Monday, 25 November 2013

6 type of weekend getaways from Mumbai

I admit I still have a hangover of the “October holiday season” and desperately waiting for the “December holiday season” and if you, like me, work in the corporate world in the financial capital of the country, I am sure you will crave for constant breaks from time to time to avoid burning out.
The time between these two long holiday season is the best time to explore the places around “home ground”- read Mumbai!  First, I don’t have to ask my boss for leaves (which I am saving for my Christmas & New Year holiday) and second, December is the best time to travel around here because of the cooler weather.
My idea of a fun weekend is to explore places rich with history, eat some local food, get the adrenalin flowing or just take a walk on some desolate beach. And if your idea of a weekend getaway is the overdone Lonavala or the overly populated Alibaug beach, please take time to read this post!
So here is a compilation of my favourite weekend getaways from Mumbai!

Adventure Weekend- Kolad

3 hours from Mumbai, this place can get absolutely groovy during the monsoons. My first trip to Kolad was with Blueberry Trails and a bunch of super energetic people. This place is not for the icky hearted, you know those who get icked out by anything wet, cold and slimy! Located on the shores of river Kundalika, you can expect to learn how to kayak, or do some basic river rafting. You can also spend some time exploring the rice fields and get down and dirty! And believe me, a walk through the fields will give you a tour of everything from snakes, crabs to bright frogs!* icky hearts beware*
If this isn’t adventure enough, go on a waterfall trek, bottom to top! The cold water massaging your body after a trek to the top is reward enough!

Spiritual Weekend- Harihareshwar

This one is for all the pious, laidback types. Known as Dakshin Kashi(Southern Kashi), Harihareshwar, 4 hours away from Mumbai is one of Maharashtra’s holy sea side town. This town is famous for its temple, beach and food.
You can visit the temple in the morning, explore the rocky area behind the temple compound and then head towards the beach. The more than 2km beach in front of the temple is usually sparsely populated and is perfect for idling around. If that gets boring, head towards MTDC Harihareshwar where you can take ride on the boat and spot dolphins playing around.  Top this off with some fantastic homemade Malvani food and you are all set to catch the gorgeous sunset!

Wildlife Weekend- Velas

An extension of Harihareshwar, you can catch a jetty from Bangmandale creek to the other side ie. Velas beach. The best time to visit this beach is around February- March when the Ridley turtles hatch and embark on their first journey towards the sea.
These precious creatures are on the endangered list of species and many villages like Velas promote to work towards conserving it.
The sand here is black but extremely soft and clean, perfect for a romantic walk. You can also visit the Bankot fort nearby and catch the sunset from above!

History Weekend- Murud Janjira

Maharashtra is home to many exotic forts which stand tall as witness to the fine history of the Marathas. Most were built during Chhatrapati Shivaji’s rule but most were destroyed either by the Moghuls or the Britishers. What makes Murud Janjira stand out is the fact that it is one of India’s strongest marine fort! Situated 3 KM off the shore, this impregnable fort is accessible only by boat.
In its heyday, it was complete with palaces, markets, water storage tanks, mosque, and living quarters etc. which stand in ruins today. It is amazing how even though it was built on an oval shaped rock, it has its share of fresh water tanks. I read somewhere that this fort also had a channel of secrets tunnels, one such escape tunnel led from within the fort straight to the shore, 3 kms under the sea!  An underwater sea tunnel built during that day and age only shows the brilliance of their architecture & science.
If history is not your thing, you can just spend your day exploring the village at Murud and spend time at the serene beach eating some spicy Anda Pav( Egg & Indian bread).

Camping Weekend- Kashid

A short 30 minutes drive ahead of the bustling Alibaug beach is Kashid. During the weekend, even Kashid beach is not spared and is brimming with weekenders getting their thrill by parasailing or waterskiing. Move a little ahead and there is a small camp site by the beach.
Run by Letscampout, this spot is right on the beach, deserted and extremely close to living with nature. With no network or electricity, you can spend a fun weekend with friends, bon fire and bar-b-que on the beach.
The team will arrange all of this except for friends of course! And yes, like in all camps, be ready to shovel some mud after you take the dump. Nature’s call, with the nature, of the nature, for the nature!

Dizzy Weekend- Nasik

Nasik is one of the most well known pilgrimage towns of Maharashtra, to me Nasik is about two things, vineyards and off-road. Not in that sequence exactly, but one can spend a good weekend learning how to off-road at Mahindra’s Off-Road Academy at Igatpuri(en route Nasik) and then head towards one of the many vineyards Nasik has to offer.
Mahindra’s ORTA, offers 4x 4 training to beginners and seasoned off-roaders as well. This 28 acre track alive with its natural greens, trenches of all shapes & sizes, and slush everywhere, will teach you literally how to get dirty!
After a good night’s rest, head to either the famous Sula vineyard or the Zampa vineyard for some vineyard hopping! Walk through the vineyard, pretend to understand the art of wine making, swirl the wine in your glass, smell the effervescence and indulge into some sparkles!
Driving and drinking is good by me!

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