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~The way to Patal-lok~

The Underworld

In this world that we live in, we are surrounded by magical stories. Of course these stories come from magical places; places with strong beliefs of the past. One such place is Patalkot (Sanskrit for “very deep”), a village in the Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh, India. A village so deep, that even the sun rays cannot touch it.

But what makes it magical?

They say that Prince Meghnath went to Patal-lok (the underworld) through this place, after his worship of Lord Shiva. Not only this but it is also believed that in the 18th and 19th century the ruling kings had built a secret tunnel which connected Patalkot to Pachmarhi in Hoshangabad district.

After 4 in the evening the Patalkot valley plunges into complete darkness, everyday.

This horse–shoe shaped valley is surrounded by giant hills and there are several pathways to reach the villages located inside the valley.

Patalkot is one of its kinds, as this place filled with mesmerizing beauty remains uneaten by urbanization. The village was such a distant wonderland that people were unaware of its existence, up until recently it was discovered by the ‘civilized’!

The village is spread over79 sq.km. at an average height of 2750-3250 feet above Mean Sea Level, with a population of only 2012 which reside in 12 villages and 13 hamlets.

“The place was hard to find but it was worth the efforts. It was breathtaking,” says Prakhar Deep Jain, a documentary film maker.

The mythological and historical connections of Patalkot aren’t the only features making it famous, but it is also known for the excellent work of its tribes in making medicines from herbs. So far the government did not even recognize the tribes of Patalkot. To earn a living, these tribes started collecting minor forest produce and sold it in the market.

Some of the stunning herbs that these tribes work with, include Addhajira (Chaff Tree), Bach(Sweet Flag), Adusa (Malabar nut), Ajgandha, Soorankand (Corm), Kalmegh (Andrographis), Narbod/ Satavar (Wild Asperagus), Kachnaar (Variegated mountain ebony), Punarnava (Spreading Hogweed), Shivlingi, Khatua (Sprout leaf plant), Van Karonda, Van kela, Maida Lakdi, Brahmi (Indian pennywort), Safed musli, Hadjori, Jangali Piyaz (Indian squill),etc.

This magical place does not only surprise you with its abundant beauty and peace but also touches your heart through the harmony of its tribes.
Do you ever think to run away from the madness of this world; to travel an uncliched place?
Then run towards the winsomeness of the deep valleys of Patalkot!

Vibhushi Patwa

For mptravelogue.com

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