Going Off The Beaten Track From Nagpur

With the end of monsoon, travelling around the country picks up pace. But if you want to avoid the crowd and go a different way, why not head to this little known corner in Maharashtra not far from Nagpur
Viswa Shanti Stupa Wardha Photo MeghaYR / Shutterstock.com
Viswa Shanti Stupa Wardha Photo MeghaYR / Shutterstock.com

Located about 80km from Nagpur, Wardha is better known as the gateway to two of India&rsquos modern pilgrimage centres &ndash the ashram founded by Mahatma Gandhi in Sevagram and the ashram founded by Acharya Vinoba Bhave in Paunar. But not many know that Wardha is also the gateway to natural and historical attractions.

Bor Dam

Located about 40km from Wardha is the Bor Dam which takes its name from the river on which it stands. The local people often visit the verdant dam side for picnics in winter.

Bor Wildlife Sanctuary

The forested tract which includes the drainage basin of the dam was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1970 and a tiger reserve in 2014. Home to a variety of flora and fauna, it is considered a key biodiverse region. To ensure its conservation, the sanctuary has been included within the &lsquosatellite core area&rsquo of Pench Tiger Reserve. A part of the sanctuary is open to tourists. Safaris have to be booked in advance.

Gitai Temple

About 30km from Bor Dam, this roofless temple has 18 chapters of the Gitai (a Marathi translation of the Bhgwad Gita done by Acharya Acharya Vinoba Bhave) inscribed on its walls. The temple complex also houses a photographic exhibition showing the life of the Acharya while Shanti Kutir memorialises the life of Jamnalal Bajaj through photographs and other memorabilia.

Viswa Shanti Stupa

Not far from the Gitai Temple is a Japanese Buddhist shrine and a stupa with statues of Buddha.

Magan Sangrahalaya

Inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1938, the museum is known for its display of various kinds of spinning wheels (charkha), khadi and other textiles, tools which can be used by rural industries, etc.

Kelzar Ganpati Temple

Located about 26km from Wardha, this hill top temple is dedicated to Ganesha (Varada Vinayak) and offers a panoramic view of the surrounding forests. According to a local lore, the temple was founded by the ascetic Vasishtha (who was the mentor of Ram). The temple is also associated with the epic Mahabharata. According to media reports, archaeologists from Nagpur University have unearthed the remains of an ancient temple town likely dating back to the 14th -15th century, not far from the Ganpati temple.

Getting there Wardha can be easily from Nagpur, which is its nearest airport. The city is an important railway station on the Mumbai-Howrah and the Delhi-Chennai routes passing through Nagpur. By road, it is connected to Nagpur and other key cities of the state. The best time to visit is between November and February.

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