About Kathotiya – The Hidden Jewel of MP’s Forests

Exploring the hidden sights and sounds of our town is always a delight but none of the trekking places in Bhopal holds the level of allure and varied adventures like Kathotiya. Hidden away in the forests near Kolar Dam, this quaint little village is seems completely otherworldly – dense forests, a gurgling jungle steam, the rocky adventurous terrain of Vindhyachal, caves and rock paintings and one of the most challenging Rappelling surfaces in Bhopal. 

From hidden caverns the size of football fields, rock shelters that were once home to ancient human tribes, rock art like Bhimbetka, a natural chimney for adventurers to climb, waterfalls, ponds, a raging river in monsoon – Kathotiya has it all and so much more! And even more exciting is the untouched tribal culture of the land where people still follow age old lifestyle practices in a land that is still untouched by modern civilization. 

So if anytime in your life, you wish you could step back into the and experience the simple pleasures of life, make a beeline for Kathotiya – the hidden jewel of MP’s forests and the most exciting trekking place in Bhopal.

About Kathotiya

History of Kathotiya

It is believed that Hajji Nawab Hafiz Muhammad Hamidullah Khan, the last Nawab of Bhopal presented the land of Kathotiya as a gift to his daughter Qamar-i-Taj, Taj Dulhan, Nawabzadi Rabia Sultan Begum Sahiba. The tribal village in located on this land was therefore, named ‘Rabiyabad Kathotiya’. The place was a favourite hunting ground of the royals in its time and a home for ‘bheel’ and ‘bhilala’ tribes that live in quaint little hamlets scattered all around the jungle here. The name ‘Kathotiya’ was derived from the geological structure of the valley – its bowl or ‘katora’ like shape lends this land its name – Kathotiya.

Flora and Fauna of Kathotiya

The natural beauty and wildlife here is what makes trekking in Kathotiya such an immersive experience. The jungle here mostly comprises of Sagaun (teak) trees. However, you can also find Arjun, Mahua, Tendu, Achar, Kosam, Karar and many other species in the forest here. Kathotiya also serves as a natural habitat of various wild animals including Sloth Bears, Tigers, Leopards, Foxes, Jackals, Porcupines, Neelgai, Sambhar, Cheetals, Barasinghas, Gray Langurs, Macaques, deer and more.

Spiders in Kathotiya - Junoon Adventure
Cave Exploration in Bhopal

Geology of Kathotiya

The most impressive feature of this place happens to be its interesting terrain. Kathotiya exhibits a geology that is typically characteristic of the Vindhyachal Ranges. Undulating highlands followed dotted with sudden falls/valleys or ‘kho-s’ as they are locally called, are a common feature here. The land is riddled with unexpected caves and rock shelters, some big enough to allow over a 100 people to hide inside. These unique features are what make hiking in Kathotiya a challenging and exciting activity. This amazing terrain is also the reason why wildlife has flourished here, providing apt shelters and hiding places for apex predators to survive.

Rock Art of Kathotiya

The rock shelters of Kathotiya has been prehistoric homes of many nomadic tribes, whose existence is proved by the rock paintings left behind by them in many caves here. The paintings have been rendered in red natural dye as well as white and green pigments and depict hunting scenes, horned animals, people dancing in groups and scenes from the life of these hunter-gatherers. This attraction itself is enough to plan a day out for trekking in Sehore as you explore the amazing rock cut shelters of cavemen and nomads in Kathotiya.

Rock Paintings at Kathotiya - Junoon Adventure

Nature Attractions & Adventures around Kathotiya

Kathotiya Jungle Camp

A scenic abode set next to a seasonal river with gorgeous farmland and a dense tree cover all around – camping in Bhopal simply cannot get any better than this! You will love roughing it out in the wild here at this beautiful campsite.

Kathotiya Views

The defining feature of any Vindhyachal trekking zone – undulating highlands that offer scintillating views of the valley all around. Imagine sipping tea up here, as the setting sun throws up a cascade of shades on the horizon with the dense green foliage moving with the wind like waves in the sea – This is life at its very best!

Kathotiya Rock Paintings

Check out rock art left behind by our ancestors who inhabited the caves in Kathotiya centuries ago. These rock paintings have been dated to around 5000 to 11000 years old and are at par with what you will be able to witness at Bheembetka.

Kathotiya waterfalls and rivers

Every monsoon, the river systems of Kathotiya come alive with activity. Cascading waterfalls down from the hills around, forming 2-3 gorgeous 20-30ft waterfalls and pools and flows into deep ravines cut into the land by the river. This phenomenon makes Kathotiya perfect for monsoon adventures like River crossing in Bhopal.

Kathotiya tribal villages

The secluded existence and off-the-land lifestyle of local Bheels and Bhilalas in Kathotiya is an enigma to us city-dwellers. Beautiful little hamlets, cooking utensils fashioned out of dried gourd and pumpkin shells, rudimentary tools and weapons made from rocks, metal and wood – there is so much that you can check out here.

Kathotiya Hiking area

A short hike takes you to the gorgeous view point and rappelling surface, locally known as ‘Cheel Daant’ and a longer, more strenuous trek takes you through the jungle to caves and rock shelters called ‘Imli wala Chajja’. If you’re game, these and many more hidden trekking trails in Kathotiya are waiting for you to explore them. What more can you ask for!

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