A weary jaded soul
stumbled onto heaven
cocooned by maternal cliffs
and stone faced men
sworn to secrecy
by an intuitive foliage
That is my take on a little gem known as Tamia, carefully concealed by the fame of the nearby larger hill station Pachmarhi.
We took the trip on a whim. Woke up one sunday morning feeling brighter than usual – grabbed a bottle of water and started driving in no particular direction. All we wanted was to get away from the sultry Nagpur in August. An hour into our aimless drive we realized we seem to be on the route to Tamia in the Chindwara district and decided – what the heck? Let us go check it out.
After a 180 kilometer drive, which the vehicle seemed to negotiate like a hot knife through butter thanks to the extremely well maintained roads, we arrived at a sleepy little town where everyone seemed keen to give directions to lost travelers. People seemed to assume that either you wanted to head to the nearby Patalkot or Tamia’s illustrious cousin Pachmarhi. When faced with the shocking truth – that we actually wanted to be right where we were – they seemed nonplussed. Much later though I came to the conclusion that these people were shrewder than I first thought. Perhaps they were intentionally guiding away tourists so that the untouched beauty of Tamia remained just that – untouched.
We parked and walked up to the PWD guest house which offers the most spectacular view of the Tamia valley with the Satpura mountain range in the background. A light fog seemed intent on shrouding the beauty but the vanity of the valley refused to allow it to succeed. The temperature dropped around us making me hug my stole closer and I still don’t know if the slowing of my breath was courtesy the cold or the view. Miles and miles of green – a sight that never ceases to amaze the people who live in concrete jungles. If you concentrate hard and manage to eliminate the PWD guest house behind you – you can almost start to believe civilization hasn’t touched this place.
When we finally were able to tear our eyes away we took a stroll down to what the locals call – Chota Mahadev. A little cave temple situated a reasonable amount of perspiration away. Though there are steps down the mountain for the most part – there are areas which have to be negotiated the old fashioned way – hands and feet grasping for a grip. A tribe of monkeys gave us a proper demonstration of how it is to be done – sadly we humans had to do it our unskilled way. But as you descend 1.5 km into the belly of the mountain – the steep cliff faces on one side with the inviting valley on the other gives you the uncanny feeling like you are the only person in the whole world. At the bottom a small cave, enshrining a shivling, rewards your efforts with cold water courtesy a small waterfall.
Famished by our exertions we made our way to the homely MP Tourism guest house which offers a limited variety of well prepared vegetarian food though a tongue tickling chicken curry can be whipped up on request. Though this particular day we returned back after lunch – on our subsequent visit to Tamia we stayed at the guest house which can booked online quite conveniently. The rooms are adequate. No frills but clean. Since there are only 4 rooms ( with another 4 being constructed) – if you go with a big group you can have the whole place to yourself.
On a subsequent trip to Tamia we drove down to Patalkot located 1500 feet deep in the valley (Patal – means Deep)which is about 30 min away and rumored to still be inhabited by cannibalistic tribes. Sadly or maybe gladly we saw none. The inaccessibility that fostered the existence of these tribes no longer exists. Truth be told – the poor chaps may be extinct – more likely the result of our city dwellers cannibalistic tendencies. The Patalkot area affords beautiful views and simple hikes as well as a bit of climbing for those who would like to test their fitness levels.
If Tamia is a not your final destination then at least it can be a worthy stopover en route to Pachmarhi. And who knows you may just decide not to go any further after all.