There is a lot to explore in Madhya Pradesh but not hill towns. Except Pachmarhi. It is hilly, rustic, not very well-known, and a bit different than some of the known Indian hill stations.
Pachmarhi is a gem for someone looking to explore a rustic hilly area. Since it is enclosed with Satpura Tiger Reserve, there is a restriciton on the construction activities. Hence there isn’t much in the town apart from the central area where there a few budget guesthouses, eateries, and a market. Some peaceful retreats are situated on the periphery. In the market you can shop for local produce and tribal crafts, of course there is also some usual run-of-the-mill stuff.
When we say Pachmarhi offers a rustic holiday, it’s truly rustic. So, if one is an armchair traveller, this place needs to be given a miss. First off, you can’t travel in your cars or even ones hired from outside the town. Only local gypsies are allowed, the kind that are used in jungle safaris. They come with a guide. And a lot of paths are bumpy and vehicle can’t reach the ponds and waterfalls so there a lot of short treks to be taken from where the vehicle stops. You can also opt for longer treks, which needs some preplanning and support from the local operators; your hotel or retreat can help you find a contact. Unless you are going for longer treks, 2-3 days are enough to explore Pachmarhi.
Where to Stay
If you are on a tight budget, the central part has a few guesthouses. And in the surrounding areas there are mid-priced retreats most of which offer stay in cottages. Even the properties operated by the state tourism department are pretty clean and decent.
If you can’t speak Hindi, it would be a bit of challenge communicating with anybody in Pachmarhi because most of the people won’t understand you.