I could barely believe my eyes the paw marks were large enough to confirm the sightings. Just before my curiosity drew me to the spot where I was watching birds, few men had looked down and then passed nonchalantly ahead.
I was not in a Tiger land, I was at the edge of Pachmarhi Township buzzing with tourism activity. It was early in the morning I was on trip with my clients whence I met Puneet the ambitious owner of a busy Resort named Golf View.
|Tiger Pug Marks|
The trip was supposed to be a test to prove my birding skills, and we were on foot. This was against the advice Puneet stressed upon. In the rugged landscape of steep jagged cliffs draped with tropical greenery and the serene ambience of Pachmarhi my favorite hill resort in Central India, I decided not to be on a noisy vehicle.
"Birds shy off the jeeps and this no way to spot avian," I said. " I am ready for a long haul". The resort owner said nothing. He order his jeep to follow us at a distance.
The spirited terrain is uniform the sudden eruption of cliffs at short distance can be jarring at first sight for the uninitiated but nevertheless soothe the surprised nerves. Outside the town limits the activities come to a stop (visit was in off season) and the World comes to a standstill as if frozen back in time.
Pachmarhi accords a feeling of an esoteric charm whence you are alone and the geological formations mesmerize at on gaze. Impressive by all means the panoramic spread at steep heights cannot be encountered anywhere. You have to see to believe.
Being a wildlife sanctuary and now part of Satpura Tiger Reserve the resort is a heaven for wildlife enthusiasts as well as holiday makers on spree. The place is popular as a romantic getaway with cold winters and not so hot summers. Couples arrive here in large numbers to initiate and get familiar with conjugal rituals in the cool, salubrious confines of the resort with plenty of spots for complete isolation.
Some of the old hotels and bungalows date back to the British Raj in India and initiate reminiscence of the era of Raj a turbid rule nonetheless full of romantic grandeur created by the Sahibs.
Crowds wash off fun of being in an enchanting place hence off season visits are rewarding still. After a demanding and a lack lustre trip to Satpura Tiger Reserve Pachmarhi was a whiff of fresh air. On very first day I heard Malabar Blue Whistling Thrush, the refreshing long drawn sonorous song unforgettable. Nothing beats it even a robust breakfast with delectable menu.
We stopped for a while, the big cat paw prints were fresh but I believe it gone past from the spot. A couple of days back it had been seen by many near the very spot. It was an ageing cat pushed off by a rival perhaps.
|Golf View Hotel|
Stunned by a predator so close, I hesitantly decided to carry on with the walk. But it was short lived. The next warning was that of the sloth bear which I was told can surprise you in the bush. They can deliver nasty scars when alarmed.
We continued on the jeep. Panoramic spread of hills enshrouded in green, and the jagged bare outcrops are everywhere but each with a differing countenance. You can never tire out believe me.
Mesmerized to hilt we continued towards Dhoopgarh which literary means a fort draped in sunshine. Yes this is the highest spot in Central India. The drive goes through nerve wrecking steep and acutely twisting curves and you need to hold yourself calm. The deep ravines support tropical herbs and shrubs nourished by gentle sunlight that enters the inaccessible valleys, and the cool confines. Some of the exotic herbs found here have medicinal properties yet undiscovered. Botanists revel in exploring these inaccessible dangerously steep places in the resort.
At the top of the hill sits a rest house lost in a bygone era. The was the place for revelries during the Raj. Now visited out of curiosity by love birds and the ubiquitous tourists it is a pointer to British architecture in India. The structure that the British built exhibited grandeur in simplicity they are enchanting without fail and blessed with quiet ambiance difficult to find in the modern architecture. No esoteric carvings no domes.
As we roll down the hill memories of past visit surface in the bewildered labyrinth of my mind. The town once a place steeped in serenity was busy catering to crowds of rancorous tourists and the single roads full of cars and smoke. Most of the old hotels face stiff competition by new arrivals but still retain their esoteric charm. I used to love visiting the bar at Old Block in the evenings.
Thanks to the notification the town is unable to expand. Mercy! Out beyond the town limits there are plenty of geological formations and wilderness full of birds and wild animals. The big mammals are elusive but the natural formations are not at all disappointing.
We did not see the tiger but nevertheless it was memories springing back of days whence I used to visit with my extended family members.
Pachmarhi Hill Resort is at five hours drive from Jabalpur Airport, and little less distant from Bhopal Airport the Capital City of Madhya Pradesh. Reserve your accommodation in advance and schedule the visit in summers with a bit less of a crowd. Do not worry summers are tolerable here.
A number of MPTDC hotels with good enough location and modern amenities are the best accommodations to seek. But book well in advance.
Read Pristine Pachmarhi
Uday is a blogger and offers Seo + Content For Digital Marketing Services.
He teaches digital marketing (SEO) in Jabalpur.
He freelances as a naturalist/birder at Kanha National Park. he loves to write on travel.
He can be contact at: