The Magic Of Patalpani Waterfalls In Madhya Pradesh

The 300-metre-high waterfall is surrounded by dense forests and hills. One of the best views is from a heritage train ride that dates back to the British era
Patalpani Waterfalls In Madhya Pradesh
Patalpani Waterfalls In Madhya PradeshShutterstock

Madhya Pradesh, also known as the "heart of India," is a state known for its rich history, cultural heritage, and breathtaking natural beauty. From exquisite centuries-old crafts to stunning hill stations, Ramsar wetlands, and ancient palaces that will leave you mesmerised, there is something here for everyone. While popular tourist destinations such as Khajuraho and Gwalior draw visitors from all over the world, there are several hidden natural gems in Madhya Pradesh waiting to be discovered. One such is the cinematic landscape of Patalpani waterfalls.

Waterfalls, Hills, And A Heritage Train

Located in Mhow Tehsil of Indore district in Madhya Pradesh, the waterfall is formed by the Choral River. The waterfall is set in idyllic surroundings with dense forests and hills. The undulating terrain leads to the 300-metre-high waterfall, cascading beautifully down rocky hills into a kund, or pool. Head to a viewing area with railings to get the best view of the galloping gush of water.

The intriguing name comes from the depth of the natural pool that forms at the bottom of the waterfall. It reaches "patal" (hell). As a result, the fall is known as Patalpani, where Patal means "under the earth's crust" and Pani means "water" in Hindi.

The Heritage Train Ride

Take a ride on the Patalpani-Kalakund heritage train that comes through this area. It runs through the picturesque Patalpani-Kalakund section of Madhya Pradesh's Ratlam district, with multiple tunnels, sharp turns, and bridges. The train was introduced in 2019 to preserve the British-era Patalpani-Kalkund metre gauge rail line. The metre gauge rail line, however, has been converted to broad gauge. The route is 9.5 kilometres long, and you get a stunning view of the waterfalls on the ride. The chair-car train only runs on weekends. Find more info here.

What To See And Do

You can visit Choral Dam, a popular picnic spot. Built around the Narmada River's backwaters, surrounded by clear waters, green trees, and small hills, it is a good place to unwind. Boating is also available here. Choral Dam and Patalpani are approximately 16 kilometres apart.

An Asian openbill at Sirpur Lake
An Asian openbill at Sirpur LakePrashant Singh Jat/Shutterstock

Located around 31km from the waterfall, Indore is known for its rich cultural heritage, culinary delights, and architecture. You can also explore Sirpur Lake which was built by the ruling Holkars for water supply to Indore more than 130 years back.

Alternatively, head out to the ancient fortress town of Mandu, also known as Mandavgad, which has a captivating history, awe-inspiring architecture, and panoramic vistas.

Best Time To Visit

The monsoon season is ideal for visiting Patalpani waterfall. The rain turns the landscape a vibrant green and the flow of water increases dramatically during the monsoon. You can also visit in the winter. It is best to avoid summer as the waterfall is reduced to a trickle.

Where To Stay

You can stay at Choral Resort, which is managed by the Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (MPSTDC) and located around 12 km from the fall. Or you can base yourself from Indore which has a plethora of stay options, from budget to luxury. For instance, check out the MPSTDC's Malwa Resort and the Malwa Retreat.

Getting There

The nearest airport is in Indore, which is 40 kilometres away from the waterfall. The closest train station is located on the Dr. Ambedkar Nagar Railway Station (MHOW)-Sanawad metre gauge train line at Patalpani railway station, which is 200 metres from the falls. You can also take a train to Indore station, which is well connected to India's major cities.

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