• Places

    Five Monsoon Weekend Drives from Mumbai

    If getting out of Mumbai means Lonavala and Khandala for you, then read no further. Not that Lonavala and Khandala aren’t beautiful. They are indeed. But then, let us grow up. Here are five weekend monsoon getaways from Mumbai. 1. Go beyond Malshej Ghat. Malshejghat is a regular and hugely popular monsoon weekend getaway. Misty mountains and unlimited waterfalls. An MTDC resort facing the valley. Most people from Mumbai travel to Malshejghat via Kalyan for a day trip or a weekend trip. Here is another alternative: Hit the Mumbai–Pune expressway and take a left at Wadgaon to Chakan and then…

  • Birdwatching - Places - Sanctuaries

    Nandur-Madhyameshwar: Maharashtra’s Own Bharatpur

    Among the few books (other than a whole bunch of maps and road atlas) that we use as travel guides, there is one called ‘Offbeat tracks in Maharashtra’. Written by Milind Gunaji, a Marathi actor and photographer, this is an interesting and handy book when one wants to do the ‘non-touristy’ travel. We take tips and pointers from it and mix our own ‘de-tours’ to get some interesting variants every time. Nandur–Madhyameshwar was one such find. Being somewhere closer to Nasik, we put this in our Nasik itinerary. Nandur–Madhyameshwar is popular only among avid birders and is known was Maharashtra’s…

  • Places

    Pandavleni Caves

    Pandavleni is another slice from history worth visiting.  Though not as grand as the Ajanta Caves (and therefore lesser known), Pandavleni is similar to those caves in Ajanta, Kanheri, Karla etc. Considered to be over 2000 years old ( 1 BC to 800 AD), the caves served as Viharas/monastries. Pandavleni is about 8 km from Nashik City on the Nashik-Mumbai highway. Trekking up the hill takes about 20 minutes. The uphill climb is easy as steps are constructed. At the base is the Dadasaheb Phalke Smarak park with recreation facilities run by the municipal corporation. Next time if you are…

  • Places

    Colours of Faith

    Trimbakeshwar is perhaps no different from any other pilgrim centre in India. Considered very sacred, it is one among the Jyotirlingas and also the origin of the sacred Godavari river. Trimbakeshwar is about 35 kms from Nashik city, on the Nashik – Jawahar road. A few shots from Trimbakeshwar

  • Places

    Farm Stay. Really?

    “20 acres of farm land… garden flowers, coffee plants, black pepper plants, ayurvedic medicinal plants… ” Enough to generate a great deal of expectations. But it seems we are getting it wrong every time with farm stays. Initially it was at Dandeli, where it was a farm house devoid of any farms. And now at Nashik. Typical agri-tourism initiatives are where farmers with significant land holdings and agriculture often extend a room or two in their house for tourists for a home-stay experience. That was our expectation. What we got was a 20-acre farm, with rooms, play areas, dining area,…