Travel - Weekend Destinations
Every once in a while, we want to break out of the shackles of urban life and go explore our surroundings. It is inherent to human nature to absorb the serenity of the countryside and use it to recharge our batteries. Even a short weekend escapade can leave you sufficiently refreshed to take on the drudgery of office-home-office. And if you enjoy driving or riding, then these trips take on a whole new dimension of fun and adventure. Here’s a list teasing your wanderlust, for people residing in Maximum City, Mumbai. Pick your car keys and hit the road, becuse fun beckons.
Murud is a quaint town on the Konkan Coast, just 150 km from Mumbai. Steeped in history, it is famous for the Murud Janjira Fort, a sea fort. Which is claimed to have been undefeated against various enemies. The fort is not the only attraction, the beaches along the coast are relatively empty and enjoyable. There is also the pretty ghats on the other side, which is verdant green during and immediately after the monsoons. Coastal seafood is a big attraction in this part of the country. Besides the main fort, there is the Kasa Fort, Gol Gumbaz, Kashid Beach, Garamdi Dam and more. Enough to keep you occupied over your long weekend.
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A picturesque hill station in the Sahayadri range of the Western Ghats, Mahabaleshwar is the perfect weekend getaway from Mumbai, just 250 km away. The place is famous for its strawberries and fantastic climate round the year. You can visit 365 days a year, but the best is in January for enjoying the weather and post-monsoons for the greenery. Located in the ghats, this also makes for a refreshing drive.
Besides the strawberry and cream which you must try out there, you can visit Venna Lake, Krishnabai Temple, 3 Monkey Point and Wilson Point. The only downside of this place is that it is frequented by weekend tourists, with its proximity to Pune and Mumbai!
A weekend trip for the wine connoisseurs amongst you, which includes a scenic 200 km drive from Mumbai. Nashik is home to 90% of the wine production of India and the place is well worth a visit to explore the vineyards. Especially in the midst of grape harvesting season, when the vineyards are working at full tilt. The biggest and most well-known amongst them are Sula Vineyards. There are others as well like York, Grover and Vallonne. Other than the vineyards, you can drive down to the plethora of dams surrounding the town and visit Trirashmi Caves and Trimbakeshwar Temple.
At a considerably longer distance from Mumbai lies Dandeli in Karnataka. At 600 km, it is best set for an extended weekend vacation. Dandeli is the second largest wildlife sanctuary in Karnataka and home to tigers, leopards, elephants, bears and more. It is also a birders paradise with 300 species of birds visible. The thick forest cover makes it a wonderful experience, not just to visit, but to also drive through when getting there.
Wildlife isn’t the only attraction of this gorgeous place; it is also an adventurer’s dream. Dandeli is one of the few places in India where you can enjoy white water rafting in summer as well. Watersports is a big attraction of the place, with whitewater rafting and kayaking available. This town which rests on the banks of River Kali, also has the caves of Kavala, Ulavi Temple and a must-visit to Sykes Point, as incredible travel opportunities.
Saputara is a hill station north of Mumbai, in the Sahayadri range of the Western Ghats. This town of Gujarat is 270 km from Mumbai and offers a wide variety of options for you to explore during your weekend.
It is one of the highest points in Gujarat and as such sees a considerable number of tourists during the weekend. This place has a mixture of nature, culture and art. With the latter being its artist village and Tribal Museum.
For nature lovers, there is also the Saputara Lake, Gira Waterfalls, Girmal Falls and the Vansda National Park in the vicinity. With so many options to choose from, this place is great to visit for all members of the family!
Around 550 km from Mumbai lies Tarkali Beach in the Sindhudurg District of Maharashtra. There are two options for you to drive down, choosing the faster Kolhapur route or the shorter coastal road. The former is regular highways along the Golden Quadrilateral, while the latter is a more scenic route.
Tarkali is known for its narrow beach with pristine white sand. Making it an incredible place to enjoy watching the sunset in the Arabian Sea. It is also a foodie’s paradise with distinct Malvani food for your seafood enjoying tastebuds.
In Tarkali, besides the beach, you can also enjoy water sports, Devbagh Sangam, where the Karli River drains into the sea, the Sindhudurg Fort at Malvan and the famous Kunkeshwar Temple which is also nearby.
Ajanta & Ellora
Last and surely not least are the caves of Ajanta and Ellora. These are especially of interest to all the history buffs out there but are lovely to view even for those who remember reading about it in school textbooks.
Ellora is a 350 km drive from Mumbai and Ajanta is another 100 km beyond Ellora. The two places can be visited over two days of the weekend. The caves of Ajanta are UNESCO World Heritage sites and are protected monuments. These 2000-year-old art and sculpture masterpieces allow us to delve into a time and space, where automobiles didn’t exist. And we survived on human and animal power.
The wealth of culture you absorb while being immersed in this historical art gives you a new and different perspective on the country. It is a must-visit for anyone residing in Mumbai.
These escapades will allow you to have fun, experience adventure, explore nature, and learn more about India, all in the short duration of your weekend off from work!