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Pachmari | Satpura | Bandhavgardh | Kanha | Panna | Bhedaghat
 

Imagine undulating hills surrounded by enchanting forests, where the cool breeze rustling through leafy glades caresses your skin and the ripple of forest streams forms a backdrop to the awesome silence around. This is Pachmarhi, the queen of the Satpuras. Geographically, Pachmarhi is a saucer-shaped valley nestled amidst the densely forested Satpuda Hills. Pachmarhi was discovered in 1857, by Captain James Forsyth of the Bengal Lancers. He was so struck by the beauty of this land that he was instrumental in having it developed as a sanatorium.

Ancient sal and bamboo forests, and shady trails winding through jamun and mahua groves, crisscrossed by gurgling forest streams, give Pachmarhi its exceptional verdant charm. Pachmarhi's greatest appeal lies in the fact that it is yet untouched by the frenzy of over-development and commercialisation that plagues many other hill stations and places of natural beauty. It provides visitors a splendid opportunity for exploring peace and solitude.

While an abundance of forest trails makes this hill station a hiker's paradise, nature lovers can revel in the incredible flora and fauna found in the region. The churches and mansions constitute a nostalgic relict of the British Era. Nature’s beauty is manifested in all corners of this little hill town.

From the cascading waterfalls, to the green shades embracing the numerous mountains, the twisted and turned pathways cut into the valley and the natural amphitheatres where bears still spend some entertaining hours, Pachmarhi offers to tourists a sanatorium of tranquility in nature’s lap.

Discovered by chance the valley soon became a favorite haunt of the officers in the colonial past. Thankfully, the man-made structures in this green town are not distasteful at all and only add to the beauty. The churches and the cemeteries, and the numerous thatched roofs of colonial homes seem to mingle well with the peaks and troughs of the valley.

In the middle of the Satpura Mountain Range lies the Satpura National Park. It is a unique wildlife sanctuary of India, in the sense that the park shelters a rich biodiversity amidst its terrains. The panorama of the place, coupled with its herbaceous surroundings, makes it an ideal abode of many wildlife species of the country. The landscape of Satpura Park is a veritable haven reflecting all the aspects of natural splendor. There are rocky sandstone peaks complemented by deep and dramatic ravines. The dense forests undulate with all its verdure and remains interspersed with some rare bryophytes and pteridophytes. Central Indian mixed deciduous vegetation is common in most of the areas. There are abundant sal, teak, tendu, aonla, mahua, bel and bamboo trees that throw in to the wealth of fauna in the park. Grasses and plants with therapeutic and medicinal properties are also widespread. When it comes to fauna, the Satpura National Park is a rare and exciting jungle treat. Its fauna comprises of animals like tiger, leopard, four-horned antelope, rhesus monkey chinkara, bison, wild boar, wild dog, bear, black buck, fox, porcupine, flying squirrel, mouse deer and Indian joint squirrel, to name a few. There is also a huge collection of  more than 200 bird species. Birds like Malabar pied hornbills, crested serpent eagles, crested hawk eagles, honey buzzards, paradise flycatchers, thrushes, peafowl and pheasants contribute to the varied avifauna of the park.

Satpura National Park remains amongst the quietest of the national parks in Central India.

Nestled among the Vindhya range, Bandhavgargh is the original home of the "White Tiger". It is also unique in its natural topography. It is set around a table top hill that was once used as a fort and even today has an active temple on its summit. The oldest sign of habitation in Bandhavgarh are the caves dug into sandstone, to the north of the fort. The area consists primarily of Sal forests, which is the main tree-cover found in the entire park along with Bamboo. Bandhavgarh is justifiably famous for its tigers but it has a wide range of other mammalian species inhabiting the park. Three species of Deer that are found are the Sambar, Spotted Deer and the Barking Deer. The four-horned antelope are seen in abundance. The Blue Bull and the Indian Gazelle can be sighted in the open grasslands. Leopard though sighted rarely, coexists in abundance. Bandhavgarh is teeming with both migratory and resident bird species which include racket tailed drongo, leaf birds, Tickells blue fly catcher, white-browed fantail, Malabar pied hornbill, grey headed fishing eagle, crested serpent eagle and crested hawk eagle. The fast vanishing vultures in India- the white back, long billed, king and the Egyptian are surviving in abundance here. In short there are about 250 species of birds in Bandhavgarh!

Bandhavgargh is the only national park to contain a fort inside it's boundaries. The vegetation is decidous tropical with dense grasslands and Sal Trees in abundance.  Other wildlife includes Jungle Cat, Hyena, Jackal, Fox, Wild Dog and Boar and the Indian Wolf. The park also has the Sloth Bear, Porcupine and the Indian Pangolin. 

The northern areas of the park has the oldest indicators of bygone eras. These are caves dug into sandstone dating back to the 1st century BC. The Chandela kings of Bundelkhand, who are famous for the Khajuraho Temples built by them, also ruled Bandhavgarh. The ancestors of the Maharaja of Rewa were the Baghela Kings who started their rule here in the 12th century. Bandavgarh was the capital of their dynasty till 1617.

The name "Kanha" comes from the clay like platues and valleys that form major part of the forest. The lush sal and bamboo forests, grassy meadows and ravines of Kanha provided inspiration to Rudyard Kipling for his famous novel "Jungle Book". The Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh came into being in 1955 and forms the core of the Kanha Tiger Reserve, created in 1974 under Project Tiger. The Park's landmark achievement is the preservation of the rare hardground Swamp Deer (Barasingha), saving it from near extinction. Stringent conservation programs for the overall protection of the Park's fauna and flora, makes Kanha one of the most well maintained National Parks in Asia. Kanha has two rivers running inside the park in the form of Halon and Banjar. A heightened attraction within the Park is Bamni Dadar,  popularly known as Sunset Point that offers the most awe-inspiring backdrop of the sunset against grazing wild animals. 

This is the only Tiger Reserve, where some substantial ecological research had been carried out. Through intensive protection of the natural habitat and the resident mute denizens and also by complete elimination of the biotic influences in Kanha, it was possible to retrieve the ecological loss, that had been sustained earlier. Kanha once again looked probably like what Forsythe, Brander and Kipling had observed.

Kanha Tiger Reserve is the true flagship of Project Tiger in terms of management, research and the effective control of problems. The forest of Kanha is as rich in terms of fauna and wildlife as any in the country.

Panna is one of the few diamond cities of the world and is the only active diamond mine in Asia. The mines of of Panna are across an 80 km belt with breadth of around 30 kms. The mining technique adopted is the same that is followed in Australia. The diamonds occur in a pipe of olivine lamproite with a grade range that varies from 13 caret per thousand hectare to 6 caret per thousand hectare. Watching the diamonds being picked is a unique experience. The ores are crushed, screened and jiggled. The concentrate is then spread on the ground and the diamonds are hand picked.

Panna being the capital of the Chandela dynasty is home to the grand Ajaygargh fort. Another main attarction of Panna are the 300 odd temples of Panna, that are a mix of Hindu and Muslim architecture, dediacted to various Indian gods and goddess.The Mahamati Prannathji Temple, is a unique temple for the followers of the Pranami sect. Nachne, a famous city of the Gupta Dynasty is situated near Panna

Panna is also home to the Panna Tiger and the tiger reserve at Panna is a National Park. The National Park of Panna is considfered to be the most scenic forest reserve as it holds cascading waterfalls, deep ravines and dense tropical forest. The forest lies in the Vindhya Mountain range and the scenic Ken River with rocks that appear floating like, runs through the forest diving the Panna National Park through the middle.

Panna is known predominantly for its species of deer, of which the most easily sighted are the Indian Gazelle, and the four-horned Antelope. Blackbuck, Sloth Bear, Leopard, Striped Hyaena are some of the species present in Panna. Panna National Park is equally rich in  bird fauna. The artificial lake, Chandpata, is the winter home of a number of species including migratory Geese, Pochard, Pintail, Teal, Mallard, Red Wattled Lapwing, Large Pied Wagtail, Pond Heron, White - Breasted Kingfisher, Cormorant, Painted Stork, White Ibis, Laggar Falcon, Purple Sun bird, Paradise Flycatcher and the Golden Oriole.

Near the town of Jabalpur lies the small village of Bhedaghat famous for its marble rocks. Situated on the banks of river Narmada, the place is famous for its glowing marble rocks and the roaring Dhuandar falls. Made by the milky white waters of Narmada river, the misty Dhuandar falls are a major attraction of Bhedaghat. The deep roaring sound of the falls can be heard from afar. The village also has the Chausath Yogini temple dating back to the 10th century.

The marble rocks are made beautiful by the river Narmada that flowes through the rocks making the boat journey through the rocks a tranquil event. After a while, the river falls down the cliff and creates a steep waterfall known as Dhuandar. The cool spray of water fills the air with freshness. A boat ride on a moon lit night with white rocks shining makes it a mystical experience. Besides incredible scenic beauty, Bhedaghat is also renowned for its rich history and culture. It is one of the prime pilgrimage centers in the country for the Chausath Yogini temple dating back to the 10th century.This town is a retreat for those who are looking for peace and tranquility.

Bhedhaghat is famous for soapstone artifacts that are made from the natural stone extracted from the rocks of river Narmada.

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