One Day Trips from Mumbai
When life gets a little too exhausting in Mumbai and the crowd seems frustrating, nature has blessed the people of Mumbai with the lush green hill stations all around it to have an unforgetable getaway. A perfect way to enjoy the weekend, these beautiful places is a photographer’s dreamland and a paradise for adventure junkies.
LONAVALA AND KHANDALA
A small hill station, Lonavala is 96 kilometers from Mumbai and a popular choice of many ‘Mumbaikars’ when it comes to a small trips outside the city. A little drizzle, the gloomy, clouded sky as the background and the green mountains wherever you look, monsoon is a favorite time of many to visit this place. If here, do not forget to have the famous chikki made from jaggery and peanuts.
Khandala is another 5 kilometers away from Lonavala and is just as pleasing to the eye. A border hill station, Khandala is hiker’s’ favorite choice and a visit here can include hiking to the Duke’s Nose, famous for its resemblance to Duke Wellington’s nose. Other places to visit nearby are the caves in Lonavala like Karla and Bhaja Caves or Rajmachi Point where stands the famous fort built by Shivaji or even Tiger’s Point, which for a second will make you believe as if a tiger is leaping in the valley.
A ferry from the Gateway of India will take you to the Elephanta Caves, or as the natives say ‘Gharapurichi Leni’, which is located at a distance of 10 kilometers from Mumbai. “Unknown of date and attribution”, it is said that these caves date back to 5th to late 8th century with one main Hindu Cave and two small Buddhist Caves. The rock-cut sculptures of Shiva and Parvati sitting on Mount Kailash and the trimurti of Shiva are some of the major statutes that connects these caves to our mythology and past.
Abandoned for years, the Portuguese used the statues here to practice target and hence the damage, but after it became a UNESCO World heritage center in 1987, the place was preserved.
Kolad is a place for rafting enthusiasts who are frequent visitors to this place. 117 kilometers away from Mumbai, Kolad is a picturesque small village beside the river Kundalika and a place to enjoy the quite atmosphere. If you are not into rafting, there is Bhira and Kolad Dam to visit and the waterfall that comes alive in monsoons. There are also small Buddhist Caves in the area you can go hiking.
Alibag can be reached via a ferry from Gateway of India or even through road. A fort built by Shivaji in 1680 stands here facing the beach and a long stretch of dark colored sand. The view from the fort of the sea is breathtaking. If in mood to hike, take a small tour of the Siddheshwar Mandir or visit the close by Khanderi and Undheri Islands built by Shivaji as a lookout for Siddhis. There are quite a few beaches here and if you want to see the influence of Portuguese culture in India, most definitely visit Chaul, a small village with Portuguese styled architecture and churches.
Karnala consists of two places that are a must visit when there. First is the Karnala Fort situated on a hill that gives an amazing panoramic view of the area. During monsoons, the mist over the hills and little drops of rain just compliments the whole area. Inside the fort are two forts and a watchtower in the middle called Pandu’s Tower.
The second place to visit here is the Karnala Bird Sanctuary spread across 12.11 Kilometres. 10 kilometres from Pavel, this sanctuary might e smaller than other in India but the atmosphere adds everything else. There are 150 species of resident birds and 37 migratory bird species.
Famous for the Kumbh Mela that happens after every 12 years, Nashik is also the place where Lorn Ram, Sita and Lakshamana spent their 14 years of exile. Being a religious place, there are quite a few temples here with a story attached to each. For instance Sita Gufaa where Lord Rama and Sita worshiped Lord Shiva; Tapovan –the forest area; Panchvati, Jain Mandir and so on.
Other than being a pilgrimage, Nashik is also India’s largest producer of grapes and wine. There are a number of vineyards here and you can see the bacteria work their magic into making wine. There are regular wine tasting tours to this place.
Located in the Sahyadri ranges, this ghat has the most majestic waterfalls of the area. The scene is picturesque and just a drive around this area is enough to evade the memory of city life. The best time to visit is the monsoon and you can also find many lakes around the greenery if you go trekking. The flamingos from Europe are also is common sight here and making it all the more pleasant.
A visit to any of these places will not only be break for your lungs but the feeling of exhaustion will be long gone once you are free in these hill stations.