PACHMARHI places to visit-has natural beauty, caves and waterfalls

  • Know what to see in Pachmarhi, their cultural significance, caves dedicated to Shivji and ideas how Madhya Pradesh Tourism can make the trip to the Queen of Satpura Range more memorable.

Pachmarhi (1,100 metres) is also known as the Queen of the Satpura Range and is the highest point in Madhya Pradesh. It is about a four-five hour drive from Nagpur, Maharashtra and Jabalpur/Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh with Bhopal being the shortest distance in kms. It is 54 kms from Pipariya railway station.


We drove in from Jabalpur where we saw Marble Rocks, Chausath Yogini Mandir We missed going to Amarkantak from Jabalpur, source of the holy river Narmada. 


Pachmarhi must be one of the most peaceful “hill stations” I have ever visited and probably one of the few which has so many places of worship, all of which still have a rustic feel. Pachmarhi is for those who wish to avoid crowds and like walks.  


When one goes to Pachmarhi, tour guides and hotel operators usually suggest a two day program. The first is a “Falls tour” and the second a “Temple tour”. The day wise classifications implies that on day one, tourist visits a couple of waterfalls and scenic places and on day two, Temple caves. Almost all the places involve some walking and climbing so be prepared. 


The forests around Pachmarhi are part of the Satpura National Park. Also read Leopards of Satpura Tiger Reserve


The Pandavas lived here during their exile and excavated five caves (panch marhi) hence the name. Here are the places we visited.


1. Museum


It is probably one of the smallest museums I have been to and displays photographs of what to expect in Pachmarhi. Here you get the permit to enter the forest zone. Also visit shop that sells T-shirts, caps, etc. Purchase is a way to support the local population.


2. Pandav Gufa


The Pandav Caves are believed to be caves in which the Pandavas meditated but modern archeologists believe that Buddhist Monks meditated in these caves and they have no connection with the Pandavas. The five caves are on two levels and children are very excited to climb and reach the top of the caves. There is a small well-maintained garden at the bottom of the Gufa where some beautiful flowers have been planted.


3. Bee Waterfalls

Bee Waterfalls  

After the climb to the Pandav Gufa, one makes ones way to the biggest falls in Pachmarhi – the Bee Falls. The water here is sparkling pure and it is this water which makes its way to the kitchens of Pachmarhi. Before we reach the falls, there is a flatter falls leading to a flowing brook and many people sit here and dip their legs in these waters. 


The way to Bee Falls is about 400 steps down. The steps are uneven and the side railings are there for most of the steps. We were advised to carry spare clothes if we were interested in having a dip there, but on reaching the place we realized that there was absolutely no place to take a dip. Couples try to take a bath at the bottom of the falls by crossing uneven boulders to reach there. Since many couples want to do this, every couple can sit under the falls for a maximum of 5 minutes. There is no flat land to sit down and enjoy the view and in fact the space at the bottom of those 400 steps is too less to accommodate even 100 people.


Since only one spot is the best for clicking photos, almost all the tourists throng to that spot & I was reminded of visiting our famous Temples because one can stand there for only about two minutes per couple/family before being told to move ahead and make space for the next photo session.


The climb up is equally tortuous and unfortunately there is seating space for 1 person in 2 places only. This place needs to be made tourist friendly.


Disappointed with Bee (may be best time to visit is during or post monsoons) we skipped visiting Apsara Vihar and Silver Falls (or Rajat Prapat that falls from a height of 350 feet).


4. Reechgarh

Route to Reechgarh. Youngsters loved it.  


Youngsters and those young at heart will love the ruggedness of this place. Reech is Bear in Hindi and it is believed that this place is the abode of bears. There is a natural cave formation among the rocks and walking through the rocks gives one a sense of adventure.

The rocks and trees around the area seem to have seen many centuries and it is just the place one goes to while trekking or on a holiday.


5. Dhoopgarh is sunset point 1350 meters

Dhoop is sunlight in Hindi. Like every hill station Pachmarhi has its Sunrise and Sunset points. Dhoopgarh is that place. Absolutely beautiful views and it was a pleasant surprise to see steps for seating at the sunset point. One could sit there, soak in the view and enjoy the beautiful weather without any fear of monkeys or beggars troubling one. Actually, I did not see a single beggar in Pachmarhi.


On the way to Dhoopgarh, there is a diversion which leads to Naagdwari. One has to walk 12kms in the dense forest to reach this place and devotees from Maharashtra come here every year during Shravan Maas to have darshan of Mahadev and Naga Devata in this Temple. States are a post 1947 creation, cultural ties span centuries.


6. Bada Mahadev Cave

Inside Bada Mahadev.  

On the Temple Tour, the first place we visited was Bada Mahadev cave on Mahadev Hills. One has to walk a very short distance from the parking area to the cave. Droplets of water keep falling continuously on your head as you walk inside the cave to reach the Shivling. The local caretaker/Priest of the Temple was missing but we were very grateful to him because care had been taken to fill some drums with water which could be used to do Jal-Abhishek to Mahadev.


At the entrance of the cave are some huge Trishuls. A very serene feeling overcame us as when we were in the cave.


7. Gupt Mahadev Cave and Chauragarh

Entrance way to cave.

From the Bada Mahadev, one can walk a short distance to the Gupt Mahadev cave. At the entrance of the cave is a huge Hanuman Murti. There is a walk of about 40 feet, in a very narrow path that takes you inside of the cave where a Shivling is worshipped.


Since only one person can walk between the two cave walls, sometimes there is a queue to enter the cave. Here too, one can do Jal-Abhishek from the stored water, if available. There was no Priest inside when we visited the cave. On the path to the cave some adivasis sell Datura flowers, fruit and Bael leaves which are offered to Mahadev.


From here, many people walk about 3.5 kms in the forest or climb about 1300 uneven steps to reach Chauragarh. In Chauragarh too Mahadev is worshipped. Here devotees pray for their wishes to be fulfilled. When fulfilled, they express their gratitude to Mahadev by keeping a trishul in the temple.


8. Jatashankar Mahadev Cave

Trishul at entrance to cave.  

From the Gupt Mahadev Cave we made our way to Jatashankar Mahadev. All the three Temples mentioned are associated with the story of Mahadev and Bhasmasura.


Bhasmasura was an Asura who meditated on Shivji for many years and asked Shivji for an unusual boon–that if he touched the head of a person or animal, that person or animal should become ashes. Shivji granted him the boon only to regret it because Bhasmasura now wanted to put his hand on the head of Shiva even though Shivji could have burnt Bhasmasura into ashes right there, He did not do so but tried to escape because Mahadev never interferes in the law of Karma. 


Shivji hid in these caves to avoid Bhasmasura but finally had to approach Maha Vishnu to help to destroy Bhasmasura. Thus, Maha Vishnu took the form of the beautiful Mohini and enticed Bhasmasura into a dance competition with Her, saying that if he won, he could marry Her. In the course of the dance, Mohini puts Her hand on Her own head and Bhasmasura does the same and that was the end of the Asura who became Bhasma or ashes himself. Chauragarh is associated with this final act.


In the Jata Shankar Mahadev cave, we see formations which resemble the Jata (hairlocks) of Shiva. It is believed that Shiva gave up some of His Jata there. There is a continuous flow of fresh water within the cave and this water is offered as Abhishek to Mahadev there.


The path leading out of the cave is beautiful and the entire walk into and out of the cave is enthralling.


One has to walk about 600 metres before reaching the cave and on the way is a little temple where we find 2 floating rocks which are believed to have been those used to build the Rama Setu in Rameshwaram. A Sadhu had brought it from there and kept it in this little Temple.


The rocky mountain trail exposed us to lots of honeycombs high on the walls of the mountains and there are many shops selling the honey, supposedly collected by local adivasis.  


Pachmarhi is famous for its jungle honey. It is also famous for many Ayurvedic medicines. One can also buy sarees with local prints here. Mrignayanee is a state government store that sells local handlooms and goods produced by adivasis.


“Prehistoric rock paintings have been discovered in some of the caves near Pachmarhi, such as Astachal (Monte Rosa), Harper’s Cave, Dhuandhar Cave, etc.”


Feedback for Madhya Pradesh Tourism

While the rustic beauty of Pachmarhi cannot be denied, MP Tourism has to provide more amenities to tourists.


There are no toilets at many of the sites and even where toilets exist they are not clean. Secondly, there is a severe shortage of good hotels. There are a miniscule number of stalls which offer some basic food like Maggi noodles, but they are shabby and just a tent. There is no place to sit comfortably and eat.


On the positive side, I did not see much trash being thrown about because tourists and the guides/drivers/hotel staff, etc. all make it a point to keep warning tourists not to litter. Though I did read about a Tiger Safari in the forests of Pachmarhi, no hotel staff or tourist taxi/gypsy driver recommended it at all. This was a little surprising.



We stayed at Highway Resorts. Pachmarhi has many good hotels and resorts. MP Tourism have two properties namely MPT Amaltas and Champak Bungalow

Bought these jute silk saris from MP Tourism store.  


Author Rati Hegde is a serious student of Bharatiya Samskriti, author and columnist on Indic matters. She visited Jabalpur, Pachmarhi with her family in December 2022.


To read all articles by author

To read her articles on Pragyata


Also read

1. Explore Pachmarkhi – the road less travelled   

2. Madhya Pradesh Tourism site to know about Pachmarhi


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