Though Rajasthan, especially the southern part of it; regions like Udaipur are still to actually experience the monsoons this year, other parts of India are reeling under its effects. The northern state of Uttrakhand has been devastated by heavy rains and landslides and the “Devbhoomi” (Divine land) of Kedarnath and Rudraprayag have been virtually destroyed.
But the season of monsoon is not only about devastation and destruction, it is a time that people all over the country actually look forward to. Taking inspiration from Monsoons, I penned my this month’s article of My Destination Mumbai on
The Top 5 Monsoon Getaways from Mumbai.
The monsoon has enveloped the metropolis of Mumbai. It is the time when the rains start providing respite from the summer heat and the Mumbaikars look forward to enjoying the gifts of Mother Nature enriched by the monsoons and throng places like Marine Drive and the beaches.
But to really partake and indulge in the pleasures that nature has to offer and to actually dodge the routine daily grind of the city life, one needs to make a quick weekend getaway from Mumbai, the available options of which are in plenty.
Presenting to you, a list of the top five destinations that provide quick, enjoyable and enthralling getaways from Mumbai, especially during monsoons.
1) Khandala- This hill station just off the Mumbai-Pune Expressway is about 100kms from Mumbai. The easy accessibility that this place facilitates, makes it one of the most popular quick getaway destinations from Mumbai. Perched at a height of about 2,050 feet, Khandala is blessed with immense natural beauty. It has many luxury as well as budget accommodations and offers plenty of trekking and hiking opportunities.
The beautiful and tranquil Bhushi lake, the Tiger’s Leap and the Amrutanjan Point which offer an overwhelming view of the lush valley, the cliff that resembled the nose of Duke of Wellington and hence named the Duke’s Cliff and theBuddhist Caves of Karala and Bhuja are the main attractions of Khandala. It rains cats and dogs during the monsoons, so if you are not averse to getting drenched to the skin, then the place and its gems would leave you with memories to cherish for a life time.
2) Lonavala- This hill station is the twin of Khandala, about 3kms further towards Pune from Khandala on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. A delightful place Lonavala, besides its natural beauty, is also famous for its ‘chikki’, a hard sugar boiled Indian candy with many variant flavours. The monsoon transforms Lonavala into a blissful natural paradise. The valleys become lush green and the hill sides become the bearers of innumerable waterfalls.
Rajmachi Point which gives a vantage view of the Maratha king Chatrapati Shivaji’s fort of Rajmachi, Valvan Dam and its beautiful garden, the picturesque gardens of Ryewood Park and Shivaji Udyan, the serene Tungarli lake which is the chief source of water for Lonavala, the seasonal Lonavala lake which gets completely dried up in winters and the Lion’s Point that offers an amazing view of the valley, are some of the attractions of Lonavala.
3) Matheran- This beautiful hill station is located at a distance of about 100kms from Mumbai in the Raigad district. A popular weekend destination, the place which is situated at a height of 2,625 feet above sea level and is unique in the sense that no motorized vehicles are allowed within the town, enhancing the tranquility of the place. An eco-sensitive region, one can travel around Matheran on foot, horse backs and hand pulled rickshaws. The picturesque town is dotted with many beautiful colonial bungalows, red coloured streets and a few local eateries. During monsoons, clouds practically descent on the town and the view of the adjoining valley from the more than 30 look out points, is breath taking; the many natural water falls magnify the mesmerizing effect. The beautiful LakeCharlotte, the ancient Pisarnath Mahadev (Shiv) temple and the MadhavjiGarden and point are some other attractions of Matheran.
The Matheran Hill Railway, a heritage railway is another attraction of this place. The 22kms narrow-gauge railway line connects Matheran station with Nernaland the 2 hour train ride takes you across dense forests and hilly area providing an exhilarating experience.
4) Alibaug- This coastal town is located at a distance of about 110kms from Mumbai again in the Raigad district. Alibag is a potpourri of many cultures, Maratha, Jewish and English and today is the weekend home of many rich and famous like cricketers Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, Sunil Manohar Gavaskar and business tycoons like Adi Godrej, Ratan Tata. The popular Alibag beach, the formidable Alibag Fort, the famous (Shiva) Siddeshwar temple of Khandale, theBet El Synagogue reminiscent of the big Jewish community that once resided here, the pristine Varsoli beach that also has a big naval base, the Akshi beachwhich is a favourite film shooting destination and the Kulaba fort famed to be the last fort built by Chatrapati Shivaji, are some of the major attractions of Alibag.
The place also houses the Magnetic Observatory of the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism which record changes in the Geo magnetic fields of earth.
5) Durshet- This less frequented getaway is about 70kms away from Mumbai in the Raigad district. Nestled in the lushness of the western ghat, Durshet is a trekker’s dream come true especially during the monsoons. The Amba river that flows through this place, along with the natural waterfalls that spring to life during the monsoons provide a real amazing experience to anyone who desires to get respite from the grind and cacophony of daily life. A bird watcher’s delight Durshet is home to a variety of species of birds and fauna. The view of the Sahyadri ranges from this place is spectacular.
A jungle safari in the densely wooded region, a visit to the Sri Baleshwara Ashthavinayaka and the Shri Varad Vinayak temples both dedicated to Lord Ganesha are the other major attractions of Durshet.