Since I had only half a day and a night to spend at Pachmarhi, I chose to ‘take in’ the town rather than insist on visiting each and every tourist spot.
Pachmarhi is a delight for people like me who love the idea of unlimited free time with nothing to do. Anyway, the place is so small it is barely a town. Forests and ancient rocks encroach its space from all sides. Narrow roads wind their way past ‘haunted’ colonial houses and mysterious churches. Almost all the land there belongs to Ministry of Defence since British times.
Since Pachmarhi is very far from any of the Indian metro cities, the tourist population that comes visiting is low. That means few vehicles, less garbage and no cacophony of car stereos- curses which have left Mahabaleshwar and Mussourie in a state of perpetual ruin.
The other side of Pachmarhi is a number of temples, mostly of Shiva. Pachmarhi has an annual Shivratri mela which attracts a huge number of pilgrims from across Central India.
In the short time that I had, I decided to skip the temples altogether. Even among the tourist spots, I could do only two.
The fact that it is a waterfall that runs in full spate throughout the summer is enough to do wonders for its reputation. But there’s more to Bee Falls. Its location in a sunlight-proof ravine is splendid.
The descent to the spot in a four-wheel driven Gypsy (other vehicles not permitted) does give you some goose bumps.
The last 300 mtrs on foot get you panting.
Difficult to believe that this is first week of May, isn’t it!!
Most well-thought-out tourist facility at the spot is clothes-on-hire!
Sunset over Bee Falls
Hangman’s Ditch (Phansi Khadd)
This one’s a few Kms outside Pachmarhi and involves a short walk across a rocky riverbed.
This signboard proclaims the location.
The ‘ditch’ itself is a spooky place. Overrun by forests where crickets play throughout the day, this one is a frighteningly steep, box-shaped (50m x 50m) pit of some 250 metres depth, formed centuries ago by falling water.
The cliffs on all sides are sharp and smooth.
Besides, the monkeys there have a habit of making sudden noises, scaring the daylights out of you. I forgot to ask why it was called Phansi Khadd. Maybe, some king used to hang people there before pushing their bodies down to the bottom of the pit.
I got that right. Spooky is the word!
Pachmarhi deserves to be given longer time than this so that you can spend it well, doing absolutely nothing! Bear that in mind. As for me, I plan to visit again!