Embrace the Winter destinations in Maharashtra

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PUNE 7 DEC 2018 : Winters in Maharashtra are marked by vacations to plan your year around, a dreamy beach holiday, hill stations resembling postcard sceneries and its southern tips and desserts welcoming all its travellers to take care of your solitude needs when you’re tired from regular monotonous life.

Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) is going that extra mile to promote the state as an attractive tourist destination. Owing to the plethora of tourist spots in the state, MTDC brings to you places that are abundant with natural beauty which are perfect to be visited during winters.

1.       Bhandardara

Bhandardara, considered as a trekker’s paradise, is situated on the western ghat of India in the Ahmednagar districtLying amidst lush greenery, high hills and water, Bhandardara is the perfect winter getaway from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai and is also visited by tourists throughout the year. Bhandardara is renowned for its Lake, Waterfall and many walking / trekking routes around.

Things to do and see:

·         Visit Lake Arthur Hill, popularly known as Bhandardara Lake

·         Built across River Pravara is the Wilson Dam

·         The mesmerizing Umbrella Falls and Randha Falls, the third leading falls in India

·         The famous Agasti Rishi Ashram and Amruteshwar Temple

·         Trek to the highest peak of Maharashtra, Mount Kalsubai

Where to stay: MTDC Holiday Resort, located at Bhandardara near Nashik is the best property to stay amidst the lush greenery of Bhandardara.

2.       Amboli

The beautiful hill-station of Amboli is rightly called the ‘queen’ of Maharashtra; such is its natural splendour. This splendid hill station is located in Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra. Famous among environmentalists as a precious ecological hotspot, it is cool, calm, serene and enriched with all the treasures that the world of flora and fauna can bestow upon it. Amboli is located on the ridge of the Western Ghats and is particularly majestic when impromptu waterfalls gush down the hilly terrain.

Things to do and see:

·         Sunset point is a popular view point for tourists to converge in the evening

·         Shirgaonkar Point overlook is thick forests around the area offering nice cool breeze

·         Amboli Ghat offers guests stunning views of the thickly forested valleys around

·         Hiranyakeshi Mandir is where the Hiranyakeshi river springs out from the mouth of a cave has a small Shiva Temple there

·         Kawaleshet Valley is a view point and a kind of an echo point

·         Nangartas Waterfall is also a popular place to visit

Where to stay: MTDC Resort at Amboli is a humble abode located in the heart of the city.

3.       Tarkali

Tarkali, an undiscovered little alcove of sun, surf and sand is an idyllic getaway for every season. Whether you want to let the waves wash over your stress or get an adrenalin-rush with water-sports, Tarkarli, the lullaby of the ocean is the perfect vacation. A Cool Ocean breeze blowing through lush-green palm fronds and wet sand from gigantic waves, makes this a serene, secluded, seductive paradise.

Things to do and see:

·         Tarkarli is a dolphin reef, perfect for an early morning ride. If you are trigger-happy, these loving creatures will gladly pose as they sweep through the waves.

·         Tarkarli’s waters are perfect for sports. MTDC organises your water-soaked scooter rides or snorkelling to watch sea creatures.

·         The Sindhudurg fort, visible from your porch, is accessible only by sea. MTDC organises ferry trips to the 17th century fort that stands tall and gracious in the middle of a churning ocean.

Where to stay: MTDC Resort at Tarkali is located just 6 K.M away from Malvan.

4.       Ganpatipule

Ganapatipule is a small village on the Konkan coast with a series of beaches and vantage points offering some stunning views of the sea. The destination is 30 km off Mumbai-Panvel-Goa Route. It is known for its Self-incarnated Ganesh temple, which has a great local significance. The MTDC resort overlooks the Ganpatipule Beach and the Lord Ganesha temple.

Things to do and see:

·         Ganapatipule is a renowned pilgrim getaway and visited for its beaches, water sports and range of sightseeing options

·         Ganapatipule Temple is a renowned Shore Temple of Lord Ganesha overlooking Arabian Sea

Where to stay: MTDC resorts are categorised into cottages, rooms and Konkani houses .

5.       Chikhaldara

Chikhaldara is a hill station in Amravati district and is the only hill station of its kind in the Vidarbha region. It is situated on a mountain range beyond which Maharashtra ends and Madhya Pradesh begins. Chikhaldara comes alive in winter season. Driving around with lush green backdrop offers an experience that getaway seekers arrive for.

Things to do and see:

·         Gavilgad and Narnala with perimeters of more than 15 kilometers each offer interesting archaeological and architectural insights

·         Several spectacular vantage viewpoints such as the Panchbol Point, Hariken Point, Mozari Point, Devi Point, Sunset Point, Prospects Point, Monkey Point, etc.

·         Beautiful reservoirs such as the Bir Dam, Kalapani Dam and the Shakkar Lake

Where to stay: MTDC Resort at Chikhaldhara provides accommodation from simple to deluxe rooms and dormitory options offers an authentic local Maharashtrian cuisine at its resort.

6.       Tadoba

The diverse and thrilling Tadoba National Park is situated in Chandrapur district. Often called the ‘Jewel of Vidarbha’, it is the largest national park in the state of Maharashtra. Tadoba is probably one of India’s finest Tiger Reserves. The success of protection and conservation mechanism has meant the number of Tigers in this reserve have increased close to the optimal holding capacity. Tropical climate makes winter season the best time to visit Tadoba National Park.

Things to do and see:

·         Enjoy the sights of the heavyweight Indian gaur, the fur ball bears, the innocent and beautiful sambar, barking and spotted deer or even the playful troupe of langoors

·         The sight of a tiger, the snarl of a leopard, high speed movement of the crocodile and the strategizing wild dogs will always keep the memories of Tadoba fresh in the memory

Where to stay: MTDC at Moharli, private hotels and resorts and Forest Development Corporation’s campsites.

7.       Velneshwar

A beach that has not yet been transformed into a commercial hot spot and one that offers tourists excitement and adventure with all the comforts of urban living, is Velneshwar in Konkan. Far from the maddening crowds of the metropolis, yet fairly accessible to a number of major cities of Maharashtra, Velneshwar is an ideal place to spend a quiet weekend.

Things to do and see:

·         Wake up at the crack of dawn and experience the pleasure of the gentle rustle of palm trees and the twitter of birds while taking an early walk on the beach

·         One can spot the Pole Star as also some planets – such being the clarity of the cosmic dome as seen from here

·         Shri Velneshwar Temple is spread over about 70 sq metres with an adjoining Shiva Temple that has a 11-metre tall deepamal (light pillar). One can visit the Dashabhuj Ganesh temple at Hedvi.

Where to stay: The MTDC resort is located on a hillock with the sea on both the sides.

8.       Karla

Rock-cut structures are one of the most primitive forms of architecture found in several parts of India. The Karla Caves located near Lonavala in Maharashtra, built by Buddhist monks, are one of the finest examples of this architectural style. Some of its 2000-year-old wooden beams are still alive. It takes nearly 20 minutes to climb up the steep way of the Karla caves. There is a 45 meter (148-foot) long Chaitya, possibly the finest of its kind in the country. A temple has been built recently built at the entrance using pillars from the Buddhist period.

Things to do and see:

·         MTDC organizes Water Sport at Karla

·         Explore the cave paintings of Karla which is a famous mammoth hall at Karla

Where to stay:

The MTDC resort is located near Karla Caves in Lonavala off the old Mumbai-Pune highway (NH-04).