In search of the castle of my dreams at the “Queen of Satpura”(12th -15th August’17)(Bhopal and Pachmarhi)


“To Move, To Breathe, To Fly,To Float

To Gain While You Give To Roam The Loads of Land Remote

To Travel Is To Live!!”

                                                   —-Hans Christian Andersen

A lot of weekend getaways was explored during my stay in Noida. 18th of May, I received my transfer letter. Bidding adieu and looking forward to joining at a new location are two sides of the same coin. My travel partner cum office colleague came and we were turning the pages of our various visits. The next thing that stroke us was it will be difficult to plan another trip. Kanpur was waiting to welcome me. But we decided that whenever time permits, we will definitely continue adding travel stories to the itinerary of life.

I shifted to Kanpur almost after a month of receiving the letter. The atmosphere and the people here were very amicable. It didn’t require much effort to mingle into the new culture and place. After settling in the city which was once known as “Manchester of India”, I started finding out the unique and new things at this place.

August ’12-August’15- Another extended weekend. Plans for another trip were on my mind when my roomie from Noida called and we started discussing the same. After some research on the viable locations to be visited, we zeroed on “Pachmarhi”; also popularly known as Satpura Ki Rani. I was enchanted with the pictures of the place. This place has an abundance of lush green forests, continuous stretch of greenery and unending view of mountains.

The dates were fixed and the trio of me, my travel partner and my roomie from Noida started the preparations for the journey by gathering information from people belonging to the state of Madhya Pradesh.

The booking status of my ticket remained as “Waiting” until the date of journey. So I had to board the bus to Bhopal. It takes around 12 hours to reach Bhopal from Kanpur and thankfully the bus was extremely good in terms of amenities.

At morning 7:30(12th August), I was in the specified hotel and we all three chatted for a while regarding the plans for the day. After having breakfast, we started our journey to Sanchi Ka Stupa.On our way, we halted at the place where the Tropic of Cancer passes. It was an ecstatic feeling to stand on that imaginary point running through the Southern Hemisphere.  It takes an hour to reach that place. The place is serene and calm with the Stupas spread over a huge area. The holy place is a symbol of establishing peace in this world.  The tour of the Stupa takes around 2 hours and then we proceeded to our next halt i.e. the Udayagiri Caves. The caves are preserved in their rudimentary form. Climbing on the rocks and reaching to the topmost point was pretty exciting. The view from the top was mesmerizing. It resembled the paintings we used to do in early childhood. There were mountains in the far end, river Betwa flowing through the fields, green meadows and cows grazing on it.

The tropic of cancer 🙂
Sanchi Stupa

I sat there for a while feeling the cool breeze blowing. A sudden feeling of gratefulness engulfed me. I thanked God to have chosen India as the place of birth for me. A nation which hosts myriad landscapes;  viz. snow-covered mountains, lush green forests, a vast stretch of oceans, deserts: hot and cold.

After a short while, the descent from the hill began and we witnessed few more caves. In one, the Barah Avatar of Lord Vishnu was in place and the complete narration of the story was next to it with the pictorial representations.

On our way back, we saw the remains of the factory of Union Carbide which led to the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. The factory and the surrounding land displayed a deserted look. The next place was the Bada Talab. The huge man-made lake stretched before us eager to embrace us. We booked the ticket for a cruise which was supposed to be of 45 minutes duration. And by mistake, the concerned person boarded us on a steamer. We covered some portion of the lake with a very high speed in just 10 minutes. As we came back we were wondering whether this was what the ticket was meant for. We enquired again regarding the booking of the cruise and the person accepted that it was his fault that he seated us in the wrong boat. So we queued up for boarding the cruise. As it was approaching us, the scenes of all movies where I had seen people boarding shipping vessels just replayed in my mind. Gradually we boarded the cruise and took the place near the deck. From there, the view was fabulous. Red coloured lights were illuminating the “City of Lakes”. I loved the cruise ride of an hour which was full of hustle bustle. A small girl was dancing excellently to the tunes being played on the deck. After 45 minutes, we alighted and proceeded back to the famous “Manohar Dairy and Restaurant” of Bhopal. Had delicious dinner there and returned to the hotel.

Next day (13th August), we departed for Pachmarhi at 7:00 a.m. from Habibganj bus stop of Bhopal. It took around 5 hours to cover the distance of 250 kms. The route from Pipariya to Pachmarhi actually makes you feel like going through the Satpura Ranges. The abundant scenic beauty filled me with excitement about the place we were going to explore. At 12:30 we reached Pachmarhi and after having lunch we started towards Pandav Caves. It is said that these caves were one of the abodes of Pandavas during their exile.  We walked approx.2 .5 kms to reach the caves. On our way, we could see scooties being customized as “Royal Enfield” and funny pictures being painted throughout the body of the vehicle. We spent some time in the nearby garden and then returned on the road less travelled. On our way back, we saw many visitors on gipsies.

The next day (14th August), at 9 a.m. our adventure on the gipsy began. The first stop being Dhoopgarh. People usually come here to view the sunset. We started off with this place and travelled through lush green forests with a layer of clouds. It was a mystic experience. It seemed like going to the castle of fairy tales hidden in the clouds. We could see clouds everywhere.

Then we proceeded to Reechgarh. Here we could see caves and huge rocks forming gigantic structure. After marvelling the gigantic rocks, we moved ahead to view the Bee Falls. They are termed like this because of the abundance of beehives. One has to go 400 meters through steps to reach the bottom of the falls and enjoy the energetic water splashing out of the mountain-top.

After covering Bee Falls, we went to view Apsara Vihar alias  “Fairy Pool” and Silver  Fall. It started drizzling when we reached near Apsara Vihar. We walked down the forest by following the trails of visitors ahead of us and reached the Fairy Pool. The local folks mentioned there that the British ladies used to take bath there and they were looked upon as fairies by the tribes. While returning, we followed a diversion to view the Silver Falls. The fall is very narrow and looks like a streak of silver in the green background.

It was 5 in the evening and we had covered the points scheduled for the day. We enquired the driver what other places can be covered. The reply was Priyadarshini Point, Green Valley, Gupt Mahadeo and Mahadeo.

We started off to cover these places. Priyadarshini Point is named after Indira Gandhi. That’s actually the viewpoint of the vast Satpura Ranges.  On the way to Gupt Mahadeo, one views the Green Valley. It’s scintillating to see the unending greenery at the highest point. Gupt Mahadeo hosts one of the natural Shiva Lingams within a narrow pathed cave. The next stop Mahadeo also has another natural Shiva Lingam inside a cave with a stream of water flowing over it and thus making the waterfall on the lingam drop by drop.

The gipsy tour for the day was over by 7 p.m. We had dinner and after a sound sleep, headed towards Bhopal the next day(15th August). We waved goodbyes and at around evening 7: 30, I boarded the train to Kanpur with plenty of memories of the beautiful “Queen of Satpura” and the “City of Lakes”.

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