The most untrodden of all places in Maharashtra, this one probably got ignored in the school text books first and later got hidden behind more developed hill stations like Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar. Chikhaldara, the only hill station in Vidarbha region is brimming with options to explore and views to die for.
For all those who are curious, here’s a glimpse of what’s hiding behind the mists of Chikhaldara:
1. Panchol Point:
To the surprise of many, Chikhaldara is a coffee growing hill station, and the only one in Maharashtra. Take a scenic drive to Panchol and check out all the coffee plantations as they pass by. Panchol point is definitely a must-visit when you are in Chikhaldara. The most prominent of all the attractions, at Panchol point, the mountains call back at you. The five different hills are connected in a way that they give you five different types of echoes.
2. Melghat Tiger Reserve:
Chikhaldara alone makes up for the lack of hill stations and greenery in Vidarbha. A safari in the Melghat Tiger Reserve might not be the best one to spot the royal cats but you definitely will come across some rare wildlife including the giant flying squirrel, and the mouse deer. Melghat literally translating to “Meeting of Ghats” has some gorgeous views; especially during the monsoons. The safari remains closed from June – September but do visit it for the Tapi River.
3. Bhim Kund:
This little hill station has a history which goes way back and by that we mean to the days of the epic Mahabharatha. Bhim Kund is said to be the place where Bhima washed his hands after killing Keechaka, the evil. Go here for the beautiful views of the valley and the waterfall during monsoon. With sharp turns of mountain roads, the drive to the Bhim Kund is as thrilling as it is beautiful.
4. Kalapani Lake and Shivsagar Point:
A little north of Chikhaldara is the Kalapani Lake. The road leading you to the lake is narrow and muddy, making for a perfect adventurous ride. En route to Kalapani Lake, check out the Shivsagar point. An ideal place to catch the sunset, you will see many peaks of the Satpura range coloured with all hues of orange during sundown.
A short drive from Chikhaldara, Muktagiri is a sight to behold. A group of 52 elegant Jain temples with a backdrop of a waterfall will stay with you for many years to come. Built on a hill, the pristine white Muktagiri stands out while surrounded by shades of green.
6. Gawligarh Fort:
Even though partly in ruins, Gawilgarh doesn’t fail to give you the aura of the Maratha history. At 3,619 ft., you cannot help but be mesmerised with the views from top. The Persian architecture of the mosque standing at the highest point of fort is something to look forward to.
It’s time to hit the road beyond the regular, and Chikhaldara is waiting with plethora of options. The unexplored Chikhaldara is beckoning us and we for one can’t wait. How about you?
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