After a hectic week at work, Dushyant Dhar (24) was looking forward to a fun weekend in Lonavla. On July 17, Dhar and 15 of his friends hopped into three cars and reached the outskirts of the hill station, only to get stuck in a three-hour traffic jam.
“Waiting on the Lonavla market road, our only entertainment was the argument between an irate driver and a man who had spat paan on his car,” said the Andheri resident. When the hungry bunch finally drove up to a well-known dhaba in Lonavla, the fights for securing tables and service were spicier than the meal.
The increasing rush to head out of the city on the weekend during the monsoon is leading to traffic snarls and overcrowded restaurants at several popular destinations, and ruining the trips of many Mumbaiites. Bad memories and fights are outnumbering picturesque waterfalls and great drives.
For interior designer Mohammed Bagasrawala (27), a farewell party for a friend at Lonavla last weekend began on a bitter note. “The road towards Bhushi dam was a mess with cars parked haphazardly. Only after policemen intervened could we move ahead,” said the Peddar Road resident.
The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) resorts at Malshej Ghat, Bhandardara, Amboli and Karla are booked for all weekends till September. “Even on weekdays, 25 to 40 per cent rooms are booked,” said Avinash Dhakne, managing director of MTDC.
Ditto for all the private hotels. “Till September, 50 per cent of our rooms are already booked. Only the high-end deluxe rooms are available,” said an official at a three-star Panchgani hotel.
As Vile Parle resident Nikita Narsana (28) found out, the weekend rush rules out last-minute budget breaks. “No rooms were available in Lonavla and Malshej Ghat. We couldn’t even hire a bungalow,” she said.