Monsoons : The Best Time to Getaway
The first rains brings with it tranquility and washes away all the turmoil and stress, literally. The heat and dust of the summer is swept away with the drizzle and smell of wet ground is just as alluring. Of course, its dreary to get to college or work all drenched and commuting is troublesome as it is with crowded public transport, heavy traffic, overflowing pot holes and muddy water being splashed right at you by vehicles passing by. Not really the greatest time to ‘dress up’ and head for any parties or gatherings or flaunting your latest fashion trends.
But it surely is the time for long drives, sipping steaming ‘cutting chai’ by the roadside,indulging in piping hot ‘bhajias’ and roasted corn on the cob. Could anything else be the perfect excuse to get away from hectic crowd of the cities? The hills are alive, kicking and calling covered in a thicket of lush green grass and trickles of springs and water falls streaming down the ‘ghats’. This is the best time for trekking and water sports. So whats holding you back, get your gear and set out for your Monsoon getaway.
Monsoon Getaways Near Pune
This the right time to visit the state of Maharashtra, as it has got numerous places that looks its best during the rains. Since Maharashtra is a plateau, it is known for the Sahayadris, beautiful scenic beauty, hill stations, ghats, historic forts and caves. Driving through the ghats and over hills, one can see deep valleys and pure streams of water sprinkling through imposing rocks.
1. Lonavala and Khandala
These are 2 of the famous hill stations in Maharashtra and are situated on the western slopes of the Sahyadri hills. Lonavala is located at an altitude of 625 metres and Khandala is located slightly lower.
These places are a must visit during monsoons since at this time the entire area blooms up. Clouds sweep down to kiss the dense mist which seems to envelop everything. Its a perfect spot for trekking, weekend getaways and other adventure sports like canoing , swimming or just getting wet in the rains.
2. Karla and Bhaja Caves
The Karla and Bhaja caves are both about 5 km from Malavali, but on opposite sides of the road. Karla, 12 kms from Lonavala, has the largest Chaitya griha (Buddhist chapel) in India. There are several viharas (monasteries or dwelling caves).
The entrance to the chaitya griha is in the shape of a ‘Peepal’ leaf. On entering the magnificent hall, one can see beautiful stone pillars which are carved with life-like figures of elephants and human forms which represent different forms of Gautam Buddha. The pillars are surprisingly smooth. The high majestic roof is semicircular. There is a small temple of Ekvira Devi at the entrance.
3. Mulshi Dam
Mulshi is the name of a major dam on the Mula river located in the Taluka Mulshi administrative division of the Pune district of Maharashtra. It is one of the favourite picnic spots for college students and a good getaway during rainy seasons. This area receives heavy rainfall. Most of the area is covered with Forest which consists of trees like Sag, Teak, Oak, Mango and others.
The water of Mulshi is used for generating electricity. It is one of the major electricity project in Maharashtra. The lake ‘Valanewadi’ lies 6 km from Mulshi and is popular for its scenic beauty. Earlier there used to be boat rides, which has been stopped now.
Matheran is situated at 2,625 feet above sea level and is about 100 km from Mumbai. Matheran literally means jungle on top. All vehicles (Except emergency vehicles) are banned here. The roads are not tarred and are made of red laterite earth. The best way to travel is on a horseback or a man-pulled rickshaw or on foot.
5. Ajanta/Ellora Caves
Though a visit to this heritage site of India, is not limited to one season, it is much more pleasant to go here during monsoons. As the climate in Maharashtra is usually dry and extreme, one can opt to travel in the rains for a cooler climate. The rains do not hamper the travel to Ajanta/Ellora at any cost.
The caves of Ajanta and Ellora, near the city of Aurangabad, is located 66 kms from each other. The twin sites crowns the achievements of the whole of ancient South India, displaying the
most unusual architectural and painting expertise. The caves are famous for its awe-inspiring fusion of sculpture, art and architectural elements that remains unparalleled by any single heritage site in the rest of the world. The clutch of 34 caves that are collectively known as Ellora were built between 5th Century and 10th Century AD over an area of one-and-a-half miles on the gentle slopes of the Chamadari hills.
6. Malshej Ghat
Malshej Ghat is situated on the borders of Pune , Thane and Ahmednagar districts. Its a very popular monsoon get away because of its proximity to both Pune and Mumbai. Malshej Ghat is a vital place in Sahyadri hills and really very attractive when it is nder dark clouds and heavy fog. Like the other hill stations, heavy fog and amazing waterfalls are the highpoints of this place during the rains.
There is a famous place near Malshej Ghat called Khireshwar. Flamingo birds from Siberia migrate to this place during the rains between July and September. The famous Harishchandragadh is also close by.