Everyone likes to travel & see new countries & adventurous places. But some of the inspiring & stimulating places are of spiritual merit.
Sharing its border with 5 different states of India, the central location of Madhya Pradesh, aptly makes it the heart of Incredible India.
I commenced my journey from Mumbai to Madhya Pradesh with a group of 15 more fellow travelers on a weekend. We opted for an overnight train journey. We hopped on the train after a long working day to save “a day” of traveling.
Touring M.P., for me, was necessary under some circumstances. This trip was specially meant to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva, for which we had to visit M. P (our family deity). As soon as I came to know that I am on a spiritual trip, “ baba’s, Saint, filth, kids running to sell their offering thali” flashed through my mind. Little had I known that this was the slack season for darshan ( :P) I would have carried my DSLR with me. (lesson learned; be prepared with everything & don’t underestimate the beauty of any destination)
We were heading to “Pachmarhi”- the queen of Satpura.
Pachmarhi, a hill station with an abundance of sunlight, foliage, wildlife & divine blessings. Moreover, it is a military cantonment, hence the cleanliness was impeccable.
We reached PIPRIYA junction in the morning the next day.
#TravelLikeAPro: Transfer to Pachmarhi is made easy by state government buses, private buses as well as private cabs. The cost increases in the same hierarchy.
After driving for approx 1-1.5 hrs, we reached Pachmarhi. Winding roads & serene scenic landscape will literally withdraw all the fatigue.
Being a military cantonment, this hill station was very clean as compared to other hill stations I have visited till date.
Few places that cannot be missed while in Pachmarhi.
Jata Shankar Caves
A steep downhill walk leads to this cave, Jata Shankar filled with stalagmites, which has the shape of Shiva lingam. There are over 108 Shivlings.
Lord Shankara’s matted hair is imprinted on the caves, hence a visit is mandatory.
#TravelLikeAPro: Pachmarhi town can be explored on a cycle as well. One can rent a bicycle & ride till the parking lot of Jata Shankar, further down you have to walk.
Next, the entire day was meant for Chauragarh Temple, 2nd highest peak of M.P. Unlike Jata Shankar, there is an uphill trek to reach this temple. This one is built by a devotee, for Lord Shankar to please him.
Before starting the ascend, the first site you visit is Gupt Mahadev, ( gupt means disappeared, Mahadev is one of the names denoted to Lord Shankar). A narrow 40 feet long cave, where only 1 person can visit at a time.
Devotees, whose vows are being fulfilled by Hindu deity “Shankar”, carry Trishul as an offering. These Trishuls vary in Sizes (from 12 cms to 12 feet), Weight (from 1 gm to 100 kgs) & also in Casting (from iron to gold). All the Trishul are fixed outside the temple, up on the mountain. Moreover, the uphill railings are made out of the old Trishul.
These places are flooded with pilgrims during Mahashivratri.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
October to June.
Bhopal: approx 195 km or 5 hrs drive
Jabalpur: approx 253 km or 6 hrs drive
Nagpur: approx 227 km or 5 hrs drive
HOW TO REACH
By Rail: Pipariya junction is the nearest railway station.
By Road: Cities like Nagpur, Indore, Jabalpur, Bhopal has good frequency of local as well as state buses.
By Air: Bhopal airport is the nearest one (Code: BHO) which is about 195 km (approx 5 hrs drive) away from Pachmarhi.
Whether you come by rail or air, the later portion has to be covered by road. The journey to reach this hill station will be a combination of 2 modes of transport.
SIGHTSEEING & EXCURSIONS
Jata Shankar Caves
Dhupgarh ( highest peak of M.P)
Chauragarh ( 2nd highest peak of M.P)
Rajat Pratap Waterfall