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5 Long drives from Mumbai that you cannot miss!

5 Long drives from Mumbai that you cannot miss!
OFFBEAT

By Soumya Pawaskar

25 Jun, 2024

Located on the west coast of India, Mumbai, with its relentless pace and vibrant energy, is a city that never really sleeps. While its fast-paced lifestyle is exciting, the constant hustle bustle of the city will sometimes make you long for a much-needed break from the routine.

Luckily, Mumbai is close to many scenic destinations that are perfect for a weekend getaway. Whether you want to experience camping under the starry sky, the thrill of river rafting, or trekking to the highest peak in Maharashtra, there’s something for everyone, just a road trip away from Mumbai.

Here are our top 5 suggestions for long drives from Mumbai that you cannot miss, which offer the perfect escape to simply unwind amidst nature. These destinations look majestic during the rainy season and therefore make ideal monsoon getaways from Mumbai.


1. Mumbai to Bhandardara: Queen of Sahyadri ranges

Duration from Mumbai to Bhandardara: Approximately 4 hours

Bhandardara is a lesser-known hill station situated in the majestic Sahyadri range of Maharashtra. Considering the rich natural beauty of this region, Bhandardara lives up to its name, which literally means ‘valley of treasures’.

This small village has many beautiful waterfalls, lakes and many serene viewpoints, making it one of the best destinations for long drives from Mumbai. Bhandardara is a hotspot where you can witness the fireflies light up the whole landscape during the firefly season which is from May end to June.

Must see:

Randha Falls- Located near Arthur Lake in Bhandardara, Randha Falls cascades from a height of 170 feet and is the third-highest waterfall in Maharashtra. This waterfall looks absolutely stunning during monsoon season, making it a must-visit place in Bhandardara.

Must try:

Kalsubai Trek- Just 12 km away from Bhandardara, trek up to Kalsubai Peak, the highest peak in Maharashtra. From the top, you’ll get some breathtaking views of nearby forts and the Bhandardara dam. Considering the distance from Mumbai to Bhandardara and the gorgeous views of the surroundings, the Kalsubai trek is an ideal choice for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

Must eat:

When in Bhandardara, indulge in several Maharashtrian specialities like Misal pav, Vada pav and Thalipeeth. If you’re a non-vegetarian, don’t forget to try chicken dishes, especially the chicken gravy and Bhakri cooked on the Chulha (earthen stove).

Group of friends exploring Bhandardara

A group of friends exploring scenic Bhandardara

2. Mumbai to Pawna: Enjoy adventure and calmness by the lake

Duration from Mumbai to Pawna: Approximately 2 hours 15 minutes

Just a 2 hour drive away, Pawna is one of the best monsoon getaways from Mumbai for all fellow Mumbaikars. Apart from the Pawna lake night camping, it offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and some gorgeous sunsets. For those looking for long drives from Mumbai, Pawna is an ideal destination as you can enjoy a number of activities such as trekking, boating, paragliding and camping by the lake.

Must see:

Pawna lake- It is a reservoir turned artificial lake which has become a popular tourist attraction due to the various water activities like Kayaking, Jet skiing, boating thar are available here. Pawna lake night camping is immensely popular and offers a unique experience of sleeping amidst lush green surroundings under the starry sky.

Must try:

Adventure activities- If you are adventurous enough, then kayaking and paragliding at the Pawna Lake are a must. Paddle right in the middle of the lake and just pause for a moment to take in all the gorgeous views and enjoy the calmness of the water. Or you can take flight with a certified paragliding instructor and enjoy stunning aerial views of Pawna Lake and Tung Fort.

Must eat:

You can indulge in some authentic Maharashtrian delicacies, when in Pawna. Popular vegetarian dishes include Misal Pav, Vada Pav, Onion Bhajis and Bhakri with Pithla. If you enjoy Non-vegetarian food, Fish Thali is also a must-try.

View of scenic Pawna lake camping

View of scenic Pawna lake camping (Source- Pawnacap.com)

3. Mumbai to Kolad: An underrated destination in Maharashtra

Duration from Mumbai to Kolad: Approximately 2 hours 40 minutes

Skip the usual getaway destinations near Mumbai and choose this hidden gem-Kolad! Situated in the Raigad district of Maharashtra, Kolad is a tiny village that is well known for its scenic beauty and thrilling adventure activities. With the milky cascading waterfalls, deep, green valleys and pleasant atmosphere, Kolad is one of the best monsoon getaways from Mumbai. Explore the tourist attractions like Kundalika river, Talgad Fort, Kuda caves, Bhira dam on your next trip.

Must see:

Tamhini Ghat- Located between Kolad and Mulshi, Tamhini Ghat is a mountain passage that is quite popular amongst the adventure seekers. Tamhini Ghat viewpoint offers spectacular views of sunsets and sunrises. Visit this place during monsoon and explore Devkund waterfalls, just 40 mins away from Tamhini Ghat for a refreshing, cool dip in its pristine water.

Must try:

Kundalika white water rafting- What if we tell you that you don’t have to go to Rishikesh or Himachal Pradesh for the White river rafting experience? You and your friends can experience the joy and thrill of river rafting right here in Maharashtra, in Kolad! Though the Kundalika river rafting started just a few years ago, it has become immensely popular in no time. It’s undoubtedly an adventure you don’t want to miss!

Must eat:

Made with gram flour and fresh coriander leaves, Kolad is quite popular for its Kothimbir Vadi. This simple yet savoury snack is so delicious that it's just unmissable! Pudachi Vadi, another evening snack, is very famous in this area. It is made with some dried coconut, coriander leaves and Indian spices, which should be enjoyed with a hot cup of masala chai.

Kundalika River Rafting in Kolad

Kundalika River Rafting in Kolad (Source- Justahotels.com)

4. Mumbai to Panshet: An offbeat getaway in Maharashtra

Duration from Mumbai to Panshet: Approximately 4 hours

Panshet , a small village in the Pune district, Maharashtra, is a dream destination for all those seeking a mix of calmness and adventure. One of the most picturesque long drives from Mumbai, Panshet offers many scenic views with lush greenery and small waterfalls that will accompany you along the way. As you approach Panshet, breathe in the fresh clean air and experience the slow village life. You can visit various tourist attractions in Panshet, such as Varasgaon waterfall, Pabe Ghat viewpoint, Neelkantheshwar temple, etc.

Must see:

Panshet Dam- With the backdrop of misty hills, Panshet Dam, also known as Tanajisagar Dam is situated on the Ambi river. It is popular for various water activities like kayaking, boating and jet skiing.

Must try:

Camping and Stargazing- Don’t miss the chance to pitch a tent by the serene Panshet Lake and sleep under the starry sky. With the clear skies in sight, stargazing is one of the most popular activities to do in and around Panshet.

Must eat:

Served with lots of onion and a glass of buttermilk, hot and spicy Misal pav is a must-eat when in Panshet. Besides Misal pav, you can savour freshly made onion bhajiya, which are heavenly, especially when paired with piping hot chai.

Serene view of Panshet village

Scenic view of Panshet lake (Source- Lbb.in)

5. Mumbai to Igatpuri: A meditative retreat in the Western Ghats

Duration from Mumbai to Igatpuri: Approximately 3 hours

Located in the district of Nashik, Igatpuri is a beautiful hill station and a popular weekend destination for both Punekars and Mumbaikars. Whether you’re a nature lover or a history buff, Igatpuri has something for everyone, making it one of the best monsoon getaways from Mumbai. Popular attractions include Tringalwadi Fort, Igatpuri Dam, Vihigaon Waterfalls and Kalsubai-Harishchandragad Wildlife Sanctuary. Plan your visit during the monsoon and explore the Camel Valley Point to witness the waterfall gushing down from a height of almost 1000ft.

Must see:

Myanmar Gate- You don’t have to visit Myanmar to experience the magic of Buddhism, you can do it right here in Igatpuri, Maharashtra . The famous Myanmar Gate is a replica of mini Myanmar, beautifully showcasing Buddhist influences. It has a large golden pagoda with intricate details sculpted on it, which is just beyond beautiful!

Must try:

Dhammagiri Vipassana International Academy- If you truly want to unwind then visit the Dhammagiri Vipassana International Academy, the largest meditation centre in the world. As the name suggests, this place offers Vipassana courses, a 2500-year-old Buddha-taught technique. Visit this place and sign up for one of the courses to find inner peace and experience spiritual growth.

Must eat:

When visiting Igatpuri, indulge in a variety of Maharashtrian delicacies such as Vada pav, Misal pav, Sabudana khichdi, Kanda bhaji etc. and treat your taste buds with the authentic Maharashtrian flavours.

two people are standing on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the lush greenery of Igatpuri during the monsoon season.

Trekkers enjoying the lush greenery of Igatpuri during monsoon season (Source- treksandtrails.org)

Conclusion

Craving for a much-needed break from your busy life? Go on an impromptu long drive and get away from the city’s chaos for a day or two. Explore our top suggestions for long drives from Mumbai, each destination offering a unique and laid-back escape into nature. Check out The Hosteller Bhandardara ,The Hosteller Lonavala & The Hosteller Pnashet to experience a cosy and comfy stay amidst nature.

Note: The feature image has been generated through AI (Images copyright- Midjourney)
 

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