Monsoon is well & truly here. After a long long wait, Mumbaikars (Mumbai Citizens) are finally rejoicing a long spell of incessant rains. Relentless & untiring, the rains have managed to cover a lot of ground on the deficit front. As I write this, the catchment areas are being lashed with heavy rain bringing a sigh of relief to the city. The lakes have been thirsting for this long overdue spell of rain.
Now that the waters are filling up the mountain streams & lakes, a lot of Mumbaikars are venturing out to enjoy this nature’s gift that it presents each year between June-September. The usual suspects are Lonavala – Tiger Point & Bushy Dam, Waterfall at Bhivpuri, Chinchoti or Zenith (Khopoli) & Malshej Ghat. These areas have been witnessing a large gathering of enthusiasts and has certainly taken a toll on the innocence, charm & beauty of these places. If you wish to try something really different this monsoon, continue reading. I have thoughtfully listed out, from my experience some wonderful one-day getaways in the monsoon, where you will not only enjoy in the lap of nature but be completely content with the experience! A mix of adventure & calm is what you would experience at these places. I Guarantee that!
Devala – Amidst the waterfalls
This one is probably the toughest to reach. Not because it is too far away from any prominent city or road but the road leading up to it is never in a great condition in the monsoon. To give you an example, we had to work very had to keep our bikes from not skidding in the muddy path. Devala lies to the South East of Igatpuri near a small yet beautiful village of Bhavli. The place is a wonder. It is extremely difficult to explain the description of it in words, yet I will try. There is a dam at Bhavli Village which forms a huge lake. The lake itself is filled by streams running down from the hills that cover the lake almost entirely. The falls are one of these streams coming down the hills.You can circumnavigate the entire area, as there is a road which is built between the lake & the hills. But, as I said earlier, driving or riding may not exactly be easy here due to the bad state of the road. It is difficult to believe the beauty of this place and once there, you just admire nature’s artistry. It’s an unforgettable experience being there.
One of the falls at Devala.
The lake and the surrounding hills.
How to reach: If you are driving/riding down, then take Mum-Nasik Highway NH 3 upto Igatpuri, after crossing Manas resort, ask for Ram Nagar. At the exit for Ram Nagar (which is to the left) from the highway, there is a right turn going towards Venkatesh Nagar which would be on the opposite side of the highway. Take this road and drive straight passing Venkatesh Nagar until you reach Bhavli which should be approximately 10 kms after your turn on the highway. You could park your vehicle at Bhavli and move ahead walking and exploring the entire area which would not take more than 90 minutes. Pick a safe waterfall if you wish to drench yourself under it. Be alert and careful all the time. If going by train, get down at Igatpuri and take a shared jeep or rickshaw to Bhavli. My suggestion would be to go by your own or arranged transport, as dependency on public transport can cause inconvenience.
Drive or ride down from Wada to Khodala
This has to be one of the most scenic drives near Mumbai. Its hard to beat the experience and thrill of driving down this road. Once past Wada, the road starts unwinding through a portion of the Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary and moves ahead uphill crossing the Pinjal river. At a particular spot where the river is close to the road, you can get down and go down to the riverbed. This is an excellent place to sit down and open some food to satisfy your hungry stomach. Just lie down at the shallow point of the river and stare into the sky and let your thoughts roll on or simply soak in the moment. The road goes through hills & some really dense forest with no sign of human settlements for long periods. Finally, you will reach Jawhar. From there, move ahead to Khodala and then towards the Mumbai-Nasik Highway NH3. You will be able to witness wonderful sights along this road and also the Middle Vaitarna dam. The newly constructed dam to supply water to Mumbai. Once on the highway, you can drive back to Mumbai via NH3. The experience of this drive, will leave you totally refreshed and recharged, that’s the impact of that nature’s beauty has on you on this stretch of road.
Photo Courtesy: itrekz
Photo Courtesy: itrekz
You can reach Wada via Bhiwandi, take a left on the Mum-Nasik highway at Mankoli. Reach Bhiwandi & ask for the road to Wada. Alternatively, if you are travelling from the western suburbs, take the Mum-Ahmedabad highway & at Manor, take the road going to Wada. At Wada, ask for the road to Jawhar. Carry sufficient food and water & also ensure you fill-up enough fuel as this road does not have a petrol pump after Wada.
Detour from the Murbad-Malshej Ghat road
NH-222 is one of the most scenic highways of Maharashtra. It starts after Kalyan and ends in Nirmal in Andhra Pradesh or Seemandhra now. But, most Mumbaikars know this highway as the one that takes them to Malshej Ghat. This highway isn’t exactly busy except for the continuous movement of ST buses plying between Kalyan & Ahmednagar. The road, right from Kalyan to Malshej Ghat is so wonderful & delightful that you do not feel as though you are driving down a single lane highway (picture & compare NH17). The place I am going to tell you about is actually something that we stumbled upon accidentally. We were heading to Malshej last year & it turned out that the road was blocked by the police near Tokawade, as an accident had occurred on the ghat. We had to then change our plans and thought, why not take a detour and venture inside the village roads. Google Maps showed us a dam near-by, which is the Dhasai dam. The view around the dam was simply breathtaking.
You can see why!
There were some people fishing at the dam and it was just a great feeling to be there. The range of Sahyadris around Naneghat which included the peak of Dhakoba, which we eventually trekked in October, can be seen covered in the clouds. We wanted a waterfall, we wanted the experience of Malshej Ghat. We asked around and a kid told us to head to Singapur which was about 10 kms from the Dhasai dam.
Once you pass the village, there is an open field just before the road takes a turn to the left. You can park your vehicles here and take local help to reach the waterfall, where there is usually Nobody!
View from the place we had parked our car.
This detour isn’t exactly a proper route hence you will need your own vehicle, but, I would suggest you explore this area, if you have the adventurous streak. Its an amazingly beautiful area and you would find very few people coming here. An apt place for privacy & much needed peace!
So, these are some places I suggest you try this monsoon, there are several more places that I have been to and can suggest, but, I will keep it to these 3, as I believe they are ideal for a 1 day getaway.
PS: Please carry your own food and water, as locals do offer to prepare food, but, the experience hasn’t been great. Please be alert and take local guidance when venturing in these areas as they have a better understanding of the risk associated. Also, would request you to maintain the decorum and sanctity of these places that are far away from the popular destinations yet beautiful and enchanting in their own way.