“ Chikhaldara – A sleepy hamlet of Maharashtra “

#1 Oct 26th, 2015, 12:19
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#1
Hello Indiamikers!

This is for the first time I am trying to write a travelogue so my language will be pathetic as till now I never write anything anywhere likes this. This forum helps me so many times to plan my trips that I am totally indebted to Indiamike. So here comes my travelogue “ Chikhaldara – A sleepy hamlet of Maharashtra “ , a return gift to Indiamike for helping me in my trips.

Prologue:

Every year I always try to do two nos. of trips in a year. One at the time of Puja, that’s with my full family (parents & wife) & second one at winter with my wife which one is always an unplanned trip. But last year due to my house renovation work we couldn’t go to anywhere in Puja. So this year there was a huge urge of going somewhere. We started planning to find some place & zeroed on Haridwar. We even booked a hotel there by paying some advance. But man proposes God disposes. The date of Rail ticket booking came and I was ready with my laptop to book 4 nos. tickets of Doon Exp. of 17-10-2015. But at the time of booking I suddenly realize that from then one can book only 2 tickets at a time from a single account from 8.00 hrs. to 10.00 hrs. So immediately I open my wife account of IRCTC and tried to book another 2 tickets but then it was showing that the waiting list of more than 200. I tried other trains but all are same. Within a moment all our happiness turned into deep grief. I tried to console my parents by saying that I will buy waitlist ticket and it will confirm gradually, but they were reluctant to go as then they have to travel in separate- coach. That night we then changed our plan a bit any start to -find a place for where we can start on 18-10-2015. But next day again same thing happen as all the train to popular places like Puri, North Bengal, Guwahati etc. are fully booked. Then we decide that this year we will be in Kolkata. After 3 days at our Dinner time suddenly my father asked that is there any place I know where Bengali generally don’t go at Puja time & we could do the trip within the Puja time. At the very moment The Name “Chikhaldara” flashed from the back of my mind. 2 years earlier I read about this place in a Bengali travel magazine but that was not travelogue rather small travel information like thing. It is the only hill station in Bidharva region of Maharashtra, height 3898 ft. But when I read that I somehow feel attracted to that place. My wife also like that place. But every time in last 2 years whenever we thought to go there in winter every time we couldn’t make it due to very lack of information about that place. So this time I decided to go there, but didn’t say anything to my family. Before sleeping I search the net & found that we have to travel to Badnera Jn. in Howrah-Nagpur-Mumbai line & the convenient train is Gitanjali Exp. Gitanjali starts from HWH at 13.50 PM. & reach Badnera at 10.10 AM. next day. While returning Gitanjali’s timing is 4.15 PM. at Badnera & it reaches HWH 12.30 PM. next day. The main thing was that though AC tickets were full but sleepers are almost empty at that time. The internet also shows that for return there is separate quota from Badnera. So next day after 10.00 am. I booked 4 sleeper class tickets online. Then after 4 days I booked return tickets of 22-10-2015 also . Then that night I declared that this Puja we are going to Chikhaldara. There was mixed reaction as Father looked at me with a blank face as he never heard about this place, Mother was cheerful as we are at last going somewhere & wife is shocked as according to her how can I take my old parents to a place where me & my wife couldn’t go due to lack of information. The next Sunday we sat together to decide the total trip. In the meanwhile I read the only travelogue about Chikhaldara by sndarvekar in Indiamike, though it consisted of many places along with Chikhaldara but it gave me the first hand information I needed, So we started calling several resorts at Chikhaldara by taking their numbers from net but strangely they were not so eager to take advance booking so early. Also we found that the room rents are very high. We even called some lodge but they also came with same answer. So for the first time in our Puja trip we decided to go without a hotel booking. Now come another problem. Google shows that from Badnera station if I have to go Chikhaldara I have to go to Amravati city Bus stand, as the main city is Amravati. I searched net & also asked in Indiamike to find if there is any direct bus or anything else to go to Chikhaldara but didn’t get any answer. So we decided again that we will found something after reaching there. Then we started waiting for the D-day. But for the first time I started feeling a little bit nervous as never before this I took my old parents to a place about which I know almost nothing.

Main journey is coming....................
#2 Oct 26th, 2015, 12:56
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#2
Nice ! looking forward to the complete report.
#3 Oct 26th, 2015, 13:59
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“ Chikhaldara – A sleepy hamlet of Maharashtra “

nice start.waiting for more
#4 Oct 26th, 2015, 16:48
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18-10-2015:

At last the day comes. In between these days I gathered the following information from internet about Chikhaldara.

• It is the only hill station in the district of Amravati, in the Bidharva region of Maharashtra.
• The whole town is surrounded by Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR) from almost every side making it probably the only town in India where one can enjoy the jungle even sitting in the middle of a town administrated by a Nagar Parishad.
• The distance from Amravati to Chikhaldara is 100 km. That means we have to travel more than 100 km. as we will start from Badnera.
• Though Amravati has now 2 rail stations , one is the old one and the another is the New Amravati which is on newly built Badnera – Nankhed route but still Badnera serves as the main rail station which is outside of Amravati.
• Chikhaldara is almost near the Maharashtra – MP border.

So on 18th October we started our journey from our home at Nimta to Howrah station at 10 am. The day was Panchami & also Sunday. It was very difficult to get a Taxi but somehow we got it and reached Howrah new complex at 11.50 am. I was feeling a little nervous inside about the coming trip but didn’t tell anyone as others were very cheerful about it. Our train, Gitanjali Exp. came in platform no. 21 near about 1.15 pm. Our coach no. was S8 & we got the first 4 berths in that coach, means the 2 lowers, 1 middle & 1 upper. The train started right on time, 1.50 pm. We started chatting with each other. After crossing Santragachi we took our lunch with homemade Luchi & Aalur Dam, followed by sweets. We reach Kharagpur 5 mins. earlier than the scheduled time. Just after Kalaikunda the scenery changed and the Jungle Mahal started. After some times we could see hills near the horizon. A relaxation gradually came in our mind as the scenery helped us to refresh our daily hectic life. I was thinking that among several rail routes originated from HWH or SDAH probably only in this Nagpur-Mumbai route one can see Hills & Jungles within 2 hrs. from the starting of Journey. We reached Tatanagar 7 mins early. Now we all exclaimed about the early going of the train as we are all used to the late running of it. After Tata more Hills were now in the scenery. I was a little upset as I put my newly bought Nikon camera inside my trolly bag. When Chakradharpur came it was evening. The Train continued its before time running and reach here 2 mins earlier. We have already ordered Egg meals for Dinner to Train Pantry boys who told us that will be served at Rourkela. Our co-passengers were nice. They were a family of Parents & their son who probably is at my age. They are going to Kanha- Jabbalpur tour & will get down at Gondia Jn. They asked about our destination but after hearing about Chikhaldara they strangely look at us as they never heard anything about the name. The train reached Rourkela 7 mins earlier. Our co-passengers commented that if the train goes like this then they will have some more time to get down at Gondia as the stoppage time there was only 2 mins. We got our dinner there already. The meals were good than my previous experience as the veg curry which was served was excellent in taste. After finishing the meal we all prepared to sleep a lot early than our normal sleeping time. We all are very excited about the coming days.
#5 Oct 26th, 2015, 21:25
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#5
19-10-2015:

I woke up nearly at 7-45 am. in the morning. Last night we couldn’t sleep well as the lower side berth was for TTE & whoever get in the train with waitlist or without reservation came to this seat for berth. So all the night there was a lot of noise barring us for a good sleep. Now we were reaching Nagpur & the train was running almost 30 mins. late. Many people got down there & many boarded up. They were all Marathi. Slowly we came to know each other. Even we share our seat with an aged couple who were going to Shegaon. They asked us about our destination & after hearing the name they just couldn’t believe that we were coming from so far to see that place. I asked about the place in details. But they said only that it is a good place where people from Mumbai or Nagpur used to go for Weekend trip or Monsoon trip. Another strange thing we were realizing that the outside temperature is very hot. We were expecting a cooler weather there. Then again our train amazed us & after making up the late it reached Badnera Jn. at 10. 00 Am., 10 mins. earlier than the scheduled time. The station was a nice clean one with almost no rush. We didn’t waste any time and move out of the station.

Outside of the station few Autowallah came to us asking our destination. After hearing Amravati ST bus stand they asked Rs. 150 for all of us. I saw some buses written Amravati on it but seeing it jampacked with office goers I started bargaining with Auto. But soon I realize that all auto from same syndicate and the rate is fixed, also they have a system so only the auto has its turn will go to any place. So our journey started to Amravati bus stand. It took almost 35 mins to reach the bus stand which is at the heart of Amravati town. We crossed almost 13 km. So we thought Rs.150 is not a bad deal at all. Amravati bus stand is very big & one of the most important one in that region. I found the Nagpur side buses are over crowed. I told my wife to wait with my parents in the waiting room & went to the enquiry. They told me that I should catch a Bus to Paratwada which is the nearest town of Chikhaldara from there I will easily get any bus. Buses for Paratwada are many from Amravati, almost 1 in every 10 mins. All are State bus with generally Red colour which in their language called “LAL DIBBA”. I searched for the bus and found one standing on the other side of the stand. We all boarded the bus & got seats with our choice. It is a 2X2 seated bus. Condition is not so good but far better than some of the bus which I boarded in my own state. I asked the driver who was standing outside of the bus smoking a cigarette, about the time of the bus & he told me just after 5 mins it will start. I with my regular experience of Bengal buses took it lightly & went for search for food as we hardly ate some cakes & biscuits in the train that morning. When I was thinking what I should buy in the shops in bus stand as I couldn’t find any familiar food we used to have I got frantic call from my wife. The bus already started to move. I ran to catch the bus & boarded it on move. So we started our journey to Paratwada with almost empty belly. The bus service in Maharashtra is really great as our Bus hardly stopped anywhere, only when someone has to get down or got up. The conductor was a middle aged lady who was giving ticket to everyone from her handheld printer. Our ticket fare was Rs. 230 for 4. I asked her about Chikhaldara bus. She assured me that I will get one at Paratwada. My wife & mother were highly impressed about the conductor that they asked her about her job. She replied with a smile that it is normal here. In this context I want tell that most people in this region speak Hindi with Marathi mixing which one can easily understand. The road condition was almost great except a 5 mins stretch where a flyover is building over Amravati- Nankhed rail line. Soon after the rail line the scenery of two sides of our journey dramatically change as they are all Orange orchard. Previously I saw these in Sikkim but not in these numbers. I again repent that I put my camera in big bag. Only two questions were in our mind, first the outside temperature is scorching & second is when we will be on hills as till then there was no sign of any hills.

We reach Paratwada around 12.00 noon. It took almost an hour to reach from Amravati. After getting down I instantly found the bus for Chikhaldara but it was already packed. I asked for the next bus timing & got to know that it will be there with in an hour. But the problem is that already the number of people who are already waiting for the next bus which left slick chance for us to get space that too with luggage. So we decide to book any car for the rest of the journey but couldn’t find a single one. Then a auto driver approached us. After hearing our problem he told that he will drop us to Post office where we will get private vehicle. He charged Rs. 50 for us. So we reached at the post office., 15 mins distance from bus stand via auto. There we found that private vehicle means share cabs/trekkers. There are several Max, bolero for this service but as our bad luck we got to board an old trekker. The fare is Rs. 40 per seat. They told that in the middle seat is for 5 persons so I bought the entire middle seat, though I still don’t know how 5 persons can seat there. There were some time left to leave as the driver was waiting for the seats to fill up I went again for search of food. I searched for10 mins but there were no familiar food so I decided to check the new ones. I bought some Badas made by beans, some big brother of Bengali khasta kachuri with chatni, some peculiar shaped small pakoras made by vegetable not known to me. But when we tasted that they were really tasty. After 20 mins the car started. Slowly we left Paratwada and took road to Chikhaldara. Again orange orchards are there at both the sides. After 20 mins there came a gate written Melghat Tiger Reserve over it. We were surprised & then told by the local people who were our co-passengers that the town Chikhaldara is actually in the buffer zone of the MTR. That means whoever is staying there is actually staying inside the jungle. Just after the gate the hilly road started with dense jungle at both sides. The temperature also changed to a shooting one. I couldn’t resist myself this time and started clicking pictures from mobile. The road was not so good due to last rainy season. There are some sharp turns. We overall enjoying our journey as our co-passengers were asking many questions as we are probably the first Bengali to them. When we reach almost at the top the surrounding changes as there are some crop fields with big wind mills & horizons are surround by big green mountains. My father commented that it reminds him of a story about Netherland which he read in childhood. About 7 km. earlier we saw Aayushi resort. It was totally out of Chikhaldara .We thanked ourselves that we didn’t booked that. Also we heard many bad stories including murder about the resort which were later verified by other local people also. At 2.30 pm. we reached Chikhaldara, my dream town.
Now our task is find a suitable hotel. The problem is that very few people are on the road and no tourist. Even the market area is not congested. We saw hotel Harshavardhan at the entrance of the town but didn’t like that from outside. Just next to jeep stand there is Hotel Natraj which is almost a lodge. So we asked for Green Valley resort which was given good remarks in net & should be near bus stand. We went for that after getting directions. Then we realize that here the bus stand means a shed. After leaving bus stand we reach the Greenn Valley resort. It has vast area with many cottages. We went to reception and they told that we should check their executive suite which can accommodate 4 persons at a time. But after seeing that we were disappointed. The suite was old and need maintenance. The bed at no point could accommodate 4 persons. The fare is also high Rs. 2000 per day. We then checked the double bed rooms but their conditions were same with @1500 per day. Also another point is that if anyone stays here it will be very difficult for him/her to go to market or anywhere after Sunset as the road to central town is totally barren or rather jungle . There are a few restaurants or bar near it but it generally opens at season time. So now we decide to Check Pundalik house, a lodge stated in IM. I previously read that it was near Church. So we searched for the church. This time we took another a road another side of Bus stand & reach the junction point of road where the town looks like come to end. It is also another end of the market. Just before the junction there is Hotel Surya. It also looks deserted to us. Just at the junction point we saw church a little right on the main road lead to market & before the church there are two good looking hotels, Holiday Inn & Hotel Utkarsha. Utkarsha looked better to us and we got in. The reception boy , Kailash is very polite and showed us many rooms. We choose 2 double bed rooms with front view at second floor & booked the deal @700 per room per day. The hotel was going under some painting works that time but we don’t bother that. We went to the jeep stand to take our luggage with whom my parents were waiting & return to hotel within 2 mins. Then we meet M., Ganesh Pandey, the manager of the hotel who again asked us whether we have any problem with smell of paints. We again told no problem & checked in our rooms. Mr. Pandey is a nice person we ever meet. He even stop the painting works from the next day for us. I will tell more about him lately in this writing.
Our rooms were really great with a great view. The position of the hotel is so good that one can see the jungle & nature even a lake from window. On the other hand if you want to buy anything the market area starts from here. Don’t afraid of hearing market word as a proper market is absent in Chikhaldara. A weekly Bazar seats beside the Bus stand on every Sunday for which shed are there which remain empty on other days. There are some tea shops cum snack corners, a few restaurants of whose many remain closed other than season times, also some stationary shops are there. We checked in the hotel at 3.15 pm. and there was hardly any noise coming from anywhere. Silence is the USP of this town. After taking some rest we thought of exploring the town by foot. We started our exploration from jeep stand side. There we meet with a very good person. He is a fuchkawala in our Bengali. He was selling chats, panipuri & velpuri. We all thought the check the Marathi versions of these foods. My parents choose velpuri & I & my wife choose panipuri. The vendor asked where are we from and after hearing we are Bengali from Kolkata he just couldn’t believe that anyone can come so far to see his native place. He then started to behave as we are Akbar Badshah. He added so many extra things to both Velpuri & Panipuri that we just amazed. The velpuri plate size enlarge to a point that it could easily fed 3 persons. Panipuri were awesome with Pudina & Tomato chatni rather than our regular Tamarind water. He told several times that we are not his customer but his guest. After this episode we move towards Devi point, as suggested that person. We slowly passed the green valley resort & move further through jungle surrounded road to a point from where we got a great view of the valley. We thought it was that point soon to be corrected by some Marathi women who were coming from Devi Point after offering some pujas. These women came to us by themselves, asked about us & then told us that though the roads are surrounded by jungle there is no fear, even single woman can walk outside at night on these roads. So we moved on & reached Devi point by some scenic hilly forest road. The Devi point is awesome. It is just beside a view point. There is temple of Devi Durga or Sati Ma inside a cave. Water is flowing always from the roof of the cave like rains. In the adjacent cave there is a Shiv Linga where water flows more. The strange thing is that there is no water on the upper roof of the cave only a little waterfall is going by the side of it. There was no panda there; one can offer puja by them. We decided to do that on next day & returned from there. While returning we found a small bungalow, a school and a hostel of NCC boys there in the middle of the jungle. We were thinking how they live. Later we came to know about it. We came back to market as it was already evening. We entered inside a snack corner named Apna Tea stall & Apna pan stall. This shop is run by Local Muslim family. They offered us some new pakora like snack made of Sagoo & mixed with nuts with tea. The whole thing was excellent. I forget to tell about the fifth member of our Team, Lord Gopal. My mother always takes him wherever she goes. So I bought some pedas totally different from their counterpart available in north India. They were delicious definitely.
After returning back we meet with Mr. Pandey who asked about our tour plan. After knowing he told that he can contact some drivers with whom we can settle for our sight seeing.Previously in the market area I was approached by some car driver but I didn’t show interest. This time I agreed. So just a few minutes after came Mr. Sajid or My Sajid bhai. He is person at his mid-twenties, very polite & sometimes he is so shy that you hardly hear his voice. He has a Tata Indica with good Condition. He told us for local sightseeing the charge is Rs. 1000. We asked the duration of sightseeing. He replied that normal Mumbaikar make it by 3-4 hrs. But for us he is available whole day. We liked that approach. Then I asked Mr. Pandey about Jungle Safari in MTR. He informed me that safari is closed , only open in the beginning of November. I know that was true as I previously read this in the TR in IM, also Checked MTR website. But we all want to feel the Jungle so Mr. Pandey suggested that as we are already in Buffer zone of MTR we can travel to Kolkaz FRH via Semadoh. The total route will be inside Jungle & definitely through buffer zone. We agreed that and it was decided that the for 2 days we will pay Sajid Rs. 3000 all total which was really a deal as all the other car drivers asked Rs. 3000 only for that jungle route. We ordered dinner in our rooms with our familiar Rice & egg cury. Here I should mention some points. Hotel Utkatsha has a restaurant of its own but that with their other unit , a eco-friendly resort near bus stand. So it’s better if you order food in your own room. The price is almost same with all the other restaurants here in Chikhaldara. The dinner is good as the food was tasty. Only one thing to note that if you can avoid the Rice here it will be better as Rice is not staple food here. The cooks are not used to make rice. We got into bed early as outside weather is totally cool with chill in air and there was only buzzing sound of cricket coming from outside. The town looks like a deserted one or a plot for a spine chilling thriller. We entered in our dream with an excitement of seeing more of Chikhaldara tomorrow.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/1365411...57660300364206
Last edited by babaijit; Oct 27th, 2015 at 13:42.. Reason: Photos' link added
#6 Oct 28th, 2015, 00:24
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  • asishdas is offline
#6
I am hooked. Very refreshing. Nice to read about an offbeat destination. Provide all details and a few matching photographs, please.
#7 Oct 28th, 2015, 14:13
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#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by asishdas View Post I am hooked. Very refreshing. Nice to read about an offbeat destination. Provide all details and a few matching photographs, please.
Thanks Sir! I will complete the rest of the part shortly( office pressure you know) . I tried to post pictures directly but failed due to the size limit. So I am giving the link of Flickr to see the pictures.
#8 Oct 28th, 2015, 14:16
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#8
Hi Ajit

I've been reading your TR with interest. There're two ways to post photos -

either you may hotlink using the image feature above or resize them to 1024 pixel (largest edge) and directly upload.

cheers!
Vaibhav
#9 Oct 28th, 2015, 14:30
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#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by vaibhav_arora View Post Hi Ajit

I've been reading your TR with interest. There're two ways to post photos -

either you may hotlink using the image feature above or resize them to 1024 pixel (largest edge) and directly upload.

cheers!
Vaibhav
Thanks Vaibhav! I will try to do that. Please tell me whether you can see the photos through the link which I posted earlier. Bye the way I am Subhajit not Ajit
#10 Oct 28th, 2015, 14:33
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  • abhinandab is offline
#10

“ Chikhaldara – A sleepy hamlet of Maharashtra “

your flickr photos are.visible but it would have been nicer if you could post the photos along with the narration.

Anyway,nice TR.please continue
#11 Oct 28th, 2015, 16:14
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#11
Excellent TR - Please continue
#12 Oct 31st, 2015, 12:36
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#12
Hi Subhajit,

Nice travelogue .. waiting to read your experiences in the buffer zones of Melghat Reserve
#13 Oct 31st, 2015, 22:33
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#13
View from our Hotel room
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View from our Hotel room
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Bus stand
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Surroundings of Chikhaldara
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Surroundings of Chikhaldara
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A view from Road
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At Devi Point
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At Devi Point
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At Devi Point
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At Devi Point
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#14 Nov 1st, 2015, 01:15
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#14
20-10-2015:

We woke up early at 5 am. in the morning but being at the western part of our country we found it dark then. Around 6 am. we all started our morning walk. Generally in Kolkata we never do this thing but here in this atmosphere the walk was one of the finest thing in our life. We took the right side road from our Hotel which is leading to the Semadoh through Melghat Tiger Reserve. We crossed some scattered building surrounded by Jungle. There was chill in the air. I must say the mornings were in Chikhaldara will always be in our mind as this type of totally pollution free places are now very few in our country. There were so many birds specially Jungle babbler were chirping everywhere but being a very bad photographer I couldn’t take a single picture of them. The road had ups & downs which is natural for hilly area. We walked for almost up to 7.30 am. One funny incident happened between these times. I saw a lot of cows & bulls were going through the road. I choose the bull to be my subject for photography which taking his permission. But probably he didn’t like that. So when I was taking the picture he charged at me with heavy breathing noise. I somehow managed to run.


We came back to our hotel & bathed & prepared for our Local Sightseeing. Then we went to Apna Tea Stall, the same place from where we eat last evening. Again we tasted some new Bada like things whose name I can’t tell you. The taste was superb. We were thinking that in Kolkata if we do this type of breakfast we need some serious antacid medication but due to the magic of Chikhaldara we were digesting everything. Our car came at 9 am. & we started our local sightseeing.


There are several sightseeing points are in Chikhaldara which are scattered around the main town center & most are at a distance of 2-3 km. Our first point was Bhimkund. It took almost 15 mins. to reach there. The road was not in a good shape due to last rainy season. The surrounding was deep jungle. I asked Sajid whether any wild many may come out from there or not, He casually answer that black bear is a normal animal even in Chikhaldara town. Definitely we didn’t take that casually. Bhimkund is actually a spring which converted in to a nullah after reaching plains. Local people believe that after killing” Keechak” in Mahabharata Bhim washed his hand in this spring. That’s why this area’s actual name is “Keechakdara” from where the name Chikhaldara came. The spring was not so big but in rainy season it turns in to big falls. We took some pictures & then moved on to our next point which was Gavilgarh Fort.

Again after some jungle road we reached at the gate of Gavilgarh fort. The fort vastness was huge. Generally tourists visit the first two gates of the fort. After that if anyone wants to visit the remaining ruins he/she has to take local guide. The remaining part is full of jungle & one should be very careful about wild animal like bear, leopard. The total fort visit generally takes a full day. As we didn’t have that much of time so we ended our journey at second gate, took some pictures of the picturesque surrounding & get back to our car. But if you are a group like to do some adventure then Gavilgarh is the right place for you.

Our next destination was Sakkar Talao, a lake where one can do boating. We didn’t do that but took some pictures as the surrounding was awesome.
After this Sajidbhai took us to Devi Point. We previously visited that place but Sajid insisted us that we surely do some Puja there as this place is very sacred to all religious people whatever their religion is. The puja system is very simple. There are so many make shift stall here with Puja materials like flowers, dried coconut etc. one can buy anything of any amount, nobody will pressurize you. No panda, one has to do puja by himself with the assist of a Priest who never asks for any donation. Mom did the puja on behalf of us. I again took some pictures as the place is very beautiful as I told you before. After this we ate some pickle like thing of local berry which was tasty.

Our next point was panchabol point or echo point. We again came to the town center & move towards the road which we took in the morning. We crossed the forest garden & the road which went to the old MTDC resort which is the last point of Chikhaldara at that direction. We crossed some coffee gardens. In this context I should tell you that Chikhaldara is the only coffee growing area in Maharashtra. At last we reached Mariampur the last village before Gugamal National Park starts which is the main part of MTR. From here we took the left side road which leads to Echo point. The last part is dense jungle. At last we reach echo point. It is actually a view point. From one particular point if you shout you will definitely here the echo five times. We all tried that & it’s real. There is a waterfall on the left side which will be more beautiful in monsoon. But the real attraction is the view we get. The view is almost 180 degree. It consist of valley & big chain of mountains fully covered by deep jungle. Sajid told us the mountains on the right side are the core area of MTR which is the Gugamal National Park & front & left side including Chikhaldara town is under Chikhaldara wildlife sanctuary. He also informed that no one dares to cross the road after Mariampur after 6 in the evening till morning. We stayed there quite some time then move to our next destination.

We took the same road and came to forest garden & then took the road to MTDC resort. After some turn we deviate from the main road & took a narrow road to Hurricane point, our next destination. It is another view point with again some breath taking view. All of us were really enjoying these gifts of our mother nature.
Then we came to Forest garden. It is a botanical garden with quite a big area maintained by forest department. The entry fee is Rs.5 per head. We entered there. The specimens of trees which are found in this region are here. One can see the coffee trees also. The animals and birds which are found in MTR are also represented here by some dolls. A toy train & some swings are here for enjoyment. We enjoyed the swings more. Even my father enjoyed that. We spent there almost an hour. But I must say the maintenance should be more as we found some lack of maintenance there.

Our last point was Mozari point or Sunset point. So Sajid took us to town center & dropped us there for lunch. He told us to be ready by 5.30 pm. sharp otherwise we may miss the sunset. We went to check the restaurants in market for lunch. Due to off season & specially Navaratri most of them were close. We choose one of the opened ones & ordered Rice, daal fry & Egg curry as these are mainly available at that time. They informed it would take half an hour to prepare the food. We had no choice but to wait. After half an hour food was served. It was tasty but rice was under prepared as usual. Then around 3.30 we returned to our hotel & took some rest. Sajid came right on 5.30 pm. & we jumped in the car. We reached right on time at Mozari point. this is a view point we loved most as in front of you there is a vast valley of Bidharva rather the plains, On the right hand side there are green mountains of Melghat. Sajid showed us the Mozari village in the plain by whose name the point gets its name. The valley is under light cloud but the western side means Ghats side is almost clear. The sun was setting. We tried to capture the moments by our lenses. Believe me this sunset point can offer you the best sunset of your life as we already have that. As it was already evening we started for the town. In this context I want to share an information that MTDC has built a luxurious resort at this point. If you can afford that & have a car at your disposal then this is the best place to stay at Chikhaldara. This place is so beautiful that we decided that we will try to come to this place in next morning by walking. Sajid informed us the distance is 1.5 km. I told my father to reconsider the decision as the road is hilly but he strongly denied. Then Sajid inspired us by saying that almost every people of Mozari village comes up to Chikhaldara every day for selling vegetables, fruits etc. so we can manage also. But he warned us not to go there unless there is proper daylight.

Our Local sightseeing ended. We were very pleased with Sajid so we invite him for evening tea. He is very shy but we insisted. Then he took us to his best friend’s shop , Tiwari tea stall. When chatting with him I asked him a slightly critical question that whether there is any religious turmoil ever as we all were very surprisingly seeing that Hindu-Muslim-Christian were mingling with each other there with ease. He then told that in Chikhaldara no one even bothers what the religion is & probably high literacy rate is the cause. What I learnt from him is that though Chikhaldara is a very small town inside a Jungle it has five high School of one an Urdu medium school. One graduate college, an ITI, a B.Ed. college. Many students from plains come to read here. There is a rural hospital & a police station. The electricity comes from its own wind mills. Really an eco-friendly town. Sajid left telling to be ready by 9 am. next morning. At the center of the market area there was only Puja of Ma Sherawali for Navaratri. Our hotel manager Mr. Pandey was one of the organizers. We sat there for quite some time. Many local people came to us and we loved to interact with them. The chill in the air came back & we returned to our hotel. We order our dinner but this time no rice only Roti. After a tasty dinner we went to sleep as the next day with full of new experience awaiting for us.
#15 Nov 1st, 2015, 02:38
Join Date:
Jan 2006
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  • JuliaF is offline
#15
This is a great trip report, Subhajit! I am enjoying it very much.

I have had Chikhaldara in my mind for many years but have never been. But I am certainly inspired now by your story, and the attractive picture you paint. It's also nice to read of an Indian family travelling in the same way that I do - by train and bus and without hotels booked in advance. This is quite unusual I think? I'm glad it all worked out so well for you and your wife and parents.

Looking forward to the next part!

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