Known for its beautiful lakes, waterfalls and wildlife, the hill station of Chikhaldara is located in Amravati district of Maharashtra. It is the sole hill station in Vidarbha region and is located at an altitude of 1118 meters in Gavilgarh hills, a part of the Satpura mountains.
The hill station is named after Keechak, a character in the epic Mahabharat, who was killed by Pandava warrior Bheem for insulting Draupadi. Bheem is believed to have thrown Keechak’s body into the deep valley.
It is the place where the Pandavas had taken refuge for year of ‘Agyatwaas’. It is also believed that Lord Krishna brought his wife Rukmini at this place.
The hill station was discovered by Captain Robinson of Hyderabad Regiment in 1823. The place reminded him of English autumn months because of the lush green hue. The Britishers developed Chikhaldara as a sanatorium and a site for coffee plantations.
Today Chikhaldara is famous for its sanctuaries, scenic points and historical forts situated in and around the hill station. Chikhaldara and surrounding regions attracts a lot of nature lovers for its forests and the wildlife that thrives.
The Melghat Tiger Reserve is a bio-diversity hotspot and an important sanctuary under the Project Tiger to conserve the big felines. It is home to 82 tigers and other wildlife including hyena, sambhar, nilgai and four-horned antelopes.
Chikhaldara Wildlife Sanctuary, Wan Sanctuary, Dhakana–Kolkaz National Park and Gugamal Wildlife Sanctuary are part of the Melghat Tiger Reserve.
Forts in the region stand testimony to the strategic importance the fort held. Though in ruins, the forts attract a lot of trekkers and history buffs.
Chikhaldara is the only place in Maharashtra where one can find coffee plantations.
Chikhaldara Festival, held every year in December, showcases the best in culture, arts, local arts and crafts. Adventure activities like paragliding and rock climbing, are also held as part of the festival.
Where to stay
There are several accommodation options in Chikhaldara. There are mid-range, budget and luxury hotels, which provide good facilities. One can also stay at MTDC holiday resort.
Where to eat
There are few places to eat in Chikhaldara. One can get veg and non-veg cuisine in the restaurants.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Chikhaldara is between October and April. During these months the climate remains pleasant. Tourists generally plan their visit the hill station during December to attend the Chikhaldara festival.