51 Weekend Gateways Near Mumbai & Pune – 2

16) Palghar

 

On the outskirts of Mumbai’s suburbs, the small town of Palghar makes for a convenient holiday visit. Its less crowded streets and peaceful ambience is just what the city-dwellers seek for a relaxed and laid back vacation.

 

Attractions: One of the weekend getaways near Mumbai close by, Kelva and Mahim beaches are ideal to watch the mesmerising view of sunset. Kelva and Shirgaon forts, though in ruins, are good for a day trip from the town. Kelva Dam is a popular picnic spot which is frequented by locals on weekends.

 

Activities: Explore the two forts that stand in this region. Visit a fishing village near the beaches and enjoy a family outing at the dam or on the sandy beaches.

 

Type of Destination: Historic, beach, family and kid friendly.

 

Distance from Mumbai: 109 kms

 

Best time to Visit: June to September and November to February

 

17) Malshej Ghat

 

Distance: 130 Kms

 

The Malshej Ghat is a beautiful mountain pass in the Western Ghats in Maharashtra. Situated in the Thane district, the site is a well-known weekend place near Mumbai. It is best recognized for its natural beauty.

 

Being a part of the Western Ghats, the Malshej Ghat abounds in flora and fauna, especially birdlife which includes species such as cuckoos, flamingos, crakes, rails and quails. The scenic place is situated near the borders of the Thane and Ahmednagar districts.

 

Situated at a distance of 154 km from Mumbai and 130 km from Pune, the destination is well connected by rail, road and airways. The nearest railhead to Malshej Ghat is Kalyan.  By road, it can be reached by the NH 3 that will take you to Bhiwandi.  From Bhiwandi, take the road to Murbad to reach Malshej Ghat.

 

Malshej ghat attracts tourists from all over the country and the world because of its breath-taking beauty. It is from here, you can view the lush valleys of the Western Ghats. The region is also famous for its dark woods and the wildlife residing in them. The wildlife here includes animals and birds such as peacocks, rabbits, leopards and tigers.

 

The birthplace of the great Maratha warrior Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the Shivneri Fort, is another major tourist attraction. The fort is situated at a distance of 40 km from Malshej Ghat. There are other places of interest too near this charming land. One of them is the Khireshwar Village, which is situated at a distance of just 2 to 3 km from Malshej Ghat.

 

The hamlet is famous for its beautiful waterfalls in the hilly regions which are situated very close to the highway and hence can be viewed easily. The destination attracts a large number of migratory birds from Siberia from July to September. The most attractive phenomenon in the region is the mating dance of the flamingo birds.

 

18) Dahanu

 

Further north of Palghar is the coastal town of Dahanu, which borders the neighbouring state of Gujarat. Its flower gardens, fruits orchards and coconut groves not only benefit the place commercially, but also add to its beauty and charm.

 

Attractions: Dahanu’s long stretch of beach is unspoilt and clean. One can easily spend a day here, relaxing on the sandy shore and gazing out at the vast Arabian Sea. The 400 year old Dahanu Fort stands at the sea shore and has a temple adjacent to it. A Jain temple, Asavli Dam and Kalpataru Botanical gardens are other attractions, making it among the ideal weekend getaways from Mumbai.

 

Activities: Go for a stroll along the beach that is lined with Casuarina trees. Swim in the placid waters of the Arabian Sea. Watch the sun go down over the horizon in the evening.

 

Type of Destination: Beach, family and kid friendly.

 

Distance from Mumbai: 136 kms

 

Best time to Visit: October to March

 

19) Murud-Janjira Fort

 

Just off the coast of a village named Murud is an island where the Murud-Janjira fort stands. With an interesting history behind it, this tourist destination is also appealing for its architecture and construction.

 

Attractions: The forts humungous walls and 19 bastions are a sight to behold as they stand in impressive splendor even today. This marine fort remained unconquered throughout its past existence and one can reach it today by boats to marvel at its architecture. Murud Beach is a beautiful one and overlooks the fort too. Kasa Fort and Ahmedganj Palace are historical monuments that can be included on your day trip around the fort.

 

Type of Destination: Historic, beach, family and kid friendly.

 

Distance from Mumbai: 148 kms

 

Best time to Visit: October to March

 

Two day trips from Mumbai: (Between 150 – 300 Kms):

 

20) Silvassa

 

Distance: 167 kms

 

Silvassa is the capital of the Dadra and Nagar Haveli, which is a Union Territory of India. The city was known as Vila de Paco d’Arcos during the Portuguese rule. It gained much importance in 1885 when the Portuguese decided to transfer the administration of Nagar Haveli into it.

 

Silvassa was only a small village till the 19th century and a lot of developments started happening once the seat of power was changed. It became a town in 1885 and today, has a number of factories and industries that generate enough government revenue and help the town maintain a low level of taxation.

 

Language and culture:

 

While Marathi and Gujarati are the most commonly spoken languages of the town, Silvassa is also believed to be the place of origin of the Warli culture. The Warli language is spoken by the people belonging to the Warli community and is an interesting mix of the Marathi and Gujarati languages.

The town also has a significant population of Roman Catholics who speak a distinct dialect of Portuguese.

Attraction around:

 

There are several places of interest in here which make it a popular weekend getaway near Mumbai. Situated very close to the Silvassa bus stand is a Roman Catholic Church which is noted for its beautiful Portuguese architecture.

The Silvassa Museum is another popular tourist destination and it bears exhibits and artefacts which explain the history of the town and the culture of its people.

The Madhuban Dam is where visitors flock to. The Dam is built over the River Daman Ganga and boating facilities have been arranged for tourists on the river.

Some of the other places of interest in the town include the Dadra Park, Dudhani, Vrindaban Temple, Balaji Temple and the Ban Ganga Lake.

 

21) Nashik

 

Distance: 167 Kms

 

A popular and favoured weekend getaways near Mumbai, Nashik is the largest city in Northern Maharashtra and the third largest district in the state. It is situated on the banks of the River Godavari and is the highest producer of onions and grapes in the country.It also has bagged the title for being the Most Tourist Friendly City in India and hence attracts innumerable tourists from all over the country and the world

 

Attractions around:

 

The area of Panchavati is of particular religious importance for Hindus. The Kalaram Temple is situated in here hosts the Kumbh Mela, the largest religious congregation in the world. It is held once in 12 years in the cities of Nashik, Haridwar, Allahabad and Ujjain.

Nashik is also famous for its grapes and onions. This city is called the ‘Wine Capital of India’ due to its flourishing wine industry.

There are several places of interest in Nashik. Some of them are lesser known destinations and hence are untouched by mass tourism. One such place is the stone museum or the Gargoti Museum. It is situated at a distance of 32 km from Nashik and has a large collection of zeolites that are similar to diamonds and other precious stones.

The Coin Museum is another one of the popular tourist spot here. It is the only one of its kind in Asia and hence attracts a large number of people from all over the world. Also found in this verdant region is the cascading Durgawadi Fall. Located at a distance of about 30 km from the city, the best time to visit it is during the monsoons.

 

22) Lavasa

 

The planned city of Lavasa is a hidden gem amongst the hills of Western Ghats. It is placed quite close to the Varasgaon Dam and the winding roads that leads up to it are popular with long-distance bikers. The mountains in this region are covered in dense vegetation and coupled with a pleasant weather makes this place one of the perfect weekend getaways near Mumbai.

 

Attractions: The Mose River has the Varasgaon Dam built across it is the main attraction in this region. There are a number of parks and gardens in Lavasa where one can go for picnics and family outings. A musical fountain and laser animation show is engaging for visitors of all ages.

 

Activities: The forest cover in Lavasa has some nature trails where one can take a walk. Water based activities including jet skiing, kayaking and boating are possible in the lake here. Adventure activities like rock climbing, rappelling and trekking are also organized here.

 

Type of destination: Trekking, family and kid friendly.

 

Distance from Mumbai: 186 kms

 

Best time to Visit: Throughout the year

 

Offbeat Lavasa Experie

 

23) Panchgani

 

 

The hill station of Panchgani was named so since it stands in between five hills of the Sahyadris (‘panch’ meaning five in Hindi). Its position in the hilly regions provides it with an agreeable weather all year round which making it one of the appealing hill station near Mumbai.

 

Attractions Around:

 

The twisting and turning River Krishna flows in the vicinity and has the Dhom Dam built across it. There is also a lake that is formed by the backwaters of the river where one can enjoy a fun day outing with a group of friends.

There are viewpoints at high altitudes from where you can observe the terrain that includes the River and the dam.

Asia’s longest mountain plateau covering 95 acres and standing 4550 feet above sea level, Table Land, is the place from where one can spot the Devil’s Kitchen caves

Activities: Owing to its ideal climate, Panchgani is the hub of strawberry farms where these fruits are not only cultivated, but also processed into jams, squashes and crushes. When in Pachgani, do remember to visit one of these several strawberry farms and buy fresh products of your choice. 10 kms from Panchgani are the Rajapuri Caves comprising of a group of four caves that can be explored in a day.

 

Type of Destination:  Trekking, family and kid friendly

 

Distance from Mumbai: 244 kms

 

24) Wai

 

Located around 230km from Mumbai, Wai is situated on the banks of the alluring Krishna River. Known for its opulent untouched beauty and bucolic ambience, it also serves as an ideal Mumbai weekend getaway. For the nature lovers and those seeking for pleasant and tranquil moments, Wai proves to be a heartwarming destination.

 

25) Harishchandragad

 

A guardian of the past, Harishchandragad still echoes the golden tales of a bygone era! Steeped with the history and essence of a bygone era, this historic hill fort in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra is one of the most sought after trekking destinations in Maharashtra. Adding to this, the quaint and balmy ambience of the vicinity, also makes it one of the popular weekend getaways near Mumbai.

 

Trekking Experience: Overcoming the rugged and uneven hilly terrains, scaling up to a height of 4,671ft, and witness the panoramic beauty of the picturesque hills and valleys underneath has its own charm and appeal. Join the different treks; especially the overnight trek to the Harishchandragad Fort, through various routes and explore the grandiosity of this ancient fort.

 

26) Jaigad

 

Around 300km from Mumbai, Jaigad is amongst the historic places in the entire of Maharashtra. Embraced by the opulent beauty of lush and evergreen vegetation, this region is also the home to the JungliJaigad Fort.

 

While the name to this fort has been derived from its dense outlook, a trek to this historic fortress also carries the equal amount of the thrill and excitement. On the completion of this trek, you can feast on several gorgeous sites and enjoy the panoramic views of the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve, Chandoli and Koyna forest ranges

 

27) Bordi

 

As one goes north from Dahanu, along the seashore, one would reach the beachside getaway called Bordi. Its beach, which has black sands and shallow waters, is pristine and less crowded than most other beaches in this region.

 

Attractions: Bahrot Caves, which are of religious significance for the Parsi community, is located close by. Other attractions in Bordi are the Dahanu fort, Asavali dam and a Jain temple which can be covered in a day-long trip.

 

Activities: The idyllic beachfront of Bordi is good for a leisurely stroll with an occasional dip in the sea waters. One can unwind at the Dahanu Beach that is quite close by.

 

Type of Destination: Beach, family and kid friendly.

 

Distance from Mumbai: 153 kms

 

Best time to Visit: October to March

 

28) Jawhar

 

This quaint and pretty hill station has a deep-rooted cultural background since it is where the Warli tribe resides. The Warli paintings, a traditional craft of this tribe has achieved fame far and wide for its unique designs and unusual themes. These designs are now replicated on different products even outside this region.

 

Attractions: Jawhar’s attractions include the tribal heritage tour where one gets to view the ancestral residence of the tribal people and their customs. There are a number of well-known ancient temples, waterfalls and viewpoints in here. Jai Vilas Palace and Bhupatghad Fort are small monuments with a historic connect. There are also a few water reservoirs in Jawhar that are located at attractive places and are frequented by tourists for picnics.

 

Activities: Looking around and discovering the hidden destinations within this hill station makes for a full-day activity. One can also go trekking in the hills of Jawhar or head to the areas around the reservoirs for a picnic.

 

Type of Destination: Family and kid friendly, historic and trekking.

 

Distance from Mumbai: 155 kms

 

Best time to Visit: September to April

 

29) Bhandardara

 

Distance: 165 kms

 

Situated at a distance of 165 km from Mumbai, Bhandardara is one of the most sought-after weekend places near Mumbai. It is a holiday resort village which is situated along the River Pravara and promises a number of natural wonders such as lush greenery, waterfalls, mountains and peace and tranquillity.

 

Some of the famous spots here include the Bhandardara Lake and the Randha Falls. Bhandardara has a lot to offer. According to popular belief, Shri Agasthi Rishi meditated here for a year, surviving only on air and water. Through his efforts, he pleased God who came down to Earth and blessed the sage with a stream of the River Ganga. This is stream is now called the River Pravara.

 

There are several tourist places in and around Bhandardara. Mount Kalsubai, the highest peak in Maharashtra and has an elevation of 5,400 feet is one of the most popular tourist spots. The summit also makes for the ideal trekking destination.

 

The other places of interest include Ghatghar, the Randha Falls, the Arthur Lake, the Ratnagad Fort and the Wilson Dam. Ghatghar is situated at a distance of 22 km from Bhandardara and is a great viewpoint in the area. Tourists throng to this destination to enjoy a panoramic view of the Sahayadri Range.1

 

The Randha Falls is formed as the River Pravara descends down a height of 170 feet into a deep gorge. The best time to visit the falls is during the monsoons when the spray is in full fury. The Arthur Lake is a beautiful lake which is bounded by the thick forests of the Sahayadri Range. The Wilson Dam is another popular tourist place in Bhandardara. Built over the River Pravara, it stands at a height of 150 m and is one of the oldest dams in the country.

 

There are several other places too in Bhandardara which attract a lot of tourists from all nearby cities and all over the country and the world. These places include destinations such as Agasti Rishi Ashram, Amriteshwar Temple and the Sandhan Valley.

 

30) Daman

 

Distance: 171 Kms

 

Daman is a famous for weekend trip from Mumbai. It is a city in the Union territory of Daman and Diu. The city is divided into two parts by the Daman Ganga River. The two halves of the city are called the Nanidaman and Motidaman. Nanidaman is the larger of the two towns and has most of the important hospitals, supermarkets and major residential area.

 

Motidaman is the older town and is inhabited mostly by fishermen and government officers. Both the towns were earlier connected by two bridges, one meant for light vehicles and the other meant for heavy vehicles. The smaller of the two bridges collapsed in 2004 and efforts were repeatedly made to make the structure stronger. However, now the bridge has been closed to the public. A new bridge called the Rajiv Gandhi Setu has been built to connect both the towns.

 

Daman is situated at a distance of 171 kilometres from Mumbai and forms an important manufacturing hub along with Vapi, Silvassa, Billimora and Bhilad Sarigam. The history of Daman is quite interesting. Portuguese explorer Diogo de Melo arrived at this place by chance in 1523.

 

The city became a Portuguese colony for almost 400 years. In the 16th century, a large fort was built in Motidaman to protect the colony from the Mughals. The fort still stands in Daman today and most of the government offices have been established inside the fort.

 

The local population of Daman consists mainly of fishermen called Tandels. The demography is a mix of Hindus, Muslims and Christians. This picturesque land attracts a large number of people from the neighbouring states of Gujarat and Maharashtra.

 

Apart from its scenic beauty, one major reason for the high inflow of tourists is the freedom to drink liquor. As alcohol is prohibited in the neighbouring state of Gujarat, Daman finds great popularity among tourists. There are two beaches in Daman which are great tourist spots namely The Devka beach in Nanidaman and the Jampore Beach in Moti Daman.