Hill Stations offer clean, calm and a thoroughly refreshing alternative to city life. Maharashtra is home to Mumbai, Pune and various other town and cities and villages. Nestling shyly in the hills of Vidarbha region is situated the Chikhaldara Hill Station. It offers a clean, calm and thoroughly refreshing break from the usual life.
Featured in the Mahabharata, this is the place where Bheema killed the villainous Keechaka in a herculean bout and then threw him into the valley. It thus came to be known as Keechakadara. Over the years, the name has slowly been changed to Chikhaldara.
Situated at an altitude of 1118 m, Chikhaldara is full of deep valleys, and these valleys are full of velvet mist and majestic trees. It also has the distinction of being the only coffee-growing area in Maharashtra.
It abounds in wildlife -- panthers, sloth bears, sambar, wild boar, and even the rarely seen wild dogs. Close by to it is the famous Melghat Tiger Project which has 82 tigers.
Some of the major attractions here are as follows.
It is situated at southern region of the upper plateau of chikhaldara near government garden. One can see the Gawilgarh fort, Mozari village, and Vairat hills from this point.
This point is nearer to the Shakkar Lake and it is at 1.5km. From Chikhaldara Bus station. There is also a temple here.
Thakur point gives a large view of Semadhoh deep forest.
The Government garden is at the upper plateau of Chikhaldara. The garden is open for visitors from eight in the morning to seven in the evening. One can find various flowers and plants in the garden. There is a special area inside the garden for the rose tree. There is a mini train to look at over here.
Shakkar Lake is on the way going towards Gawilgarh fort. One can try their hand at boating here, with options of the Speed Boat, Pedal Boat, and Scooter Boat being offered.
Also known as, the Shahanur fort, The Narnala Fort consists of three small forts namely Zafrabad on the east, Narnala in the centre and Teliagarh in the west. It is historically a very famous fort with six large and 21 small gates and is spread on some 362 acres of area. It also has some 19 tanks in it that supplies water to the residents inside the fort.
Said to be established in the 12th Century, this fort stands witness to the historical background of the area. It is in the vicinity of the Malghat Tiger Reserve. The fort takes its name from the Gawli (cow herds) who inhabited the Berar (modern day Amravati) for centuries. The fort has two water tanks called Devtalav and Khantalav. Within the ruins in the fort, the ruin of a mosque is the most conspicuous.
The Melghat Tiger Reserve is surrounded by the Tapti River and the Gawilgarh ridge of the Satpura range. The Melghat Wildlife Sanctuary was created over here, while the Gugamal National Park was carved out in 1987. However, the Tiger Reserve was declared in the 1974, with an area of 1677 km. The forest here is tropical dry deciduous in nature, dominated by teak. The Reserve is a catchment area for five major rivers: the Khandu, Khapra, Sipna, Gadga and Dolar, all of which are tributaries of the river Tapti. The main fauna found here are tiger, leopard, sloth bear, wild dog, jackal, various different species of deer, flying squirrel, wild boar, langur, Rhesus monkey, porcupine, pangolin, python, otter and black -naped hare. The Reserve boasts of some with 648 species of flora, many species of mammals, 19 species of fish, 15 of snakes, and 250 species of birds. The 1989 census reveals an estimated population of 77 tigers.
Chikhaldara has an annual rainfall of 154 cms. Temperatures vary from 39 C in summer to 5 C in winter. October to June is the best time to visit the hill station.
With abundance of natural scenery, exciting wildlife, breathtaking waterfalls and a placid lake, the beauty of Chikhaldara is overwhelming. The climate over here is always breezy and walking on the clouds often becomes a reality. With so much to give, it feels like a place that has been truly blessed by nature. In addition, one must actually take some advantage of all this and try and make it a point to visit the place and take all that nature has to offer.