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Tapola: A piece of Kashmir in Maharashtra

Tapola owes its nickname ‘Mini Kashmir' to the scenic views of the Sahyadri Hills overlooking the Shivsagar Lake, similar to Kashmir’s Dal Lake and the Zabarwan mountains. Offering boating, trekking, kayaking, and more, Tapola is a haven for nature lovers

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Tapola: A piece of Kashmir in Maharashtra

Tapola: A piece of Kashmir in Maharashtra

Tapola, often called the ‘Mini Kashmir’ of Maharashtra, is a quaint village with breathtaking views of the Sahyadri Hills overlooking the Shivsagar Lake. Nestled amidst dense forests, Tapola is surrounded by forts that add to its picturesque charm. It is a serene endpoint after a scenic drive through the Western Ghats

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About 25 km away from Mahabaleshwar, and 150 km from Pune, the journey to Tapola in the Satara district treats travellers to panoramic views on both sides of the road. The Vasota Fort (built in the 12th century), the Pratapgad Fort (built by Chhatrapati Shivaji in 1656), and the Jaygad Fort are among the historic forts that have stood the test of time. 

Tapola owes its nickname ‘Mini Kashmir' to the scenic views of the Sahyadri Hills overlooking the Koyana Dam, similar to the Dal Lake overlooking the Zabarwan mountain range

Trekking and water sports

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Tapola is strategically positioned at the confluence of the Koyana and Solshi rivers. Tapola Lake here is a major tourist attraction, offering boating experiences. This lake is part of the 90-km backwater expanse of the Koyna Dam, known as the Shivsagar Lake. 

Tapola is a haven for water sports enthusiasts, providing opportunities for boating, water scooter rides, kayaking, and swimming. 

Also Read: Wari Chora: Meghalaya's hidden canyon

The boat trips showcase scenic spots like Triveni Sangam, Bamnoli Island, and more. Tourists can also spend quiet time on the islands, camping amid nature, and interacting with locals.

water sports in Tapola
Tapola offers kayaking, boating and other water sports. Pic: Flickr

The Vasota Fort is located in the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary, near the Shivsagar Lake, and is a popular destination for jungle treks, offering a thrilling experience for nature lovers. Also known as Vyaghragad, it is famous for being defended by Tai Telin, a mistress of the fort’s killedar Pant Pratinidhi after he was captured. 

The Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary is home to leopards, bison, sloth bears, sambar deer, barking deer, mouse deer, and more. Smooth-coated otters and Indian Giant Squirrels are also spotted in herds.

Also Read: Harihar Fort’s 80-degree rock-cut stairs take you to the top of the world

Another attraction is the Kas Plateau Reserved Forest, also known as Kas Pathar, a one-hour journey from Tapola. It is renowned for its blooming flowers during July and August and was declared a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 2012. The best time to visit Tapola is from October to February, providing an ideal climate for camping and trekking.

More pictures here:

flower garden
Kas Plateau Reserved Forest, also known as Kas Pathar. Pic: Flickr
sahyadri and shivsagar
Sahyadri Hills and the Tapola Lake. Pic: Flickr
cottages at tapola
Cottages at Tapola. Pic: Flickr

Also Read: Maharashtra’s Sea Forts: A testimony to the rise & fall of kingdoms on India’s West Coast

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