Having stayed in Central India for the better part of my life, I admit that people visiting from other parts of the country do have their prejudices. After all, staying closer to the Equatorial line has its own natural challenges.Harsh summer heat and water-shortage often make it an unusual choice for life settlement, let alone tourism.
But, it also does come with its own stroke of good luck, especially in the monsoon seasons. The otherwise intermittent, sometimes ephemeral water bodies fill up with rain waters and the weather comes with an unexpected cool breeze in the air. It is one of those breezes you would love over the a.c in your car and are best enjoyed with your car window shades open. On the other hand, as September steps in, the festivities are on a high, as they keep pouring in one after the other, just like the rainfall. All this makes a perfect setting for a monsoon getaway here. And there are some really hidden offbeat escapes in Central India, that do exist on the map, but are yet to get discovered by the ‘traveler’s eye.
Monsoon Delight: Tamia Reservoir, Madhya Pradesh
Satpura National Park is among the largest Wildlife Sanctuaries in Central India, only after the Pench Wildlife Sanctuary. But it may so happen on a rainy day traveling there, that you might take a small diversion and yet not get lost, for you will find yourself having discovered the Tamia Reservoir, a lesser known destination on the off-beat road to the Satpura Wildlife Sanctuary.
Nestled along the boundaries of the Satpura Wildlife Reserve, the Tamia Reservoir comes with an all the year round weather that is unlike the rest of the region. But, it is monsoon which makes Tamia a must-visit destination. Dense forest cover, vast and calm stretches of lakes, Tamia is a perfect place to go off the grid without being discovered, for all the touristy reasons. Steep hill slopes, misty clouds floating through the skyline, splendid greenery adds to its tranquility.
Patalkot: The Valley of Herbs, Madhya Pradesh
Not very far from the Tamia Reservoir is the tribal village of Patalkot, that once used to be secluded and undiscovered. Today, it is an iconic model village that contributes in its own small way to the environment and the society with its unique collection of medicinal herbs that are grown on this valley. Located at a height of about 3000 feet, Patalkot can be reached over a picturesque road trip of 78 km from Chinndwara district of Madhya Pradesh. Home to the Bharia and Gond tribes, the village comfortably hid itself from the rest of the world for several years.
An initiative by Dr. Deepak Acharya PhD in plant sciences and a herbal medicine expert, he discovered the innate beauty and the hidden talents of the people of this village and extended it to the benefit of the rest of the mankind. The people of this village specialize in extracting medicinal value from the various species of plants that is useful to cure of almost all kinds of diseases. Off late, with its discovery,though, it faces with the intermittent threat of natural exploitation, deforestation, and misuse of rightful skills and information of the local tribals for petty business interests. Not only is this place worth enough a visit, but in a way, it is one of the best ways to contribute to responsible and sustainable tourism, while you also discover a path to heal yourself.
Hanuwantiya: The Venue to Jal Mahotsava
If you are still wondering where the venue to the Jal Mahotsava is, then here it is for you. Hanuwantiya, the venue for the most talked about festival of Madhya Pradesh is located 144 km from the royal city of Indore and 76 km from the Omkareshwar Temple. The closest place to the venue is Khandwa Station .The Jal Mahotsav scheduled to begin 15th October 2017 and last until the beginning of the year 2018 is going to be a venue for adventure enthusiasts for all ages.
Although it is at the fag end of the monsoon, and advancing into the beginning of winters, October is the time when the weather is at its pleasant best in Madhya Pradesh. The 80 Day Event sports activities on land, air and water such as Paramotoring, jet skiing, speed boating, Scuba Diving, Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, Hot Air Ballooning, Kite flying, ATVs, Ziplining and Archery to name a few. The island sports iconic tent accommodations to enjoy activities all the day long until campfires at night.
Mansar, Nagpur, Maharashtra
The Orange City of Nagpur not only boasts about the tastiest oranges of the country, but also of an unparalleled beauty during the monsoons. The city is surrounded with small pockets of lakes and natural reservoirs which might not appear significant during the other seasons; but let the rains step in and the lakes and water bodies evolve into a pristine beauty that simply leaves you awestruck.
Just 50 km north of Nagpur city is the temple town of Ramtek, a spiritual abode nestled on a hill top. Mansar is a historic village and gained importance after the important excavations that took place here in the year 1997-1998, which dated back to the 5th Century kingdom of Pravarapura, the capital of the Vakataka king Pravarasena II . The ruins also has a water reservoir on one side that adds to the beauty of this archaeological site.
Nawegaon National Park, Gondia, Maharashtra
Forming the eastern part of Maharashtra, Nawegaon National Park had its decent beginnings in the 18th Century. Located in Gondia, at a distance of just 160 km from Nagpur, lies at the common boundary between the states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. The Nawegaon- Nagzira Tiger Reserve is among the critical Tiger Sanctuaries of the Central Indian Landscape. The park is home to more than 250 bird and about 350 plant species and is an important contributor to the eco-tourism in the region.
Come monsoons and the Nawegaon Dam and Reservoir converts itself to its idyllic best, pristine and serendipitous! The banks fill up with hordes of bird species, splashing their wings on the calm waters. Although the Wildlife Sanctuary remains closed for the period until March, the lake and its vicinity definitely forms a pristine escape for nature lovers and those who truly like to connect with nature.