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Old 21st April 2015, 17:04   #31
santoshr's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2012
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Default Re: In the Heart of Incredible India

Sorry for the long absence, work and personal life did not allow too much of free time to be able to get to this. So yes

Day 3 - Santosh
We had slept late the previous day and it had been a long day. However the plan for today was to take a quick dip in Narmada and start heading towards Kanha. We wanted to make it for the evening safari, the stay at Kanha had already been arranged by Rajnish.

I got up at around 7/7.30 and noticed that Rajnish was missing, he was supposedly had slept next to me. Dashed out the room, I did not want to miss the opportunity of taking a dip in the mighty Narmada. Looked down the hotel window and Rajnish - Madhu were in the car getting ready to roll out. Parimal was getting ready to go,asked him to wait for me. Quickly wound myself up and dashed down the hotel. All four of us took Madhu's car, all that everyone was carrying were their phones, a couple of wallets, set of clothes to change into and a towel.

In Bhedaghat, there's two things one if the ghat were people officially take a dip, the other is the dhuadhar water fall. The hotel guy had initially suggested that we down at the ghat for a dip, but not sure why in the morning were headed to the falls. I guess Madhu and Rajnish had spoken to the hotel guy for tips, the water falls has an entry where they charge Rs. 100 for the car. No entry charges for people though. Reached there and man 0 man was it cool, the viewing area has been built on a sort of Ramp which takes you right to the egde. Like the name suggests cloud of water particles everywhere.

Here there are multiples places where one can take a dip, some water before the fall has been diverted near the viewing area and a small stepping area has been created. And then you can walk up a little and use the rocks, this is just before the water turns left into the water falls. This is a little risky, not more than a feet away the water is really rapid.

Here are a few pics to share the glory of this magnificent place -

In the Heart of Incredible India-img_20150221_084757.jpgIn the Heart of Incredible India-img_20150221_084908.jpg

Taking a dip in the might Narmada, the water was cold as hell. Experience worth a life time --
Click image for larger version

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Initial plan was to be out of there in like 10-15 minutes, but we easily ended up spending close to 1-1.5 hours in the water. We were out of the water at around 09.30, others quickly changed I was the only bugger who had not bought change of clothes. Madhu was not ready to let me in his car, wanted me to dry off ) . And so we spent some time sub bathing and chit chatting. Madhu's was talking to us about his Indo-Polish expedition to Leh and how his car fared. Having let me in the car with multiple towels and papers and what not under me we began our search for breakfast. The guy at the entry point of the cars recommended this place "Hotel Aradhna", we began driving and soon we were out of town. We realized we had probably missed it, however there was nothing there.

Turned back, and realized that the other entry point has a few hotels in the walkway to the fall and there it was Hotel Aradhna. As usual we had a table full of food, the typical poha, samosa's and jalebis.

In the Heart of Incredible India-img_20150221_101332.jpgIn the Heart of Incredible India-img_20150221_103046.jpg

Two cups of tea later, the plan was to be in and out of the hotel for the river ride. Madhu hung out by the car and waited for us, we were out of there in 10 minutes and on our way to the river ride.

The river ride start from the place where the ghat to take dips is, and the boats there have an official charge's associated with them. We tried to haggle a bit but they were not ready to budge. Finally agreed upon the listed price of Rs. 800 for the entire boat, these boat rides are unique firstly because of the scenery and secondly because of the person who guides you. He began his poetry and how and why each of those marbles stones represents something from the movies and so on.

Let me tell you about this place, it is simply amazing. The river is close to 200 ft deep, and no there is no bank its just walls of marble around you. This was one of the reason why the entire trip was planned, Madhu wanted to see the place where movie Ashoka's Kareena dancing on the boat was shot. He had a picture on his phone and we told the guide that we want to go there, he said its not allowed but we can take you there if you pay us a good tip.

As you go deeper the stones become more whiter, the current becomes more strong and the stories of the guide funnier. And these are not just any other stones, it marble all the way. In all possible colors, black - white - shades of blue - shades of pink and what not. The guide was telling us that this place is open for night rides on full moon days and though of being there on a dark night with the moon shining on these rocks make you tick.

At one point on the ride we were very close to the rocks and I wanted to touch the marble wall, but the guide suddenly changed his face from a funny quirky one to a more serious one assertively stating sir please do not touch. I was taken a back by this, it was wonderful to see the locals protecting places like this. With only such behavior will they really preserve the beauty of this place. I absolutely respected his wishes, apologized for even trying.

So ya he kept pushing deeper and deeper and everytime we thought this was a good sight, something much more majestic would show.

I was initially shooting with a controlled shutter speed and in auto but the pictures were not coming out as I expected. Rajnish quickly pointed out and made me switch to an aperture mode and it sort of improved the pictures. Some of the below are taken from the phone and some from the camera. Much better pics were taken by these guys.

Here's a few pics to truly do justice to what I am saying --
In the Heart of Incredible India-img_20150221_112403.jpgIn the Heart of Incredible India-img_20150221_112628.jpgIn the Heart of Incredible India-img_20150221_113530.jpgIn the Heart of Incredible India-img_20150221_113539.jpgIn the Heart of Incredible India-img_20150221_114606.jpgIn the Heart of Incredible India-img_20150221_115046.jpgIn the Heart of Incredible India-dsc04002.jpgIn the Heart of Incredible India-dsc04019.jpg

This is as deep as he would go, Madhu quickly took out his phone verified that this was indeed the place. I believe it was really close to what he had in his mind. Satisfied we began our journey back, Madhu quitely said - 'Majja aa gaya ' ( had good fun) and the guide responds - "sir, accha hai majja aya warna apkko woh wale patthar pe chodke jana padta mujhe majja ane tak" (I am glad you had fun else I would have had to drop you on that stone and leave you there for a couple of days till you would have had your fun) Having said that all of us broke into a huge laugh. Tipped these guys an extra Rs. 200. The effort to paddle up against the tide isn't difficult and it showed on the faces of the two guys who were doing it for us.

Here's the pic from the the deepest point he took us too -

In the Heart of Incredible India-dsc04020.jpgIn the Heart of Incredible India-dsc04021.jpgIn the Heart of Incredible India-dsc04026.jpg

We reached the ghat back at around 12:45, the walk back to the cars take you through many a shops who sell hand made marble artifacts.
Marble because found in such abundance is extremely cheap here. Hand made coasters at Rs. 150 was at an absolute steal. Me and parimal picked up a bunch of things for our families.

We hadn't had lunch but decided to move on as we wished to reach Kanha before the evening safari. Called up our friend in Jabalpur who we had initially planned to meet and called it off. However in Jabalpur we had decided to pick up something to eat on our way. Rajnish had warned that after Jabalpur we would not get anything to eat and we should stock up on anything that we wanted. While Rajnish picked up some Rabdi, and a few snacky item I picked up Pan. Too bad we couldn't get our hands on Khoya Jalebi, Parimal will always hold this against us. Bloddy buggers took me all the way to Jabalpur and did not let me relish the joy of the Khoya Jalebis.

This was around 2ish, Rajnish was with me in the Rapid and Madhu driving the Punto with Pg as his pillion. The road from Jabalpur to Kanha is pure bliss, till we go out of Jabalpur it was alright, once we were out it was simply great. We pushed hard, both me and Madhu and for me this was the best drive of the trip. I was enjoying every bit of this section, fast corners, trees, nothing but the road, your music and you. Banking on every turn, accelerating through them was simply awe inspiring.

While we were closing in on Kanha, Rajnish was on the phone with our contact at the hotel and was checking to see if we would make it for the safari. At around 4ish we just turned off the highway after Mandla and it was clear that we would not make it. The road all way upto the entry of the forest is amazing, once off the highway it was all the more better. The buffer zone starts pretty early, which is lined with thick plantation with a few villages before the actual entry to the forest.

In the Heart of Incredible India-bhedaghatkanha.jpg

Once near the gate it was easy to locate our resort, this is neatly tucked away but walking distance from the National park gate. We quickly enquired if there were any options available for us, the hotel guy the said the most you can do is take a nature walk. This is a guided walk which has to get over before 1800, which is when the park closes. I was not very keen, I am generally not a very jungle walk, safari's kinda guy it doesn't excite me much But Madhu and Rajnish were really keen on doing this.

Quick update to family since I was all excited about the drive that I had just made, had our cups of tea/cofee and off we were into the forest. Following Madhu's advice I had also began not moving my bags in and out of the room. Operate from the Car trunk and it sort of works, whatever you need just carry that and let everything else be.

We began the walk at around 1652, the guide was really keen on us being back by 1800. Here are a few pictures from the walk -
In the Heart of Incredible India-img_20150221_165218.jpgIn the Heart of Incredible India-img_20150221_170509.jpgIn the Heart of Incredible India-img_20150221_172553.jpgIn the Heart of Incredible India-dsc04051.jpgIn the Heart of Incredible India-dsc04054.jpgIn the Heart of Incredible India-dsc04057.jpgIn the Heart of Incredible India-dsc04062.jpgIn the Heart of Incredible India-dsc04063.jpgIn the Heart of Incredible India-img_20150221_192142.jpg

With a brief trailer of what was in store for us tommorow we walked back out. There's a souvenir shop run by the park guys, Its got some very neat stuff, got my wife a nice butterfly printed scarf. The resort was named "Hotel Chandan" , good food and excellent location. Out of the many hotels in available there, this one is located right outside the gate. The guy who runs place arranges the passes, jeeps and will attend to all your needs for the safari .

Me and Rajnish after having a cup of tea left for the last village which we had crossed to get some supplies. As soon as we were a few km's out it had become pitch dark. Turning off the lights would leave you absolutely dark, this is the darkest dark I have ever seen. We pulled over, Rajnish got his camera and the tripod out. He wanted a good 30 second shot of the moon and the curving road up ahead. Turned off all the lights, and he began his shot. We saw a trail of light coming and so I had to turn on my hazard lights ruining his shot. A couple of shots later he had what he wished to capture and we were back on the road.

I am sure Rajnish will not miss this opporutnity to upload the picture, wait for it.

Day 3 had many highlights --
* DhuaDhar Waterfalls
* Bhedaghat river ride
* Jabalpur - Kanha drive
* Pitch dark roads with moon over looking through the tree line.

Last edited by santoshr : 21st April 2015 at 17:10.
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