When I read about Chikhaldara located in the Amravati district of Maharashtra, I only knew of the famous Chikhaldara falls and Bhimkund valleys here. It was an off-season trip and you need to be either too ignorant or too experimental to travel during this time. I was skeptical before I started for this road trip, and was not expecting much to see, being an off-peak season. It eventually turned out on the way I was wrong…
On the unusual course
If you want to do sight-seeing at Chikhaldara, then you would probably find most of the information on any other website. But, if you are looking for an unusual reason, something other than the regular travellers, then we are manning the same boat, at different times of course.
For the sight-seers, Chikhaldara is a hill-station of Central India which is famous for its Melghat Tiger Reserve and its spiritual centre, Bhimkund. There are other famous points too, such as the Hurricane Point, The Bhimkund View Point, Devi-point and all those points where the local travel guides can take you for sight-seeing.
But for those who seek a more personal touch out of their experiences, here’s more to add to that experience. Explore the scenic Chikhaldara valleys with new eyes altogether.
Planning the Chikhaldara Road Trip
The only way to reach Chikhaldara is by a road-trip. The NH-6 national highway, from Nagpur further bifurcates into the state highway MSH-6 towards Paratwada, over a road-trip of 232 kms, spanning approximately 4 hours.
To keep you from slowing down with the road traffic, you must consider starting early from here, preferably hit the road by 06:00 am. Early hours, the traffic is less, and the road trip time can be cut down by at least 45 minutes.
You can choose to take your meals on the way, as there are ample opportunities for a break on the go. Plus, since you started early, the lesser road traffic would have already helped you cover most of the distance to take a comforting pit-stop for breakfast on-the-go.
You will be crossing four toll booths on your way from Nagpur to Chikhaldara. The fifth and final check point is at the Forest entry gate, where you can enter by paying an entry-fees of Rs.50/- per vehicle. You may not want to lost that receipt they give you, as it has the road map to the essential points in the region.
Riding up the curves!
For the major part of the trip on the NH-6, the either sides of the road is a flat countryside, with occasional teak forests on the road-edges. The day sunlight is more comforting, in the winter seasons, and the landscapes are clear.
It is the last 22 kms of the stretch that makes the trip interesting. Climbing up the curves is a topsy-turvy as you keep juggling on your seats while you make your way to the top. I advice if you are motion sick, try not filling up your stomach to the brim, to avoid nausea on the way up .
While starting your climb, you come across this small Shiva temple. Take a halt here to pay your respects before you move ahead for that trip. It is always good to start an adventure with some spiritual high.
Exploring new horizons- how an off-season trip turned out worthwhile
I was having the feeling of that regular tourist who just lands up at a place for some sight-seeing and selfie posting. Until three fourth of my trip, I had that eerie feeling that all the camping gear that was kept in the trunk of the vehicle would be useless as there won’t be much to do.
The vehicle was climbing up faster now and after that road-bend which entered into the plateau, there was a broad smile on my face and I said ‘Yes- that is awesome!’Far off at a distance, two giant wind-mills popped out of nowhere on the ridges and suddenly, I was looking for the approach road to reach there. I had finally found my campsite. The sunset from here would be amazing. This is where I will put up my camp for the day.
It turned out that I had not only underestimated it as a hill-station but also realized that it was a good 2 days of worthwhile camping and hiking trip with plethora of adventures awaiting. I was now on my way to find some more fascinating facts about the region, and experience it in new ways altogether.
The upcoming posts in the series will introduce and walk you through the more lesser known places of the region. There is more to just coming here for the water-falls and it desperately awaits new eyes.