15 OFFBEAT DESTINATIONS AROUND MUMBAI

Love Travelling on weekends ? If you are bored of spending weekends at Lonavala, Khandala, Matheran here is the list of Must Visit Offbeat destinations in Maharashtra. Pack your bags and sneak this weekend to take those off from your bucketlist.


1. Lost World of Maharashtra-Lonar Crater

Photo Credit : Vishakha Shah

Photo Credit : Vishakha Shah

Hub of the Nature-Wilderness-History-Geology-Wanderlust. This lost world of Maharashtra is more than 52,000 years old. Lonar crater is the only hyper velocity crater on the earth and has its own importance. Not only known for the lush green crater, but it is equally important for the graceful ruins of Temples and history around Lonar. It is hometown for the Peafowls and other birds. It can amaze travelers with its fantastic birding. Daityasudan temple at Buldhana (Lonar) dated back to 06th-12th Century shows erotic and mythological carvings similar to Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh. Interesting, Isn’t It?

Where : Buldhana District, Aurangabad
Best season to visit : Throughout the year
How to reach : Nearest Station-Jalna; Nearest Airport – Aurangabad


2. Maharashtra’s Valley of Flower- Kaas Plateau

Photo Credit : Viraj Khorjuwekar

Photo Credit : Viraj Khorjuwekar

Kaas Plateau is also an unesco World heritage site for its versatile biodiversity. Kaas Pathar is the home for around 850 species of wild flowers and also for those which are only seen here and no where else. Due to its ecosystem, it shelters colorful birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles etc. After the shower in monsoon, the pathar turns into pink carpet due to the blooming of Terda (Impatiens Balsamina). The other blooms soothing your eyes in Kaas includes species of Orchids, Karvy, Drosera Indica, Mickey-mouse flowers (Smithia Hirsuta-Kawla), Utricularia Arcuata, Mrudannia Ianuginosa, Ziniger Neesanum, Lamprachaenium Micricephalum etc. Approximately 01 km away from the plateau is a beautiful pond dipped in fog known as Kamudini Pond covered with thousand of Kamudini Flower (hybrid of lotus and waterlily) floating on it and lots of cactuses at the edges. One can also visit Bamnoli lake; 10 kms away from Kaas Plateau.

Where : Wadi Village, Satara
Best Season to Visit : In and after Monsoon
How to reach : 25-30 kms away from Satara
Nearest station-Satara; Nearest Airport – Pune


3. Abode of Peacocks-Morachi Chincholi

Photo Credit : Subodh Panchal

Photo Credit : Subodh Panchal

Unlike it means the village of Dancing peacocks and tamarinds, Morachi Chincholi is a short escape to the Nature and also a best weekend getaway around Mumbai and Pune. The eco-village shelters more than 2500 peacock and peafowls. It is said that peshwes planted tamarind trees which attracted peacocks. One can also visit Nighoj village around which is famous for the potholes of river Kukadi & hub of other birds. There are homestays available at Morachi Chincholi with the special area for closer view of Peafowls.

Where : Ahmednagar -Pune highway (SH22) after Ganegoan-Varude
Best Season to Visit : June to January
How to reach : around 60 kms from Pune and 190 kms from Mumbai.


4. Nature’s gift in lap of Western Ghats : Amba Ghat

Photo Credit : https://indiahi.wordpress.com/

Photo Credit : https://indiahi.wordpress.com/

 

A Picturesque mountain pass is exactly located between Ratnagiri district and Kolhapur highway and is accessible from Shahuwadi, Kolhapur. This upcoming nature getaway offers the serene landscapes of Western Ghats. It lies in the buffer zone of Bison Wildlife sanctuary and Sahyadri tiger reserve. One can pull out a weekend and visit Amba Ghat for its huge jungle along with Manoli dam, ambeshwar temple, pawankhind, waghzara etc. As it is an upcoming tourist destination, one can expect very basic facilities for stay and travel. Not to deny, Amba Ghat is one of crowded getaway in Monsoon.

Where : Shahuwadi, Kolhapur (NH 204)
Best time to visit : Throughout the year
How to reach : From Mumbai : 342 kms, Pune : 233 kms approx;
Nearest station : Samgameshwar (53 kms); Nearest Airport : Pune (177 kms)


5. Paradise of Western Ghats- Bhandardara

Photo Credit : Jogi Prajapati

Photo Credit : Jogi Prajapati

Bhandardara is the perfect weekend getaway around Mumbai, Pune and Nasik. It is the next hub for the camping, trek, ecotours and offbeat bike & cycle rides. Name it and Bhandardara has it all. This is a small hillstation based in Ahmednagar where the land meet the skies, has pristine Arthur Lake, blissful waterfalls, Blue skies and lush green mountains complimenting its serene beauty to treat your eyes.

Where : Ahmednagar, Nasik
Best time to visit : Throughout the year
How to reach : Mumbaikars can travel to Kasara and take local transport or drive directly to Kasara-Ghoti-Bhandardara
Nearest City : Nasik
Nearest Railway Station : Igatpuri.


6. Where the Life Begins-Velas

Photo Credit : Saurabh Thakekar

Photo Credit : Saurabh Thakekar

Velas is a small eco-village settled in Ratnagiri district and are very famous for the “Velas Turtle Festival” for the conservation of the Olive Ridley turtles by the NGO named Sahyadri Nisargmitra and villagers. The female olive ridley turtles visit this beach every year and lay eggs. The villagers and NGO committee conserves those eggs till their hatching period. Witnessing the tiny baby turtles coming out of the egg and then moving to their home-Sea; is such a fragile and unforgettable moment of life. One can visit Harihareshwar temple after a ferry ride from Velas. Apart from that, Velas beach is one of the tranquil & ideal place for weekend get-away and Stargazing activity in the dark skies.

Where : Ratnagiri district
Best time to visit : February to April
How to reach : Nearest Station : Veer Station , Nearest airport : Mumbai,
From Mumbai : 226 kms; From Pune : 250 kms approx


7. Wine Capital of India-Sula VineyardsSula Wineyard Tour

A Home for 60 wineries, Sula Vineyards is the first ever winery in India. From taking a trail through the vineyards to showing the wine making process, sula vineyards is an ideal place to spend a leisure day. Grape stomping is next big surprise here. This roman tradition is followed with the delicious and lavish meals at their Italian and Indian restaurants offering you along with 4-5 different wines to taste. The 02 days Annual Musical Festival known as Sula Festival is organized every year mostly in February.

Where : Sula Vineyards, Nasik
When : January to March
How to reach : From Mumbai : 180 kms, Pune :210 kms.
Nearest airport : Mumbai. Nearest station : Nasik


8. Where the Joy is more infectious than disease- Hemalkasa and Anandvan 

Photo Credit : Google Images

Photo Credit : Google Images

A Social Cause Initiative taken by Prakash Amte in Hemalkasa and Baba Amte in Anandwan is a worth visiting place in Maharashtra. The tremendous efforts taken in Lok Biradari Prakalp in Hemalkasa for the local tribe Madia & Gonds to treat them from Malnutrition, Leprosy, Malaria and tuberculosis whereas in Anandwan; which itself mean Happy Forest, the project started to change the lives of the tribal by eradicating leprosy and other diabailities. “Swaranandan”,an Anadwan orchestra played by the talented differently abled artist while Amte’s Animal Ark’s, an animla orphanage shelters animals like leopards, barking deer, mouse deer, chameleons, Nilgai (blue Indian bull), otters, wild boars, hyenas, vipers, cobras, kraits, owls, eagles, civet cats, crocodiles and monkeys. The visit to both the Hemalkasa-Anandwan brings you close to the humanity and social responsibility.

Where : Hemalkasa – Gadchiroli, Anandwan-Chandrapur
When : Throughout the season
How to Reach : Nearest Airport : Nagpur, Nearest Station : Bhallarshah station.


9. The Historic City of Maharashtra – Aurangabad

Photo Credit : https://indiahi.wordpress.com/

Photo Credit : https://indiahi.wordpress.com/

Well known as City of gates (for its 52 gates in history) named after its viceroy, Aurangzeb; Aurangabad is that one of the ideal destination for the backpack on solo trip. Flourished with the History of Mughals,, it is nagar of the ruins, historical monuments and the world famous UNESCO heritage sites : Ajanta-Ellora Caves. One can wrap up the weekend visiting to Panchakki, Bibi ka maqbara, Daulatabad Fort, Dyaneshwar Udyan, Grishneshwar temple, Jayakwadi Dam etc. There are other tourist destination like Gautala Sanctuary, Pitalkhora caves, Bhadkal Gate and Naukhanda Palace to visit in Aurangabad district. The Ajanta-Ellora Festival is celebrated in January of every year representing the Culture and tradition with musical and dance performances.

Where : Aurangabad district, Maharashtra
When : September to February
How to Reach : Nearest Airport and Junction : Aurangabad.


10. Mini Kashmir of West- Tapola (also known as Tapole)

Tapola Mahabaleshwar

Photo Credit : Rakesh Yadav

A small hamlet with a magnificent Shivsagar lake at the backdrop of Satara. The backwater of Koyana Reservoir gives you a perfect landscape view you ever imagine. Tapola is also famous for various water sports activities like boating, kayaking, swimming etc. One can also enjoy the mouth watering strawberry trail in the farms of the local villagers. Tapole also promotes the rural activities like milking the cow, feeding them or trail around crop fields, vegetables & Fruit farms. It is one of the delightful weekend escape for wanderers of Mumbai, Pune and around. One can also visit Tapola as it also considered as the base village for Vasota Fort Trek.

Where : Tapola/ Tapole , Satara
When : July to January
How to Reach : From Mumbai : 260 kms approx, from Pune : 147 kms
Nearest Station : Satara; Nearest Airport : Pune


11. Only Hill Station at Mah-Guj’s Border-Dang and Saputara

Dang and Saputara Gujarat

Dang is an perfect example for the rural tourism. Officially lies in Gujrat, Dang and Saputara is also accessible from Mumbai. Saputara is the only hill station in Gujarat. Saputara is located at Dang on an altitude of around 800m. Some of the attractions in Saputara are Saputara Lake, Rose Garden, Lake Garden, Sunset point, Waghai Botanical Garden, Honey bee centre and Saputara Tribal Museum. Dang is famous for the Gushing Waterfalls in Gujarat; Pampa Sarovar, Girmala Waterfall, Gira Waterfalls. The local and tribal villagers offers Warli Painting workshops, trails in the dark green Forest and rural activities like slingshot contest, paddy farming etc. Recently Saputara had established the Paraglider’s interest for the Paragliding activity in Gujrat. Dang Darbar Fair is well known fair celebrated in the least populated village of Gujarat-Dang.

Where : Ahwa, Gujarat
When : July to March
How to Reach : From Mumbai : 300 kms approx, from Pune : 450 kms
Nearest Station : Waghai; Nearest Airport : Surat


12. Tourism Hub of Maharashtra-Malvan

Tarkarli Malvan

Photo Credit : Rakesh Yadav

Tarkarli is a tourism village in Malvan Taluka and has a long stretch of 08 kms beach. With some beautiful sight seeing like Tarkarli backwaters, Nivti Rocks, Sindhudurg fort it had added flavour of adventure in tourism industry. A dream of every true traveller to explore life in water, to watch colorful fishes, corals and other life of water which they must have only seen on Television. Sindhudurg Fort also known as Sea Fort built by Hiroji Indulkar in 1664 to keep an eye on Murud-Janjira and counter foreign forces. Scuba Diving, Snorkeling and other watersport activities in Tarkarli is the most famous feature following the local cuisines like fish curries, crabs, prawns and other mouth watering meals. One can sneak a weekend to explore the virgin beaches of Malvan or to visit the divine places like Ganpatipule. A tourist sector like Malvan fulfill the travel desire of all the age group. Either its Oldies, Youngsters or children; Malvan have got all to explore.

Where : Malvan, Sindhudurg District
When : September to February
How to Reach : Nearest Station -Kudal, Nearest airport : Goa
From Mumbai -500 kms approx and Pune : 450 kms


13. A Leisure Weekend with Crocodiles & Dolphins -Dapoli

Photo Credit : Jogi Prajapati

Photo Credit : Jogi Prajapati

Are you an animal lover? Want to see dolphins and crocodiles closely but never got the chance? Want to enjoy a weekend leisurely? Then without any hesitation drive to Dapoli for the wow sighting of the dolphin and crocodile on safari at Maldoli backwaters.. Dapoli is one of the famous and beautiful beaches of Konkan sector also known for cute dolphins. Dolphin safari is one of the activity carried out at this beach with other water sports too. Crocodile Safari is done at Maldoli backwaters of Vashishth river where one can see crocodiles basking on the bank of backwaters from a closer distance.

Where : Dapoli, Ratnagiri
When : September to February
How to Reach : Nearest Station -Khed, Nearest airport : Ratnagiri
From Mumbai – 230 kms approx and Pune : 200 kms approx


14. A summer retreat-Chikaldhara

Photo Credit : Jogi Prajapati

Photo Credit : Jogi Prajapati

Named after Keechka, turned into Keechakadara and now pronounced as Chikaldhara, is one of the mesmerizing, breezy hill stations covered in clouds. Travel list to Chikaldara goes endless exploring Valleys, lakes, waterfalls and viewpoints. As Nashik is only winery valley, Chikaldhara is only coffee making location in Maharashtra. Apart from the nature one can enjoy the wilderness at Melghat Tiger Reserve, Narnala fort visit etc. A worth visit to the Tribal Museum and Semadoh Lake is like cherry on the cake for the Well-spent weekend in Chikaldara.

Where : Chikaldara, Amravati
When : July to Febraury
How to Reach : Nearest Station -Badnera, Nearest airport : Nagpur
From Mumbai -763 kms approx and Amravati : 100 kms approx


15. Bio-Diversity Hotspots-  Amboli 

Photo Credit : Art Utkarsh

Photo Credit : Art Utkarsh

Amboli lies in the Sahyadri hills of Western India, one of the world’s best “Bio-Diversity Hotspots” and it therefore abounds in a variety of fairly unique flora and fauna. Its a paradise for Amphibian and Reptiles lover. One can find many types of amphibian and reptiles in this dense forest of Amboli. You may have heard experts saying that “Forest gets Alive at night.” Its time to come and feel it in Amboli during exclusive “Night Trails”. It is also famous for a for dense Jungles, Majestic Waterfalls and breezy  climate offering a well spent weekend at Amboli.

Where : Amboli, Sindhudurg
When : July to January
How to Reach : Nearest Station Sawantwadi Station, Nearest airport : Panjim, Goa
From Mumbai -489 kms approx and Sawantwadi: 40 kms approx

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