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magical satpura


Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh, is literally the heart of India. The city casts an unusual spell on the visitor right from the moment one arrives. Historical monuments and landmarks, old mosques and palaces, lakes, well laid our gardens and parks, bustling market places of the old city are a feast in store for tourists. Named after the founder, Paramar king Bhoja (reign 1010-1055), Bhopal in earlier time was centre of the Dravidian culture.)


46 km north of Bhopal, a hill about 90 m in height is crowned by a group of stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars dating from the 3rd century BC to the 12 century AD. This site in Sanchi is one of the oldest and most important sites, which is designated by an UNESCO as a world heritage site for its archaeological and historical monuments. The Sanchi Stupa, the most famous of these monuments, was built by the great Mauryan Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC. His wife Devi was the daughter of a merchand from the adjacent, Vidisha, which was a prosperous town at the confluence of rivers Bes and Betwa. Their son Mahindra and daughter Sanghamitra were born in Ujjayini (now Ujjain) and sent to Sri Lanka, where they converted the king, the queen and their people to Buddhism.


46 km south of Bhopal, in this rocky terrain of dense forest and craggy cliffs, in the village of Bhimbetka surrounded by the northern fringe of the Vindhya range, over 600 rock shelters belonging to the Neolithic age were recently discovered. Bhimbetka an UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a group of rock shelter painting, an archaeological treasure. Executed mainly in red and white with the occasional use of green and yellow, the scenes usually depict figures of bisons, tigers, lions, wild boat, elephants, antelopes, dogs, lizards, crocodiles etc., hunting scenes, dancing, initiation ceremony, religious rites, burials, house hold scenes etc. The superimposition of paintings shiows that the same canvas was used by different people at different times. A guide in the service of Archaciological Survey of India is there at the site to take visitors around the nine representative caves.

Satpura Tiger Reserve

Near Pachmarhi The Hill Station of India, Satpura Tiger Reserve" is situated in 1,427Sq Km. This National park is consists Peculiar bio-diversity of Flora & Fauna, vegetation and Migrant Birds. Rich wild life includes National Animal proud of M.P. "Tigers" along with "Leopards" "Shambhar" "Bision" "Crocodille" “Great Indian Squirrels” “Wild Dogs” Neel Gaye, Crested Sepent Eagles, Changeable Hawk Eagles, Honey Buzzards, Paradise Flycatchers, Pittas,Thrushes, Peaflowl black Berg, Beer and lots more. Speciality of this park is in its unforgettable scenic beauty with large back water “Tava” & “Denva River” as well as virgin beauty of river Sonbhadra & Naagdwari. Touriests interested in wild life, nature lovers and jungle trackers will love this place for its very different peaceful atmosphere. For life time experience, we welcome you to “Satpura Jungle Retreat”.


A hill resort on the northern slopes of the Satpura range, Pachmarhi the only hill station of Madhya Pradesh stands at an altitude of 1100 m. Discovered by Captain Forsyth in 1857, Pachmarhi offers absolute tranquility. Bridle paths lead into tranquil forests of wild bamboo, sal, jamun, amla and gular trees, interspersed with deep pools fed by the streams that ran across the red sandstone hills, add to the natural palette. Wildlife enthusiasts are rewarded by glimpses of the animal and bird kingdoms in the Satpura National Park in the neighborhood. See page 55 for Satpura National Park. The cave shelters of the Mahadeo hills presenting astonishingly rich rock paintings are of great archaeological interest. There are several viewpoints, water falls, rock pools, walks and hills for trekking all within easy reach. The abundance of water sports is the hallmark of Pachmarhi. The town of Pachmarhi nestled in a saucer shaped valley consists of a sprawling civil area with a couple of churches, a small market place, an army station and a golf course. Pachmarhi for its naturalness and undiluted environment was the summer capital of the former Central Provinces.


Jabalpur town was the pleasure resort and capital of the Gond kings during the 12th century. It was later the seat of the Kalchuri dynasty. By the early 16th century it had become the powerful state of Gondwana. The Mughal armies also besieged it in between and finally it was conquered by the Marathas in 1789, which held sway over Jabalpur until 1817. The Marathas were defeated in 1817 and the British took it. The Britishers left their impression on the spacious cantonment with their colonial residences and barracks. Today, Jabalpur is an important regional centre. The holy river Narmada flows through the district. The world famed Marble Rocks at Bhedaghat (23 km) on either side of the Narmada is a treat to behold. Jabalpur is also the starting point for visit to Kanha National Park (165 km) and Bandhavgarh National Park (164 km) Madan Mahal Fort, a Gond fortress constructed in 1116 atop a huge boulder provides a panoramic view of the Jabalpur town and the countryside around it. Rani Durgavati Memorial and of the great Queen Durgavati houses a collection of sculptures, inscriptions and prehistoric relics. Timings 1000-1700 hours. Closed on Mondays and Gazetted holidays. Sangram Sagar and Bajnamath are the medieval constructions built by the famous Gond king, Sangram Shah, between 1480-1540. Tilwara Ghat, where Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes were immersed in the Narmada, the 12th century Mala Devi Mandir, the Jain temple, Pisan Hari and Gwarighat are some of the other places, which merit a visit.


Kanha’s sal and bamboo forests, grasslands and streams stretch over a core area of 940 sq km in dramatic natural splendour. In this Project Tiger Reserve abundance of wildlife species exists. The park is the only habitat of the rare Hardground Barasingha (swamp deer). Besides, there are over 200 species of birds making Kanha a bird watcher’s paradise. The park is closed between July-October. Best Season January to June.


165 km from Jabalpur and 237 km from Khajuraho, this prk is the one place where you can be almost sure of seeing tiger in its natural habitat. Stretching over 448 sq km, Bandhavgarh National Park is rich in other forms of wildlife like deer, panther, sambar, wild boar and bison. It is equally rich in birdlife. Dominating the park is the Bandhavgarh Fort and numerous prehistoric caves with inscriptions and drawings by prehistoric man. The park is closed from 1st July to 31st October. Best time to visit is between Februarys to June. Bhaghela Museum is the place for tiger lovers which houses the stuffed Mohun, the first white tiger of Rewa, discovered as a cub near Bandhavgarh in 1951. The Museum also houses old weaponary used for hunting by the former Maharajas of Rewa and some other items.


A world heritage site, the temples of Khajuraho are India’s unique gift to the world, known for their outstanding universal value and human creative geniusm. These remain as collective paean to life, to joy and to creativity, to the ultimate fusion of man with his creator. Built between 950-1050 AD by the kings of the Chandela dynasty, of the original 85 temples, only 25 survive in various stages of preservation. Of these the temple of Matangeshware is still in worship today, continuing an 1000 year tradition. They are built mostly of a fine sandstone ranging from pink to pale yellow although granite was used in three of them. The temples bear highly intricate friezes stone carrying depicting scenes from everyday life back then. And of course, the famous erotic figures of mithunas (amorous couples) engaged in ardent lovemaking are more renowned. In the sculptures of Khajuraho, women and sex dominate the art. Stone figures of a woman beautifully admitting herself, bejeweled woman, woman playing with her children, making love to her husband and the figures of apsaras (celestial maidens) leave the viewer awestruck. The dexterity and the intensity with which such moods and expressions are captured by the sculptors make the images come alive. The temples of Khajuraho constitute one of the world’s greatest artistic wonders.


228 km from Jabalpur, a great pilgrim centre for the Hindus, Amarkantak is the source of rivers Narmada and Sone. While the rivers Narmada flows westwards, the Sone flow towards east from Amarkantak. Set in sylvan surroundings, it is situated at an altitude of 1065 m at the meeting point of the Vindhya and Satpura mountain ranges. Amarkantak is blessed by nature, holy kinds and temples, dense forests of sagon, sarai, sal, lofty hills, vivacious waterfalls and the sheer tranquility of the place make Amarkanta a sought after destination for the nature lover, the pilgrim as well as for the adventure seeker. The region is believed to be known as Ayodhya, according to Puranas and had ashrams of Saints Kapil Muni and Rishi Markand. A flok tale suggests that the Pandavas of the Mahabharat epic had spent their years of exile here. Its early history records that Chendi dynasty hold the region followed by the Kalchuris in the 10-11the century. Later, the region was handed over to Baghelas and in 1808; the Bhosles of Nagpur ruled the region. Finally it went into the hands of the British. In Hindu mythology, Narmada is one of the seven sacred rivers of India. Pilgrims bathe in its holy water to wash away their sins. Legend has it that once every year; the mighty Ganga comes to Narmada to take a holy dip into its waters at the place of its origin.


Situated in the heart of the Malwa plateau, it was the seat of Holkars the former rulers of this erstwhile state. The area was given to Malhar Rao Holkar by the Maratha Peshwas. Planned and built by Rani Ahilyabai, the brave Holkar queen, Indore lies to the extreme west of the state on the banks of rivers Saraswati and Khan. The city dirves its name from the 18th century Indreshwar temple, and has some interesting monuments associated with the medieval Holkar dynasty. Formerly a major textile trading centre, the city today is the commercial capital of the state, a throbbing mini metropolis with a cosmopolitan culture. It is the most convenient base to travel to Ujjain, Mandu, Omkareshwar and Maheshwar.


78 km east of Indore, the sacred island, shaped ike the holy Hindu symbol’Om’ at the confluence of river Narmada and Kaveri, Omkareshwar, is set in pictureseque surroundings. Pilgrims gather at the confluence in large numbers to kneel and pay obeisance before Jyotirlinga (one of the twelve throughout India) at the temple of Shri Omkar Mandhata.


Temples form an integral part of the city of Ujjain. 56 km from Indore, Ujjain is the modern name for Ujjayini. Situated on the banks of the river Shipra, Ujjain is one of the most sacred and holy cities in India. The belief in the sanctity of river Shipra, has its origins in the mythological tale about chuming of the Ocean by the gods and demons in search of the nectar of immortality. In the wild scramble for the getting possessions of the vessel of nectar, a few drops were spilt and they fell at Haridwar, Nasik, Prayag and Ujjain. Ujjain is one of the sites of the Kumbh Mela, which takes place here every 12 years. The magnificence and awesome spectacle of the bathing ritual at Simhasta defies description. For details see page 66. As a great religious centre, Ujjain ranks equal to Benaras, Gaya and Kanchi. It was here that the most revered poets of India, Kalidas wrote the Meghdoot, a poem of a little over hundred verses, with its famous lyrical description of the city and its people.


98 km from Indore and about 35 km south east of Dhar, Mandu is a celebration in stone of life and joy. Called ‘the city of joy’ by the love shared between the poet prince Baz Bahadur and his beautiful consort Rani Rupmati. The balladeers of Malwa continue to sing of the royal romance. According to legend Rani Rupmati’s lyrical voice can still be heard across the Narmada. Perched along the Vindhya ranges at an altitude of 634 m, Mandu was originally the fort capital of the Paramar rulers of Malwa. The hill is separatede from the main plateau of Malwa by a deep ravine, called Kakra Khoh, which encircles it on its west, north and east and finally vanishes into the the Nimar plain in the south. Its length, east to west is about 8 km whilst its width north to south is about 6 km. The hill range is endowed with a very attractive natural scenery and come rainy season, the magic of Mandu peaks. The place turns green and hundred of streams break out, the beauty is further enhanced by about a dozen lakes and ponds interspersed on its top, the buildings and the ruins of Mandu are mirrored in the water.


91 km from Indore, situated on the banks of river Narmada, Maheshwar was a glorious city at the dawn of Hindu civilization. The spectacular temple town is mentioned in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata as Mahishmati, the ancient capital of King Kartivirarjun. In languished in obscurity for many centuries after that until revived to its ancient position of importance by the Holkar queen Rani Ahilyabai of Indore in the late 18th century. Maheshwar’s temples and a fort complex built by Rani Ahilyabai stand in quiet beauty, mirrored in the river below. Today, Maheshwar is also famous for its distinctive handwoven sarees called Maheshwari.