Pachmarhi – The Queen of Satpura


This is a quaint hill station nestled in the state of Madhya Pradesh which is in Central India. It is located amidst the Satpura range and has also been the location of the Pachmarhi cantonment ever since British rule in India. It is popularly known as ‘Satpura ki Rani’ which translates to Queen of Satpura as it sits atop a valley in the Satpura range at a height of 1100 m.

The origin of the name seems to have been derived from the Hindi words ‘Panch’ meaning five and ‘Marhi’ meaning caves. The legend goes that the five Pandava brothers built those caves during their fourteen year exile. The caves offer a great vantage point to those who take shelter within.

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Although the area was already populated during the reign of King Bhawut Singh, it was developed into a hill station and a sanatorium for the British troops stationed in the Central Provinces of India after being spotted by Captain James Forsyth. He realized the importance and appeal of the place while leading his troops to Jhansi in 1857.

Pachmarhi had a population of 3,020 at the turn of the century in 1901. During summer, when the weather became unbearably hot in the Central Provinces, the population doubled. This place also served as the summer capital for the Central Provinces. This place is mostly an army town, with most of the 10,000 current residents either serving the Indian army or are connected to it.

It is a popular tourist destination for those who are looking to escape the extreme temperatures which affect the plain. The higher location and the cooler temperatures act as a great draw for people of the surrounding area. Although summer is a busy time, tourists visit this hill station anytime throughout the whole year. The lush greenery and the rich flora and fauna are also big draws for those looking to get away from the bustling city life. People looking to experience nature escape to Pachmarhi.

When it comes to wildlife, there is much to see. There have been many tiger, panther, and leopard sightings on the outskirts of the town. There are also many large mammals that call this place home. You can see chital deer, muntjac deer, sambar deer, rhesus macaques, wild boar and gaur. There are also flying squirrels, the Indian wolf, bison, giant Indian squirrels, chinkara, wild dogs and nilgai to keep you company.

If you are not a fan of snakes, you may be advised to keep clear of the forests. Because the area enjoys an annual precipitation of 2 meters, many creatures are encouraged to thrive. It has been reported that there are approximately 31 species of the certain snake families like Boidae, Colubridae, Elapidae, Uropeltidae, Typhlopidea and Viperidae.

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People with a sweet tooth can also indulge themselves on the rich harvest of fruits that are grown in this region during the summer season. Feast on sweet mangoes, custard fruit, jamun and other lesser known local fruits. There are many medicinal plants and herbs that can be found in the forest.

If you are planning to travel to Pachmarhi, you will have to drive there from Bhopal, Chinndwara, Indore and Jabalpur. You can take a flight to any of the above mentioned cities from your point of residence. If you don’t like driving, you can opt to take a bus. There are local as well as private buses that can take from 5 – 11 hours, depending from your point of departure.  The buses will meander through various towns as you travel to Pachmarhi. You can even take the train to Pipariya.

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I live in Mumbai, which is the financial capital of India. People come from all over in search of fame and fortune, but rarely does the majority find any. I work in a bank in Churchgate and the daily commute, the long work hours and the busy city life were getting to me after a while.

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