There are many hidden gems in Pachmarhi, and our plan on day one was to cover four places.
- Duchess Fall (A waterfall inside Satpura Tiger Reserve)
- Irene Pool (A small water body, again inside the forest area)
- Reechgarh (Some caves where locals believe that a giant sloth bear used to live)
- Club Hill (Also called Pachmarhi hill - a great place to view sunset)
Please note that every place in forest area requires permit from forest department. This can be obtained from Bison Lodge, and costs roughly around 1200 INR per day which includes a local guide person. Gypsy will have to be booked separately, which roughly costs 1500 INR per day. This gypsy can be shared by 6 people.
We got the required permits and started our expeditions for the day!
The gypsy took us 3 kms inside the forest from where the trek started. There are roughly around 900-1000 steps leading to the waterfall. We started descending into the forest with stunning views all around. Around 45 minutes later, we reached the destination and yes, it was a beautiful sight. The water was gushing with reasonable force, despite the summer season. The cool wind rushing despite the heat of the hour was the highlight of the day
After an enjoyable swim in the waterfall, we made our way back to the top. The climb back up was grueling, but we made our way and reached the gypsy.
The next destination on the list was the famous Irene Pool, also called as Ramya Kund. This is also a hidden pool in the forest, but the climb here is not as steep as Duchess Falls. A descent of roughly 100-150 steps brought us to the pool. The downside of this being an easy trek was that it was full of people. We had our lunch here, and back up to the gypsy.
The next destination was Reechgarh, a set of caves not far from Irene pool. The word reech in local language means a bear. As mentioned above, the myth says a huge sloth bear once lived there. Presently, the caves are used as shelters by the wild animals when it rains. Half an hour is sufficient to explore the place and click some touristy photos.
This is also called as Pachmarhi hill. Take a left from the Protestant Church and the road will lead to the hill. The climb will take 15 minutes. The view at the top is beyond description. The sun sets into the mountains which is a sight you shouldn't miss if you're in Pachmarhi. We witnessed the magnificent sight and returned to the hotel, tired but satisfied.