Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve, the name Pachmarhi is derived from the Hindi words “Panch” (five) and “Marhi” (caves) – the famous Pandav Caves. It is believed that these caves were built by the five Pandava brothers of the Mahabharatha era during their thirteen years of exile. Various other caves around Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve have many ancient stories carved onto them as rock paintings, some of which are even 10,000 years old!
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Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve
The Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve has witnessed high population growth, with Gond tribes contributing for 50% to 90% of the tribal population. Gonds live in the forests and have a special connection to the reserve. Korkus tribes also live in the Pachmarhi area and have introduced the cultivation of potatoes and have used honeycombs to produce honey in large quantities for commercial use.
- The Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve covers three districts of Madhya Pradesh
- The total area is 4987.38 sq. km.
- Designation Date of Pachmarhi Biosphere reserve by UNESCO: 2009
- It envelops three wildlife conservation units:
- Bori Sanctuary (485.72 sq. km),
- Satpura National Park (524.37 sq. km)
- Pachmarhi Sanctuary (417.78 sq km)
- An area of 1427.00 sq km comprising Satpura National Park, Bori and Pachmarhi Sanctuaries, has also been notified as Tiger reserve under Project Tiger in August 2000.
- Satpura National Park constitutes the core zone and the remaining surrounding area of serves as the buffer zone.
- Core area(s): 1555.23 Sq. Km.
- Buffer area(s): 1785,58 Sq. Km.
- Transition area(s): 1640,91 Sq. Km.
- The Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve has a unique place in the history of the management of the forest of India.
- The Indian forests experienced scientific management and conservation in 1862 which was started by demarcating Bori Reserve Forest, which lies in Bori Sanctuary.
- This resulted in the establishment of the Forest Department in India for the first time.
- The system of fire lines to control and manage the destructive annual summer fires were also first laid out in Bori Reserve Forest.
- The Satpura hill ranges run east to west, and the Pachmarhi Plateau is situated in the centre of the area.
- The general topography of the area is hilly undulating terrain and at some places, it is precipitous having deep gorges particularly along Mahadev hills in Pachmarhi plateau.
- There are steep slopes in the north of Pachmarhi hills and the south, it is straight exposing the bare rocks.
- Some of the distinct hilly areas are Jambudweep, Handikho, Mahadev, Chauragarh, Dhoopgarh and Bee Fall. Dhoopgarh with a height of 1352 meters is the highest point in the State of Madhya Pradesh.
- Mahadeo hills are made of soft rock that is sandstone which is cut into deep gullies by water erosion, creating spectacular waterfalls on the Pachmarhi plateau.
- The Archean Phyllites and Schists, the Jurassic, Permian Gondwana sandstone formations of Bagra, Pachmarhi series, Cretaceous, Ecocene, Denwa, Deccan trap sills and Dykes and recent Alluviam are found in the area.
- Typical monsoon climate is experienced in the Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve with three distinct seasons summer, rainy and winter.
- The Pachmarhi plateau remains cool in summer and receives heavy rainfall in the rainy season, whereas the low lands of the Narmada basin are very hot in summer with less rainfall.
- Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve land comprises the following features:
- Forest (65.2%): Of the total forest cover,
- the closed forest constitutes 85.3%,
- open forest 8.2%,
- degraded forest 4.2% and
- forest blank is 2.3%.
- Agriculture (27.7%),
- Water bodies (4.2%),
- Wasteland (2.5%) and
- Builtup land (0.5%)
- Forest (65.2%): Of the total forest cover,
- It is a natural junction of the two most important timber species Teak and Sal.
- The Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve forest can be broadly classified into three major types:
- moist deciduous
- dry deciduous
- central Indian subtropical hill forest
- The Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve area is very rich in plant diversity as the combination of different climate and soil nature at various altitudes give rise to luxuriant vegetation, which is amongst the richest in central India.
- The occurrence of the relict population of Sal (Shorea robusta) in the teak predominant area is a unique ecological phenomenon in the Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve.
- This area is the upper limit location wise for the growth of Sal. As well as the western limit of Sal growth, thus making the area unique.
- The occurrence of subtropical hill forest at Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve also makes this reserved area unique.
- The occurrence of deep gorges on the Pachmarhi plateau has created numerous waterfalls, marshy places, perennial streams and hills of various elevations.
- Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve geomorphology and vegetation give rise to various habitats and ecological riches that support rich wildlife. Most of the Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve is covered with dense forest and it becomes an ideal habitat for wild animals.
- Large mammal species in Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve include tiger, leopard, wild boar, gaur, chital deer, muntjac deer, sambar deer, and Rhesus macaque.
- The endemic fauna of Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve includes chinkara, nilgai, Indian wolf, Indian gaur, wild dogs, Indian giant squirrel, and flying squirrel.
- Submergence of the Tawa reservoir and the Denwa river provide ample habitats for fishes, crocodiles and otters.
- Pachmarhi plateau vicinity consists of a large number of cave shelters of great archaeological interests, contained in them are several rock paintings made by the local tribes.
- Some of the archaeologically important ones among them are Mahadeo, Catacomb, Jatashankar, Pandav caves, Mandiadeo. The painting depicts a warrior with sword and shields, bows and arrows and also elephants, tigers, panthers, Cheetals, dogs, peacock, horses etc. Paintings of women are less common than men.
Two important Hindus festivals observed Pachmarhi plateau with great fanfare. Nagpanchmi is observed in Shravan (July August) and Maha Shivratri is observed in March. A huge number of pilgrims come to attend these festivals.
- The Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve area comprises 622 villages. It is largely an agricultural area with rural settings with the dominance of forest indicating its hinterland situation.
- Agriculture is the mainstay of the population in and around Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve.
- Working in the forest area provides a supplementary source of income for the villagers in the vicinity of the area. The village houses here are generally constructed with muds and wooden poles.
Download Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve Map
What is unique about Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve?
There are two things which make Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve unique
1. The occurrence of population of Sal trees (Shorea robusta) in the teak predominant area is a unique ecological phenomenon in the Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve. This area is the upper limit for the growth of Sal. As well as the western limit of Sal growth, thus making the area unique.
2. The occurrence of sub tropical hill forest at Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve also makes this reserve area unique.
How many national parks are there in Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve?
Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve envelops three wildlife conservation units:
1. Bori Sanctuary (485.72 sq. km),
2. Satpura National Park (524.37 sq. km)
3. Pachmarhi Sanctuary (417.78 sq km)
When did Pachmarhi declared Biosphere Reserve?
According to UNESCO official website Pachmarhi Biosphere reserve was UNESCO Biosphere reserve list in year 2009.