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Old 11th November 2008, 17:49   #16
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Thats one good Travelogue with some really nice pictures. Keep them coming
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Old 11th November 2008, 18:06   #17
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Nice travelogue........waiting for Pachmarhi and Bhopal pics..keep'em coming..
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Old 12th November 2008, 05:47   #18
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Hi
Nice pics. However, your flow of writing seems to have stopped. Perhaps work is taking up your time. But since this section that you did is rather rare with little knowledge among average bhpians, it will be really nice if you could write a bit about the route and the road condition that you found in the different sections.
Although Himalayan journeys are extremely popular on team-bhp, drives like yours through such less self-driven areas are pretty challenging too and capture many readers' imagination. You should do better justice to the trip by writing more. Of course the pics are nice too.
Thanks a lot
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Old 12th November 2008, 10:07   #19
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Travelogue is interesting.
We are watching 'Hindustan ka dil' by this travelogue.
As Sudipto said, please write more about route and other conditions.
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Old 12th November 2008, 12:57   #20
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Arrow Indore To Panchmarhi To Jabalpur

Hai,

Was under a pile of work, sorry the flow stopped. After reading your posts, have changed the travalogue to include more route conditions, takes a lot of time to write, optimize pictures and upload... here goes...

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26-10-08: When we discussed with drivers @ Hotel, they were emphatic about the route to Panchmarhi from Indire, through Bhopal, Hoshangabad; they cautioned, don't even think of the Kannod road. We discussed the pros and cons amongst the 3 of us and took a vote, should we risk the route, we had all day, a SUV and what's the fun of doing what everyone does!!!!

We started @ 745, stocked from the bakery knowing facilities on the way are non-existant, the GPS went crazy and was mostly showing our position in the middle of nowhere, not roads on it!!!! This is the Indore-Nimavar Highway (no-way more or less) and grinded through some of the most rubber-hostile roads ever run by the WOLT. Took 40 minutes to reach double chowki, 30 kms; another 70 kms to Kannod took 90 mts, Kategaon, another 20 kms took 30 mts, so one can imagine the condition of the roads.

The road was mostly single track, lots of gravel on both sides and deep rut-holes in between. In between, you can see patches of double track and gain broken down, buses, jeeps, bullock carts, cattle and trucks clinging on to whatever tarmac is left, only when it comes to a bullied head-on would anyone go off the road to give side. Going off the road means a full-stop, change gears and grind on, we could hear regular thuds of flying stones on the underchasis and flying stones from other vehicles hitting the body and the nuts and bolts of WOLT straining with every swey. Twice I grinded my differentials thro mud, was driving slow and had to stretch my driving skills, the WOLT gave growled enthusiastically, the power of the caged beast flowing strong and biting, never missing a beat. From Kannod the road improved, we took local intell @ Kathelgaon, the best road is thro Harda, means 50 kms more, but was well worth the effort. From Harda on till Hoshangabad, it was 97 kms of farming roads, smooth surface, you would be tempted to rip, but better not, the twisting roads were full of cattle, appearing on blind curves right in the middle and unmoving.

In one of the curves, I was doing about 90, a heard of buffalos were on the side, I had ample space to go thro the right edge and did not decelerate; one of the calfs jumped right in front, the left fender hit it with all of 2500 kgs @ 90 kms, the calf went flying in to the wet field nearby, I dared not stop for fear of the local people catching and saw on the rear view mirror the calf getting up. After 10 kms we stop to inspect the damage to the car, fortunately everything looked in tact. After this hit, I was pretty cautious with cattle, when I saw them, gave them full respect and slowed down as much as possible.

We reach Pipariya, the base station befor the hill climb to Panchmarhi at 2 and have lunch at the only decent hotel here, Alka. Good, clean basic food, fill up with diesel, 2/3 reliable pumps here, off for the climb up, pretty good road from hereon till the entrance gate where you need to pay up for the vehicle and occupants for the number of days, need to also preserve this token for on the way out they check this slip and let you go. We reach MPTDC Hotel Glen View and get into the cottage on the far left corner. The place is chock a block with Gujarat tourists, most people we saw had come by train and hired local taxis from Bhopal or Hoshangabad and were amazed we had driven ourselves all the the way from Gujarat. The food is Ok, but the service is good and there's an exceptionally resourceful Gardner / Mali who will do you bidding including procuring local hill products at an economic price. The hotel guys fixed up a gypsey for the next day @ Rs.1000/- for the entire day next day,including the evening climb up to Duphgarh.

Panchmarhi sight-seeing is devided into 2 sections, into the forest area where you need to take a guide and a gypsay and the non-forest area. We go to their local office, register and take a guide. The Pandav Caves are first, a long climb on the hot sun, worth a climb to see the sights down below, took about 45 mts. Next on is the Rajat Prapat Big fall watching point, a hard trek of 2 kms down, down and down, very taxing; the trek is worth it, you can see a beautiful valley and a waterfall which falls about 300 feet down. We trek into the forest thro a stream to see a series of 5 falls and again a hard climb up to the road point; its 1 pm and we let off the driver and guide for a lunch break till 3 pm.

Sharp @ 3 the driver/guide team wake us up, we were pretty tired with the hard trekking and go for the next phase of Bee fall and Duph Garh. The route to Bee Fall and duph garh is full 4X4 track, we reach Beefall (waterfall creates sound of hoards of bees) to find the place full of people, for a change. The waterfall itself drops about 200 feet to the bottom, lots of people take bath there. We drop the plan to the bottom, takes 45 minutes one way and 1 kms down through rocky terrain, we'll miss the sunset @ Duph Garh. Instead we spend time on the top of the streak which has small falls all around. Take off shoes, dip your feet and just chill for 45 mts and watch people / children taking bath there, perfect for unwinding, one can spend a whole day here reading a book or just go to sleep on the shades and raocks.

The drive up to Duphgarh (highest point in Satpura range) is throu a deep nalla, the river had dug deep like grand canyon, only here its about 5 feet wide the river 100 feet down, another wonder of nature. The whole landscape is domianted by this huge 300-400ft raising structure of sandstone fascade in the shave of a 5 faced serpapnt called "Naghfani". There's a sunraise point too which offers a valley view to Panchmarhi and on the opposite side a sunset point with lots of mountains in the back drop, deep down and all around its thick jungles. Lots of people waiting for the sunset on the steps made for that purpose, our guide says there's a bonus waiting and takes us to the edge of the mountains with tall guard rails; 2 bisons have come out grazing about 2000 feet below, we can see it clearly in our zoomed cameras, I some shots using the guard rails as the tripod, a couple of them come out OK in the fading light. The sunset is an awesome sight there, something to be experienced than explained. There's the mad scramble back to Panchmarhi by all the Gypseys, there were about 20, all jostling for precious space on the narrow mountain down roads.

The guide says goodbye, we fix him for the next day too, to show us around till lunch time, the driver takes us to this shop selling honey, shilajith (a popular afrodesiac!!!!) and other hill produces, Jain Ayurvedic Shop, huge crowd, I sit and watch some slick selling, you have to hand it out to those guys, very good at selling snake oils. We also buy honey, some rub-oils for reheumatic joints for our parents for momentos sake, pretty expensive. The car drops us off @ Glen View.

28-10-09: Plan for the day is to cover other spots on WOLT and by lunch time leave for Jabalpur, 300 kms away, it was good we made this decision, otherwise we would have missed out one of the most spectacular spots of Panchmarhi, not many people highlight this place, Reechhgarh ( evolved from english Ridgegarh).

First stop @ Para Sailing point, Rs.500/- for two, wife and son take the ride, you are harnessed up helmets, knee-guards and gloves on to the chute, when the gypsey starts moving you will have to start run a couple of steps and then the chute lifts you up 100-150 feet, the gypsey picks up speed, runs for 3 kms (this clear strip in the forest is acquired for an airport) and slows down, you come down and land on your feet, exciting 5 minutes for the flyers. This wish completed, we move to the next exciting place, Ridgegarh, not to be missed at all. We trek up 500 mtrs into some raising sandstone ridges in the middle of the forest, the guide takes us down thro the huge rocs to a cavern, there are many caves inside here, all strangely clean, no bat smell, guide says they don't like sandstone!!! Then we walk down into a huge cavern surrounded by towering rocks, sandstone behemoths, many curves beautifully smoothened out hollows like the ones at Grand Canyon, many of them layered, you can see years and years of earth evolving if you look closely at the layering; it was amazing watching these at close range, I stood watching the magic of nature with mouth agape!!!!!!

The most surprising element was many of the curves could have been made only by flowing water!!!!!!!!!!! Flowing water at 3000+ feet above MSL!!!!!! The guide said this was made by SEA water when the continennt was under water!!!!!! Imagine the Indian sub-continent being under 3500 feet of water, so GROSS !!!!

Even if you miss everything else, don't miss the Ridgegarh. Incidentally many seen from the film "Ashoka" was shot here. Try as I might, I could not get more details about this palce, except sketcky details from people, I think this deserves more attention and spotlight, it would be interesting if anyone has information into the formation of the Ridges.

Next on call is the Mahadhav temple, 12 kms away, 11 hairpin bends and some ghat driving. Another trek of 300 mtrs takes you to the Gupt Mahadhav temple, a narrow cave of 30 feet long and 2 feet whide, you have to go in sideways, here's where Lorad Shiva went in when chased by a Demon and became a serpant and disappeared, it's an experience to go in there and see the small Shivling and talk to the Pandit. Then walk up to the Mahadhev temple, a huge cave in a very foresty setting with water dripping through the rocks throughout the year, very primitive and original looking set-up, worth a see. On the way back to town, Priyadarshani Point, named after Late Mrs.Indira Gandhi, is another valley view, if you're up to it, another point called Handyco, a valley view point. By this time we had valley views up to the gills and some more and tell our guide to take us to the last point, Jadha Shankar cave.

We drive thro town to the parking place to the cave temple, the sun's burning hot, I find this empty bench on a tea sho on the shade, tell my wife and son to go do the Darshan and lay down on the bench. This again was one of the most satisfying moments of the whole trip, jusy lying down on the bench, listening to the MP3 songs softly slithering from the back side of the shop (I ended up buying the CD for Rs.25/, a lovely collection of old and new hindi songs), had 2 chais and had the wold to myself for 45 minutes before my family came back to force me away from my shangri-la. The samll pleasures of life sometimes last the longest......
We part with our guide and go back to town for lunch @ Garden Restaurant, its at "0" of Panchmarhi, near Glen View, open, decent and economic food with clean bathrooms.

2 days are grossly inadequate for still virgin Panchmarhi, once the toll roads open up, this place is going to get raped. This is a trekkers heaven with so many trails to follow, so many falls, pools, rivlets, caves, rocks to explore, a tru nature lovers paradise. Rajath Prabath and around 1 day, Bee fall and around 1 day, Duph Garh and around 1 day, Ridgegarh and around 1 day, Gupth Mahadhev, Mahadhev and around 1 day and sundries 2 days, there you have a 1 week plan, truly unwinding.

Start @ 130 pm, check-out at the entry point and downhill till Matkuli, reach there at 220 and take the right turn out thro the toll gate around 3, the next 100 kms was one of the most beautiful drives of the trip, both sides lush sugar-canes crops in full bloom, every villagle we passed through at 20-30 kms intervals dressed up, the Diwali mood still on, houses painted and village fairs be-decking the side-walks, truly India out and shining. We chose this route SH 22 from Matkuli to Jabalpur runs parallel to NH 12, almost the same distance, by-passes Karali and Narshimpur and Joins NH12 near Shahpura.

We had almost 7 hours before sundown and wanted to see country side and life fully which the smaller state highways offer which is lost out on GQ's/ 6 lane roads and NH's, we were truly rewarded, road was smooth 80%, signages decent, toll gate guys gave accurate information and was a bounty in countyr life and landscape. For those having time, this would be the road to take though I reckon NH12 would be faster by an hour. We hit shahpura around 530, bad roads for 35 kms from here, and reach our MPTDC hotel Caltury residency @ 630, had to wrestle with the city traffic. Due to Diwali, the hotel was short staffed, service lacking and the available staff chasing whatever tips they can corner and visibly drooling at the sight of anything that resembled a wallet!! The rooms were good, we had the A/C and fan off, still the contraption made a noise thorughout like a jet engine; it was like sleeping inside a 737!!!!!!!!!!!!

=========

Last edited by ramkya1 : 12th November 2008 at 13:14.
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Old 12th November 2008, 13:09   #21
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Pictures and pictures.......
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Old 12th November 2008, 14:35   #22
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More pictures...... this is takin a long time to load...
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Last edited by ramkya1 : 12th November 2008 at 14:47.
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Old 12th November 2008, 15:01   #23
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The stretch from Indore to Panchmarhi...... filed to load... here's another attempt, hope this work.s
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Last edited by ramkya1 : 12th November 2008 at 15:07.
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Old 12th November 2008, 15:24   #24
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6 more photos and we're done for this episode 2...

Need time to write the next one, story of Jabalpur, Bandhavgarh... Bandhavgarh was the most exciting for us, forest, forest and life on a Gypsey for 2 back breaking days..........

Lots of typhos on my accounts.... please excuse, doing it all between gaps during my work day and loading ASAP..

Was thinking of reducing the story, narrative part, since there's interest in the story, I'm plugging on with it.......... OK?

Phew....... looks like it all loaded OK.
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Last edited by ramkya1 : 12th November 2008 at 15:37.
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Old 12th November 2008, 16:11   #25
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Nice pictures ramkya1!

It is a relief watching those empty roads (I am in NCR ] and peace-giving natural beauty.

Cheers!!!
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Old 12th November 2008, 16:54   #26
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Nice shots, still waiting for the erotic ones. LOL
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Old 12th November 2008, 17:09   #27
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very nice write up ,as well as pics keep it coming
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Old 12th November 2008, 17:17   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esteem_lover View Post
Nice shots, still waiting for the erotic ones. LOL
Will be a long one by the time I write the Khajuraho account....
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Old 12th November 2008, 17:24   #29
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Wow, Ramky, just saw this (unfinished!) epic today!
Absolutely amazing pics and what a write-up!
Enjoying every bit of it!
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Old 12th November 2008, 17:48   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anupmathur View Post
Wow, Ramky, just saw this (unfinished!) epic today!
Absolutely amazing pics and what a write-up!
Enjoying every bit of it!
Thanks Anupji, that eggs me on to write, I was about to shorten it to bullet points.

A TBHpn called in to say MP details need to be written, Sudiptho wanted it to FLOW ON and I agree with AshishPallod, MP gave that feeling of "Hindustan Ka Dil", needs a little explanation, its a great drive destinaiton. You have to drive through to experience the beauty and variety of the land.

==========

Last edited by ramkya1 : 12th November 2008 at 17:49.
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