Chikhaladara at a glance:
Being the only coffee growing area in the state of Maharashtra, Chikhaldara also boasts of beautiful lakes, breath taking panoramic viewpoints and exotic wildlife. Located at a distance of 100 kms from Amaravati town, this hill station is ideal for a summer getaway.
It is located beyond village ‘Kalamkhar’ near village ‘Zilpi’ about 10 km from ‘Dharni’ on ‘Barhanpur Road’. The Fort is constructedin burnt bricks and is located at the confluence of rivers Tapti, Sipna and Gadga. The top of the fort gives a magnificent view of the surroundings.
An old mythological goes that Bhim killed Kichaka and threw him in this valley, giving it the name Kichakdara. He then took a bath in the nearby lake and it is thus called ‘Bhim Kund’. This place attracts many Hindu pilgrims and tourists. Beautiful valley and mesmerising hills amplify the place’s attraction.
The Bir lake was built during the time of British colonialism. The lake is built in Basalt and was used by the British soldiers. The water was initially used for Chikhaldara tow. It also has an old garden which is not well maintained.
With 3 gates, an inner and an outer fort, the Gwaligarh fort is known for its difference in architecture. It is one of the only three forts in Chikhaldara. With 2 lakes, beautiful carvings and cannons too, this place is ideal to experience the Nizam period and also for a picnicking.
Towards the side where you climb to the upper plateau, is a small road that leads to Kalapani Lake. Walking a little more ahead will bring you to Shiv Sagar point. This is the point best known for watching the sunset. Kalapani lake is surrounded by a picturesque setting of hills, forest area etcetera. It is ideal for bird watching, picnicking and lazying around.
Melghat Tiger project:
The Melghat Tiger Project has 82 tigers and also houses other animals like panthers, sloth bears, sambar, wild bear, and wild dogs. The Gugamal National Park in Chikhaldara is a part of the Melghat Tiger reserve. With many medicinal herbs, over 90 species of fauna and camping sites, this place is a perfect place to viist for nature lovers and adventure seekers.
Muktagiri is a collection of 52 temples of the Jain religion, all built in the mountain. There is waterfall which provides a backdrop to the magnificent site. Located in the Satpuda mountain range, amidst beautiful vegetation- Muktagiri is highly divine among Jain followers. This is a very peaceful site to visit.
Chikhaldara has two museums for tourist interests. One of them is related to Forest Garden and the other one is related to Tiger Project and wildlife. These museums are usually crowded during the holidays.
The Narnala fort is actually a group of three forts, namely Zafrabad , Teliagarh and Narnala itself. Situated on the hills of Satpuda, this fort is of great historical importance, as it has seen many wars. With many dungeons, great halls and beautiful surroundings, this fort is an interesting place to visit.
This is one of the famous and important points of the area. There is a tar road from the Bir Lake towards this valley from the north side. You can spot coffee plantations on the way while you go towards the point. An awe inspiring view of the nature can be seen from this vantage point.
There are a large number of viewpoints all around the plateau. Namely, sunset point, monkey point, Mozari point , Malviya point, Prospects point, Panchbol point and Devi point. Each of them have different views, and visual treats to offer.
Maharashtra – Special Cuisine:
Maharashtrian cuisine is one which can tickle and surprise your taste buds, with food ranging from mild to really spicy food as well as flattering deserts to indulge in. Vada Pav(Potato filled cutlets with Buns), Misal (A spicy gravy of pulses garnished with onions), Onion fries, etc. are the everyday food of the people here and are items with which the state cuisine is identified. The staple diet includes, rice, Dal, chapattis and a vegetable dish generally accompanied by pickle for taste. A heterogeneous and vibrant mix of cultures derived from the people with diverse backgrounds who move here, gives the cuisine here countless varieties, with absolutely nothing that you cannot find here. Each of these diverse and colourful elements and cuisine styles find themselves a unique place in the state’s menu. Typically, a South-Indian breakfast will lead to a Maharashtrian lunch, a Gujarati snack and end with a Punjabi Dinner. Add a Bengali sweet if you want. This is how Maharashtra borrows food cultures from all over and makes them its own.
What to eat in Chikaldara – Local Food and Cuisine:
There are many local dhabas that sell clean and good food. Most of the hotels provide food as well.