a bit disappointed. The overall experience still rated high as having lived in the city for long, the experience left a deep impact.
Our adventure continued by returning to Bhopal, the city of lakes and onwards to Pachmarhi. The mango trees laden with fruit, en route was a very tempting sight. Pachmari is blessed with rich lush greenery, waterfalls, breath taking views, mountains rising to an elevation of 1100m and rich and rare wild life. There are several attractions like Dhupgarh, the highest point in Satpura ranges, Duchess Fall, Silver Falls and Jatashankar and Mahadev caves. The constantly dripping water and narrow winding passages are thrilling to explore. These caves are said to be the abode of Lord Shiva.
A week long holiday came to an end after having a small bite in the huge pie. Madhya Pradesh is a state that has so much to offer. The wild jungle to explore, exquisite carved temples, the cultural heritage that draws people, the holy monuments and smell of incense that fills the air. There is no better place to reconnect with inner child in us. A life time is not enough to discover the hidden gems in MP.