All of us can relate to that feeling of disappointment when we realize that our carefully planned weekend getaway to a well known and beautiful location is pretty much ruined by the weekend crowd flooding in. As far as I am concerned, a perfect weekend getaway is weekend well spent in the arms of Mother Nature, away from the hustle and bustle of the city crowd. If you resonate with my thoughts, the following 7 secret destinations around Mumbai will very much quench the traveler’s thirst in you
Located just 130 KM from Mumbai, nestled between the Andharban Forest and Tamhini Ghat, Kundalika Valley is a home to nearly vertical rock faces covered in patches of green and massive waterfalls that feed the Kundalika River flowing in the valley.
The view from the Kundalika Valley view Point is simply breathtaking – the vast emptiness staring right back at you.
Also, the Kundalika River satiates your craving for adrenaline rush by offering you a chance to ride the stage 2 and 3 rapids. And the adjacent Andharban Trail offers you a little night time escapade into the heart of the forest.
The best months to visit here would be Mid June to November.
Kaas Plateau of Flowers
Maharashtra’s own Valley of Flowers, Kaas Plateau is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site. While looking at just a small garden in our backyard gives us a pleasant experience, imagine what a garden spread across 10 square kilometers of flat mountain top would make you feel like!
Home to more than 850 species of flowers each the size of a fingernail, this flowery carpet spread across massive such a area would definitely be worth the 276 KM ride from Mumbai.
As a bonus, one could enjoy the ethereal ride through the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary on the way back. If lucky, one could even catch a glimpse of Peacocks dancing along the roads!
Kaas plateau is open for visitors from around August to November but the best time to visit would be September and October.
Your feet sinking slowly into the soft and silky sand as you stand still under the spell of the mesmerizing view of the Sun setting into the Arabian Sea – this is Velas beach captured in a nutshell. Velas beach is a stretch of extremely clean and soft seashell strewn sand bordered by the Arabian Sea on one side and magnificently rustic and old moss covered buildings on the other side.
Also, home to the famous Velas Turtle Festival, you could get to watch teeny tiny baby turtles crawl their way into the Velas waters if you visit in the right season. The 230 KM Mumbai to Velas drive would bring you through a beautiful rural backdrop that involve using ferries to cross the backwaters
Velas can be visited anytime except the summer months but if you want to watch the baby turtles, January to April it is!
The trek from the base village of Gunjawane is a 4-5 hour climb with stretches that would require you to grab hold of the flimsy railings so that you don’t fall 3000 feet to the base of the mountain – an intensely adventurous and thrilling trek that takes you into the fort through the chor darwaza. Make sure to pack enough water and food to last the night as one would definitely want to spend the night at the top of the fort, watching the stars.
The ascent and descent is one aspect of the trip. The other aspect of the trip lies in the morning view of the surroundings – the transcendent beauty of the scenery from one of the highest mountains of Maharashtra is just beyond words. Even pictures do no justice.
The best time to visit the fort is the winter and monsoon season. Winter is ideal for a night stay at the fort. By the way, there will be tons of curious monkeys throughout the trip to keep you company
There are beaches, and then, there is Pebbles Beach. One half of the beach is covered by foot deep layer of seashells and the other half of the beach, covered by a foot deep layer of pebbles (hence the name). And under these layers, there is just black rock – not even a trace of sand. This is the only beach in India that I know of, that has no sand whatsoever!
A 30 minute excursion from the Pebbles beach would take you to a rock-slide debris that is partially in the water and partially on land – and this debris will be your path to a broken stone wall that’s around 50 feet into the sea – a perfect place to sit down and let yourself be enchanted by the sound of the water crashing into the rocks – totally worth the 205 KM ride from Mumbai
This place can be visited at any time of the year but this place comes alive in the monsoons and the winters
Located around 180 KM from Mumbai, this place is worth visiting not just because of the trekking and rappelling experience it offers but also because one gets to travel through Malshej Ghat and Bhandardhara to reach Sandhan Valley.
Bhandardhara and Mashej Ghat are abodes to innumerable waterfalls of all sizes – something so pleasing to the eye that one would never want to leave this beautiful places and head back home.
Bhandardhara and Malshej Ghat can be visited throughout the year but are their most beautiful during the winter and the monsoons. Sandhan Valley, on the other hand, can be visited only during the winter months. The valley remains submerged during the monsoons.
The beaches, roads and the beachside shacks at Manori are similar to that of Goa, thereby providing a mini-Goa experience within the city of Mumbai. Just 25 KM from Mumbai, this place is the closest weekend getaway in Mumbai and has an amazing rustic vibe to it.
The beaches here are serene and most importantly, clean despite being so close to Mumbai. One can take their vehicles onto the beach and enjoy the mesmerizing sunsets and the sunrises here. Also, the local fishing scene provides one with an opportunity to explore the culture as well.
Manori can be visited throughout the year, but the summer months are less preferable compared to the rest of the year.