Trekking is not my forte. But monsoon has the power to transform me. When I did Kalsubai trek last year (Kalsubai being the highest peak in Maharashtra), I had told my brother, who is my constant trek companion “This is it, this was my goal & I am done with this trekking business. Kaslubai is my last trek” but as the monsoon started, I found myself browsing through the schedule of various trek groups, trying to find a suitable trek. I found myself in decathlon, finding proper trek shoes, a backpack & all those trekking accessories so that I can start trekking all over again.All geared up for my trek, all I wanted now was it to rain. Every day as I travelled to office, I would look out of the window, stare at the sky, waiting for the weather to change. “Rains are acting a bit stubborn” this year I thought. What’s with this hide and seek that it loves to play.And finally, it rained and it was time to trek again!!I was trekking after almost a year & for past few months I was under house arrest due to my exams. Being completely out of practice and remotely connected to any kind of exercise, I chose a short and easy trek on Saturday so that I can rest on Sunday & attend office on Monday. My brother and one of my friend agreed to accompany me. We booked the trek with Mumbai rangers & the plan was set.The week before my trek, my enthusiasm was at the peak, thinking about the mountain that I would climb. Only wish was that it should not stop raining and I was glad that my wish came true.We started from Borivali at 5am in morning & caught a 6:26am slow local to Asangaon from Dadar. “You miss the train, you miss the trek” said the message from our trek leader so we had to ensure we were on time. After reaching Asangoan station, we proceeded to our base village in rickshaw, which was a bumpy 15-20 mins ride. By this time, my stomach was growling and I was desperately waiting for cup of hot tea & snacks being served at the base village. (Yeah, I know what you are thinking. You are thinking I could have had some chips or biscuits maybe. But trust me the food served during treks is heavenly & I would not like to lose my appetite over a pack of chips). We hogged on to some hot tea & poha as we reached our base village. Which was then followed by a short introductory session & then the journey began.The route from base village till the base of the mountain is usually easy. But today, we walked and walked and walked, and the easy road didn’t seem to end. I was for a point disappointed that I have chosen too easy trek. I love to walk but I had come for a trek and I needed a bit of adventure (not much, just a bit). Continuous drizzle made the climb very pleasant. We were literally walking ‘on the clouds’. Also constant chirping of birds felt like a background score which was not ready to fade. For the benefit of the group we took quite a few breaks. I & my two trek companions got restless, each time we took a break. After all we were in a hurry to reach the peak. All the while as we trekked along, the peak was not visible. It was like walking towards the unknown and then finally we saw the peak, standing tall covered in clouds and suddenly our goal became clear. Also, the trek which seemed easy till now, felt like a bit of an adventure as we saw the route that we were about to take. However, our trek leader made it seem like a piece of cake & we finally reached our goal.As we reached peak, I was awestruck by the place where we were going to halt for lunch & this is how it looked:
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69 Kms from Mahuli
Best time to visit - January,February,October,November,December
Perhaps the largest metropolis in the country, Mumbai is a multi-faceted city with something to offer everyone. From the imposing architecture of Gateway of India to the crystal clear waters of the Marine Drive, from the modern architecture marvel of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link to the Elephanta Caves, the city brings the old and new together. It is also home to the very popular Hindi film industry and most Bollywood celebrities have residences here. The most famous spot here is probably the Chowpatty Beach, which remains packed throughout the year, especially during Ganesh Chaturthi, a festival which sees thousands of Mumbaikars get together to immerse an idol in the waters. The Siddhivinayak Temple of Mumbai is a famous place that is frequented by believers in large numbers on a daily basis. Lying along the salty waters of the Arabian Sea is the Juhu Beach, which is another popular beach in the city. The Essel World Amusement Park here is an ideal picnic spot to cool off in the hot summers of Mumbai. The city, being a metro, offers all kind of food from different parts of the world. The local pao bhaji and vada pao can be sampled at any local eatery. Popular restaurants here are LSD, Indigo, Cafe Churchill and Cafe Leopold.
125 Kms from Mahuli
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.
83 Kms from Mahuli
Best time to visit - January,February,March,July,August,September,October,November,December
Famous for its many temples and ghats, Nashik is one of the holiest cities in India. And for those looking for something more, there are the Sula Vineyards to explore. The eventful history of Nasik is evident in its various forts, including Harihar Fort and Ramshej Fort, that are sprinkled all over the city. The Sita Gufa or the Cave of Sita is believed to be the spot from where Goddess Sita was abducted by Ravana, while Panchvati is believed to be the asylum of Lord Rama during his exile. The Timbakeshwar Temple of Nasik is as much an architectural masterpiece as it is a religious centre. Carved intricately, this much-celebrated temple is perched on top of the Brahmagiri hills. Indulge your senses at the Sula Vineyards, which offer an insightful and entertaining tour that offers information on wine manufacturing and a chance for wine tasting. Nasik offers an impressive assortment of Maharashtrian food that is lightly influenced by the neighbouring states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Popular restaurants include Barbeque Ville Veg Aroma and Aster The Coffee Shop. For accommodation, Nashik has options in all segments – budget, mid-range and luxury hotels.
234 Kms from Mahuli
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.
83 Kms from Mahuli
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,June,July,August,September,October,November,December
Surrounded by lush green valleys and numerous caves, Lonavala is a hill station set in the Sahyadri ranges. Its various treks, such as the Lonavala-Bhimashankar trek and the climb to Lohagad Fort and Duke’s Nose make it a favourite spots for trekkers and hikers. Lonavala gleams beautifully green during the monsoon months, with waterfalls oozing out of everywhere. Besides the hikes, there are the the Karla and Bhaja caves, Tiger’s Leap, Lonavala Lake and Bhushi Dam to visit. Apart from its boundless scenic beauty, Lonavala now boasts of a private adventure park as well. With endless shops in a row selling chikkis of all flavours, Lonavala is a paradise for all chikki lovers. The trademark chocolate walnut fudge is another scrumptious sweet treat. By virtue of connecting the prominent cities of Mumbai and Pune by both road and rail, Lonavala serves as a quick escape resort town having accommodation of all kinds and for all budgets.
197 Kms from Mahuli
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
An integration of historic monuments and modern skyscrapers, Surat is a quaint town located along the banks of river Tapi. The ISKCON temple here, standing on an area of around 13,000 km, is frequented by devotees from all across the world. The Dutch Cemetery, Shahjahan's Fort, Parsi neighbourhood and colonial building are beautiful symbols of the history of this city. Dandi is a popular destination among tourists visiting Surat and is a place made famous by the Indian independence movement. When it comes to food, Surat offers lip-smacking Gujarati flavours, albeit only vegetarian. Popular eateries here include the Leonardo Ristorante Italiano, Jalaram Khichadi and Kansar Gujarati Thali. Accommodation here is easily available and sits well within in your budget. If you want more, travel to the Dumas Beach, which is located about 18km from the city.
278 Kms from Mahuli
Best time to visit - January,February,June,July,August,September,November,December
A lovely city in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, Ratnagiri is a port city surrounded by the beautiful Sahyadri Hills. If this is your first time here, you'll be spoilt for choice. Ganapatipule Beach makes for a great visit and is perfect for a leisurely afternoon. There is a Ganesh temple right next to the beach that is also worth a visit. The Ratnadurg or Bhagwati Fort, which is a beautiful structure constructed in a horseshoe shape, surrounded by the Arabian Sea, is also a beautiful place to check out. Thebaw Palace is another lovely touristy spot where the Burma King Thebaw was imprisoned. The palace is built in Pagoda style and is a must see. Bhatyachi Khadi is where the river meets the sea; the village near this place is Bhatye known as Bhatyachi Khadi. If you're here from March to June, do pick up some juicy Alphonso mangoes that the city is famous for. There are a lot of other scenic cities around Ratnagiri and depending on your mood, you can choose any of the cities to spend your vacations.
180 Kms from Mahuli
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,October,November,December
Of panoramic views, perennial waterfalls and picturesque landscapes, Mahabaleshwar stands out as the largest and most popular hill station in the Western Ghats. Owing to comfortable temperatures, Mahabaleshwar is thronged by tourists throughout the year, except during the four months of heavy monsoons from June to September. Being the erstwhile summer capital of the Bombay presidency during the British Raj, this place has a lot to offer — spectacular sunrise and sunset viewpoints, popular one-day treks to go on, and boating at the Venna Lake. Additionally, tourists can retrospect history at the centuries-old Pratapgad Fort and savour some toothsome jams and marmalades at the Mapro Garden. One must not miss out on the famous corn patties and strawberry cream when in Mahabaleshwar. Should you visit in March, you will be lucky to witness the gastronomically delightful Strawberry Festival that takes place every year. Plan a weekend getaway to this hill station and you will be impressed.