August 9, 2021

Chikhaldara with Jasod Motwani

This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Jasod Motwani as he takes us to the hill station of Chikhaldara in Maharashtra!

Today's destination: Chikhaldara, Maharashtra
Nearest Airport: Shioni airport, AKDNearest
Railway Station: Badnera Jn, BDPrerequisites -

NAPacking - Pack according to the weather, don't forget your rain gear during the monsoons!
Time of the year - June to September
Length of the itinerary: 2 - 7 days

Itinerary Highlights:
Jasod starts off by discussing the geographical location of Chikhaldara and its USP as the only hill station in Vidarbha region in Maharashtra as well as the only place in Maharashtra with coffee plantations. The name Chikhaldara is a corruption of Keechaka Daara, which translates to the valley of Keechaka - an evil chieftain who was killed by the strongest of the Pandavas, Bhima, for harassing Draupadi.

The region was discovered by Captain Robinson of the Hyderabad regiment in 1823, who was mesmerized by the beauty of the region. The first point of interest is the Melghat Tiger reserve, one of the first tiger reserves of Maharashtra, and is home to over 80 tigers and covers about 1600 square kilometers. The tiger reserve offers a variety of safaris and other sighting and adventure activities along with some good stay options.

After wildlife, the next important point of interest on the itinerary are the forts of Gwalighar and Narnala forts. Gwalighar fort is named after the gawlis or shepherds of the region, it was first constructed by Ahmed Shah Wali in the 15th century. It has since been ruled by the Marathas and the British and has also been the scene of several key battles between the Marathas and the British. Shahnoor or Narnala fort was built by the Gond dynasty in the 10th century AD, but was later on ruled by Mughals and Rao Rana Narnal Singh after whom it is named. Look out for the wonderful fort gate as well as the huge cannon in the fort premises!

Other attractions in the region include Saakhar lake and Devi point which is of religious significance. Other lakes include Bir lake as well as Kaala pani lake. Also an important feature of the region are the view points, the famous among them being the Hurricane point, Mojiri point and Panchbol - an echo point. Important waterfalls in the region include Bhimkund, where Bhima is believed to have killed Keechaka, which we referred to earlier in the episode. Other important waterfalls include Bakadari and kalalkund waterfalls, which also offer some great trekking opportunities. Finally, Muktagiri is a complex of about 52 jain temples that is also a religiously significant place that has a lot of devotees visiting around the year and is situated about 50kms from Chikhaldara.


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