Places

Published on August 14th, 2013

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Get out this weekend

Make the most of this long weekend with these six getaways around Mumbai – all within reasonable driving distance, too.
by Deepa Mistry

Weekends are always looked forward to, irrespective of how busy your week might have been. Weekend monsoon vacations are popular amongst everyone – who doesn’t like to sit by a waterfall or simply admire lush greenery? This is also the perfect season to go trekking.

This weekend, make the most of the sporadic rain showers and rejuvenate yourself in the lap of nature. Since a lot of places are considered ‘off-season’ at this time of year, this is actually the best time to go to these places as they aren’t much in demand and you can have a peaceful holiday. But since this weekend is a long one – with the Independence Day break on August 15 followed by Saturday and Sunday, you would do well to pre-book your holiday resort.

If you’re making plans for this weekend, we can help you out with six destinations around Mumbai:
Kolad: A three-hour drive from Mumbai will bring you to the beautiful marshlands of Kolad, with the majestic Sahyadris that form the best backdrop to the magnificent valleys. Kolad offers the chance to play various adventure sports like white-water river rafting, kayaking, trekking, and river crossing at Kundalika River. You can have your own bonfire and camp alongside the river. A lot of resorts have a one-day package for all these adventure sports as well.

Lonavala-Khandala: Monsoons are the best time to experience a blissful natural paradise. These valleys become lush green in the rains and the hill sides become the bearers of lonavalainnumerable waterfalls. Khandala is located at about 100 kms from Mumbai; the easy accessibility this place affords makes it one of the most popular quick getaway destinations from Mumbai. Don’t miss the beautiful and tranquil Bhushi lake, the Tiger’s Leap and the Amrutanjan point which offer an awesome view of the lush valley, the Duke’s Cliff and the Buddhist Caves of Karala and Bhuja. The Lion’s Point offers an amazing view of the valley and a plate of corn and onion bhajjis are a must-have at this point. Besides its natural beauty Lonavala is famous for its chikki.

MatheranMatheran: This beautiful hill station is located at about 100 kms from Mumbai, in Raigad district. A popular weekend destination, this is an eco-sensitive region, as no motorised vehicles are allowed within the town. One can travel around Matheran on foot, horse backs and hand-pulled rickshaws. During monsoons, clouds practically descend on the town and the view of the adjoining valley is totally breath taking; the many natural water falls magnify the mesmerizing effect. The beautiful Lake Charlotte, the ancient Pisarnath Mahadev (Shiv) temple and the Madhavji Garden and several other points are some other attractions of Matheran. This picturesque town is dotted with many beautiful colonial bungalows and a few local eateries. The mini train that connects Matheran with Nerul station is convenient, but the train doesn’t operate during the monsoon. When it starts again in October, you will see that it is a two-hour train ride that takes you across dense forests and lush hilly areas.

Lavasa: The ideal time to visit Lavasa is this season, owing to the pleasant weather that allows the exploration of natural wildlife and waterfalls located in the region. Lavasa is among the planned cities in India located in Pune – it is 65 km from Pune and 180 km from Mumbai, located behind the dam of Varasgaon. Due to its awesome location, people find it an ideal place for mountain climbing, hiking and trekking. Popular attractions here include Lakeshore, which provides an opportunity for adventure activities like boating against the water currents, cruises and jet skiing. It is an all-weather favourite getaway with the climate remaining salubrious throughout the year.

Durshet: Nestled in the lushness of the Western Ghats, Durshet (see pic on right) is a trekker’s paradise during the monsoons. This less frequented getaway is about 70 kms from Mumbai, in Raigad Durshetdistrict. The natural waterfalls spring to life during the monsoons, to provide an amazing experience to anyone who desires a respite from the grind and cacophony of daily life. Durshet is home to several species of birds and fauna. The view of the Sahyadri ranges from this place is spectacular. A jungle safari in the densely wooded region is a delight, as is a visit to the Sri Baleshwara Ashthavinayaka and the Shri Varad Vinayak temples, both dedicated to Lord Ganesha.

Kashid: Located about 30 km from Alibaug, the beach is a popular weekend holiday destination for residents of Mumbai and Pune, and is situated between two rocky hillocks on the Alibaug-Murud road. Kashid beach is known for its clear water and white sandy beach. Kashid is also a good place for some dolphin spotting, but the best time to see the gentle creature of the sea is November to January. Locals operate ferry services to help tourists spot dolphins in the sea. Unlike other beaches of Maharashtra, the Kashid beach is less commercialised and is more peaceful than the other beaches around Alibaug. Moreover, shacks run by locals line the beach and are a good place to taste some local cuisine.

(Pictures courtesy koladrafting.com, www.traveldealsfinder.com, www.holidayiq.com, www.placesnearpune.com)

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