Melghat means ‘meeting of the ghats’ which is just what the area is, a large tract of unending hills and ravines scarred by jagged cliffs and steep climbs. The exquisite hill forests, thick undergrowth and moss-covered trees underscore its virgin confines. It lies at the northern extreme of the Amravati District on the border of Madhya Pradesh, in the southwestern Satpura mountain ranges.
If its tigers were not so famous, Melghat might best be known as a ‘raptor’ or eagle sanctuary! It is, in any event, a birdwatcher’s dream come true. Remember too, that though you may not easily see them, this forest is part of one of India’s most vital tiger breeding habitats.
As a whole Melghat encompasses an area of 1,676.93 sq. km. which includes the 788.75 sq. km. Melghat Sanctuary and the 361.28 sq. km. Gugarnal National Park in the Vidharba region of Maharashtra. The rest of the buffer zone includes 526.90 sq. km. of reserve forest. Located in the catchment area of the River Tapti, Melghat, a water harvesting forest, supplies 30 per cent of all the fresh water available to the people living in the vicinity.
In and Around
The Safari is extremely enjoyed by tourists due to such a wide variety of animal presence. For bird watchers this national park is like heaven with 260 species of birds.
Serpent eagles and Paradise Flycatcher are the main attraction of the place.People can enjoy a Jungle Safari on various forest transport or they can take their own vehicles.
One can go on a trek through the forest area and enjoy the nature to the fullest. Gadga River and Dolar River flow through the park area where people can watch crocodiles sunbathing on the river banks.
Children can enjoy sights of various colourful fishes and butterfly during a trip to the park. Best time to visit the park is between October and June, especially during early morning hours. Winter season is ideal for bird watching.
Places to see around the park
It is also called sunset point, is at a distance of about ten kilometers and is the highest of all the hills of Chikhaldara. The place is associated with ancient Indian mythology for it is considered to be the ruling seat of king Virat with whom the Pandavas are supposed to have resided during the period of their exile. Chandrabhaga River rises just below the Vairat plateau.
The Makhala road offers several scenic view points, particularly in monsoons when a thick fog wraps a mystic ambience to the whole region.
The Sankhala point, Named after Shri, Kailash Sankhala, father of Project Tiger in India. This point is of interest to wildlife tourist as Sankhala during his visit to Melghat camped at this scenically beautiful site, near Makhala.
History mentions that in 1426 A.D. when Ahmed Shah built the Gavilgad fort, he also repaired the Narnala fort. This implies that the later is an older fort and, like Gavilgad, it too played an important role in the history of mediaeval Berar.
Dhulghat railway makes a structure ‘8’ while traversing the bend. Wari dam, Hanuman temple, and the relocation of 3 villages would developed as meadows with increased wildlife sighting, would become important Tourist Circuit.
Ambabarwa Sanctuary In linkage with Shegaon
Shegaon is now the best tourist spot developed in Vidarbha region. The frequency of tourist visiting Shegaon is tremendous due to its pilgrimage value and picnic spot Anand Sagar developed by the Sant Gajanan Maharaj Santhan at Shegaon. Ambabarwa Sanctuary is about- 65 kms. From Shegaon and it can be another tourist spot for the tourist coming at Shegaon by integrating it with the Shegaon Circuit.
Kolkaz and surrounding forest. Rakhidoh or Rakshadoh and Dia doh near Kolkaz.
Apart from above prominent points, numerous trekking routes and cycling routes can be developed to attract adventurous eco-tourists, for which there is lot of potential.
The best season for visiting the park is from October to June.
How to Reach
The closest airports are Akola (160 km.) and Nagpur (260 km.)
Badnera is the nearest railhead. The Bombay-Howrah Express, Ahmedabad-Madras Navjeevan Express, Ahmedabad-Howrah Express arrive here. Within Maharashtra: the Kolhapur-Nagpur Maharashtra Express and the Bhusaval-Nagpur Passenger Train can be taken.
Chikaldara, a popular hill station, is connected to several major towns and cities. It is about 763 km. from Mumbai and 25 km. from the reserve. Nagpur (230 km.) and Amravati (100 km.) are closer, and State Transport buses are available from these cities to Chilkaldara. All buses going via Paratwada to Dharni and Burhanpur stop at the Tourist Centre in Semadoh. MTDC also organises excursions to the reserve. One can travel by jeeps arranged by the Forest Department on the forest roads within the reserve. Camping and trekking arrangements within the reserve can be made at Semadoh Tourist Centre.
Stay / Eat
Where to Stay
Tourists can enjoy a stay in the Gugamal National Park and do night safari. Kolka Rest House is the forest guest house of the area, where standard accommodations are available based on permission taken from the Amravati Forest Office.