Lonar lake
Source: Wikimedia Commons/V4vjk
Aliya Ladhabhoy
The Maharashtra State Tourism Department (MTDC) has drafted a policy to allow caravan tourism in the state. The policy, updated on their website is open to the public for suggestions and objections post which it will be sent to the state cabinet.
As per the policy, private players can operate caravans and set up caravan parks. MTDC itself will also set up parks in five spots where it owns land.
These parks will be equipped with the necessary infrastructure for food, water and waste disposal.  These parks will be set up near local tourist sights such as a buffer zone of a forest, near a dam or a fort.
Maharashtra has some beautiful forts, beaches and natural sights which have limited tourist access at the moment due to lack of luxurious resorts and hotels in the area. With the new policy in place, one can discover the state’s bounties.
Here are 5 places that are worth a visit:
Chikhaldara
Chikhaldara hill station in Maharashtra
Source: Chikhaldara.org
Surrounded on three sides by the Melghat Project Tiger area, this hill station in Vidharbha is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, pristine waterfalls and serene lakes. Located at a height of 1,088 meters above sea level, it offers picturesque views of the hills and deep valleys covered with a thick carpet of lush green foliage and trees. It has the distinction of being the only coffee-growing area in Maharashtra. The best season to visit Chikhaldara is from October to June.
Lonar Lake
Lonar lake
Source: Wikimedia Commons/V4vjk
Lonar Lake is a natural geological heritage site. It is the earth’s only hyper-velocity impact crater in basaltic rock, which was formed when a meteorite crater crashed here, more than 52,000 years ago. It is one of the world’s largest craters and the third-largest saltwater lake. It is an idyllic escape and is a paradise for bird watchers. The lake also baffles scientists and NASA. A compass doesn’t work in parts of the lake.
Shiroda
Shiroda beach Maharashtra
Source: MTDC
If the beaches of Alibaug have gotten too crowded for your liking and if you wish to go to a beach minus other tourists, head to Shiroda. Located at the southernmost end of the Sindhudurg district, Shiroda is blessed with coconut and cyprus trees, clear skies and unadulterated beach. You can also indulge in local Konkani delicacies with a coconut base and fresh fish. The Taj Hotels has signed an agreement with the government to lease some land in the area to open a luxurious hotel in the next three years.
Kaas Plateau
Source: Wikimedia Commons/Parabsachin – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Every monsoon Kaas Plateau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is covered with endless sheets of flowers in all possible colours. Over 850 species of plants and flowers blossom here due to the plenty of rainfall that the region receives, transforming it into Maharashtra’s own Valley of Flowers. The best time to visit is in September. Take a closer look at some of the common flowers such as Eriocaulon, Utricularia, Pogostemon Deccanensis, Senecio Grahamii and Impatiens as well as unique ones such as Pleocaulus ritchei, which blossom only once in its eight-year lifetime.
Tadoba Tiger Reserve
Tadoba Tiger ReserveIt is Maharashtra’s largest national park. The goverment’s conservation efforts have paid off and there has been an increase in the tiger population in recent years. The park is open for visitors from 15th October to 30th June every year. While all eyes are on spotting tigers, don’t miss out on enjoying the sights of leopards, wild bears, sambar and spotted deer, langoors and peacocks. Taj hotels also plans to open a SeleQtions hotel here soon.

Read: The Taj Mahal has opened up again; take a trip to Agra

 

 

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