What is seeing is what we believe! What we leave unseen often comes as an ‘unbelievable’ surprise. Not very far from the Orange City, amid the thick teak forested jungles of Parseoni village is the Khekranala Reservoir, serendipity that remains secluded from the rest of the world. For the nature enthusiasts, bird-lovers and photographers, Khekranala Reservoir could be a blessing in disguise.
About Khekranala Dam and Reservoir
The Khekranala Dam and Reservoir was built in the year 1988 and supplies water for irrigation to the neighboring villages in the area.
The dam is constructed in the form of a spillway with the gates opening to the downside of the Khekranala lake.
The lake is nestled amid teak wood hills forming an ideal spot for the birds and wild animals to flock for water.
An ideal spot for family getaways, weekend escapes, nature trails, photography and overnight camping, this spot is among the most beautiful nature sites in Vidarbha region and among the most popular places to visit in Nagpur.
Retracing my footsteps to the Khekranala Reservoir
This weekend, I decided to drive down to a place I had traveled looong back, in my childhood days. But since then, it has been almost two decades that I never made it to that place again.
So, I decided to retrace my footsteps in time to find out what had changed here over the years.
The Khekranala Dam and Reservoir is at a distance of 70 km from the Nagpur City; a glide-through road trip along the NH – 47, and is a part of the Mansinghdeo Wildlife Sanctuary,adjoining the Pench Tiger Reserve.
Today, the NH-47 is a 4 lane highway taking only 30 mins to cover a distance of 55 km up to Saoner Tehsil.
A bifurcation from the Saoner Tehsil directs you along the village road, running through dense teak trees along the road.
In childhood, I used to travel to school from Saoner to Nagpur every single day, which took more than 2 hours to travel one way, due to bad road conditions.
20 years ago, the Nagpur city used to experience a healthy rainfall, sometimes three days straight, overflowing most of the rivers and water channels surrounding Nagpur.
The bridges enroute would overflow, making the vehicles riskier to cross over, due to strong water currents.
The school bus had to turn back from halfway to school and it used to be a standard excuse for us to skip school and instead, walk into the jungles to explore the teak forests.
That is now a time of the past, as each year, the rainfall gets scantier than before. I admit that this was one of the prejudices I didn’t check out this place for so long.
Despite such drastic environmental changes, this reservoir still promises an idyllic escape for the nature lovers.
Driving along the road, you cannot hold yourself but will have to take several stops to capture the beautiful nature frames that will keep eluding you one after the other.
Planning a Weekend Hiking Trail
The ideal way to reach the dam and lake is to start off and hit the road early in the morning. This keeps the traffic at bay, and also, the image captures are more vivid.
From the Zero Mile Nagpur, as a reference, the best route that keeps you on the highway most part of the distance is the taking the Nagpur-Saoner Route. Another shorter route is via the Kamptee Road, along the MSH 249.
The two routes bifurcate at Koradi Temple and eventually reconnect at the Khapa Village from where the road moves onward to the reservoir.
The ideal route can be planned as under:-
Zero Mile, Nagpur —–> Koradi Temple Intersection Pt —–> Akanksha Restaurant Intersection (NH-47) ——> Khapa Road (Turn Right, MH SH-249) ——> Saoji Dhaba Intersection Khapa —–> Onward to Khekranala
If you are planning to stay here, the reservoir has an MTDC resort right next to it. The ideal is to plan a two day trip here so that you can explore the nearby jungle trails apart from the one with the reservoir.
Further ahead from the MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation) Resort, you can climb up the bund to access the viewpoint and the nature trail.
From this point, you can see the shallow yet scenic landscape of the Mansinghdeo Wildlife Sanctuary on one side and the still waters of the lake on the other.
You can hop into a boat and float away to a distance to enjoy the stillness of the lake while the numerous bird species flock over the water.
I walked into the jungle trail to explore the woods. The trail moves all along the edge of the lake. Off and on, you can spot the fishes coming up for a breathe and then going back into the water, making a popping sound while going in.
After walking a considerable distance, I spotted this place from where the view was simply amazing, There was absolute stillness in the air. It had been ages since I enjoyed such silence I did when I traveled to Uttarakhand.
I decided to spend some time here in stillness. It was an absolute Zen Moment!
Not very far from the reservoir is the Maharkund Lake, a small water body which generally remains dry during the non rainfall seasons.
The route to Maharkund is the Jungle Safari route that takes you into vast stretches of wilderness and anonymity.
I entered into this route to check out the lake and the area around. I was not aware I was driving along the Jungle Safari route.
On the way, you first pass through the Maharkund Village, and then enter deeper into the jungle for another 5 km with no sign of human life.
After driving for about 30 mins, I could see little bit of habitation and a flower nursery. But, for most of the part, it was clear emptiness.
Finally, I was at the lake and at a distance, could spot the birds quenching their thirst.
I spoke to the locals and they told me that this spot is an ideal place for the tigers, wild boars and bears to come for water.
The village has considerable population, however, the route remains in isolation for most of the distance, which keeps the two wheeler travelers vulnerable along the way.
Take this way if only you are strong willed to go dangerously offbeat!