The monsoon clouds bring rain, yes. But they also bring a sharp pang of wanderlust. Here are some accessible spots where you can be close to nature and literally soak in the fantastic weather.
The scintillating views and the physical challenge of climbing to the top draws many to the numerous fort treks all over the state of Maharashtra, especially during the monsoon season. And though both Lonavala and Khandala are absolutely lush and lovely, they tend to be over-run by revellers from both, Mumbai as well as Pune. But there are many more avenues to explore for your rainy-day vacays. The lush foliage and waterfalls thundering majestically down the mountains bring many destinations into full bloom. Mist and butterflies add to the mystique of the monsoon.
We asked the Directorate of Tourism to give us their pick of the most drool-worthy destinations that you can visit at this time of the year, at the height of the rainy monsoon season. Here they are, in no particular order…
Discover: Ancient caves of Kondana and Bahiri, pilgrimage points, Peth Fort, Bhivpuri waterfall, the river Ulhas, and a dam.
Stay: Farm stays, home stays, tented camps, budget hotels, and resorts such as Radisson Blu Resort & Spa.
Discover: Forests full of fireflies,Kalsubai Peak (the highest in the Sahyadri range as well as in Maharashtra), ancient Agastya Ashram, waterfalls (Randha and Umbrella), a beautiful lake, and India’s largest earthen dam.
Stay: Home stays, tented camps, budget hotels, and resorts such as Anandvan.
Discover: Beautiful beaches (adventure sports at Srivardhan nearby), ancient temples, the narrow Ganesh gully,
Stay: Home stays, beach shacks, and budget hotels.
Discover: Gorgeous forest trails on foot or by horse at India’s only hill-station without vehicular traffic, panoramic views at various points, a bazaar area and a lovely lake that’s filled to the brim in the monsoon season.
Stay: Budget hotels and heritage resorts such as Dune Barr House and the Byke Heritage.
Discover: Old Mahabaleshwar, ancient temples, colonial homes and churches, various vantage points, Venna Lake, waterfalls (Chinaman’s and Dhobi), misty monsoon Panchgani Table Land, and strawberry farms.
Stay: Budget hotels, heritage resorts such as Hotel Dina, and luxury resorts such as Le Meridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa.
Discover: The Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary where you could spot Indian Giant Squirrels, sacred groves, bioluminescent trees that glow in the dark in the monsoon, and one of the 12 Jyotirlingas, Ahupe waterfalls, and the Hanuman lake.
Stay: Mid-range resorts like the Blue Mormon Jungle Holiday Resort and Saguna Baug Agro Tourism Resort.
Discover: Forts (Harishchandragad and Ajoba), Malshej falls, Pimpalgaon Joga dam, a large mist-enrobed plateau for easy walks in the rain.
Stay: Budget hotels, and resorts such as Saj by the Lake.
Discover: A plethora of lakes and dams, fields, streams, waterfalls (especially in the monsoon), and the Dhamma Giri Vipassana International Academy.
Stay: Budget hotels, and resorts such as Manas Lifestyle Resort.
Discover: River Rafting on the Kundalika river, Tamhini Ghat waterfalls, Bhira dam, Ghosala Fort, Sutarwadi lake, Kuda caves.
Stay: Camps, farm stays, treehouses, and budget hotels.
Discover: Melghat Tiger Reserve,Bhimkund-Kichadhara falls which are best in the monsoon, viewpoints like Mozari and Panchbol, Semadoh lake, and Gawaligad fort.
Stay: Budget hotels.
NOTE: Do be sensible and check the weather forecast, monsoon travel advisories and pandemic status before you venture out to these places solo or with family and friends. Staying safe in every way is an essential part of being a responsible traveller.