Weekend Getaways From Mumbai
Mumbai is known as a city for ‘go-getters’ and for all those people who aspire to become or do something big. However, given the hectic pace of life, pollution and travel woes in this city, along with the perpetual need to get somewhere, both literally and figuratively, a Mumbaikar definitely needs frequent breaks to recover from a stressful and grueling daily schedule. Mumbai has plenty of quick fixes by way of recreation for every strata of society…….beautiful gardens, play parks, National Park, Zoo, picnic spots, beaches, a very active live theatre scene and plenty of cinema multiplexes for entertainment films in English, Hindi and other regional languages. One can enjoy music and dance shows and a buzzing night life by way of pubs, lounge bars, discotheques, restaurants and much more. One can escape from the routine drudgery by indulging in any of these, but to feel truly energetic and rejuvenated, one needs a change of scene, air and activity at regular intervals and hence quick getaways, which do not entail too much travel, are ideal.
When we talk about a weekend getaway, we refer to no more than 2 or maximum 3 days and that too not entailing a travel time of more than 2-3 hours. As it is, the sleep-deprived working folk of Mumbai hardly fancy setting off before dawn, so travelling 4-5 hrs each way, robs you of practically half a day at both ends, leaving you with very little time to stretch out your back. So, here are a few such places where one can unwind and recharge themselves over a short weekend!
1 – Karjat
Situated on the banks of the Ulhas river, Karjat spreads over Bhorghat, Sahayadri and the Western Ghats and the end of the coastal plains of the Konkan region near Deccan. Known for its natural beauty and proximity, several people from the nearby cities of Mumbai, Pune, Thane, etc. have summer homes in Karjat which are used as weekend getaways. Karjat also attracts a lot of tourists because of the innumerable possibilities it offers for adventure sports activities near Mumbai such as river rafting, trekking, hiking and mountain climbing. During the rainy season, families throng this place for a holiday. The city also has the largest chain of farm houses in Asia. In the monsoons, white water river rafting is a very popular sport in the upper sections of the River Ulhas. There are several places of interest in and around Karjat such as the Ulhas Valley, Bhor Ghat, Kondana Caves, Peth Fort etc.
Distance from Mumbai : 62 kms via Sion-Panvel expressway.
2 – Durshet
Durshet is another lovely place close to Mumbai, where one can unwind and spend some time with nature. A little town on the banks of the Amba River and settled in the Sahyadri ranges, Durshet is located in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. Since it is close to Mumbai and Pune, it serves as a great weekend getaway for people who would like a break from the stifling urban life. The vast greenery and scenic views make it very enjoyable for sightseeing. It is one of the best places for trekking near Mumbai and one can also undertake other activities like hiking, rafting and kayaking. While the summers can be quite hot, winters are mildly pleasant and the place is rich in flora and fauna.
Distance from Mumbai: 76 kms.
3 – Matheran
Located at an altitude of 2516 feet above sea level in the Raigad district of Maharashtra, Matheran is one of the oldest hill stations and a beautiful scenic location situated close to Mumbai. Blessed with pleasant weather throughout the year, this hill-station is like balm to exhausted and weary nerves with its lush green landscape, serene and peaceful atmosphere and pollution-free environment. Matheran has been declared as an Eco sensitive region by the government and automobiles are not allowed inside the town. It is therefore a very tranquil place with no buzzing of cars and other modes of transport. It has plenty of look-out points offering great sunrise and sunset backdrops and one can relax and refresh themselves with picturesque views. Some of the places worth visiting are Panorama point, Heart Point, Malang Point, One tree Hill, Luisa Point, Echo Point, Charlotte Lake, Lords Point, One tree Hill etc.
A ride on the Neral-Matheran toy train is a must-do. Distance from Mumbai: 83 kms
4 – Lonavla
One of the most popular hill stations close to Pune and Mumbai, Lonavla is this beautiful hill station with lots of waterfalls, lakes and hills around. It is frequented by all sorts of people, especially hikers and trekkers. Lonavala, being a part of the Sahyadri hills, offers a captivating landscape, surrounded by dense forests, waterfalls, dams alongside lakes and is even more enjoyable during the monsoons. Some popular attractions are the Karla and Bhaja caves, Bushi dam, Lohgad, Rajmachi fort and Ryewood lake among others. Besides natural beauty, Lonavala is also famous for different kinds of chikki, a sweet made of groundnuts and jaggery.
Distance from Mumbai : 93 kms via Mumbai-Pune expressway. AbhiBus offers luxury bus services from Mumbai to Lonavala.
5 – Alibaug
Situated just about 100 kms away from Mumbai, Alibaug is a coastal town in the Konkan region, well known for its sandy beaches, clean water, dense coconut groves and crisp, pollution-free, rejuvenating air. It is approachable either by road or by a ferry from the Gateway of India in South Mumbai. It is a famous beach destination (the Versoli Beach, Nagaon Beach, Akshi Beach and Kashid Beach) with traces of ancient history in it. Apart from the beaches, there are many historical and intricate temples in this region which are also interesting for tourists here. Religious locations in Alibag include Kanakeshwar Devasthan temple and Vikram Vinayak temple. For those with an interest in history, this holiday site even has an old fort that was built during Shivaji’s rule. The historic Kulaba Fort is situated 1-2 kms inside the sea and one can walk up to it when the tide is low. Another hill fort not too far from here is the Sagargad which is in ruins but worth visiting and en route to this place one can come across a seasonal waterfall nearby. The Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary is less than 30 kms away. So if one wants a chilled out, peaceful getaway, then Alibaug is the place to be.
Distance from Mumbai: 95 kms
6 – Kolad
If one is looking for some adventurous activities over a weekend, then Kolad is the destination for you. This thriving, tiny village in the Raigad district of Maharashtra boasts of natural beauty and is known for its attractive waterfalls, lush green meadows, majestic valleys and picturesque backdrop of the Sahyadris. The gushing Kundalika river which flows by this village, is one of the fastest flowing rivers of the South and thus makes it ideal for water rafting and other water sports activities like Kayaking, Boating and Parasailing. Its scenic landscape coupled with rough topography and rocky mountains encourage trekking and other sporting activities like rappelling, paragliding and camping too. Along with that, there are a couple of forts and dams and plenty of natural greenery which makes Kolad a good holiday destination with something to offer for everyone.
Distance from Mumbai: 120 kms
7 – Igatpuri
Located in Nasik district, in the state of Maharashtra, Igatpuri is an exciting and romantic hill station blessed with great natural beauty such as pebbly terrain, dense woody forests and lush green hills. For those who want to have it all – indulge in adventure and seek relaxation at the same time, Igatpuri is the place to be! Backpackers can embark on fun treks, camping expeditions, rappelling, zip-lining and other activities that will keep you actively engaged! Igatpuri is also famed for the Vipassana meditation centre, where people from all corners of the country throng to learn the art of meditation. Some popular places to visit in Igatpuri include Tringalwadi Fort, Tringalwadi Lake, Ghatandevi Temple, Dhammagiri, Bhatsa River Valley, Camel Valley etc.
Distance from Mumbai: 120 KM
8 – Bandhardhara
Bhandardara, nicknamed the ‘Queen of Sahyadri Ranges’, is a picturesque hill station, located in Ahmednagar District of Maharashtra. The lush greenery, waterfalls and high mountains create a perfect holiday spot for city dwellers. Situated by the Pravara River, Bandhardhara promises several attractions like the Bhandardhara Lake (Arthur Lake), Randha Falls, Wilson Dam, Ghatghar, Ratnagad, Sandhan Valley and is also home to Mount Kalsubai, the highest peak in Maharashtra which has an elevation of 5,400 feet and is one of the most popular tourist spots. The summit also makes for the ideal trekking destination. The spectacular natural landscape and wonderful peaceful ambience at this location is enough to take away all your stress and envelop you with peace and calm. One can enjoy sight-seeing, trekking, walking and cycling here.
Distance from Mumbai: 165 kms
One can travel to these destinations from Mumbai in hired cabs, private vehicles or luxury coaches.
Picture Credits : India.Com, Naturetrails.In, Outlook Traveller, Myowncity.In, Wikipedia, Leisurekart India, Super Cabz, Weekendthrill