Mumbaikars best epitomize the ‘live for the weekend’ syndrome. After a full five days of boardroom meetings, meeting sales targets to feed the ever hungry revenue graphs, and grinning through boring client –meets, you need a day or two to yourself. Naturally, on weekends, all the roads leading out of Mumbai are full of happy cars. If you can manage to maneuver your way through the long miles of highway roads, then a splendid destination awaits you ahead.
Mumbai also has another serious advantage over other cities when it comes to planning a weekend away from the city din. Several expansive resorts, providing everything under a single roof, have cropped up in the neighboring areas. These resorts take you away from urban bedlam, yet, comfortingly close to modern facilities. Some good ones here.
- Treasure Island Resort- 5 kilometers from Lonavla Railway Station
- Hotel Dreamland- 265 kilometers from Mumbai on NH-4
- Saj Resort- 264 kilometers from Mumbai on NH-4
- Nature Trails (Sajan Nature Club)- 124 kilometers from Mumbai on NH-4
- Silent Hills Resort- 60 kilomters from Borivaki on NH-8
- Nature Trails (Dhabosa Waterfall Resort): 160 kilometers from Mumbai on NH-8
- Suman Raj Resort: 264 kilometers from Mumbai on NH-8
- Nature Trails( Kundalika Rafting Camp): 130 kilometers from Mumbai
- Tapola Agro Eco Tourism: 293 kilometers from Mumbai
- Brightland Resort and Spa: 265 kilometers from Mumbai on NH-4
- Lords Eco Inn: 260 kilometers from Mumbai on NH-3
- Treat Resort: 180 kilometers from Mumbai on NH-8
- Brightlands Resort: 89 kilometers from Mumbai on NH-3
- Orchard Resort: 86 kilometers from Mumbai on NH-4
- Hotel Rainbow Resort: 86 kilometers from Mumbai on NH-4
- Khanvel Resort: 147 kilometers from Mumbai on NH-8
Here are five pretty destinations that will do your body, mind and heart a whole world of good.
1. Khanadala Lonavala, Maharashtra
Just a three-hour drive from Mumbai lie these beautiful twin hill stations. At the foothills of the Sahyadris, and yet at a height of 625 meters, above ground level these hill stations are just the right altitude for some great panoramic views and some easy treks. There was some great imagination at work, when the attractions in Khandala were given names. The Duke’s Nose, so named because it resembles the shape of Duke Wellington’s Nose, is a cliff overlooking some great views. The Tiger’s Leap, another viewing point, is so named because the view gives the impression of a tiger leaping across the river.
The rows of mansions in Khandala, offering picturesque views of the hills are relics of the British rule.
The chiki, a sweet made of jaggery and groundnuts, is a famous confectionery here.
Attractions: Duke’s Nose Peak, Karla Hills, Korigad Fort, Tiger’s Leap, Lohgad, Karla and Bhaja Caves.
Distance from Mumbai: 107 Kilometers
Time by car (from Nariman Point, Mumbai): 2 hours 7 minutes
2. Bhandardara, Maharashtra
On the banks of the river Pravara, the Bhandardara is a tranquil weekend getaway. Lush foliage, cascading waterfalls, and some of India’s best treks- define this tourist village.
According to mythological tales, sage Agasthya meditated here for a year; eating or drinking nothing. He pleased the gods so much that they sent down a stream of river Ganga, which is today known as the river Pravara.
Mount Kalsubi, the highest peak in Maharashtra, is a short way from here. At a towering height of 5400 feet, this is a favorite destination for seasoned trekkers. Ghatgar is a popular viewpoint too.
Attractions: Ratangad Fort, Bhandardara Lake (also called Lake Arthur Hill), Mount Kalsubi, Randha Falls, Umbrella Falls, Agasthya Rishi Ashram, Amriteshwar Temple, Sandhan Valley.
Distance from Mumbai: 183 kilometers
Time by car (from Nariman Point, Mumbai): 3 hours 33 minutes
3. Nashik, Maharastra
This modest city has gone ahead and bagged the tile of the ‘most tourist-friendly city in India’. Add to that the fact that it is the 16th fastest growing city in the world. Famous for its wines and grapes, Nashik is also the wine capital of India. Naturally, it is a must-do destination for both international as well as national travelers.
The city derives its name from a tale of Ramayana. Lord Ram had stayed at Nashik during his fourteen-year exile. His brother Lakshman had cut off Surpanakha’s nose (nak) in this city; hence the name Nashik.
Nashik was also the birthplace of the Dalit Movement (movement started by the downtrodden to demand their rights).
The largest religion congregation in the world- the Kumbh Mela- takes place at the Kalaram Temple in Panchavati here.
Attractions: Panchavati, the Pandavleni Caves, Ganga Ghat, Jain Mandir, Kapileshwara Temple, Ramkund, Sundamarayan Temple, Tapovan, Ajneri, Sita Gufa, Gargoti Museum, Coin Museum.
Distance from Mumbai: 60 kilometers
Time by car (from Nariman Point, Mumbai): 1 hour 40 minutes
4. Karnala, Maharashtra
Hardly, an hour’s drive from Mumbai, Karnala boasts two major tourist attractions- the Karnala Bird Sanctuary and the Karnala Fort.
The Karnala Fort was built by the Devagiri Yadavs and overlooked the Bor Pass-a major trade route then. Today though, moss has grown over the fort, and it looks like an organic growth of the soil.
The Karnala Bird Sanctuary has several species of resident and migratory birds, and delights bird-lovers, especially during winters. A variety of birds like the blue-headed rock thrush, blue throat, black-headed cuckoo shrike, red breasted fly catcher, black bird and the ashy minivet, can be seen here.
A variety of trees like teak, babul, bael, jamun, and many more, provide homes to these colorful creatures.
Attractions: Karnala Bird Sanctuary, Karnala Fort
Distance from Mumbai: 185 kilometers
Time by car (from Nariman Point, Mumbai): 3 hours 17 minutes
5. Lavasa, Maharashtra
The planned city of Lavas is a sweet surprise nestled behind the Varasgaon Dam and on the banks of a river. The winding roads leading up to Lavasa form for a pleasant bike ride. Water activities like jet skiing, boating and trying to row against the current, are very popular here.
Young couples and bigger groups frequent several parks and picnic spots throughout the year. Monsoons are especially a good time to visit as the hills and numerous waterfalls- all wear a fresh charm.
Attractions: Varasgaon Dam and Panshet Dam, a musical fountain and laser animation shows. Also common are adventure activities like trekking, water sports, rock-climbing and rappelling.
Distance from Mumbai: 200 kilometers
Time by car (from Nariman Point, Mumbai): 4 hours 17 minutes