Just a few hours drive from Nagpur is this beautiful little hill station, nestled amidst the Sahyadris and the Melghat tiger reserve. It is also the only hill station in Vidarbha.
While going, we took the route via Ghatang, which is a bit longer but also much less crowded and very very beautiful.
The entire route is flanked by beautiful farms, enchanting saagwan forests and sprawling grasslands dotted by numerous checkdams that were overflowing at this time of the year forming enamouring waterfalls. It is as if the whole area is dressed up in green flowy attire and decked up with white, watery, glistening jewels.
After a couple of pit stops to absorb the bounty of nature, driving through meandering road, crossing numerous leafy tree tunnels, saagwan forests- their leaves loosing their greens and turning into a sieve, scattering the occasional sunlight into speckled shadows, we reached Chikkaldhara around noon.
Where to stay in Chikkaldhara?
There are very few good properties in Chikkaldhara, so it is advisable to pre book, specially on a weekend.
The good resorts, with good locations are:
Harshwardhan inn, MTDC Mozari Point
MTDC Holiday resort, near hurricane point
Another good property which is more like a hotel and is located in the town is hotel Harshawardhan. We had our dinner and the next day breakfast here and it was pretty decent.
Having arrived at Chikkaldhara, we headed straight to MTDC, Mozari point, had a nice lunch there and requested for a room, only to find out that someone was celebrating their 50th birthday and had booked all good resorts in Chikkaldhara. We ended up staying at Bamboo House, which was just OK.
When to visit?
Chikhaldhara can be visited all the year round. It is an ideal summer destination to escape the heat for a brief getaway. It is even better during winters, Oct- Feb, when the wildlife safari is available, sighting is good, weather is pleasurable and the sky is clear on most of the days, i.e. if you enjoy skygazing and hunting for stars and galaxies.
We visited during monsoons. The charm of the hills during rains is unbeatable. The wildlife safaris around Chikaldhara were closed since we went during monsoons. Yet, the weather, the picturesque scenery and the waterfalls made up for it in every way possible.
What to see?
There are many points in Chikaldhara to breathe in amazing views of the hills and the valleys. I would suggest visiting few of these, as most of these are similar. After having lunch, we spent some time at the Mozari point, then headed to Panchbol point and were disappointed(you DO NOT hear your voice echo 5 times at all. It is a hoax). But the views were breathtaking. The valley had 4-5 waterfalls out of which one was really grand. After this, we visited the Bhimkund point. It has mythological significance and is popular among locals for the same. It is known to be the place where Bhima killed the Asura Kichaka. There is a waterfall here also, but it is not allowed to get close to the water here.
Then, we went to visit the Gavilgarh fort, a fortified mountain from the times of the Maratha kingdom. Its a nice hike around the ruins enjoying the nature that has taken over the abandoned fortress. One can easily spend at least a couple of hours at these magical place.
Kalalkund and Bakadari is a day trek and can be accessed only in the dry season. During monsoons the access get closed because of too much water in the falls. We were quite keen to do this trek, but all the locals that we met on the way, suggested otherwise. So, that's an adventure for another day.
We visited the Jathradoh waterfall. It is a small waterfall, the height is about 20-25 ft, but since we went during monsoons, the volume was huge. The water falls in a small pool of water which is quite suitable for bathing and having fun with friends or family. On egood thing about Chikaldhara is that it is not visited by too many tourists. To our great pleasure, none of the places were too crowded, allowing us the luxury of having the nascent nature all to ourselves.
The next morning, we visited the windmills. It is one of the places we enjoyed the most in Chikhaldhara. Vast expanse of green grasslands, with huge windmills, their sound and on top of all this, the weather decided to turn dramatic and treated us to gusty winds with mild rain shower. One of those moments when your heart starts dancing to the tune of nature. Totally loved spending the morning there.
From here, we started our journey back to Nagpur, again stopping at random viewpoints in between to relish the pure air and beautiful nature, just a little more.