Just like most urbanites, if you want a much-needed break from your cubicle-bound life and the cityscape, nothing can be better than a tryst with nature. There are so many places to explore near Mumbai for your wanderlust. However, if you are looking for a quiet respite far from the maddening crowd, seek the music of your soul in some of these lesser known destinations near Mumbai in your next vacation.
1. Lonar Crater Lake
It is located at a distance of 477 kms from Mumbai but is well connected by road, rail and air. It is a high velocity impact crater created 52,000 years ago by a crashing meteor. The lake holds a lot of significance for ecologists, archaeologists, geologists and naturalists. For tourists and travellers, the sapphire blue lake with both alkaline and saline water, the thick belt of trees that surround the crater and the rich variety of flora and fauna that it nurtures hold a stunning, picturesque frame.
The best time to visit Lonar is during the winter months when the migratory birds flock here.
2. Anjarle Beach
About 238 kms from Mumbai, Anjarle is one of the prettiest beach holiday getaways that Konkan has to offer. Jeep rides are available from Dapoli to Anjarle which are a mere 20 kms apart. Dapoli, which is approximately 229 kms from Mumbai is easily reachable by road or rail. It is famous for the Ganesh temple atop a cliff, beautiful white beaches fringed by coconut palm and betel trees, a blue sea and hills.
Here you are the monarch of all you survey, for there is no crowd in this amazing haven. There are no hotels and resorts here but you can stay at homestays in the pretty little village of Anjarle nestled among the sea and hills.
Located at a distance of merely 110 kms from Mumbai, Kamshet is quite near Lonavala and Khandala and can be reached by either road or train. Its appeal lies in the rustic beauty and the opportunities of paragliding available for both beginners and seasoned gliders. The place also offers amazing opportunities of trekking. For the uninitiated tourists, the trek is planned from Jamboli to Kondeshwar temple and for the avid trekkers the route is planned through the Ghats.
There are various places to visit around Kamshet as below:
– Bhairi Caves: Known for the animal sacrifices that are still held there, the trek to the cave is treacherous and should be tackled only by experienced trekkers with advanced rock-climbing gear. The cave can also be reached by steps.
– Bhaja Caves: They are rock-cut caves and have been declared a National Monument by the ASI. The architecture reflects a surprising awareness of the existence of wooden carvings and edifices of the 2nd Century B.C.
– Bedse Caves: These caves are different from the Bhaja and Bhairi caves because of their Hinayana Buddhist influence that is evident in the beautiful sculptures of animals and dancing figures.
– Kondeshwar Temple: It is located at a distance of 52 kms from Kamshet. It is an ancient stone temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. However, the climb to the top is arduous and best avoided during the rains.
– Pawna Lake: Located at a distance of 13 kms from Kamshet, this lake is a reservoir of the Pavana dam. It is not only the perfect place to put up your feet and soak up the tranquillity and beauty of the place, but also indulge in a plethora of activities like ridge dancing, advanced kiting and paragliding.
Bhandardara, a getaway in the Western Ghats on the banks of the Pravara river has every element for travellers. The Wilson Dam, the Arthur Lake, the waterfalls – Umbrella Falls and the Randha Falls, the highest peak in Maharashtra – Mount Kalsubai (5,400 feet), the Ratnagad Fort (22Kms), a number of hiking and trekking trails and ancient temples will transport you in another world.
Situated at a distance of 185 kms, it is easily accessible by road from Mumbai. However, one should be very careful while driving on this stretch because of the narrow, tortuous roads of the Western Ghats.
5. Sula Vineyard
Being at a distance of just 173 kms from Mumbai, which takes approximately 3 hrs 27 minutes to cover by road, a laid-back day trip to the vineyard can easily be planned. The Sula Vineyard is spread over 1800 hectares. Taking a walk through the vineyards laden with grapes and an abundance of flowering plants to break the monotony of the green, learning about the etiquette of wine tasting and how to pair the right wine with the right food like a pro, make for a great experience.
You can round off the day at the gourmet Italian restaurant where you are spoilt for choice. But if you really want to soak up this ‘wine experience’, plan your trip around February when the annual ‘Sula Fest’ is held. Then, you can really let your hair down, dance to some great music, indulge your gastronomic taste-buds, and sip some great wine from across the globe. Be covered in sticky grape juice when you plunge into barrels loaded with grapes and squish and crunch away to glory holding on tightly to your partner’s hand all the while!
Have you been to any of these places near Mumbai? Share your travel story in the comments below.
Madhurima is a digital marketing specialist, editor and content marketer. She is also a published writer on the web. When she is not working, she is either travelling or writing her travel stories to share to the world. She believes in inspiring people to travel and shares her travel diary on her travel blog, mangoladydiaries.com.
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