Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Monsoon Getaways

Is the rain-soaked countryside your idea of a beautiful landscape? Do you think an invigorating trek in the hills interspersed with gushing waterfalls is the perfect monsoon break? Is sipping a hot cup of tea at a roadside eatery as raindrops gently caress your face just what you want to do this monsoon?
Read on to know where you can indulge in all this and more at 10 of the best monsoon weekend getaways near Mumbai.
  • Karnala: Lush greenery dotted with gurgling streams and waterfalls await naturalists and picnickers just 60 km from Mumbai. “The panoramic view of the rain-drenched Sahyadri Mountains and waterfalls from the Karnala Fort are a sight to behold. We rounded off our trip with a visit to the Karnala bird sanctuary!” says Rishi, a software consultant who has lived in Ohio for five years and visited Karnala for the first time.
  • Mulshi: A quick getaway that’s a three-hour drive from Mumbai, Mulshi Dam and its scenic surroundings are the perfect destination in the monsoons. Indulge in a trek in the Hattihant and Pagota hill ranges, drive around or enjoy boating in the Mulshi Lake.
  • Malshej Ghat: “Explore the Sahyadri Mountains at Malshej,” says avid trekker Prashant, an accountant residing in New York for 10 years. “If you’re lucky you could spot rabbits, peacocks, leopards and the elusive tiger. A visit to Khireshwar to see the flamingos and climb the famous Harishchandragad Fort make for an exciting fun-filled weekend in the rains,” he adds.
  • Lohgad Fort: Take a train to Lonavala and another one from there to Malavli to head for Lohgad Fort, an absolute trekker’s delight. The view from the top includes the Tung and Tikona hills, Duke’s Nose and the Pavana Dam. “You are literally swept off your feet at The Wind Spot, at the entrance of the fort! Two days spent on the Visapur trek exploring the Karla and Bhaje Caves make it an action-packed weekend,” says Sneha, a lawyer and travel aficionado for whom Chicago has been home for three years now.
  • Kashid: Located on SH60 is a sleepy village town where silken sands of an arched shoreline, nestled in the hills against a blue-white facade await you. A stroll on the beach as the gentle drizzle comes down, doing nothing else but indulging in delicious seafood – monsoon weekends at Kashid are that lazy and laid back.
  • Lonavala: If you’re looking for a walk in the clouds in the monsoons without getting too far away from Mumbai you should head for Lonavala. The MTDC Resort at Karla is a comfortable place to stay at a reasonable price. Be prepared for a madding crowd at the Koraigad Fort on a rain-drenched Sunday after splashing about at the Bhushi Dam on Saturday.
  • Matheran: A mere 100 km from Mumbai this picturesque hill station is a delight to visit. Panorama Point, Porcupine Point and One Tree Hill offer some picturesque views of the surrounding hills and valleys. A boat ride in the Charlotte Lake and a trek up Mount Berry are other things you can do.
  • Murud-Janjira: A drive along picturesque beaches and palm fringed pathways, followed by a jetty ride – and the historic Janjira Fort stands before you. Explore every nook and cranny for it took 22 years to build, and don’t forget to stop at the Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary and the Nawab’s Palace!
  • Kihim Beach: A fun-filled weekend in the rains at this spot includes exploring the Kankeshwar Temple and the Colaba Fort, playing cricket and beach volleyball, and indulging in a little bit of lazing around. Stay away from swimming though.
  • Nagoan: A 120 km from Mumbai is an excellent weekend getaway option. Strolling on the beach, lounging around and feasting on healthy organic food amidst lush greenery, Nagoan is the stuff restful weekends are made of.
The monsoons are considered off-season on the tourist circuit, and you can get some great deals at this time. Do you enjoy traveling in the rains? Have you been on a scenic, monsoon getaway from Mumbai? 

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