For Mumbaikars, a long weekend is an opportunity to take a break from the city’s hustle and bustle, and to visit one of the many getaways in and around Maharashtra. Here, travel experts recommend 10 destinations to bring in the upcoming long Holi weekend.
This hill station in the Sahyadri range provides an array of options to travellers. “From lush natural beauty to an artists’ village, this place is perfect for a relaxed holiday. Since there is a mix of wildlife, sightseeing, and art and craft, it is an ideal destination for a short vacation,” says Atendra Yadav of Travel Triangle.
Must-see: Gira Falls
Known for its pristine beaches, Tarkarli is a coastal village situated in the Malvan region. “It is a good destination to indulge in activities like scuba diving, snorkelling, rafting and boating. You can embark on a dolphin-spotting safari, or catch a glimpse of majestic crocodiles in their natural habitat at Crocodile Point,” says Amod Thatte, head — product, contracting and innovation, tour operating, Kuoni India.
Must-see: Sindhudurg Fort
Tourists can visit the historic Ajanta Caves and Manudevi Temple, experience the wildlife at Pal Sanctuary, and spend time at the Unapdev hot water springs. The highlight, though, is Gandhi Teerth, a magnificent 81,000sqft structure located at Jain Hills. “Made from beautifully carved Jodhpur stones, the centre provides knowledge about the life, thoughts and works of Mahatma Gandhi,” says Paraag Jaiin Nainuttia, IAS, managing director, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation.
Must-see: Unapdev hot water springs
Pench Tiger Reserve
It is located just two hours away from Nagpur, at the foot of the Satpura range. “The forests attract a number of nature lovers, birdwatchers, photographers and holidaymakers. The park is made up of teak forests, meandering rivers and open grasslands. It provides a great opportunity to observe carnivores like the tiger, leopard, jungle cat, wild dog, hyena, jackal and the civet, and is also home to over 225 species of birds,” says Karan Anand, head — relationships, Cox & Kings.
Must-see: Lifestyle of Gond and Bhil tribals
Known as the ‘valley of suspense’, Sandhan Valley is located near the famous fort of Ratangad, which is in the Ahmednagar district. “This is a place for those who love nature. The valley is surrounded by mighty ranges on all sides. Walking through the narrow streak of a valley is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” says Manmeet Ahluwalia, marketing head, Expedia India.
Must-see: Kalsubai — Maharashtra’s highest peak
Panhala shares its history with that of the Marathas. “There are innumerable places of interest, each with its share of anecdotes — from Sajja Kothi, where Sambhaji was imprisoned, to Ambabai Temple, where Shivaji used to seek blessings before venturing on expeditions. In addition to history, Panhala, at an altitude of 977m, serves as a cool getaway from Mumbai,” says Neelu Singh, director and CEO, Ezeego1.
Must-see: Panhala Fort
A hill station in Maharashtra, this is a place full of valleys with mist and lakes. “Chikhaldara is small, peaceful and charming. Trek through the surrounding forests, enjoy the water sports at Sakkar Talao, visit the historical Gavilgad Fort, or head to Narnala Fort, the Pandit Nehru Botanical Gardens, the Tribal Museum and the Semadoh Lake,” says Priyanka Jena of The Holiday Studio.
Must-see: Melghat Tiger Reserve
Located in the Mandangad taluka of Ratnagiri district, Velas has mountains on three sides and a beautiful shoreline on the fourth. “The best time to visit Velas is when several Olive Ridley Turtle hatchlings emerge, in the months of February and March. The Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra and Kasav Mitra Mandal now organise the Turtle Festival each year for tourists to experience this phenomena,” says Rajeev D Kale, president and chief operating officer — MICE, domestic and sports tourism, Thomas Cook (India).
Must-see: Turtle Festival
Also known as “mini Kashmir”, Tapola, near Mahabaleshwar, is the ideal destination for nature lovers. “There is so much to do and explore in this city. If you’re up for some adventure, you can go for water scooter rides or try kayaking at the Shivsagar Lake. Tapola will not disappoint you at all,” says Aloke Bajpai, CEO and co-founder, ixigo.
Must-see: Vasota Fort
Located near Pune, Tamhini Ghat offers a break from the clutter of city life. “Take a road trip to explore the mountainous passage that cuts across the Sahyadri range, with a brief stopover at Mulshi Dam. The mountain cliffs are dotted with waterfalls – an incredible sight for sore eyes. Photographers will find it tempting to stop at every corner. Heading further, you’ll find some adventure camps where you can enjoy trekking,” says Rakshit Desai, managing director India, FCM Travel Solutions and Flight Shop.
Must-see: Mulshi Dam