Pandav Caves and Falls near Panna National Park

The offbeat gem of Pandav caves and falls

If you are an adventure junkie or like to explore lesser-known places, Pandav Falls and Caves is the place to consider. Nestled in the heart of Panna National Park, this site is an enchanting destination where history meets natural beauty. Located near the famous Khajuraho temples, this serene spot offers visitors a perfect blend of adventure, tranquility, and intriguing history.  

A look into the past

Pandava Waterfall cascading into a pool
The beautiful Pandav waterfalls

Pandav caves and falls got the name after Pandavas who stayed here during their exile in forests. So as the legend goes, the Pandavas from the epic Mahabharat had spent a significant part of their exile in this part of the Panna forest. They took shelter in the caves and the river flowing through the forest was a source of water and food for them.

Chandrashekhar Azad statue at Pandav Caves
Azad’s statue to commemorate the freedom movement

Also, a bit of pre-independence history is associated with this site. A secret meeting of freedom fighters under the leadership of Indian freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad took place at Pandav caves on 4th September 1929. A statue of Azad was later erected here on 15th August 2010 to commemorate the meeting.

Why is this part of Panna National Park unique?

Stairs leading to pandav caves and falls
The flight of stairs towards the cave site

When offbeat places are protected by the authorities, that too in the middle of a forest, it is intriguing, isn’t it? For us, the natural beauty of this place was awe-inspiring. As you park your vehicle in the parking lot near the Azad statue, you will embark on a short trip down a flight of stairs. Mountain rocks on the right and a glimpse of the waterfall on the left felt absolutely surreal.

pandava falls in Pann tiger reserve
The waterfall is visible while descending the stairs

Meanwhile, our official guide kept narrating stories of how tigers were often spotted in the past here, how the place was flooded in rainwater in 2023, and how the biggest tigress of Panna National Park took refuge in the Pandav Cave once. To add to the thrill were the verdant foliage, forest creepers, and water streams disappearing into the ground.        

After the descend

pandav caves and falls in panna forest
Soaking in the beauty of the Pandav Falls

As we descended the stairs and reached the caves, the guide told us that the original caves were shut for safety reasons; especially after a tigress occupied the cave with her cubs. Next to the cave is the waterfall cascading from a height of 30 meters into the pristine Ken River. However, nobody is allowed to jump into the river and the river pool is bordered by railing. We soaked in the view of the waterfall, breathing in the fresh air.

The hunting Lodge of Pandava Caves
The hunting lodge with natural shower

But don’t be disheartened. An abandoned structure under the rock cavity is the main attraction here. This was said to be the hunting lodge of the king in old times. Further, a small water stream flowing through the rocks comes down like a rain shower in front of the structure. It was a much-needed respite from the heat and humidity.  

The watershower outside the hunting lodge in Pandava Caves
The water shower outside the hunting lodge

As nature lovers and photography enthusiasts, we enjoyed being in the place, studying the rocks, soil, tree-roots and discussing climate change with our guide. The polite guide, a young 20 year old Rakesh, tried his hands on photography and even suggested good poses for pictures.

Pandav waterfall site
Picture taken by the young guide

Left our piece of heart while leaving

Enjoying the forest vibe
Enjoying the serenity of the forest

Before the harsh noon sun made us uncomfortable, we headed back by 11.30 am. The pristine river, rich diverse flora, unique patterns on sedimentary rocks, and the caves seeped in mythological significance, we loved everything. A part of us did not want to leave this heavenly place. Oh not to forget, ascending the flight of stairs is slightly challenging.

How much time to spend here

Rocks of Pandav Caves in Panna Forest
Studying rocks was so exciting

Being avid nature lovers, we spent about 1 hour here. You can spend 30-45 minutes to max 1 hour enjoying the water shower and nature’s beauty. The site opens at 9 am and shuts by 6 pm.

Location and how to reach Pandav Caves

The Pandava Waterfall and Caves are located on the Khajuraho-Panna Highway. The nearest major town Khajuraho, is well-connected by road, rail, and air. From Khajuraho, it is a short drive of about 30 kilometers (18 miles) to the Pandava caves. You can also club this place with your trip to Orchha which is 185 km from here.

As the site is located within the Panna National Park premises, there is no way to trek or hike in the forest. You can drive to the spot or hire a cab.

Best time to visit Pandav Caves and Falls

As it gets hot by noon, the best time to visit Pandav caves is in the morning. November to March is the ideal time to visit Panna National Park.

But if you like monsoon and are ready to take an adventure ride during rains, visit during monsoon or post-monsoon seasons (July to October) when the waterfall is at its fullest. The lush greenery and the gushing waters create a picturesque and rejuvenating environment. However, please check with the authorities before planning your visit during the monsoon season. The site received heavy floods in 2023 and was shut to visitors during that period.

Entry fee details

The Pandava Caves and Falls charges Rs 50 per person as the entry fee. The guide fee is Rs 100 per group/solo traveler. Whether you want guide services or not, paying the guide fee is compulsory. Yeah, that may sound unreasonable and like an enforced rule, perhaps this is how the authorities are generating local employment.  Also, the parking fee for vehicles is around Rs. 50

Pandava Caves and Falls in a Nutshell

Pandava Waterfall and Caves offer a unique blend of natural beauty and historical allure. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or looking for a peaceful retreat, this destination near Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh promises a memorable experience. Though there is nothing much left to see in this place, it is still interesting to witness the waterfall and the wonderful biodiversity in pure form.

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