This might be one of the most underrated tourist destinations in India. But it is as much rare and fascinating. Raneh falls is just around 20-25 minutes drive from temple town of Khajuraho, which has been among the top destinations for foreign tourists in India. But still, not even ten percent of the tourists coming to Khajuraho go to Raneh falls. Often you might be the only tourist around. As was with us this time around, when we couldn’t find any other tourist in the Raneh falls area. Well, obviously, it doesn’t have that glamour. But that can’t undermine its beauty.
Raneh falls are natural. They are actually a canyon formation which you will not find anywhere else in India. It is said that these canyons would have formed because of volcanic eruptions thousands and thousands of years ago. As a result, in the path of Ken river (also called Karnavati river) there is a five kilometre long canyon formation. This river actually comes from Vindhyachal Hills, which are 125 kms from here and go further 200 kms from here till Banda in UP where it merges with river Yamuna. In whole journey of 325 kms, this canyon formation exists only in five kilometre length.
Even in this five kilometre length this canyon has variable depth and that actually creates the beauty of this Raneh falls. At some places it is upto 50 metres. Interesting is the fact that you can’t see the beauty of this place during monsoon, when Ken river is in full flow. At that time all the crater gorges are full with watering river overflows in the canyon with no hint whatsoever of the outstanding geological structure beneath. The actual beauty of this place is in winters, when water has subsidised a bit and the canyon below is visible. River still has water and the flowing water from one gorge to another creates a fascinating array of waterfalls. There are numerous such gorges around and as a result there are numerous such big and small waterfalls. Locals say that you may not be even able to count the total number of waterfalls. They also call it a mini Niagara.
The larger and smaller falls run all through the year except for the peak of summer, when river flow starts drying up. This canyon is formed of igneous rocks rich in Granite and Dolomite. But actually there are five types of igneous rocks here and it is said that no where else in whole Asia, will you find these five rocks together at one place. See for different colours in photos. Green ones are dolomite, there is red coloured Jasper, brown quartz, pink granite and black basalt.
Have a look at the marvellous structure and the rock formation at Raneh Falls in this gallery:
Just a few kilometres upstream, Ken river passes through Panna National Park and Tiger Reserve and flows down to Raneh falls area. Actually the Raneh waterfall area is itself in the extended area of the jungle which is a protected forest. Locals say that even in this area around Raneh waterfalls, there used to be tigers until a few decades ago. All of them were probably hunted down. But other than big cats, you can find many wild animals in the forest area around Raneh falls. You can luckily see a few of them on the way to falls from the entry point and then from falls to the Ken Ghariyal & Crocodile sanctuary.
A glimpse of the area:
The Ken Gharial Sanctuary is located at the confluence of the Ken and Khudar rivers further down from Raneh Falls, almost seven kilometres through jungle, just ahead of the point, where canyons end. River here is again in its full flow. As with Raneh falls, here is also an observation deck atop the hill overlooking vastness of river. One can go down and do boating here in the river and don’t be afraid- crocs or gharial will not attack you. Boating here is very soothing and relaxing experience. Mind it, Ken is said to be the cleanest of Indian rivers. Surprised! Yo won’t, once you see the water here.
A look at the Ken river area:
When: Anytime except monsoon and peak of summer. Winters are the best time to be here. Even for sighting of crocodiles and Gharials, winters is good as we can find them taking sun bathe on the rocks in and around river. In summers, they will usually cool themselves off inside the water.
How: Raneh Falls is just 20 kms from Khajuraho, almost a half an hour drive. You can hire a vehicle or even take two-wheelers on rent from Khajuraho. Raneh Falls is in reserve forest, hence entry is not unrestricted. Entry is per vehicle (Rs 495 per vehicle for 1 to 6 persons). A guide is a must and his fees is 75 Rs. Fees for a single person without a vehicle is 55 Rs. All fees include Raneh falls as well as Ken Gharial sanctuary area. But boating is not included in this. One has to pay separately for that, and it is very cheap. There is also a forest rest house near the falls, where you can stay for just 1500 Rs per night per room.
Here is small video of the place-