Pachmarhi is Madhya Pradesh's most verdant gem. A lovely hill resort girdled by the Satpura ranges offers absolute tranquillity. Widely known as ‘Satpura ki Rani’ (Queen of Satpura), Pachmarhui is situated at a height of 1100 m in Satpura Range of Hoshangabad district. The highest point in the Central India region and the Vindhya and Satpura range; Dhupgarh at 1,350 m is located here.Bridle paths lead into placid forest groves of wild bamboo, jamun, dense sal forests and delicate bamboo thickets. Pachmarhi is also an archaeological treasure-house. In cave shelters in the Mahadeo Hills is an astonishing richness in rock paintings.
Most of these have been placed in the period 500-800 AD, but the earliest paintings are an estimated 10,000 years old.In Pachmarhi, Bagpipes skirled in a flower-bright valley while ancient dancers cavorted on a rock. The pipes and the dancers were separated by thousands of years: typical of this little town in the Saptura mountains. Contrasting cultures and ages exist in harmony as if time and trends mean little in this serene, wooded place. Pachmarhi is for unwinding, effortlessly. Roads meander gently groves of trees, open spaces and heritage cottages sitting contentedly in their old gardens.
The town has a quiet gentility about it as if Victorian traditions and high collars still governed most people's lives. Much of this ambience has been set, and is still being maintained, by the strong presence of the Army whose Education Corps is headquartered here. The old cottages, meticulously maintained by the Military Engineering Services, have changed little since the days of Kipling.
Pachmarhi region was the kingdom of the Gond tribe king Bhawut Singh.
Prior to annexation to the British Empire, it was the capital of this tribal dynasty. The area was introduced to the western world by Captain James Forsyth of the British Armyin 1857. Pachmarhi became a hill station and sanatorium for British troops in the Central Provinces of India. The population in 1901 was 3,020, rising to double that number in the hot summer months. Pachmarhi also served as the summer capital for the Central Provinces. The forest around the town is home to many rare varieties of plants. UNESCO added Pachmarhi Park to its list of Biosphere Reserves in May 2009.
The town is not very large, and most of its area is under the administration of the Pachmarhi Cantonment Board, serving the Indian Army. There are several hotels catering to the tourists. Most of them are situated in small congested market areas, but some private, MP tourism and government hotels are situated in civil area of Pachmarhi like Chunmun cottage. The population of Pachmarhi is about 10,000, most of them are connected with the Army installations in the area. The civilian portion of the town lies towards the tip of a lake. It has some hotels and a movie hall. A bazaar runs through the small town. A club and golf course exist, for the usage of military personnel.A rarely used airstrip is situated near Dhupgarh.
It is overrun with grass and is seldom used. Tigers are known to have been sighted near the airstrip. Panther sightings are common along the edge of the Pachmarhi Cantonment.
The total area of Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve is 4981.72 km2. It is located at Longitude 22° 11’ to 22° 50’N and Latitude 77° 47’ to 78° 52’E. It covers parts of three civil districts, viz., Hoshangabad (59.55%), Chhindwara (29.19%) and Betul (11.26%). It includes three wildlife conservation units viz., Bori Sanctuary (485.72 km2), Satpura National Park (524.37 km2) and Pachmarhi Sanctuary (491.63 km2).
These ltogether has also been notified as Satpura Tiger Reserve (1501.72 km2) (Annonymous, 1996). The places worth being seen at and around Pachmarhi area, Priyadarshani Point, Hondi Khoh, Apsara Vihar, Rajat Prapat, Raj Giri, Lanjee Giri, Dutches Fall, Bee Fall, Sundar Kund, Jatashankar, Chhota Mahadeo, Mahadeo, Chauragarh, Dhupgarh, Pandav cave, Cave shelters. In Bori sanctuary, Churna, is a base for tourism. For a truly wilderness experience, the visitor can reach up to Neemghan through Panarpani gate. The flat land and good visibility along with rich wildlife makes excursions here unforgettable. Among them Mahadeo, Catacomb, Jumbudweep, Madai, Dorothideep, Jatashankar, Pandav caves, Bazar caves, Maradeo, Kaila Khurd, Taptka Pani, Kanjighat, Tamia, Rajat Prapat, Kharilanes are important from archaeological point of view. Pachmarhi lies within the Pachmarhi Biosphere Preserve, created in 1999 to link two forest reserves into a larger wildlife conservation area at the highest point in Central India. The place has rich timber reserves including teak, but being a part of a reserve no new construction or felling of trees is allowed.The town has many tourist hotels including the hotel run by Department of Tourism (Govt. of Madhya Pradesh). Private resorts and cottage/hotel facilities are also available. There is also a Bharat Scouts and Guides camping site about 4 km from the main town.
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