Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lesser Known Places in MP - Patalkot

Hidden from the World deep into the depth of mother Earth Patalkot is a unique land. One densely forested there has taken place lot of denudation. Anyway the places is enchanting as I have come to understand from reader reviews. People who have been to Patalkot speak a lot about it being a strange esoteric place the excels as a holiday destination.

The destination is about 56 km from Chindwara near Tamia Ghat on the way to Pachmarhi Hill Retreat. The depression is about  1200 feet deep from an average height of Tami which is 2750 to 3250. The horseshoe shaped valley is reachable by the cris cross of roads leading to the pit.   The valley has an area of around 79 sq km and is inhabited with tribal living in small hamlets.     

The Pachnmarhi Biosphere Reserve encompass Patalkot and its lesser known inhabitants.  The area is picturesque and worth spending time there. It is an exciting opportunity to learn about the endemic tribes living below he depth of the Earth. The Gond and Bharia tribal culture, their rites and rituals are always an exciting find. Another interesting element is the herbal medicine used by the inhabitants. The area is rich in biodiversity and varying depths and moist sun less quarters encourage growth of herbs and shrubs with medicinal properties. Micro flora like lichens, algae, fungi and moss grow in wild abundance.      

Patalkot is about 78 km from Chindawara town on the way to Parasia 28 km. Continue to Tamia about 30 km whence you reach Bijouri village before Tamia take a right turn and continue driving for about 16 km till you reach Patalkot. 

The journey takes 2 1/2 hrs fro Chindawara where the accommodation hotels are in good numbers. Your night halt will be in this town hence make an early start and come back early evening.

Pachmarhi Hill Retreat  is an interesting destination and a wildlife sanctuary.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday, September 2, 2011

Madan Mahal - Out Post Enchanting

It is a small fort situated in one of the highest hills (500 meters) in Jabalpur City. The fort is more of an outpost strategically placed in order to accord view of the Garha Kingdom of the Gond Dynasty. Today it stands as a silent sentinel over the city. Stripped out of its ancient glory it is a mute testimony of the valiant tribal history of Raj Gonds. The Gonds who built the fort somewhere in 10th AD where often called Rajput Gonds with lineage mixing with the Royals of Rajasthan.

The ancient temple of Godess Sharda Devi is perhaps as old. Both the temple and fort complex are built of granite the constituent of the hill. The temple is now cemented and the ancient feel is missing. The fort is placed on top of a huge boulder and contains two chambers one meant for the rulers. It is said that a tunnel lead to the large bath in the front such that the Rani could reach it  unseen.

The structure was also the pleasure palace of Madan Singh 10th Gond King. The fortress surprises you with its size, but nevertheless it was fighting fit to repel many invaders through its life time. Not at all magnificent as the Red Fort at New Delhi it brought to heels invaders from there.  

The complex is near intact including the stables but the gold is missing. There where supposed to be two gold bricks in hidden somewhere in the complex a portion that is under the shadow of the sun. Thousands have searched for the pot of treasure but none could find it yet.  

The outpost and numerous Hindu temples built by the Gonds exhibit the craftsmanship of the people of the past. But what intrigues most besides the amazing craftsmanship and masonry are the tunnels that formed an interconnected network of escape routes. However no traces have been found of the incredible feat. It is a myth or fact nobody knows.   

The spectacular view of Jabalpur City is what astounds the visitors most. The verdant hill ranges and quaint townships is suggestive of how spread out this town is. It is by all means a green city with much less pollution and congested the least The city is placed inside the cauldron of forested hill ranges perhaps frail end of the Satpuras.      

A series of steps lead to this fortress, on the way is a small reservoir built for the thirty soldiers. The structure looms large as you near the final steps and catches your eye in awe. The Gond kingdom was situated at Garha near by. 

The last ruler Rani Durgavati queen of Dalpat Shah died fighting the Mughal Asaf Khan in an unequal battle at Narrai near Jabalpur. As defeat became imminent she sacrificed her life, her son Vir Narayan also died in the battle of Narrai. Her martyrdom is celebrated in India on June 24th. 

With the death of Rani Durgavati the kingom sadly fell to the mughals followed by the Marathas and eventually the British.  

The monument is much visited by tourists and business travelers to Jabalpur. It is near to the station and can be approached using a taxi service. The city is important as trading center, education center, cantt and defense factories. It is well connected by rail with all major towns and with New Delhi and Mumbai by air. Jabalpur is the best access point for MP State Tourism in Madhya Pradesh in Central India. Wildlife Heavens    Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Satpura, Pench National Parks are visited from this city. Pachmarhi and Amarkantak hill retreats are close to JBP.  

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Romancing the rains

For me it is nostalgia that dooms over as rains come. The pitter patter of drops falling on dead leaves, old tin roofs, window panes and that which accompanied by loud raucous croaking of mating amphibians creates a unique symphony. This song and dance recital of rain drops may have inspired many a composers in the World.

The overflowing nullahs bring fish, frogs, water snakes, crabs and turtles to your doorstep. They fall into the clogged drains and eventually perish during the dry spell. The nesting birds celebrate as newborns emerge. This is a period of plenty and the earthly creatures eagerly await for procreation to take place every year. The inundated fields augur hope for a bountiful paddy crops for teeming hungry millions in Asia.

Unfortunately this cannot be experienced in a concrete jungle. Only those fortunate enough to live in natural surroundings  are regaled by this celestial orchestra. Few bother about the sights and smell of the rain on Earth. For Indira's rampage at time volatile and frightening has to be borne as a necessity with a snigger and discomfort. The ever persisting cold, humidity and dark skies sometimes depressing for days is all that a monsoon is.   

The rain falls on eagerly awaiting dry and thirsty earth. The aroma of Earth exudes from the depths of its impregnable belly - the perfumers in India call it Itr a Gil. For nature lovers the musky perfume augurs fresh vigor and vitality. The carpets of green and verdant ranges are an enchanting sight for miles over - slush and potholes notwithstanding.     

Monsoon is a period of birth and regeneration the nourishing drops fetch new life and repopulate the land. It cleanses the muck and human waste - shit - a year long stagnation a much needed succor. The life giving rains cannot be experienced in stifling  hub of urban settlements. Take a monsoon holiday in hills or go for a rain drive and enjoy Indira's celestial bounty.