The Canyons of India: Raneh Falls, Madya Pradesh

The Canyons of India: Raneh Falls, Madya Pradesh

Madya Pradesh is the second largest state in India. Given its size, travellers visiting Madya Pradesh will not be disappointed with the various travel sights and scenes this state offers. And, if you are as ambitious as I am and hope to visit every place, you’d probably get frantic seeing the long list of national parks, sanctuaries, falls and temples here. The reality, however, is vacation time and budgets are limited. Therefore, here are a few essential travel reminders. You are not one of those robot vacuum cleaners auto set to cover every square meter of land. Try to stay focused, be wise, and stay calm.

Canyons of India, Raneh Falls

You could, just as we did, begin by exploring the beautifully carved medieval temples and forts and then move on to venture the secluded, scenic areas. To read up more on the temples, click here.

There are around 10 waterfalls listed in Madya Pradesh. Pandav Falls, Bahuti Falls, and Dhuandhar Falls, are just three of them. In this post, we will explore only one. Actually, in my opinion, this is the most colourful of them all. 😊

We decided to visit Raneh Falls as an alternative trip when we learnt that the Panna National Park was fully booked due to the peak season. I was really looking forward to meeting a real tiger in person at Panna. Nevertheless, it was a good thing that Anjul (the friendly and helpful owner from our hotel) quickly recommended and organised this trip for us at the last minute.

Around the Falls

Raneh Falls is a natural waterfall located in Chhatarpur district in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. It is formed by the Ken River, one of the major rivers that flow through Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Ken River covers a distance of 427-kilometres before joining the Yamuna. It is a hidden sanctuary that should not be missed.

The car ride from Khajuraho, where we were staying, to the falls is about 30 minutes. The trip is a comfortable one on good roads. We had the opportunity to see a couple of local villages along the way.

Just as at most parks, there is an entrance fee. The cost depends on the vehicle type used to get to the falls. Most people arrive here either by cars, minivans, buses or auto rickshaws. Hiking or trekking on your own is not permitted at these falls. All visitors must be accompanied by a licensed guide. A guide is assigned to each vehicle at the entrance. The fee (minimal) for the guide is collected at the entry by the park. The same car we came by was used inside to get to the falls and the animal sanctuary.

The falls form during the monsoon season (July–September). This is when the Ken River starts to fill up. I was told that the Raneh Falls would be closed during the monsoon months and would re-open after the monsoons.

The Raneh Falls are somewhat unique. The Ken River that flows there forms a five-kilometre-long and 30-meter-deep canyon. After the rainy season (monsoon), visitors can see a series of waterfalls here. According to our guide, we would be able to see at least four spectacular waterfalls from right here. the energy flow generated at this fall is similar to that of the Niagara Falls. I hope I am not the only one visualising Superman at this point. 😉

Rock formation at Raneh Falls

Our guide also told us, sadly, that in 2004, the rainfall was so significant that the rivers overflowed and destroyed many villages and sanctuaries nearby. Unfortunately, I do not have photos of the active falls itself to show you today (please google these images if you wish to see some).

We visited the falls during the winter months, and by then there were no waterfalls. But we were not disappointed. Now, because the falls had dried up, we could see the volcanic rock wall formations very clearly in the same area.

Reminds me of the Great Canyons

I felt like I was at the Great Grand Canyon. Though I didn’t get a chance to see the falls today, I know for sure having the opportunity to witness two breath-taking views at the same location would indeed be a blessing. So, dear guides and those who work here, you are very lucky indeed!

According to our guide, the rocks here are rich in granite and dolomite. I learnt there are five different rocks that influence the colours you see here —dolomite (green), Jasper (red), brown quartz, pink granite, and black basalt.

Mineral rich rocks

The Ghariyal Sanctuary is within the falls. Here you can see many animals of the forest, including monkeys, deer, jackals, crocodiles, blackbirds, and antelopes. The animals we saw looked so comfortable. I don’t think they like us visitors.

Deer sighting

The sanctuary was very serene and quiet during our visit. There was just one other group of tourists when we arrived. They left soon after.

Search in progress

Hello there monkeys!

Yo yo Monkeys!

We spotted a crocodile camouflaged by the rocks. Do you see it?

Look again

Here is a closeup shot.

Alright, there you are!

We would have loved to have spent more time under the shady trees and looking out for more crocodiles and migrating birds, but we had to move on. Being accompanied by a licensed guide ensured that curious visitors (like me) would not stray onto unsafe paths. This meant no picnicking or staying under shady trees for long. But, if you need to get a drink, both hot and cold beverages are sold at the little souvenir shop at the entrance. Oh yes, before I forget, no camping or stargazing is permitted here.

The Ken and surroundings

The visit to both Raneh Falls and Ghariyal Sanctuary can be easily completed within 2 hours.

Migrating Siberians 

My cuppa for today’s post is one taken at Khajuraho, a town near Raneh Falls. To read more on this tea, visit the post on Khajuraho here.

Before this trip, I was slightly disappointed for having to miss out an opportunity to get face-to-face with Indian tigers in the Panna National Park. But, in a way, I am happy Panna National Park was overbooked. Otherwise, I would have missed out on knowing the Grand Canyons of Asia.

Enjoy your cuppa under the bright blue skies and humbling silence of the Raneh rocks. Counting Stars, ReachingDelphi.


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  1. wow, thanks Uma, I learnt something new about Incredible India, it widened my perception about the subcontinent.

    1. Thank you Stano. I am happy you found this informative. The colourful canyon is another reminder of the beautiful nature that we are blessed with.