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Hill stations in Madhya Pradesh

Discussion in 'Madhya Pradesh' started by Saumya, Nov 25, 2016.

  1. Saumya

    Saumya New Member

    I am going to Madhya Pradesh and would like to visit some hill station there as well. I have not been to a hill station before and would like to know what hill stations are in Madhya Pradesh which I can visit.
    I would like to know about the most popular ones first then the least popular, so I know which ones to consider first.

    I am not looking for anything in particular in a hill station, just a different place to visit in the area.
     


  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, @Saumya, welcome to the forum!


    Overview

    With its varied landscapes, Madhya Pradesh stands as one of the most diverse destinations in the country. It has a wide variety of natural attractions that can steal the heart of nature lovers, like waterfalls, lakes and even caves. Even its heritage sites are quite abundant, and thankfully, have stood the test of time as well. But when it comes to the state's hill stations, they are less talked about. There is only a handful of hill stations in the state and they are not as visited as compared to the hill stations of say, Himachal Pradesh in the north or Tamil Nadu in the south. If you want a picture perfect and serene hill station, you cannot go wrong with any of the hill stations in Madhya Pradesh.

    Hill Stations in Madhya Pradesh

    1. Pachmarhi - 'The Queen of Satpura'

    Perhaps the most popular hill station of the state is Pachmarhi, located in one of the valleys of the Satpura mountain ranges. A picturesque hill station, dotted with numerous waterfalls, peaks and even a national park, Pachmarhi still remains under the radar of most tourists. There are also a number of ancient architectural wonders tucked away in some corners of the hill stations. The hill station can be visited all-year round but the monsoon season lends it a different kind of beauty, as the waterfalls become more beautiful during this time.

    Let's begin with the hill station's top attractions, its waterfalls. The Jamuna Pratap Waterfalls, also known as Bee Waterfalls, is located about nine kilometres away from the city centre of Pachmarhi. It is divided into two parts, the first level and the second level. The first level can easily be trekked by the young and the elderly. However, the second level requires about a 400-step climb down. From the base, you can enjoy the gushing of the water into a small pool, where small fishes are swimming and gives tourists a natural spa.

    Another is the Duchess Waterfalls, which also requires a bit of trekking to access. This one takes a bit longer to reach though, as you need to climb down for about 800 steps. The best part about this waterfall is that even in summer, it looks quite stunning, more so in the monsoon season. The trek itself is fun and takes you around the dense jungles of the region. Since the Duchess Waterfalls is lesser known than the former, crowds are less in this attraction.

    The trio of Apsara Vihar, Silver Waterfalls and Panchali Kund can be visited in a day trip. Unlike the former water bodies though, these three are smaller and has less force. But if you're a fan of nature trails, the trek to reach them is quite adventurous and picturesque too. Plus, you can enjoy swimming in any of these water bodies as they have shallow water unlike the first waterfall mentioned.

    The highest point in Pachmarhi, Dhoopgarh, is also worth exploring. Only gypsies or four-wheelers can tackle the rough terrains to reach the view point. Adventurous ones try and tackle the last kilometre by hiking, which is only recommended for healthy individuals. The views of the Satpura range of mountains is clearly seen from here. There are two points here, one is used for sunrise and the other is used for sunset.

    The second highest point in Pachmarhi, Chauragarh, is also a popular pilgrimage site. It requires a climb of about 1,300 steps to reach the peak, from which you can visit the Shiva temple. The Shiva temple is not that huge nor does it have elaborate carvings. But the main attraction here is the numerous trishulas located within the temple premises, brought by devotees whose wishes were granted by Lord Shiva.

    Another attraction, the Pandava Caves, is where the hill station got its name from. Interestingly, the caves' origins cannot be traced accurately. Some believe that the Pandava brothers created the five caves during their exile here, hence the name. But according to archaeology experts, these caves are Buddhist rock-cut caves. Despite the confusion, the trek to reach the caves is quite exciting and perfect for the physically fit ones as it requires lots of climbing.

    There are also many cave temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and other Hindu deities in Pachmarhi, aside from the one mentioned above. If you have the time, explore Jata Shankar, Bade Mahadev, Chhota Mahadeo and Gupt Mahadev. Most require trekking though so only partake in the pilgrimage if you're fit and healthy.

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    Jata Shankar in Pachmarhi (Image from Mouth Shut)

    Ending the list of attractions for Pachmarhi is none other than the Satpura National Park. Safaris need to be booked online prior to visiting the national park. The national park has very varied landscapes and wildlife, even including the royal Bengal tigers, but spotting them can be very rare as the place is quite huge. On the other hand, other wild animals such as sambars, wild boars, wild dogs and the elusive leopards. You can opt for walking safaris, jeep safaris or even elephant safaris.

    Truly the Queen of Satpura, Pachmarhi would delight any nature lover out there. Its natural beauty, its numerous attractions, the wild adventures that you can have here, are just enough reasons to pack your bag and reach Madhya Pradesh's prime hill station. Don't forget to pack some comfy walking shoes as you would indulge in lots of trekking when in Pachmarhi. But hey, walking is good for your health, so yet another reason to visit Pachmarhi!
    • Elevation - 3,600 feet
    • Must visit attractions - Jamuna Pratap Waterfalls, Duchess Waterfalls, Apsara Vihar, Silver Waterfalls, Panchali Kund, Dhoopgarh, Chauragarh, Pandava Caves, Jata Shankar, Bade Mahadev, Chhota Mahadeo, Gupt Mahadev and Satpura National Park
    2. Amarkantak - 'The Source of the Narmada River'

    About five hours away from Jabalpur is the hill station of Amarkantak. This hill station is regarded sacred by Hindu devotees because the Narmada river has its origin from here. Narmada river, being one of the seven holy rivers of India, is an important attraction since it is believed to cleanse away the sins of the devotees. Amarkantak has made its way to the map of Hindu devotees because of this very reason alone.

    The Mata Narmada Temple is the main temple located close by to the Narmada Kund, the pond from which the Narmada river originates from. The temple has a pure white facade, which looks very beautiful in clear daylight, as it is reflected on the water bodies close by. The temple is also part of the 51 Shakti Peethas in India but there are also other shrines dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Lakshmi. A must-watch here is the evening aarti, usually done at 7:00 pm in the evening.

    Close to the temple is the so-called Ancient Temples of Kalachuri, built over one thousand years ago. It was Kalachuri Maharaja Karnadeva who commissioned for the building of these temples. There are about eight temples that you can explore here although only one of them is open for the public. Most of the temples are intact and convey the unique architectural style of the Kalachuris.

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    Ancient Temples of Kalachuri in Amarkantak (Image from Screaming Piston)

    About one kilometre away from the temples mentioned above, you can find the Son Udgam Temple. It is also here where the Sonemuda can be found, the origin of the Sone river. You can climb the steep steps downwards for a better view of the surroundings, although this isn't recommended for the young or the older ones.

    The first and second waterfalls after the origin of the Narmada river, the Kapil Dhara and Dudh Dhara, respectively, are also worth visiting. You need to trek downwards to reach both waterfalls though so again, it's not recommended for the frail ones. The waterfalls look their best when visited during the monsoon season as there is only a little trickle of water in summer.

    More than being the source of the Narmada river, Amarkantak is a hill station full of serenity and beauty. The ancient temples provide one with a glimpse of the importance given to religion even in the pre-colonial era. The natural attractions like the waterfalls ensure that the hill station has remained pristine despite the years.
    • Elevation - 3,438 feet
    • Must visit attractions - Mata Narmada Temple, Narmada Kund, Ancient Temples of Kalachuri, Son Udgam Temple, Sonemuda, Kapil Dhara and Dudh Dhara
    3. Patalkot - 'An Unexplored Destination'

    Hidden away in the Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh is the hill station of Patalkot. Deep into the dense forests and high mountains lie this area, where rural villages can be found. It is very much away from modern civilisation that even its inhabitants don't know much about one another, nor the outside parts of the region. The villages here are mainly inhabited by indigenous tribes of the region, like the Bharia tribes and Gond tribes.

    While there are tourist attractions around the region, Patalkot is a real off the beaten track destination. It's a place where you can truly interact with the local tribes and see their way of living. The Tribal Villages here are situated about two to three kilometres away from each other. Rathed, Chimtipur and Ghana are just some of the villages in the hill station.

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    Patalkot (Image from Panoramio)

    The areas surrounding Patalkot are rich in medicinal herbs and plants. In fact, the tribal people are experts in making medicines from these herbs and plants. While news about their medicinal plants have spread wide, this had also impacted the tribal people and their ways of living. As the modern civilisation cuts through this tiny hamlet in the state, there's that consequence of the tribes losing their cultures and identities along the way.

    Close to Tamia though, you can find the Chota Mahadeo, where a scenic vantage point of Patalkot is located. There's also a Madhya Pradesh Tourism guest house here in case you would want to stay overnight in the region. Keep in mind that tourist infrastructures are sparse in Patalkot itself so it's best to bring your own beverages, snacks and other necessities.
    • Elevation - 3,250 feet
    • Must visit attractions - Tribal Villages and Chota Mahadeo
    • Related thread - n/a
    4. Shivpuri - 'The Summer Capital of the Scindias'

    Located over 100 kilometres away from Gwalior is the hill station of Shivpuri. Its pleasant climate and dense forests has made it the Scindia dynasty's summer capital during their reign in the region. We can also attribute the majority of the ancient structures here to the same rulers. Unlike other hill station destinations, Shivpuri is little known to many tourists in the state. Aside from the tranquility of the hill station, it also boasts of many natural attractions.

    On the way to Shivpuri is a lush waterfall known as Sultangarh. You can visit the waterfall any time of the year as it is full of water regardless of the season. It is a fairly small waterfall in height but the pool from which it falls to is quite huge. After a bit of trekking to reach the waterfalls, it's only refreshing to swim in the small pool, which doesn't seem to be known by many tourists.

    On Shivpuri proper is the Bhadiya Kund, yet another beautiful waterfall worth visiting. The waterfalls drop into a small lake and finally join in with the river, which supplies water to the hill station. Also located close by is an ancient Shiva temple, regarded holy by Hindu devotees. Some even believe that the waterfalls can heal certain illnesses.

    Also worth visiting is the Sakhya Sagar Lake, a manmade lake created by the erstwhile Scindia dynasty. Boating can be enjoyed in the lake although water level might be low during summer season. During winter, you can spot tons of migratory birds flocking to the lake as different aquatic species reside in here as well.

    Of course, a must visit here is the Madhav National Park. While the national park has lost most of its tiger population, the dense jungles quite make up for it. However, you can still spot animals such as deers, Indian gazelles, chitals and langurs in here. Aside from that, the Chandpatha, a lake within the park premises, is home to a large number of crocodiles. It is also one of the few national parks which allow guests to bring their vehicles inside the premises.

    Last but not the least, don't miss the Chhatris of the Scindia Dynasty when in Shivpuri. Most of the cenotaphs are largely elaborate, with the main material being marble. The combination of Hindu and Islamic styles persist in the different memorials found here. The green surroundings only make the white marble stand out more.

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    Chhatris of Scindia Dynasty in Shivpuri (Image from Screaming Piston)
    • Elevation - 1,535 feet
    • Must visit attractions - Sultangarh, Bhadiya Kund, Sakhya Sagar Lake, Madhav National Park and Chhatris of the Scindia Dynasty
    Conclusion

    Who wouldn't love hill stations? Scenic views, pleasant climates and natural sites to explore, hill stations have them all. Even the state of Madhya Pradesh has a number of hill stations that you can visit. Little known to mankind, yet have the most pristine forests you'll ever encounter. Leave all of your comforts behind though as there are little to no tourist infrastructures in some of these hill stations. But that's part of the adventure, right? Have fun!

    :)