A hop away literally from Mumbai: take a ferry from the Gateway of India, which drops you on the Indian mainland (in an hour or so) and thereafter take a (rickety) bus to take you to the Alibag town. The drive is almost as if driving through a jungle (a real one, not the concrete ones like Mumbai!) and you actually ask yourself, how can such a place exist just an hour away from a city like Mumbai!! In fact, a lot of the rich crowd from Mumbai actually have a country house in Alibag on the beach, to go and relax in, on the weekends.
Anyways, once in Alibag town, you can walk till the beach. Its not a great beach actually, as in the sand is dark, and the crowd very touristy, with the typical Tonga driving you along the beach. Its not even very clean. There is a fort like monument a distance from the beach, inside the sea. You can actually walk till there, the sea is so shallow!
We also went to the Nagaon beach nearby, took an auto from Alibaug. Nagaon beach was actually better, and less crowded! Again quite shallow, and the water clean enough to go for a swim. Also, the auto drive from Alibaug to Nagaon goes through villages and cottages and palm trees and small roads. Quite an enchanting ride, and quite similar to the drives in Goa too.
Its a small beach within Mumbai, near where the Essel World ferries leave. Is actually a private Navy beach, and so is completely empty, as good as having your own private beach. The Navy has shacks on the beach itself, great place to stay (that is if you can get reservations!) as its always fully booked!
This beach stretch south of Mumbai along the coast is quite a nice drive actually. Takes about 3 hours or so to reach the first beach, but then onwards the road is along the sea, and you get breath-taking views along the way.
The first beach we stopped at was the Kashid beach, a nice stretch with white sand. The water was clean too. Its important to go to these places during cooler season though, otherwise the heat irritates you so much, that you end up not spending enough time there.
Driving on from Kashid, is the Murud beach, and also the Jazeera fort. The Jazeera fort is in the middle of the sea, built again by Shivaji! You can take a boat also till the fort (which we did not). On the way to Murud, you can also see this old haveli kind of place, built on a cliff. The beach in the photo is the Murud beach, and there are a couple of resorts there also to stay. Again good drive, good beaches, but you need the weather in your favour to enjoy it!
I think this is the most popular Mumbai weekend getaway and lot of Mumbaites have a second house there to go to on weekends to enjoy fresh air! Also, don't know why, but Mumbaikars love to crib about this place too (landing up there quite often too, but still cribbing!)! There are too many people there I agree, but then not everywhere. And there are lots of different things to do there!
I actually have been there thrice and done different things everytime. The first time was after the Mumbai attacks when we just wanted to get away from the tv and news! Was an impromptu trip, just left on the weekend for Lonavla. The drive as always is refreshing, and with the Pune-Mumbai expressway, a pleasure to drive on. Lonavla was actually too hot that time of the year.
In the morning, went to Kamshed for Parasailing. They actually have foreigners staying there for long stretches, to get parasailing training and practice. And there is a huge lake there too for tp (again!). The drive takes you through rural India, and there are lot of good shots to take.
The next trip was the first day of the monsoons this year. And Lonavla looked completely different then, green and fresh! Sometimes, its tough to believe that both the places are the same! We actually welcomed the monsoon before it came to Mumbai! It was raining all the way, and the drive was fully green. We stopped at Bhusi dam where again it was raining, we had bhutta, and then drove off to Amby valley where we were not allowed in. Dinner at a resort (there are countless resorts there!!) with a valley view and then back to Mumbai.
The last trip was actually more touristy! Went to this MTDC resort, next to a stream. With the monsoons there, the place feels heavenly, with clouds, rains, green and water everywhere. Next we went to the Bhaja caves, again 2000 years old! Old Buddhist caves with tasty poha and bhutta around. And last we went up to Singhad fort. The trek is about 2 hours or so, so we couldn't do it. The fort merges so well with the mountains, that its difficult to separate the two! And the view of the valley from the Singhad fort was pleasant to the eyes again, lakes and green and heavenly!
Malshej Ghats is located about 2 hours from Mumbai, and the road goes via Kalyan. The drive once you get out of city limits is green, fully (in the monsoon seasons especially!). Though in the monsoons, half of Mumbai is there too! We stopped at a stream flowing there, and generally trekked up next to it! Was interesting, going up next to the stream itself, and trying to avoid getting wet. And avoiding water snakes too!
Once you reach Malshej though, there are hajaar waterfalls there, with multiple hajaar people! Its actually crazy, how everyone is there in the waterfall, with not enough water to even cover those many people! Its actually putting off also!
The Malshej Ghats is a small stretch of the roads where you get a view of the hills around and there are numerous waterfalls around, and all Mumbaikars are there, dancing in the rainfall with music and drums. There actually was a road jam also in the small stretch on the hills. The view from there is good though, and you can actually see waterfalls spraying into the air and vanishing as clouds!
The whole area is covered with clouds everywhere, on the road, on the pathways, everywhere during monsoons. There is a MTDC resort also located at the top on a meadow type flat area. The resort had horrible food though! But when we were there we had to wait an hour for the lunch, wherein we walked around and it rained from above and below and there were clouds and rains, and so we loved the food too! The walk through the rains and clouds was good, but too cold. There are a couple of treks to do nearby, Shivneri fort and Harishchandragad, but since we did not have enough time, we couldn't do that. Last we went to this lake, serene, calm and with green views around. All in all again a nice weekend out of Bombay.
This trek is on the Nasik highway, near Igatpuri. Its about 2-3 hours away from Bombay if you leave on time. There is an old south Indian temple at the start of the trek (surprising to find a South Indian temple in Maharashtra). You can also get someone to cook tasty poha and vada pau for you there. There is also a step well there, something similar to what have seen in Ahmedabad.
The trek is about two hours or so and at the top of the trek is an old fort. I actually did not complete the trek, was too hot and sunny. (that too in winters!). But is a nice trek with good views around and with the small fort on the top.
While driving around, you can see the the lake of Bhandardara. The lake is huuuuge, you can spend hours just driving around it (we did that too!). There are a couple of good resorts also located around the lake. The views around of the mountains are breathtaking, though am sure it would be even better and greener in the monsoons.
VIKATGAD (trek near Matheran)
We did this trek near Matheran, one of the best I have done near Mumbai. Vikatgad is another Shivaji fort, supposed to be difficult to get to ('vikat'). The trek starts from below the point where you drive up to Matheran and during the monsoons, this place is completely green.
We thought we could trek up ourselves, and so started across the meadows, getting lost within no time. Thankfully we met some kids who were willing to take us up there. We asked them to take up through the short cut, which turned out not the best thing to do! Well they did take us up the short cut, which was short just for them, not us! We actually just climbed up next to a waterfall, over rocks, and with the rain it was all slippery and with no concerns for our clothes, or shoes we just kept climbing! Was actually fun, finding our way through nothing. The climb was steep and we had to sit and crawl and climb anyway we could. Wah re Shivaji, you did know how to make it tough to reach there:))
Well we did it all thinking, that from the fort, there was a shorter way to come back via Matheran itself, from where we could have come back in an easier manner. Little did we know. While on the way up, we met a group of kids (collegiates actually) also lost. So we took them also along with us, up.
The trek was awesome, along steep hills, on a narrow path with gorges on both side, rocky waterfall sides, everything. Unfortunately when we reached the top, there was this huge rock which could not have been climbed without rock climbing instruments! The kids went up easily but we couldn't, and that's when we realized that we would have to come back the same route we went back and without reaching vikatgad! It had actually got cloudy and dark at the top and we had actually thought of getting helicopters to rescue us! While coming back, it was quite a risky trek though. One guy was actually slipping such that he had to be caught off by another, else he would have gone down the hill. Anyways the view from the top was amazing, so, actually making the risk worth it!
On the whole though, a very very tiring but fun trek. Would love to do more of these, don't think everyone shares this enthusiasm though!
This post was originally published on travelfreak.
This trip was originally published on travelfreak
I love going out of Mumbai, anything to get away from the crowd and the city life! It just feels a different world all together, and the outskirts of Mumbai offer just that, a completely different world. You can go either towards the east, on the Pune highway, or the north on the Nasik highway, or the south side next to the coast. You can get whatever you want, beaches or mountains (Sahyadris and the Ghats) depending on your mood and the time of the year!! Its quite a good variety actually! Also as it turns out, weekends outside Mumbai are sooo much cheaper than within Mumbai. You drive around a lot, eat some vada-pau and poha and butta everywhere, exercise a bit and you are done for the weekend! A couple of small trips have done in the last year are detailed below.
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