Sunday, 9 October 2011

Beautiful Bhedaghat

Rajasthan was in my mind for the Dussehra break vacation. Ideal time to check out forts and sand-dunes, I thought. However this time we were delayed in planning the holiday and the un-availability of train tickets forced me to evaluate alternate destinations. I guess destiny had different plans for me when I chanced up on this small place called Bhedaghat, while browsing through the MP tourism page (here). Dhuandhar waterfalls and marble rocks appeared promising. So the tickets were booked for the Gondwana Express which departs from Nizammudin station in Delhi at 15:25 pm and reaches Jabalpur next morning at 7:15 am. Bhedaghat is a small village located 22 km from Jabalpur.

We booked the MPSTDC hotel Marble Rocks for 3 nights starting Oct 4, 2011. The online booking page suggested it was a peak season period. Waterfalls must be at their best after monsoons, I thought, I had made a perfect timing for this one. A couple of days letter, I came across information which indicated that November onwards is a better time to visit. I called MPSTDC office and was told that boating in the marble rocks area starts only from Oct 15. Further the water of the falls is likely to be muddy at this time. This made me upset. I found it weird that MPSTDC was charging extra high for the period between Oct 1-10. However, the booking terms indicated cancellation was not possible. So we decided to go ahead with the vacation. Perhaps I will spend more time sightseeing Jabalpur, I thought to myself.

We hired an auto from Jabalpur station to Bhedaghat for Rs 250. The roads were broken in most of the places. As we entered the hotel, I liked the appearance of the place. Entered the lobby and caught a first glimpse of the marble rocks. It was a fascinating sight. We found the place reasonably neat and well maintained. They have all of 11 rooms and have recently added 5 luxury tents. Their swimming pool is nearly done and expected to be operational in a couple of weeks. From the comforts point of view, it was a nice 3-star accommodation, but the location was unbeatable - a picture perfect place.
View from Motel Marble Rocks

In the evening, we went to look at the Dhuandhar falls. We walked to the place though it is possible to get a shared-auto which charges Rs 5 per person. The path to the falls, goes through a shopping area where you can buy things made out of marble stone. My daughter was completely bowled over by the variety, so we did some quick shopping, promising her to do more when we returned back or visited again on the next day. We took the rope-way and went to the other side to get a different view.  The kids loved the ride in the rope-way and we enjoyed looking at the falls from a height. The rope-way also helped us transport to the other side of the river, which offered much better views. The falls themselves did not have much height, but the flow was very strong, water was almost violently forcing its way. We saw rainbow getting formed at the waterfall. I am told that the water will become clear green in color and the falls will gain height as the level of water in the river goes down, in the next couple of months. Locals told us that this year the monsoon has been so heavy that the Bargi Dam water had to be released 4-5 times in the last month.

Local guys were selling 'ber' sprinkled with chat masala. Me and my husband picked some. They were lovely.

Smoke from the Dhuandhar Falls
Rainbow formation

In the morning, we spotted a few interesting birds of prey. We suspected they were eagles but were not sure. Later we figured out they were Egyptian vultures. We also spotted grey hornbills, magpie robins, white eye-browed wagtail, green bee-eaters, laughing dove, spotted dove, sparrow lark, kingfishers, yellow bellied sunbirds and some more.
Egyptian Vulture on the tree in the centre


Laughing Dove
Knowing that there was no boat ride available to explore the marble rocks, we took a path down from the hotel. We enjoyed the walk and the scenery from two view-points. The rest of the day was reserved to take a trip to Bargi Dam, which is about 45 km from Bhedaghat.
From the view point of the path

We hired a cab and started at 3 pm. It took us an hour and a half to reach the place, thanks to the broken roads. We took a speed boat ride while waiting for the cruise. Booking for cruise starts only after 20 people show interest in going for the same. At around 5:30 pm, the cruise started. It was a pleasant ride looking at the sun setting behind the Narmada water.  By the time we finished, it was getting dark and we decided to get back as we had to cover a long journey in the not-so-good and not-well-lit roads. Thanks to the bad roads, we had a flat tyre on the way back. Luckily a cycle repair shop was close-by and that guy somehow managed to fix the tyre after working on it for 40-45 minutes and we were back on the road again.

Sunset Cruise at Bargi Dam

On the way back to the hotel, I kept sulking about the wrong timing of the trip. I was finding the place nice in general but nothing had touched my soul. Back to the hotel, a surprise awaited. I was told the boating was going to start from next morning. Was it an answer to my prayers?I wondered. Next morning, there was a huge crowd at Panchvati ghat where the boating starts. It is easy to walk down to this place from the hotel. It had become quite hot around 11 am but I was very excited about the boat ride. All we could get to ride in was an ordinary shared boat where everybody was told to pay Rs 41. Somebody told me the actual rate is 31 but they have increased it looking at the huge demand. The boat ride made a huge difference to the vacation. It was lovely looking at the different colors of the marble rocks - white, black, golden, blue and pink. Going through the water with wall like structures made out of marble rocks on both sides was an altogether new experience. Words fail me in describing the beauty of the place. The guide gave an interesting commentary in Hindi, using interesting rhyming words flavored with humor. This is the place where lots of movies have been shot. The song 'Raat Ka Nasha Abhi' from the movie Ashoka has been shot there.

Different colors of the marble - golden, white, black, grey

Another view of the marble rocks

Spotted the Egyptian Vulture again while boating
In the evening, we went to Dhuandhar falls again. Kids wanted to repeat the rope-way experience. But what I was dying for was the sun-set boat ride in the river to look at the marble rocks again.

When we reached the ghats, we were told the last boat for the day was leaving but the seats which were left did not look inviting. I casually asked them if we could get a boat for our family. Yes, the option was available now. He asked us for Rs 400 and we agreed. This boat was much better and even had chairs, we were seated comfortably. Sun was setting and the moon was out already. This was one boat ride, I would remember and cherish for a long time. It was a very pleasant time of the day and I felt completely immersed in the place. We have got the information that this place has boat rides on full moon nights. That would be a terrific experience but this seemed like a close next best option. A couple of months later, the water would no longer be muddy, it would be clear and green in color. We would certainly like to re-visit this place once more, probably a year later in the month of Feb-March. The most ideal time to visit this place is around the time of Purnima (full-moon night) to have the boating experience in the night.

By the time we returned, it was getting slightly dark. We even spotted a few owls on top of the rocks. When we returned close to the ghats, we saw lot of big fruit bats flying around. Sharing the beautiful place with the owls and bats on the ride, made it an even more beautiful experience.

Reflection of Rocks in the water

Flavor of the place at dusk

Next morning, I walked up to the falls again, all by myself. I took long walks and explored the marble rocks even more. The more I saw them, the more I felt charmed by their beauty.

Another view of the marble rocks
So far my perception of natural beauty was limited to the sea, hills and forests. I got introduced to natural beauty in an altogether new form. Geological beauty, as my husband likes to put it. At times, the place looked too beautiful, too perfect to be true.

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, they say. This was one beauty which I feel, is likely to stay in the soul of the beholder.

7 comments:

  1. Sounds lovely:) BTW does arjun appreciate nature and all. samaira just runs around

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  2. He absolutely loves two things about the trip-
    1) Travel by train
    2) Stay in a hotel

    He loves exploring the hotel room - the lights, fixtures and you won't believe bathroom fittings :-)
    Loves eating in the restaurants (taking after his dad)

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. lovely place. and pic are also looking perfect

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  5. I'm from Jabalpur, and Bhedaghat is the place where we used to take our friends and relatives who visit us for vacations. So I've been there numerous times since I was a Kid.

    I'm glad you like the place and are planning to visit it again. I was not aware that there are boatrides in the night for Purnima. But I got a chance to go for a ride very late at night, and it was almost full moon. It was the best boat ride ever.

    Do plan your trip around Full moon, you will love it.

    Th water is muddy soon after monsoon, but once it settles down the falls are true to their name... dhuadhar... sometimes you even wonder if its milk or water, as its that white.

    Too long for a comment... I just got excited and carried away... hope you don't mind!

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  6. Thanks Kranti.

    Anisha - So glad to read your comment. We really loved the place - at some moments, it almost appeared unbelievably beautiful. Nice to connect to you :-)

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  7. Thanks for sharing this lovely post. I really liked it. I would like to tell you that When in Jabalpur, do make day trips to nearby places like Roopnath that houses one of the 12 Shiva's Jyotirlingas, or to the Pench National Park to observe the tigers, Leopards and Wolves in the wild. Check out best hotels in Jabalpur.

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