Mumbai’s vacation is just beginning.
The timely rains have ensured that tourists pour in at monsoon destinations around the city. Bookings with the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corpo-ration (MTDC) show that getaways such as Malshej Ghat, Bhandardara, Amboli and Karla are hotspots till September.
For the next two months, 25 to 40 per cent of rooms at these destinations are booked during weekdays. On weekends, they are packed to capacity.
The figures are 15 to 20 per cent higher compared to last year, when a late monsoon — the rains had set in only by the last week of June — made tourists postpone their trips till the hills turned lush and waterfalls sprouted along their peaks.
“Given the rush of bookings, I had to stay at a friend’s place at Bhandardara last week,” said Avinash Dhakne managing director, MTDC. “The number of tourists going to Mahabaleshwar and Matheran is also surprisingly high.”
Travellers are a motley crowd of trekkers, nature lovers and pilgrims. “We have been waiting for a monsoon picnic since last year,” said Akbar Sheikh (33), a Santacruz-based businessman. Sheikh has booked short trips to Amboli and Malshej Ghat over the next two weekends.
Makrand Gokhale, an avid trekker from Thane, has organised 15 treks to these spots this season. “It is the best way to spend a weekend,” he said.