From Karnala Bird Sanctuary to The Gurdwaras of Nanded... Offbeat places to visit in Maharashtra

There are several unexplored and exciting places in Maharashtra that can be the perfect spot for you to explore and satiate the adventure junkie in you. Whether you’re a nature-lover, a history enthusiast or on a journey to explore your spiritual side, we’ve got you covered. Here are some places that you can explore

Twisha SoniUpdated: Tuesday, March 22, 2022, 08:36 PM IST
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Tadoba and Andhari Tiger Reserve |

Tadoba and Andhari Tiger Reserve

Situated in the heart of Maharashtra, the Tadoba National Park or the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is one of India’s largest tiger reserves with over 45 tigers living in its 625 sq. km expanse. The reserve includes the Tadoba National Park and the Andhari Wildlife sanctuary. Covering dense forest areas, hill ranges and water bodies like lakes, the tiger reserve is the perfect place to explore and experience nature. One can enjoy various activities like the Tiger Safari, Nature Camping, Trekking Kayaking, backwaters boating among others. Located in the Chandrapur district of Maharashtra, the reserve is approximately 150 Kms from Nagpur city. The best time to visit the reserve, especially if you want to spot tigers, is during the summer months of April and May.

The forests of Amboli

Amboli Ghats

Tucked on the edges of the Sahyadri Hills, Amboli which is situated almost 700m above sea level in the Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra, is a haven for nature-lovers and biodiversity enthusiasts. The biodiversity of the place is what makes it unique: Close to 300 different species of mammals, birds, butterflies and reptiles thrive in the eco-hotspot. Amboli receives almost 7000mm of rainfall each year, making it one of the wettest places in India and it’s also dubbed as the “Cherrapunji of Maharashtra''! The place is not a formally protected area, so the tourism is managed by the locals and is community-driven. The scenic hill station can be reached by road (it's about 135 km from Kolhapur and 500 km from Mumbai).

Nandur Madhmeshwar Bird Sanctuary

The Nandur Madhmeshwar Bird Sanctuary is a vast wetland in Nashik with over 20 lakes and ponds and is home to more than 230 species of birds, out of which 80 are migratory, becoming the perfect spot for all avian enthusiasts. Built around the Nandur Madhmeshwar Dam, the bird sanctuary is a Ramsar wetland, one of the nine wetlands of India to be declared a Ramsar site by the International Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. The sanctuary is located around 40 km from Nashik. A must visit place for bird lovers and those looking to explore their interests in nature.

Panhala

Only 18 km from Kolhapur and at a height of 977 meters above sea level, this hill station presents a kaleidoscopic view of the surrounding scenic hills. The history of Panhala is closely linked with the history of the Maratha Empire, as Chhatrapati Shivaji is said to have spent more than 500 days here. The Panhala Fort, considered the largest of all Deccan forts, serves as a major tourist attraction. The Sajja Kothi (Punishment Cell) is the most interesting part of the fort from where Chhatrapati Shivaji was known to make the heroic escape. At the entrance, is the Teen Darwaza, which has an inscription dating back to 954 AD, the only three gates that allowed entry to the majestic Fort. Given the abundant forts found here, the hill station proves to be an ideal spot to indulge in trekking. One can also join the trek that follows Shivaji’s escape route to Vishalgad.

Murud-Janjira Fort

If you have an interest in history, heritage and adventure, the island-fortress of Murud-Janjira is the ideal place to spend your day. The fort dates back almost 500 years in the 16th century when the leader of a local fishing community built the fort to keep his people safe from pirates and invaders. The fort includes many attractions, including carvings, cannons, ruins of temples and scenic views from the fort walls. The fort is located on the coast of Murud and can be reached via ferry from the Gateway of India and the village of Rajapuri (closest to the fort island).

Jawhar

It is a quaint hill station surrounded by lush and majestic Sahyadri ranges, located in the Palghar district. Blessed by nature with abundant picturesque dense green trees, exotic valleys and pleasant climate, it has a strong cultural ethos and a history that dates back to the 14th century. Founded in 1306, Jawhar was ruled by the Munke dynasty and served as a camping point for Maratha king Shivaji and his army en route to Surat. The hill station offers myriad attractions including grand ancient temples such as Gramadaivat temple and Hanuman Point, serene dams such as Jaisagar Dam and Khad Khad Dam, magnificent palaces such as Jai Vilas Palace also known as Raj Bari and Bhopatgad Fort, majestic waterfalls like Dabhosa Falls, a great natural wonder, etc. One can stay at nearby MTDC resorts such as MTDC Guest House, Shanti Sarovar Resort etc. offering a comfortable stay.

Karnala Bird Sanctuary

Whilst looking at day picnic spots in and around Mumbai we often arrive at the same old options which have been over-explored by us! Karnala Bird Sanctuary is the perfect location for family picnics and some weekend adventure. Located in the Panvel district and around 50 km from Mumbai, the bird sanctuary is home to a variety of species of birds and other wildlife. Activities such as trekking and birdwatching are quite popular; one can also explore the Karnala Fort located within the sanctuary. Resorts around the area offer exciting day activities making the place an ideal spot for families to spend time and enjoy themselves.

The Gurdwaras of Nanded

The city of Nanded is beautiful in many ways: It is an important pilgrim spot for Sikhs; is full of life with delectable street food and has various temples and tourist spots to explore! The city is known for being the final resting place of Guru Gobind Singhji, the 10th Guru of Sikhs and is home to the Shri Hazur Sahib, a massive gurudwara complex. The city has many smaller gurdwaras and temples, including a jyotirlinga, the Kaleshwar temple. A few kilometres from Nanded is the Nanded Fort complete with scenic views of the Godavari river and the greenery surrounding it. One can easily find appetizing food on every corner of the streets! Located about 575 km from Mumbai, the best way to reach Nanded is by taking an overnight train journey.

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