Exciting Weekend Escapes out of Mumbai

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In and around Bombay, a destination that surely should not be missed for a weekend getaway is the infamous Alibaug. A perfect amalgamation of lazing around but also checking out historic corners, Alibaug is a treat. A glorious array of beaches lay scattered throughout this seaside getaway. Close to the Alibaug Beach lies the Kolaba Fort, a destination which can be reached by horse cart. The Kihim Beach, on the other hand, showcases its pearly white sand.

Having driven past coconut plantations and overlapping hills, the temple circuit begins. The Kankeshwar Temple is marked by a sign: ‘Nagobacha Tappa’ warning about wild snakes. It leads up to 750 flights to a den of gods. As you keep climbing up, you hit the second point ‘Devachi Payari’ where supposedly Shankar’s feet landed in three leaps to the very top. Finally, you reach the destination, an eye-catching attraction, decorated with colorful miniature idols of the gods.

Nearby, you can cross into the dense Kanakeshwar Forests at your own risk of encountering boars, snakes, and even panthers.

A car, bus, or even the ferry from the Gateway of Mumbai will bring you to Alibaug within 1 and a half to 3 hours of a journey. If you’ve traveled by ferry, you would have cross Mandwa, the Mumbaiker’s ultimate choice to witness the pretty sunset.

Interesting facts about Alibaug: The man who discovered Alibaug belonged to the Angre family, and was appointed commanders of the Maratha Navy at the time of Shivaji himself. At that time, Angre's order was placed upon the entire Alibaug principality, but over time his achievements and respect were long forgotten. Now, he lies buried just 5 minutes from today's bus station at Kekar Naka.

Photo of Alibag Beach, Alibag, Maharashtra, India by Arushi Dutt
Photo of Alibag Beach, Alibag, Maharashtra, India by Arushi Dutt

For a much more peaceful and quiet escape, Sajan is the place for you. Located in literally a very “sleepy village,” as it’s called, Sajan resides in the Western Ghats of Thane. With a junglee river flowing right through the middle of it, Sajan puts the ‘s’ in sleepy.

Although natural beauty remains the sole attraction of this village, Sajan also claims to be a historic venture that not too many people are aware of.

Some attractions for the regular tourist includes watersport activities, offered at the Sajan Nature Club. River crossing and rappelling are just some of the adventurous offerings at Sajan.

The Palusa Waterfalls is a sight that shouldn’t be missed. These artificial waterfalls provide a great height for adventure lovers to slide down and allow the force of the waters to carry you to the point where they run out of steam. Once the waters calm down, it’s perfect for a relaxing, leisurely swim. You can discover these mesmerizing falls about 12 km from Sajan on the Vikramgad-Jawhar Road.

You can also trek down to the Moho River, about 1 and a half km from Sajan Nature Club for some river crossing. The trek to Moho-Khurd Dam is also a great, light exercise through the jungles, overlooking the crystal, blue, sparkling waters. It’s a must do for bird watchers.

One more must see sight is the Tiger Caves, located about 16 km from Sajan, perfect for rappelling, rock climbing, and just indulging in scenic beauty.

By road, you can reach Sajan in about 2 and a half hours, taking the Jawhar State Highway via Pali.

Eateries around Sajan: Close to Sajan, in Vikramgad, there happens to be a pretty shade bar, a couple of vada pac stalls, and a few small restaurants, mostly traditional Maharashtrian. Sajan Nature Club also dishes out some interesting cuisine.

Photo of Sajan, Maharashtra, India by Arushi Dutt

Out of mad rush of Mumbai, and the mad rush of Mumbaikers in Lonavla, Kamshet greets you, and plays host to fearless paragliders and adventure lovers. Soaring high over Tung Fort and the shimmering Pawna Lake, paragliding can be enjoyed over a weekend course, suited for beginners. There are both ends of the spectrum here at Kamshet, whether it’s fulfilling your adrenaline high wishes, or enjoying breathtaking moments of solitude.

For a quiet picnic, head down to the Kondeshwar Temple, set amongst wild flowers, and a gurgling river side. If you’re up for a little bit more activity, climb up to the Bhairi Caves. A very difficult but satisfying experience, this trek can be life changing. Another set of caves known as the Bedsa Caves must be checked out. With majestic pillars, resembling a Roman ambience, these Hinayana Buddhist Caves date all the way back to the 1st century. They are complete with intricate detailing of sculptures of animals and dancing figures.

A little ahead of Khandala and Lonavla, this destination is the most serene during the monsoons, with panoramic views of paddy and sunflower fields. It’s back to nature weekend, sprinkled with a unique history like no other.

Best season for paragliding: From October to June is the best time for paragliding. Nirvana Adventures is the place to book a weekend paragliding course for the age group of 16+ to 60 years old!

Photo of Kamshet, Maharashtra, India by Arushi Dutt
Photo of Kamshet, Maharashtra, India by Arushi Dutt

One of the most important trade routes of western India, Rajmachi is another sight to see. It has quickly become a favorite trekking spot for those between Mumbai and Pune, two prime destinations in Maharashtra.

Explore forts, camp out in adverse conditions, and trek through the rough terrain while in Rajmachi.

The trek, which begins at the Tungarli Dam, continues up the hill side towards the Thakurwadi Village, snaking its way through lush forests, and complex terrain. Arriving at the Rajmachi Fort, you will find out that it actually lies between two major forts, Manranjan and Shreevardhan, which have long since guarded the most important trade routes. Some magnificent Buddhist rock-cut caves lie at the base of the Manrajan Fort. A grand, spectacular view of the Behri Pinnacle and Shirota Lake are also pleasing to the eyes.

A simple temple is located between the forts dedicated to Bhairavnath, in which two stone horses and several stone pillars wind through.

Beyond the jungle of the temple, is a sanctuary abundant with bird life, a paradise for bird watchers. Teeming with wildlife from the highly-endangered shekru or the Giant Indian Squirrel, leopards, and mouse deer, the Rajmachi Wildlife Sanctuary also should not be missed.

Located very close to Lonavla and Khandala, options of traveling either by bus, or car is feasible. An auto can be taken directly up for the trek up to Rajmachi.

Staying options: There are basic accommodations, such as the Captains Resort, the closest hotel accommodation. If you want to be a bit more adventurous however, you can always camp out, in the fort, in the temple at the col or in Udhewadi Village. Make sure to bring along your camping gear, such as tents, etc.

Photo of Rajmachi, Maharashtra, India by Arushi Dutt

Igatpuri may be a railway junction in most wandering minds, but this mysterious destination has all the flavors of a convincing weekend escape. During the rains, this place blossoms into many shades of green, and shades of things to do as well.

You can choose to stick around and do absolutely nothing, or choose to explore and get a bit lost.

The emerald green Camel Valley holds one of the most spectacular sights, in which a glorious set of waterfalls cascades down the hills. Many other waterfalls can be found as you keep walking down these hills.

About 6 km away lies the Tringalwadi Fort. The nice, long, calm, and soothing walk down the fort leads to the Tringalwadi Lake, and the Talegaon Lake. Breathing in the pleasing water sights, and the sweet smells of nature, this walk will be a dazzling, visual treat.

Around Igatpuri also lies the Vaitarna Dams, a serene picnic spot, giving a good, clear view of the dam and the lake as well.

Reaching Igatpuri takes anywhere from 2 and a half to 3 hours either by rail or road, embedded deep in the Western Ghats.

When to go: Anytime from June to February, post the monsoon, Igatpuri is absolutely green and lush. The time to avoid is October.

Photo of Igatpuri, Maharashtra, India by Arushi Dutt
Photo of Igatpuri, Maharashtra, India by Arushi Dutt

Cool, relaxing, and very pleasant, this spot has some of the greatest beaches beckoning all Mumbaikers to come and take in.

What's the greatest about Sajan is that it's the perfectly quiet. It is this serene environment that serves as a brilliant escape out of the loud, bustling city.

One of the best places to glide around through the skies is Kamshet. Known to accommodate the young to the very old, the paragliding adventure groups spark the adventurous side in you!

What better way to soak in the serendipities of adventure trails without trekking through the Rajmachi Fort? Not an extremely difficult trek, this trail provides some breathtaking views along the way!

This place is such a haven for photographs, with the lush, green scenery, the mysterious railway junction. If you want some authentic, natural beauty captured, Igatpuri is the place to be!

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