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|
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|
|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|
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|
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.