Walkabout town in Pachmarhi to Pandav caves, Madhya Pradesh Photo Journal
Lotus flowers filled this lake and others during our trip in December to Pachmarhi. The Pandav caves, set at a height with a scenic view of manicured gardens added to the floral bonanza.
Garden setting with Pandav caves at a height in the background
A side chamber in Yudhishthir’s living area had a seat carved in the wall, and felt great for meditation.
On our first evening at Pachmarhi, we took a walk to Jatashankar Caves, and next morning it was time to see the Pandav caves. The jungles of Madhya Pradesh have many places which the Pandavs may have touched during their 13 years of exile (Mahabharata). The caves of Bhimbetka near Bhopal also get their name from Bhim, the third Pandav. Though the caves themselves belong to Paleolithic times, but the famous paintings are from the Mesolithic period and later. Bhimbetka is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The jungle is said to be Khandav van, mentioned in the world’s longest epic – Mahabharata, of which Bhagwad Gita is a small part.
The five caves have been hand-carved out of the hillside itself. The biggest suite of rooms belonged to the eldest Pandav - Yudhishthir, the guide said. A side chamber in Yudhishthir’s living area had a seat carved in the wall, and felt great for meditation.
On climbing the roof of the Pandav caves, we found ourselves stepping on the remains of a brick stupa. It felt like sacrilege to wear out the last remains of it with our footsteps! The guide explained that the bricks underfoot were a harbinger of new technology in construction practices. Evidently so – On the foundation of hand-carved hillside homes stood an indigenous brick and mortar stupa to commemorate man’s improving skills. The caves were used by Buddhists monks as residential and meditation quarters when the stupa was a living structure.
Travel guide to Pachmarhi
Road map to Pachmarhi
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Distance from Pachmarhi
Mumbai – Pachmarhi: 864 km
Bhopal – Pachmarhi: 211 km
Piparia railhead is 47 km from Pachmarhi on the Mumbai-Howrah mainline, from where buses and taxis are available for Pachmarhi.