Hidden deep within the heart of India are few secret destinations that are not well known or famous but more beautiful than some of the more frequented sights. This blog is dedicated to 2 such gems that I stumbled upon while exploring the ancient temple city of Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh.
The first of these are the Raneh Falls, also called 'Grand Canyon Of India'. Situated about 20 kms from the village of Khajuraho, one can only make this trip by hiring a cab/auto. These falls form a natural water fall along the river Ken, downriver of which sits the Ken Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary.
The history of these falls is intriguing to say the least: Long ago, when a volcanic core in this region was more volatile, it created a gorge of igneous rocks that vary greatly in their texture & colour. The 5 km long canyon consists of more than 5 igneous rock formations, Dolomite & Granite being the most prominent. As a result of which, a delightful range of colours from black to yellow to pink are visible.
The countless swirls and ebbs of the water reminded me of churning butter. The magic of this place lies in the awe-inspiring power of water, earth and a little bit of obscurity. When planning a visit here, shoes, hiking clothes & cameras are a must! :-)
In sharp contrast to this Niagara of a waterfall, are the quiet & serene Pandav falls, situated about 35 kms from the village. Located on a tributary of the Ken river, the water falls from a height of about 100' into a placid lake nestled amid the fringe forests of the Panna National Park.
Believed to be the resting place of the famed Pandava heroes from the epic Mahabharata during a short period of their exile, it became notable for this very reason & was eventually named after them. Proof of their inhabitance can be observed in the caves around the lake; they resemble changing rooms, prayer & meditative spaces, etc.
Since not many people know or visit this place, it is clean, calm & removed from the bustle of civilisation. Water trickles incessantly down from the rocks above the caves; having been purified through natural processes, it is said to possess healing properties. Tastes sweet too!
After happily soaking ourselves in the freshwater shower, we explored the carvings on caves, paid respects to the 5 stones kept as shrines in honour of the Pandavas and revelled in the stillness of the atmosphere.
They may be opposites, but both waterfalls exhibit their own charm and we can only gaze in wonder at another of nature's marvels...This is Khajuraho's well-kept secret - a quaint temple town mired in history, wrapped in the dense greenery of surrounding forests, always there for the next adventurer to discover.
Images edited by Ichigo Kurosaki