On the day of a festival, if you don’t want to meet and face the tantrums of your relatives and friends, the best idea would be to set off for a drive at a peaceful place nearby. That’s exactly what I and my family did on the day of Holi.
First of all, Holi is a festival of colours celebrated in India. It involves either powdered or liquid colours being splashed and applied on each others face and these colours aren’t permanent and could be washed out. But, we didn’t want to celebrate it as we preferred peace, rather than the noisy and messy fun. For an outing, near enough to return back before the end of the day, the perfect spot was one and only Chikhaldara.
A land of mountains, Chikhaldara boasts of contorted roads mixed with steep valleys alongside. We live in Amravati, a district situated around 70 kms away from Chikhaldara and it is the most common place for us to visit on holidays. However, we didn’t have any intention to hang over there, what we needed is just a short drive. We left home at 8 AM in the morning without having breakfast and just a few sips of tea. In an hour, we were out of Amravati and were reaching near Paratwada which is a town arrives on the way. It took another hour to cross the bustling Paratwada area and, we started entering into Chikhaldara.
Once you start getting nearer to this place, it isn’t difficult to identify so as the view of the mountains in the offing is a clear indicator. The most loved part of this place is the miles of contorted and sharply twisted roads which we start to enjoy immediately after touching the bottom of the mountains and start scrambling upwards. The roads are a mixture of smooth tarmac and undulated sections. The intensely serpentine roads could be a challenge to move on as they are crampingly narrow and the deep valleys literally threaten you of falling down.
As our car, the Chevrolet Beat was a quirky little hatchback, it didn’t demand to be driven much carefully. Except for the times when the turn would be so sharp that we need to stop and let the coming vehicle to pass. The roads were surrounded by dense forest but the trees had got leafless as the summer has started and the sun is getting hotter day by day. Yet, the scenery was something to admire and the deep valleys running beside the roads were thrilling and fascinating at the same time.
After driving for a few minutes we reached the top of the hill station and now it was time to visit various points and enjoy the view of towering hills and cool breeze flowing all over. The first point that arrives the very moment you enter into Chikhaldara is Bhimkund. It is a point located at a considerable height of a mountain where you are surrounded by deep valleys and chiselled-like-hills. Standing at a corner of this point, you can see an alluring view of layered mountains and the ones at the far distance are covered by haze. What adds to the treat is the frantically flowing wind which makes you stay still over there for minutes and enjoy the feel of nature. Along with various birds, the creature you will see in the highest number are monkeys who enthral you by their daredevil stunts but are equally annoying when they forcefully grab the eatables from your hand and run away.
Once the Bhimkund was done, we moved on further and reached a lake which is a point for boating and horse riding. We did both. Boating wasn’t too much fun as the lake had dried and we didn’t an ample of the area to float on. But, the horse riding was something to talk about. The owner of the horse arrived us riding it with a great pace and it attracted us to do it. However, it wasn’t as easy as it looked. I couldn’t manage to ride it at even at half of the speed of which the owner did. It was frightening and made me realise that it requires days of practise to ride a horse.
Boating and horse riding ended being an exhausting activity and now it was time to visit Panchbol point. The significance of the name is that, when you stand at this point and shout loudly, you can hear your echo five times. The way to Panchbol point was filled with gravel, rocks and giant potholes. The rough terrain made us drive at the speed of 20 to 30 kmph and it was downward inclined. When we reached, there weren’t too many people over there, maybe because the talk of hearing your echo five times has just become a myth. And we experienced that as my voice was heard only twice after shouting. After clicking a few pictures, it was time to move back home as the sun was about to set.
Again, while returning, it was time to enjoy the same twisties, however this time it was downwards and needed to be driven carefully. Though this place is not known to too many people in India, but those who live about 100 to 200 kms away, it is the best holiday destination for them.