61 Days
Bullet Points - Part II (Mumbai to Mizoram) - Around Trimbak & Nasik

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Kumbh Mela, Nasik 2015 : The search for a “Real Sadhu”

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Vineyards That Matter: Head To These 5 Places in Nasik For A Tasteful Affair

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B&B Homestay At Nasik

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Backpacking Maharashtra : Pune-Lonavala-Nasik-Harihar Fort-Trimabk-Pune-Goa

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Sula Fest '16: Sula Vineyards Nasik

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Vallonne Vineyards
GAT 504, Kavnai Slopes, Near Sanjegaon, Nashik 422402
This is a wine factory in Nashik and they also have a specialty restaurant by La Plage based on Italian ways and cuisine. As you enter this lovely place you will be greeted by the awesome farms on both sides of you. The guide here will take you along the vineyards and explain each details about how the grapes are grown here and how they are used to make different types of wines. At the end you can sit for a nice and educative wine tasting session with the experts who will tell you more about how to understand and differentiate between wines. The staff is good and the service you are provided with is very good too.
York Winery & Tasting Room
Gat no. 15/2, Gangavarhe Village, Gangapur-Savargaon Road, Nashik 422222
This winery is built on a natural slope and has separate tanks for red and white wines. The place produces a staggering 1 million litres and its storage area is around 6000 square feet. York Winery is famous for the red wine grapes that are used in the manufacture of their best tasting red wines. To get here, one has to travel to the Gangavarhe Village. It is advised that one make a call to the winery and have a reservation made before the visit. The place is huge and offers one a tour of the winery while a guide talks one through the wine making process.


Mumbai
Best time to visit - January,February,October,November,December
India’s second largest city, Mumbai, previously known as Bombay, is home to a few hundred captivating contrasts and creeds. Mumbai is bursting with frenetic bazaars, shaded avenues thronged by commuters and roads brimming with traffic. The dynamic Maharashtrian metropolis is also a powerhouse of India’s business and trade sectors. But regardless, the city’s ethos lies in its biggest railway station - Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, in people-watching and eating bhelpuri by the iconic arch of the Gateway of India and in the exquisite Taj Mahal Palace, that holds a decade worth of stories about both Bombay and Mumbai. A few other places to visit in Mumbai are Nariman Point - a legion of office blocks in the heart of the city and the Prince of Wales Museum for its eclectic architecture. Watching the sunset with a plate of vada pav at Marine Drive and experiencing the vibrant festival of Ganesh Chaturthi at Juhu Beach are few of the best things to do in Mumbai. One must also travel to Mumbai to be dazzled by the country’s biggest, and most prolific film and media industry, wherein if you’re lucky, you might stumble upon a Bollywood star or two.
Pune
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
Called the Oxford of the East, Pune is a bubbling cosmopolitan city. A large student hub, this city loves art, culture and theatre. The Sahyadri hill range of the Western Ghats makes this destination ideal for hiking and wildlife spotting. A shower of rain brings the city alive. The Agha Khan Palace of Pune is a sprawling complex with emerald green gardens and sprawling lawns, perfect for a casual stroll. The Shaniwarwada is an ancient structure built by the Peshwas and the ruins of this marvellous architecture can still be seen in the city. Dedicated to the brave hearts of the Indian Army, the National War Museum is a popular tourist destination and houses militia paraphernalia. Those interested in meditation can get day passes from the Osho International Meditation Resort, which is very popular with tourists. Handcrafted beer, baked goodies at the Kayani Bakery on East Street and eateries such as Touche the Sizzler, Malaka Spice and Dario's will complete your trip here.
Thane
Best time to visit - February,March,November,December
The city of Thane is a great getaway from Mumbai. Its beautiful lakes, lovely locales, boat rides and old forts makes it a popular weekend spot for tourists. The most popular lake here is the Upwan Talao, which is also famous for hosting the Sanskruti Arts Festival. This sparkling lake also houses a Ganesha temple near its confines. Enjoy the thrill of water rides at the Suraj Water Park, which also doubles up as a picnic spot here. The Masunda Lake is another famous lake, which offers boating and water scooter facilities as well. Don't forget to try out the delicious local snacks that are sold here! Thane offers a chance to discover the unique flavours of Maharashtrian cuisine. Lodging here is not a problem with numerous hotels and guest houses available as per the tourist's requirement. If nature is something that you wish to explore, Thane is the place to be!
Vadodara
Best time to visit - January,February,September,October,November,December
Popularly known as Baroda, Vadodara is great travel destination for history buffs and art enthusiasts. The town is known for the grand Laxmi Vilas Palace and the Fatehsingh Museum (both located in the same premises). Do keep aside an entire day if you are fond or art and culture since the palace is huge and deserves that kind of time. You can also visit Sayaji Baug, a lush, refreshing garden in the middle of the city. It is the perfect place to visit if you are travelling with children since it has a small kid's zone, a cafeteria, a small museum and a zoo. If you are in the city for more than a day, do visit Maharaja Fatehsingh Museum since it houses numerous rare and beautiful paintings, sculptures and murals from all over the world, collected by the royal family. Vadodara may not be a traveller's perfect destination, but it does have its fair share of history, culture and art.
Lonavala
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,June,July,August,September,October,November,December
A modern-day resort town, the hill station of Lonavala is around 106km from Mumbai. It makes for a great weekend getaway from Pune as well, if staying at luxury hotels, spending time with family at a massive waterpark, roaming the halls of a wax museum and go-carting sound like fun to you. If you are here during the monsoons, do check out the many gurgling waterfalls. You can even drive or take a local bus to the fascinating Karla and Bhaja Caves nearby. But if you would rather do nothing, then driving aimlessly through the green Sahyadri ranges all day, while stopping for the locally-made chikki candy is also a good way of indulging in tourism in Lonavala. There are even some yoga retreats that you can check into for some professionally-guided relaxation. If you have more time, you can combine a trip to Lonavala with a visit to the popular Lohagad and Visapur forts, located in Khandala.
Aurangabad
Best time to visit - N/A
The destination of the World Heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora caves where you find a new meaning of beauty, Aurangabad was named after the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. The city is located at the banks of the Kham River and known as one of the most historically significant cities of Maharshtra. You will also find the best museums out here which include the three most important ones. These are the Sunehri Mahal Museum, University Museum and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum. apart from recieving all other modern facilities and amenities during your trip, you can laze away the afternoons in the beauty of the Bani Begum Gardens too.

About Nasik

This time, when Good friday brought with it a long weekend, those options just didn't seem appealing and I decided to check out places which were easily driveable, but which I had never visited.As I scratched my brain and went through the travel stories online, Nashik caught my eye. The 3 hour driving distance from Mumbai, the vineyards, the mythological connection, the local delectable food - there was definitely a weekend plan here in the making. Not withstanding the weather reports showing a sunny April Nashik,I opened up the online search engines, put in my budget and star filters and zoned in on my stay for the 2 days - IBIS Nashik.Given that the plan was to keep this getaway easy on the pocket, I chose Ibis which was within my 2K per night stay bracket with breakfast and promised a clean and comfortable stay. Ibis is conveniently located at ~15 mins from the city center and the similar time in the opposite direction towards vineyards.With our bags in tow we left Mumbai on Friday morning and completed the 3 hour journey comfortably given the excellent condition of roads - tolls cost us only ~INR 200 one way to Nashik. There are some good restaurants ahead of Bhiwandi for quick refreshments like Urban Tadka, Pop Tates, Mac Donalds, Shiv Sagar etc. The check-in at Ibis was smooth and we decided to cool off in the room untill early evening.At around 4.30pm we started our ~50mins drive from Ibis to Lake Vaitarna. The lake with the dam makes for a scenic and clean picnic spot, however has no restaurants in the vicinity. The lake does have a great resort, JenJon Lake Vaitarna Resort, which you can definitely consider as a stay-option, however, since only resort guests have access to its restaurant, its a good plan to come prepared with your own picnic basket to enjoy the view, in case you like us are not planning to stay in Jenjon.The lake side provides a great space for kids to play around making it a wholesome bet for a good evening.Around 30 mins away from Lake Vaitarna is a smaller water body, Mukane reservoir, on the banks of which is a boutique vineyard 'Vallone Winery', which houses the reputed pune restaurant chain 'Malaka Spice'. Vallone Vineyards overlook the Mukane reservoir and Malaka Spice with its open air seating provide an equally captivating option to enjoy the sunset vis-a-vis Lake Vaitarna. We visited Malaka Spice after our time on Lake Vaitarna for dinner and thoroughly enjoyed the delectable asian spread, the rose wines and the hospitality of the staff. Vallone vineyards also have quaint accommodation and its proximity to the lake and reservoir make it a compelling stay-option. After a sumptuous, languid dinner, we closed our first satisfied day in Nashik.Our second day in Nashik was split with the first half dedicated to temple-trails and evening to be immersed in Sula & York wineries. Another awesome activity in Nashik, which remains largely unadvertised is 'Gliding' at the 'Deolali Gliding Club', which allows you a chance to glide for 15 minutes over the city - an amazing way to bring in a sunset. The gliders are non-motorized 2-seater planes, with an army pilot. We missed this owing to the maintenance work of the gliders, however i recommend future travelers to definitely check this out. Mythology has it that the Ram, Sita and Laxman stayed in Nashik during their vanvas and the famos incident of Ram cutting Shurpanakas nose (nose is 'Nak' in marathi) happened in this city, hence the name,Nashik. We started off with the area of Panchavati, which derives its name from the presence of 5 sprawling banyan trees. Underneath these trees is the well-known Sita Gufaa, which claim to be the caves where Sita hide from Ravana. Despite reaching Panchavati at peak afternoon time, the banyan trees made sure that the place felt a good 5 degrees cooler. We then made our way to the close-by Kalaram Temple and spent time in the spacious temple premise admiring the serenity of the simple black-rock temple. Nashik has many more temples in the Panchavati area dotted along the Godavari river which runs through the city. Godavari is called the Ganga of the west and origniates in Trimbakeshwar, where the famed Shiv Linga resides.After a sumptous meal of traditional marathi Khandeshi fare at 'Divtya Budhlya', we headed back to Ibis to gear up for our winery visits. Both Sula and York wineries are ~20 mins away from Ibis Nashik and are close to the Gangapur Dam. Sula and York both run wine tours through the day untill 6.30pm. Sula was our first stoo and we signed up for the wine tour with tasting (only winery tour costs INR100 and the tour with tasting costs INR350). The tour is a short 15 minute tour and the rest of the 20 minutes is devoted to the wine-tasting (we got to taste 6 wines in total, 3 red and 3 white). I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, which was ensured by the devoted Sula staff. We spent another hour on the first floor open deck which houses the Sula restaurant and provides an eagles view of the property.As sunset approached we quickly made our way to the York winery which is only 5/7 minutes away from Sula but allows a spectacular sunset view over the lake. The open garden restaurant at York plays great music and we spent our last night in Nashik over some great food and ambience at York.Overall I felt Nashik was a well-rounded getaway with a packed offering for a two night stay, costing us just INR12,000 as a couple all inclusive.
Nasik

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