Toranmal’s pull lies in the fact that it’s a parallel track on the well-travelled tourist road; a soothing, unpolluted confluence of hills, waterfalls and valleys. There are two stories behind Toranmal’s name: toran in Marathi means a welcome arch and mal means garland. The image of arches strung together like a garland is what you see when you look down on Toranmal from the heights of the Satpura. Others say that Toranmal is named after the ancient ‘tor’ tree, which blossomed so prolifically that locals began worshipping Torna Devi as a goddess of fertility. The fabled tor tree no longer exists; what does is a hilltop temple to the goddess.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO

The biggest surprise in Toranmal is scattered in bits and pieces all over this hill station. Ruins of broken sculptures of Hindu gods and goddesses are strewn around Toranmal, and are believed to be centuries old. The Toranmal Hill Resort has mounted several broken sculptures on a raised platform.

Yashwant Lake

No matter where you are in Toranmal, you can be sure that Yashwant Lake isn’t too far away. The lake is surrounded by hills. Overlooking the lake is a blue Protestant Church, more than a century old.

Abhijit Bhatlekar
Entrance of the Machindranath Cave
Entrance of the Machindranath Cave

Khadki Point

This is a trekking area with a colourful past. In ancient times, a wall ran along the length of Toranmal. When the wall was dug up, century-old bricks that have survived the march of time and nature were found here. Khadki Point affords picturesque views of the valleys below.

Torna Devi Temple

Perched on a hilltop, the temple is only eight years old. But the black stone idol of Torna Devi placed outside the temple is steeped in antiquity. The locals say it is more than 600 years old. Also check out Gorakshanath Temple.

Abhijit Bhatlekar
Houses set across the banks of Yashwant Lake
Houses set across the banks of Yashwant Lake

Sita Khai

Despite its name, this magnificent gorge has nothing to do with goddess Sita. It gets its name from seedha khai (straight ditch). A waterfall flows from here and the sight gets prettier during the monsoon. Sita Khai also has an echo point.

Machindranath Cave

This is a natural formation. According to legend Sage Machindranath used to meditate here. To reach the spot where he meditated, you have to stoop low.

WHERE TO STAY AND EAT

There are lodges and private hotels here, including Toranmal Hill Resort (Cell: 09422286375, 09404878941, 09422774075; Tariff: 700-1,600), perhaps the only place in Toranmal with decent lodging and boarding. The restaurant menu here features the usual suspects: chicken Manchurian, butter chicken, etc.

When to go October to March Location At 3,750 ft, in Maharashtra’s Khandesh Region Air Nearest airport: Nashik Rail Nearest railhead: Nandurbar

THE INFORMATION

Tourist Offices

MTDC Mumbai

Tel: 022-22044040

W maharashtratourism.gov.in

Bhandardara

Tourist Information Centre

MTDC

Shendi

Bhandardara

Tel: 02424-257171, 257032

STD code 02424

Harihareshwar

Tourist Information Centre

MTDC Harihareshwar

Near Kalbhairav Temple

Tel: 02147-226036, Cell: 08879222040

STD code 02147

Ganapatipule

Tourist Information Centre

MTDC Holiday Resort

Tel: 02357-235248, 235061-62

STD code 02357

Kunkeshwar

Tourist Information Centre

MTDC

Tarkarli

Tel: 02365-252390

STD code 02364

Vengurla

Tourist Information Centre

MTDC Project Office

C-Block, 1st Floor, NH17, Oras

Sindhudurg

Tel: 02362-228785, 228115

STD code 02366

THE INFORMATION

Kaas Plateau

Tourist Information Centre

Forest Office

Dy Conservator Of Forests

(Satara Division)

Old Treasury Office Compound,

Powai Naka, Satara

Tel: 02162-220058/59

W kas.ind.in

STD code 02162

Tadoba Tiger Reserve

Wildlife/ Forest Dept Office

Chief Conservator of Forests

Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve

Rambag Colony, Mul Road

Chandrapur

Tel: 07172-251414, 255980

W mahaecotourism.gov.in

STD code 07172

Kamshet

MTDC, Karla

Tel: 02114-282230, 282064, 282102

STD code 02114

Toranmal

MTDC

T/1, Golf Club, Old Agra Road, Nashik

Tel: 0253-2570059, Fax: 2579352

W .mtdcindia.com

STD code 02566

Melghat Tiger Reserve

Chief Conservator of Forests and Field

Director

Melghat Tiger Reserve, Camp Amravati

Tel: 0721-2662792, 2551766

STD code 0721