So where do you break away from the maddening Mumbai in the beautiful monsoons? We’re talking about a two day (Sat-Sun) weekend here, with an overnight stay outstation. The purpose is to quench the adventurer and nature lover in you who would get delighted by nothing less than a rustic, bucolic countryside. Let’s have a look at some of the popular options that people generally consider
1. Lonavala: Could have been an option, like 20 years back. One of the most chaotic places to be at during a weekend – and you wouldn’t wish to break away into chaos from chaos. Would you?
2. Matheran: Tranquil and scenic once you have said good bye to the commotion at the Dastoori railway station. But we aren’t exactly breaking any secrets by mentioning this place. Moreover, you won’t have the luxury of driving your car – as vehicles are not allowed beyond a point.
3. Kashid: If beaches are your thing, then this is the closest clean beach from Mumbai. There are a few good hotels available too, with Prakruti Resort and the newly opened Radisson in Alibaug topping the list, but they aren’t exactly cheap. Again, we aren’t exactly revealing any secrets here
4. Lavasa: A scenic drive, a new kind of a hill station. Good accommodation, enough activities for a weekend – worth checking out if you haven’t done it already. But where’s the rustic charm we were talking about?
There are many other options too, and we would encourage you to let us know about the ones you know. What we would like to tell you about here, however, is a little known valley, nestled in the hitherto virgin lap of the beautiful Sahyadris. Those of you who love driving / riding / trekking would probably have heard of this place, but I am sure, unlike the previously mentioned spots, which almost everyone knows about, the place that I am going to tell you about now isn’t half as popular.
Tamhini is a little village located at the far end of the beautiful Mulshi lake – and the little known road leading up to it is a rather undiscovered wonder which would absolutely amaze you if you are the kind of person who loves to soak in the virgin vistas. A little before the swanky Aamby Valley (if you are approaching it from Lonavala that is), you have a T-junction, with your approach making the top left side of the T. You have to turn right and follow the road. Thereon, it wouldn’t take you more than a few kilometers to realize that you are traversing the most uninhabited and the most mesmerizingly beautiful road in close proximity to Mumbai.
You’d be somewhat intimidated in the first 20 km, especially if you are travelling with ladies with the rate at which the population and traffic thins down. Homo sapiens are tough to spot, the woods flanking the road are quite dense and the road itself is not in a very good shape – in fact it’s almost non-existent in places. For a small car, a few sections may be a little difficult to handle – but it’s nothing that cannot be overcome with a little care and caution. The Skoda Yeti 4×4 that we were driving, however, had no issues handling the tough terrain.
Countless rivulets running across the roads, lush green pastures, mighty water streams gushing in an intimidating fashion from under the bridges, and some fantastically shaped hill tops obscured by thick clouds – every new turn opens up a more breathtaking view for you to savor.
After about 60 odd kilometers of this unblemished natural beauty, you would meet a slightly busier road. This road emanates from Pune, and is known Paud Road, and leads to the Mumbai Goa highway. If you take a right and move about 10-20 km further, you will be welcomed by a huge mountain, with countless waterfalls on your left – an absolutely delightful sight in the monsoons. If, however, you decide to take a left, and move towards Pune, you would be greeted by a scenic road with the charming Mulshi lake running alongside on your left for as many as 10 odd kilometers.
A few kilometers further towards Pune, you have this beautiful little restaurant with the name Paradise Café. Overlooking the picturesque Mulshi lake, the restaurant offers authentic Indian vegetarian and non vegetarian fare. The view from the porch overlooking Mulshi is absolutely amazing. The restaurant also has a small shop where you can buy clothes, bags and a few other items of interest.
Beyond this point, Pune is all for your taking. You can spend the night in one of the countless hotels in the city, and spend the following day exploring this young, vibrant city. For us, the amazing cheese macaroni at Marz-O-Rin at MG Road for breakfast, a lazy afternoon at the Hard Rock Café near ABC Farms, and a feisty evening at Dullaly with some fresh brew beer made for an amazing day with friends. There is enough this fervent city has on offer to quench the holiday monster in each one of you.
Dulally, at The Corinthinas – Pune
We had a gala time driving through those rain soaked roads of Tamhini in the fabulous Skoda Yeti – our favorite SUV. The following day in Pune was equally amazing. So the next time you’re thinking of a quick breakaway from the Mumbai chaos, do give this little plan a thought – and do let us know if you enjoyed it. Here are the driving directions
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