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Kawadia Pahad - The Hill of Wonder

There’s a difference between a good destination and a great one! The good might please you temporarily, relax your nerves and ensnare you by impeccable hospitality & heart warming views. But the great asks for passion, risk and sweat, only then it unveils itself and when it does…you get stunned. You think. You wonder! Kawadiya Mountain is one-of-its-kind site that charms you with the breathtaking view of countless pillar-like stones. Rare, exotic and innumerable! The stones are 12 feet long, 2 feet wide and mainly hexagonal in shape. Piled up in a certain array, they form a trail of one kilometre. The stones produce sound when you beat on them and each stone makes a different sound. The local people claim to hear soft, ringing sounds from stones on certain nights.
The legend:
Folklore insists when Bheem wished to marry river goddess Narmada, she chided him to stop her flow by the next dawn using his valor. Only then she would submit to his wishes. Bheem procured these stones but failed to reach the river. There’s reportedly no other place in the world like this. Quiet, virgin and untouched, Kawadiya Hill indisputably tops the ‘unsung’ must-see sights.
How to reach:
Kawadiya is 120 kms from Indore. It can be accessed by hiring a cab or private vehicle. No direct conveyance is available.
Where to stay:
No accommodation facilities are available in Kawadiya or nearby. Ride back to Indore for overnight stay.

National Chambal Sanctuary- Gharial Alert!

NCS or Ken Ghariyal sanctuary would be your plate of cookies if you’re an adrenaline junkie and want to experience something different from ‘stereotyped’ risks. Sighting fierce crocodiles, is no less thrilling than your biggest adventure aspirations. And you can manifest these adrenaline rushing fantasies at Ken Ghariyal!
Being one of its kind sanctuaries, it’s maintained by three states – MP, UP and Rajasthan. Sheltering rare aquatic lives in Chambal River, its keynote species are critically endangered Ghariyal, critically endangered red crowned Turtles and Ganges Dolphins. It’s also famous for sighting various species of birds, Hyena, etc. It’s a bird watchers paradise as it is listed as ‘Important Bird Area (IBA)’ IN122. Travellers are allowed to spot Crocodiles under guidance, in a boat with pre-appointed driver. This sanctuary falls on the tri-point of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
How to reach:
The nearest city is Morena (30 km) The nearest airport and railway station is Agra (70 km) The sanctuary can be assessed by road from both the places.
Where to stay:
The sanctuary has good accommodation services via, hotels, resorts of all ranges.

Deri Bori Lake: Pristine, Hauntingly Beautiful

This lake falls in the list with a promise of giving you a raw memorable experience and amending your definition of ‘haunting’. Lying at the centre of vast, unexplored woods, Deri Bori Lake is
strictly for those who love to stumble upon silent places than following the map. Reaching here is quite a challenge and once you do, don’t be surprised to find nobody’s company. The lake offers
a splendid view and eerie quietude for that ‘niche’ of travellers who don’t just see but ‘feel’ the destinations. Editor’s advice- Beware of jackals and foxes. Staying after sunset is not advised. Prefer to ride on bikes due to bad roads.
How to reach:
Indore ,the nearest railway station and airport, is 70 kilometres away. Deri Bori village can be accessed by cab or private vehicle from there.
Where to stay:
No accommodation facilities available. Ride back to Indore for overnight halt.

Ghughuya Fossil Park: Ready for time travel?

Spread over seven villages in Mandla district in the heart of India, Ghughuya national park is one of the few plant fossil parks on the planet. For palaeontology and geology aficionados, Ghughuya National Park is nothing less than a box of lost treasure. The park’s fossils range from 40 to 150 million years old which include long extinct pteridophytes and gymnosperms. Some of the fossils date back to the era when the whole land area was a super continent named Gondwanaland.
How to reach:
Easily accessible from the nearest railway station and airport, Jabalpur. (87 km)

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Panna: The Diamond City.

Famous for its diamonds all over, what you probably don’t know is that Panna also makes for a great touring spot. Panna remained Gond settlement until the 13th century. The witness to its affluent history- Padmavatipuri Temple, stands ostentatious amidst the boundaries of the town. Adorned with divine lustre, the temple cannot be missed when touring the heart of India.

How to reach:
Well connected by road. Regular bus services are available from Indore, Bhopal Gwalior, Agra, Nagpur, Jhansi, etc. The nearest functional airport is Khajuraho (45 km) Nearest railway station is Satna (75 km)

Where to stay:
Hotels and other accommodation services of all ranges are easily available in the town.

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Bhimbetka: Dive in the Stone Age

Declared a ‘World Heritage Site’ in 2003, Bhimbetka rock shelters are an archaeological site of Paleolithic age. It has 500 painted sandstone shelters. The rock shelters and caves of Bhimbetka exhibit paintings and carvings which tell the tale of early man in Stone Age. The paintings depict dancing, music, horse or elephant riding, decoration of bodies, etc. Some of the shelters were inhabited by H erectus around 100,000 years ago. Whereas some
show signs of being inhabited by the early man around 30,000 years ago. Bhimbetka is a true paradise for archaeology lovers!

How to reach:
Located only 45 km away from Bhopal, reaching Bhimbetka is easy.

Where to stay:
Hotels for every budget are available at Bhimbetka.

Shivpuri: Gateway to Bygones

Literally meaning ‘City of Lord Shiva’, though it may not look like but Shivpuri is a very ‘happening’ place. It has an interesting past. Once the woods of Shivpuri were the hunting grounds for Mughal emperors, including Akbar himself. Later it became the summer capital of Scindia dynasty. Today the city is studded with a number of places to invest your vacations at! Old graceful Scindia Chhatris embellished with marbles are a visual treat. Madhav national park, Son bird sanctuary and Bhura Kho are other destinations that couldn’t be missed. Truly the crown of the heart of India!

How to reach:
By road Shivpuri is well connected to cities like Delhi, Agra, Gwalior and Bhopal. Direct trains are available for Shivpuri from the major stations of India. Nearest airport is Gwalior, 100 km away.

Where to stay:
Shivpuri has a variety of hotels and lodges to choose from!!

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Satpura National Park: Embrace the nature!

Discovered first by Col James in 1857, Satpura National Park gets its name from Satpura mountain ranges. Highly rich in bio-diversity, it has varied species of flora and fauna. Due to its high altitude, the weather remains pleasant throughout the year. Spread over 524 sq km, the fauna mostly comprises of Tiger, Leopard, Wild bear, Gaurs, Black buck, Spotted Deer, Porcupines etc. Satpura is probably the only national park in India where you can enter the wildlife reserve on feet! It allows walking in the wild in a group of four, accompanied by a trained wildlife expert. So… Are you game?

How to reach:
Satpura is well connected by road. Its nearest airport is Bhopal. (170 km) Nearest station is Hoshangabad.

Where to stay:
Satpura offers a number of resorts and lodges to choose from.

Image Source: wikimedia

Maheshwar: Best Bank Around!

Popular among foreign travellers and situated on the bank of holy river Narmada, Maheshwar has one of the best river ‘Ghats’ in the state. The one that even Shahrukh Khan couldn’t overlook while finding a location for his film ‘Asoka’. Thus, one of the significant scenes of the movie was shot here. A place of historical significance and ancient temples, Maheshwar is a must visit, if you’re fond of
rivers and banks.

How to reach:
Indore is the nearest station and airport. Well connected by buses from Indore.

Where to stay:
Maheshwar has a variety of hotels and resorts to fit your budget!

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Jheel Gaon: Monsoon Paradise

Ideal place for an adventurous yet safe vacation during Monsoon. Located near Gwalu Gaon and surrounded by deep forest, this L-shaped region has beautiful waterfalls, hills on one side and
lake on the other. Shrouded in a lush carpet of greenery, Jheel Gaon is a paradise for flora lovers, if visited in monsoon. One could easily spot Stags and other Wild Animals on the way. Don’t forget to visit Choral Dam, Okhleshwar Ghat and Jayanti temple nearby.
How to reach:
Situated near Indore – Khandwa highway, Jheel Gaon can be accessed by road. Nearest airport is Indore (50 km) Khandwa (70 km) is located on the Central Railway and is well connected to all the cities by trains.
Where to Stay:
Reasonable hotels and lodges are available in Barwah (20 km)

Probably you have heard the line ‘Hindustan Ka Dil Dekho’ in a popular TV commercial insisting on exploring the heart of India, Madhya Pradesh. No wonder that places like Pachmarhi, Omkareshwar, Kanha, Sanchi, Khajuraho Bandhavgarh, etc are the main ‘arteries and veins’ of  this heart. There are many places, unknown yet incredible, right in the centre of incredible India. Mind taking a glance at them before planning your next trip?

Swapnil Gaur

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