It was a borderline somber Friday morning when I was awakened by the gentle pats of monsoon winds, tiptoeing their way in through the open window, on my cheeks. I was working from home that day and the tiny joy of not having to traverse a distance of 25 KMs to work flickered and died due to the sheer sullenness of the thought of having to spend another beautiful weekend cooped up between the length and breadth of my apartment.
It was months ago that I experienced the exuberance of booking a flight to a land hitherto unknown and unvisited. And the uncertainty over travel in coming months due to the looming possibility of a third wave of the deadly virus sucked all the 'TGIF' jubilance out of me.
There is a small hill visible from my window. And in that blessed moment, as my eyes swayed to its direction, I saw a few clouds fluttering over the waned hill - like young kids joyously circling around their aging mother. The beauty of that spectacle was such that in split seconds I had decided that I had to venture out for a dose of nature this weekend! Over the next hour, a few calls were made, friends were persuaded and an out-station taxi was booked for the coming day! Where was I headed to? Read on.
Comparatively lesser frequented, Dodhani Waterfalls, lie about 50 KMs east to Mumbai and it takes less than 2 hours to reach the point till where vehicles are allowed.
We had barely traversed for an hour when the scenery around us changed dramatically. From the dauntingly high-rise buildings of Panvel, the landscaped quickly maneuvered into humble rural chalets, moist soil swept by the newly growing veil of green grass, intermittent trees with their rain-washed leaves looking as new, moving past us and the many peaks of far-off Sahyadri range, playing hide and seek with layers of clouds. Our cab kept moving along the gently curving single lane road, as if intrigued with the thought of 'what lies ahead'.
When it was about 15 minutes to reach Dodhani Village bus stop, our eyes were dazzled by the breathtaking scene of a very pristine lake called Gadeshwar Lake. Against the backdrop of some pretty mountain peaks and with waters as still as a mirror, it was truly a sight to behold. We hopped off the cab and impulsively took out our mobile cameras to capture the beautiful panoply of nature's gem. Moisture laden winds blew through my hair and faint tweets of birds rendered the moment, perfection.
We then reached the bus stop of Dodhani village, beyond which vehicles can not ply. It was a hike of about 1.5 KMs from the bus stop till the waterfall. The hike was gentle in the beginning with gradual, but easy ascent in the later part. A stream kept us company throughout the trail. At one point we had to cross knee-deep waters of the stream to go over to the other side. A small boulder section came our way and we took a rest stop while appreciating the impeccable natural beauty all around us. The breeze felt as pure as morning's dew drops; the curvy walls of mountains seemed as if painted with shades of green patches; the gushing of stream felt like music to the ears.
After crossing a few farms and crushing innumerable twigs on the way, we finally reached out destination. There it was, the waterfalls! A number of unpretentious streams of water were falling down from about 35 feet height, forming a small pond which made for a natural pool for the visitors. The water was pleasantly cool and the pond was not deep. We took off our hiking shoes and rushed into the water. The strong force of falling water against our backs felt as if massaging away the travel-deficiency from our bodies!
On the other side of the waterfall was an organized waterfall rappelling activity going on, wherein, what seemed like unprofessional adventure seekers, tested their feet (quite literally) on slippery walls of the cliff. As we floated in the pond and meditated below the falling waters and appreciated the panoramic beauty nestled in this tiny spot and frequently gasped at the rappelers motions, it occurred to me that this was probably a reward for spending so many months inside the four walls of the apartment!
After an hour or so, we came out of the water and while the winds did their job of drying our clothes and hair, we unpacked some delicious home made lunch.
A few tips to plan your trip:
1) Take rain gear if you plan to visit during rains - ponchos work much better as they also protect your backpack from the rains.
2) Hiking shoes with good grip is an absolute must as the trail is undulating for most of the part.
3) Once you start hiking from the bus stop, you won't find mobile network on the trial. Although once you reach the waterfall, you might receive some bleak signals from Matheran town uphill. So it is advisable to finish any urgent calls beforehand.
4) Take water-bottles and snacks with you as there aren't any eateries on the trail. However, there is a small dhaba at the very starting of the trail and if informed beforehand, they will prepare tasty lunch for you. You can contact the owned of the dhaba at the contact number mentioned below:
Shri Ananata Choudhary - 7039588768
5) No changing room facility or washrooms are available on the trail.
Have you visited any such gem of a place near Mumbai/Pune recently? I'd love to hear about them in the comments!
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