When you think of places to visit in monsoon, in Maharashtra; you will find a long list of places. However, these will either include Lonavala, Khandala, Mahableshwar, Pachgani, Matheran or Alibaug. Okay, not to miss- Amboli or Tahmini Ghat! But have you ever imagined yourself wandering beyond these regular monsoons destinations? The reason why I am asking is because; these are the places where people have been visiting since ages resulting into overcrowding and overpricing of food and/or accommodations.
This monsoon, “Rendezvous with Travel “ brings you 11 offbeat monsoon destinations which will not only enrich you with unconventional experience but will also allow to enjoy monsoon trip with less crowd and at affordable price!
- Ellora Caves:
The first place I would like to mention is Ellora caves, near Aurangabad. The rock cut city nestled in the western Ghat mountain of Sahyadri really looks killer with waterfalls and green vegetation around. The fascinating carvings will take you back to the golden era of AD 600 to 1000. These caves represent three religions (Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism) which were prevalent during that time and will add up to your cultural experience. Climbing up to these caves is most enjoyable in monsoon owing to scenic views everywhere.
Read more about Ellora Caves_ Connecting yourself in the offline world of rocks!
The next place of interest is a village from Raigad district, Kolad. It is located at 117 km from Mumbai (on national highway NH-17_ Mumbai Goa). This village sits on the bank of River Kundalika and gaining popularity due activities like river rafting, rappelling, jungle camping and kayaking. Not only this, but this place is also surrounded by beautiful lake, fort and waterfalls; so for an adventure traveler it’s a win win situation from each aspect.
It’s a beautiful hill station from Amravati District, treasured with many interesting points of attraction. It is Maharashtra’s only coffee plantation station and very famous wildlife destination with its Melghat tiger project and Gugamal National Park (Semadhodh Tiger project) _ closed in monsoon, but Chikhaldara is itself so appealing to eyes in monsoon with Forts, waterfalls, Bhima Kund lake and dam around. Trekking to Gavilgad and Narnala fort can be added to your trip.
Here comes the next ravishing village situated between Sahyadri mountain range and Arabian Sea. This place is best to visit from November onwards till February, however early monsoon visit to the long beaches of which most are virgin beaches creates magical effect on the traveler. This place is also famous for its numerous temples, tall coconut trees and yes, beetle nut trees too.
This town from the Nashik district has one of the best river valleys known as “Bhatsa River valley”. The formation of rocks and river passing thru green lush is scenic. Five waterfalls little further from this valley offer visual delight in monsoon. The other point of attraction is DhammaGiri mediation center with large Golden pagoda landmark. (By the way this place is famous for ancient technique of mediation called Vipassana and many international travelers come to this center to learn these techniques.)
- Kalsubai Peak:
This point lies in close to Igatpuri, approximate 35 Kms. It is the highest peak (1646 meters) of Sahyadri ranges and the sight of backwaters of Bhandardara is point of interest. Though this place can be reached by road, trekking is the most enjoyable option and many trekking routes can be followed to this peak.
- Amba Ghat:
This monsoon gateway lies on NH-204 near Pune. It’s location fall between beautiful Kokan and Kolhapur. The beauty of this places oozes out in monsoon owing to its location in Sahyadri mountain range. Driving up to the hill is fun with beautiful landscapes views at every sight. This spot is also famous for paragliding sport. If you have time, you can visit nearby Panhala fort for more panoramic views of the nature around.
Bhimashaknar temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga (Lord Shiva temples) in India and very famous pilgrim destination. However in monsoon, River Bhima and Sahyadri hill bless this place with a picturesque beauty. Ancient architecture of temple and dense forests around create mysterious yet pleasant ambience. Not to forget, this place is quite famous among trekkers.
- Nighoj village:
Located about 90 km from Pune, this small village is offbeat in its scenic views. Its geographical location between Kukadi and Ghod and natural “potholes” impart charming characteristics to the place. Many geologists visit Nighoj to study natural potholes phenomenon. If you travel from Mumbai side, then you pass thru Malshej Ghat which is like extra bonus on a trip.
- Karla/Bhaja Caves:
These caves are from 2nd century BC which represents ancient Buddhist cave architecture in India. Karla is a single cave while Bhaja has collection of caves. Lonavala is just few kms away and you can couple your trip with Karla Bhaja caves. Waterfalls and green surroundings make this point more attractive. By the way famous Visapur fort and Lohgarh fort are also nearby to these caves.
- Baneshwar :
This village is located on the way to famous tourist destinations Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani. This place is conserved forest area with wildlife sanctuary and famous for Shiva temple in amidst of the Jungle. Baneshwar is a place to explore variety of flora and fauna and is a good place for trekking in monsoon. Waterfall in the premise of a temple enhances the beauty of this place and one can go for nature walk thru pleasant Baneshwar Garden.