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Discovering the Hidden Gem of Chikhaldara

Situated in the southern slopes of the Satpura Ranges, Chikhaldara is a lesser-known hill station in Maharashtra that offers a peaceful respite from the busy cities. As an avid traveler who enjoys escaping to nature, I recently had the chance to explore this relatively unheard-of destination.

In this article, I'll share my experiences in Chikhaldara - where it is, what it's like, things to do, and why you should consider adding this hidden gem to your bucket list.

where is chikhaldara

Locating the Elusive Chikhaldara

Chikhaldara is not the easiest place to find if you've never been to the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra before. It sits in the Amravati district, around 230 kilometers from Nagpur city. So when planning your trip here is a quick orientation:

  • By air - Fly into Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport in Nagpur located about 31⁄2 hours (230 km) from Chikhaldara

  • By rail - Arrive at Gondia Junction, just an hour away (46 km)

  • By road - Regular buses and cabs available from Nagpur and Amaravati

I took a morning bus from Nagpur to reach Gondia and then hailed a taxi for the short uphill drive to Chikhaldara.

First Impressions - Cool, Green, and Serene

As we took the last winding turn on the ghats section, the view suddenly opened up to mist-covered mountains blanketed in lush forests. A smile crept up on my face - this was not the dry and barren land I had imagined. The climate was unexpectedly cool, evident by the winter fog still enveloping the landscape in mid-morning.

We drove past the quaint bazaar area with its old-world charm before reaching my hotel. As I stepped out into the parking lot, I breathed in the refreshingly crisp and clean air. I instantly knew I was going to love it here.

Over my 5-day trip, Chikhaldara surprised me at every corner. Dense woods, waterfalls around every bend, panoramic valley views, fruit orchards, and little to no tourist crowds.


Top Experiences - Peaceful Nature, Rich History

Here are some of my top memorable moments from the trip that I highly recommend:

  • Early morning walks - Waking up early to walk through the misty woods as the sun slowly lit up the meadows was enthralling beyond words.

  • Waterfalls hopping - Dhimarkhod Waterfalls, Bhimkund Waterfalls, Gautala Autramghat Waterfalls, and more...the list is endless.

  • Trekking - For the adventurous souls, there are few moderate treks such as Hurricane Point and Prospect Point that lead to unbelievable ridge-top scenes.

  • Historic sites - Make sure to visit the 19th century Amravati Fort and the ancient Melghat Tiger Project forest area.

  • Local cuisine - I hogged on the delicious poha with jalebis for breakfast and tried out the chicken sukka (dry fry) with chapatis for dinner. So yummy.

And these were just the expected attractions. Along the way, I also stumbled upon isolated lakes, wildflowers carpeting rolling hills, chance wildlife spottings, hidden grottos, and exotic fruits.

Why Visit Chikhaldara?

If you are wondering why visit this relatively unknown Chikhaldara and not the popular Mahabaleshwar or Panchgani, here are some good reasons:

  • Unspoiled nature - The landscapes and lush forests are still untouched by mass tourism. It was healing to be surrounded by such beauty and tranquility.

  • Unhurried pace - The laid-back vibe helped me relax. No big crowds, traffic jams, or long queues anywhere.

  • Old-world charm - The intriguing history and heritage are still preserved rather than replaced by flashy new developments. I loved the small hill town ambiance.

  • Great weather - Being nestled at a higher altitude, the place has very enjoyable temperatures year-round. Summers are mild while winters get quite cold and misty.

  • Wildlife - Its part of the Melghat Tiger Reserve so you may get lucky with an exotic wildlife sighting.

So if you want to trade frenzied city chaos with slow-paced nature therapy, Chikhaldara emanates just the right amount of beauty, adventure, and mystery.

Final Implications - Boost Rural Tourism Mindfully

Despite the enormous tourism potential, Chikhaldara still flies under the radar. The government has fortunately implemented guidelines and protections to preserve the ecology. But the locals can definitely benefit from mindful exposure that does not erode the essence of this hidden gem.

As a frequent traveler and nature-lover, my key takeaways were:

  • I will be returning to immerse more deeply in the rich history and natural splendor

  • I will promote it responsibly to boost rural prosperity through sustainable avenues

  • I will encourage my peer network to discover offbeat places like Chikhaldara

The future implications lie in driving rural tourism to remote areas without compromising what makes them so unique and invaluable. It is a delicate balance indeed. But Chikhaldara stirred my heart enough to make me committed to the cause.

I hope reading about my adventures evoked enough intrigue. When you need a break from crowded commercial hill stations, I strongly recommend adding the tranquil Chikhaldara to your itinerary. I cannot wait to plan my next trip back.

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