Last updated on 28 June 2021
Whether it is for a long weekend, to escape the summer blaze, or simply to take a short getaway, hill stations have always been the undeniable place to be for Indians. We can rattle off names of popular hill stations in India like Mahabaleshwar, Mussoorie, and Ooty, but there are plenty of hill stations to be found all around us. In this article, we focus on the hilly abodes and cool climes of Madhya Pradesh, the landlocked state in the heart of India. Madhya Pradesh is deeply interwoven with the history of India, and most of its popular attractions are historical.
We know you’re tired of being stuck at home due to the Covid pandemic, but we strongly advise caution when traveling and avoid it if possible. But if you’re taking all the necessary precautions and want an escape into the hills, read up about these hill stations in Madhya Pradesh.
All passengers entering Madhya Pradesh are required to download the Aarogya Setu app. Those arriving by flight will be thermally screened and must carry a negative RT-PCR test not older than 48 hours. 14 days of institutional quarantine is mandatory. No matter the rules, it’s in the best interest of yourself and those around you to follow social distancing norms carefully, and insist on wearing masks and using sanitizers.
Pachmarhi is perched at an altitude of 1,067 meters above sea level and is known as the Queen of the Satpuras. It is home to rich flora and fauna, lush green forests, and a healthy range of biodiversity, leading it to be a part of a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Touching the sky has never been more possible as Mount Dhupgarh, the highest point in Madhya Pradesh, is located in Pachmarhi. It is also famous for 5 sandstone caves, said to have given shelter to the Pandavas when they were in exile.
The mist-shrouded hilltops and pleasant climate are breathtaking in their own rights, but you haven’t truly experienced Pachmarhi if you don’t visit its many waterfalls. Apsara Vihar or Fairy Pool looks like something out of a book and has a single-drop waterfall that plummets its waters over a cliff, called the Silver Fall. The Bee Fall is a rough-and-tumble waterfall, making its way down a rock face instead of gushing over a ledge. The Duchess Falls is created by a single stream that is divided into three cascading falls, each as pretty as the last.
Getting To Pachmarhi
The nearest railway station to Pachmarhi is Pipariya, which in turn is connected to Jabalpur. The closest major airport is in Jabalpur, around 260 km away. It is well connected by road to Bhopal and Jabalpur, and the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation operates luxury buses that take around 8 hours to reach Pachmarhi.
Amarkantak is an abode of revitalization and peace. Nature lovers can soothe their souls among the green trees, many of which are known for their medicinal properties. Stroll among these natural healers, replacing the urban jungle with its all-natural counterpart. When there’s a pandemic in full swing, being away from people and with nature is the best way to keep safe. Head to the waterfalls scattered around the hills for your sense of adventure or simply walk along the trek trails that weave their way through the forest.
Amarkantak is primarily known as a pilgrim town, as the holy river Narmada has its origins here. In terms of tourist attractions, head to the meeting point of three mighty rivers – the Narmada, Sone, and Johila. And of course, visit the many temples dotted around the place; whether it is through God or through nature, you definitely will find peace in Amarkantak.
The closest airport to Amarkantak is the Jabalpur Airport, around 230 km away. The drive to Amarkantak from the airport will take around 5 hours. The nearest railhead is in Pendra Road, a mere 17 km away while the nearest major station is in Anuppur, 50 km away. Amarkantak is well connected to major cities in its proximity, and there are bus services from here that ply to Jabalpur, Rewa, and Shahdol.
The only problem as such with hill stations is that you can never truly get them all to yourself.
There are always other people interrupting your perfect sunrise photo, always the sound of other voices cutting through the peaceful night air. If you want to truly experience an escape, not just from the urban rush but from the tourist hordes, head to Tamia. This is a gem hidden away in Madhya Pradesh and is 81 km away from the much more popular Pachmarhi.
Tamia will steal you away with its serenity, its untouched forests and trails, and its British-era houses. There are a few trekking trails here that lead to places like the Zingara Waterfall and Anhoni Village. Looking out across balconies and cliffs gives you a breathtaking view of Patalkot, the horseshoe-shaped valley that lies below Tamia.
The two airports nearest to Tamia are in Nagpur (185 km) and Bhopal (220 km). While the nearest railway station is Parasia (45 km), the more major destinations of Nagpur and Bhopal are located 210 km and 220 km away respectively. Since it is relatively hidden and off the beaten path, you don’t need to worry about the thronging tourist crowds. If you’re planning to get here by bus, the nearest bus station is in Chhindwara, 67 km away.
An ancient city tucked away in the hills of Malwa, Mandu is definitely one of the best hill stations in Madhya Pradesh. It was originally founded by Raja Nhog in the 10th century and was later conquered by Muslim rulers in 1304. Today, this city demonstrates its rich heritage in the form of its architecture, seen in the several mosques, Jain temples, and palaces. The Jama Masjid is a sight worth seeing, as it is a fine example of Pashtun architecture.
Due to its strategic prowess and natural defenses, Mandu was an important location for each of the rulers that occupied it. The Mandu Fort is the best example of this. Also make sure you visit the famous Baz Bahadur’s Palace, built in the 16th century. From here, you can get a look at Rani Roopmati’s Pavilion, located right below the structure. Baz Bahadur and Rani Roopmati were said to be lovers that once ruled over the land. Today, couples, lovers, and families all can enjoy the beauty that awaits at Mandu.
The Indore airport and railway station are the closest to Mandu, situated around 110 km away. From here, there are bus and taxi services that can take you to Mandu, which you will reach within 2.5 hours. Considering that it is a fairly well-known hill station, it shares good road connectivity with major cities in its proximity like Indore, Jabalpur, Gwalior, Bhopal, Hyderabad, and Raipur.
One more among the popular hill stations in Madhya Pradesh, Shivpuri is known for its natural and historical importance. Ages ago, the dense jungles rich in biodiversity were the preferred hunting grounds for the Mughal rulers. The city is said to have been called home by the Kacchawaha Rajputs till around 1804, after which the Scindias ruled over it. Its importance runs deep all the way up to the 20th century, as this was the location where the freedom fighter Tatya Tope was hanged till death.
Apart from enjoying the pleasant weather and breathtaking scenery, make sure you drop by Chhatri – boasting a Hindu-Muslim blend of architecture, it was built during the reign of the Scindias. Yet another marvel left by them is the Madhav Vilas Palace, their summer haven in Shivpuri. Nature lovers can head to the Karera Bird Sanctuary, home to over 245 species of birds.
Gwalior Airport (Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia Air Terminal) is the nearest airport to Shivpuri, and it takes 3 hours to get there by road. Shivpuri is frequented by tourists and has the convenience of having its own railway station. It is well connected by rail and road to major cities like Delhi, Indore, and Bhopal.
Pachmarhi, also known as the Queen of the Satpuras, is easily the most popular hill station in Madhya Pradesh. Located close to the Satpura National Park and Pachmarhi Wildlife Sanctuary, this hill station is resplendent with flora and fauna as well as soul-soothing waterfalls.
There are quite a few hill stations in Madhya Pradesh, and here are some of the best ones:
Of course! Madhya Pradesh is a state that’s full of verdant hills with trekking trails, dense forests that are alive with a variety of birds and animals, making for an outgoing traveler’s delight.
Thanks to its location right in the middle of the country, Madhya Pradesh has earned the nickname of the ‘Heart Of India’.
Mahabaleshwar is easily the most popular hill station in Maharashtra. The Sahyadris surrounding this hill station and the strawberry farms around it make it quite appealing.
Some of the other famous hill stations in Maharashtra are Lonavala, Lavasa, and Bhandardara.
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WHO recommends self-quarantine for 14 days starting from the last day of possible exposure to Covid-19. This also applies if you have traveled to a place that has had widespread transmission.