Skip Mahabaleshwar for this unexplored weekend hideout


One of the best parts about traveling in Maharashtra is that many places are pristine and unexplored. Even though successive Governments have tried to push places, there are many that lie outside the tourist radar.

This place lies very close to the Maharashtra - M.P border. It is an untouched hill station which makes the perfect weekend hideout from Mumbai and Pune. That place is Toranmal.

You would probably be excused for not hearing about Toranmal in all these years. Not much attention is paid to border towns, both in terms of infrastructure and tourism. Toranmal continues a tranquil life, welcoming everyone into its cool and breathtaking surroundings.

Toranmal is also known for being the second coolest hill station in Maharashtra, after Mahabaleshwar. It is a pilgrimage town, with several pilgrims making their way to the Gorakhnath temple during Maha Shivratri. 

Toranmal lies in the Barwani Hills in the Satpura range. It is a natural plateau with a soccer like shape. The shape of the plateau ensures water runs off into a lake on the southern part of the plateau. The rainwater falling on the northern part of the town runs off into a lake called Lotus lake. 

Toranmal derives its name from the 'Torna' tree, which grows in abundance in the area. The locals worship Torna Devi, who is the deity of the region. The hill station was the seat of power of the Mandu dynasty. In spite of this, the area is relatively untouched, and still occupied by tribals. 

Toranmal is a place to see nature in its full beauty, especially after the monsoons. The hills get transformed into lush carpets of green and water fills the waterfalls in the area.

There's not a host of activities to be seen in Toranmal. It is a place to recoup energies and to soak in the beauty of nature. Like most hill stations, Toranmal has viewing points and trekking spots for enthusiasts.

Here are some of the things you can do in Toranmal:

1. Yashwant Lake:

It is the main attraction at Toranmal. It is a beautiful natural lake almost 1.5 sq kms long. The lake derives its name from former Chief Minister Yashwant Rao Chavan. This lake is rain fed, and still, you can find water here during the summers.

Photo of Yashwant Lake Toranmal, Khadki, Maharashtra, India by Niyati Mavinkurve

2. Gorakhnath Temple:

The Gorakhnath Temple is the most famous attraction here. It is  Shiva temple where devotees come during Maha Shivratri. It is said that the devotees walk to this temple during the months of March and April.

Photo of Skip Mahabaleshwar for this unexplored weekend hideout by Niyati Mavinkurve

3. Lotus Lake:

This lake is called Lotus Lake because of the lotuses that grow on the lake. The rainwater runoff from the northern part of the plateau forms this lake. It is a freshwater natural lake. 

Photo of Skip Mahabaleshwar for this unexplored weekend hideout by Niyati Mavinkurve

4. Macchindranath Caves:

This naturally formed cave is said to be the sitting point for Sage Markandeya. There is a temple and the caves which can both be visited at this spot. 

Photo of Skip Mahabaleshwar for this unexplored weekend hideout by Niyati Mavinkurve

5. Sita Khai:

This point has stunning valley views with a waterfall. This place is best visited after the monsoons. It is located around 2kms from Toranmal. Water from the Lotus Lake falls into the valley.

Photo of Seeta Khai Point, Khadki, Maharashtra, India by Niyati Mavinkurve

6. Khadki Point:

This place has great views of Toranmal and also is a paradise for trekkers. As per local legend, many years ago, there was a wall that ran through this area, and it was discovered when bricks were found during an excavation. 

7. Aawashabari Point:

This point is located on the Madhya Pradesh border. It is a great viewing point for the hills and the forest. This point is near the Forest Rest House.

Photo of Skip Mahabaleshwar for this unexplored weekend hideout by Niyati Mavinkurve

The best time to visit Toranmal is between October to February, when the temperatures are moderated. The average day time temperatures are between 25-30 degrees and nighttime temperatures from 12-18 degrees.

This is an account I found for Toranmal:

How to reach Toranmal:

1. By Rail: The nearest railway station is Nandurbar which is 77kms away. However, tourists from Mumbai can come via Dhule which is 90kms away.

2. By Air: Vadodara is the nearest airport which is 145kms away. 

3. By Road: There are frequent buses from Surat, Dhule, Nandurbar, Pune, Nashik and Ahmednagar. Alternatively, it is possible to drive into Toranmal with your own vehicle. The approach road to Toranmal from Shahad. Travellers from Mumbai can take buses to Toranmal via the Dhule-Shahad route.