The June of each year heralds the beginning of Monsoon in the district of Maharashtra in India. As the summer sun is out in all its searing glory in the preceding months, all eyes look towards the sky for the rains to bring respite.
When the rains finally make an appearance, everyone and each thing rejoices. The welcome rains give everything a wash, leaving them clean. Nature steps out of its dusty stupor and the roads attain a glossy sheen. The freshly showered and shiny trees preen and sway in the breeze. Flowers bloom everywhere making for a pretty sight.
With the temperatures going down, moods brighten too. Three months of Monsoon means those many months of respite from the heat and mostly good weather as well.
Long weekends are taken advantage of and people plan driving down to nearby hill stations and towns for small breaks. With family the drive and the trip is fun and done with a large group of friends is even more fun. The drive to these holiday spots is scenic, with nature making a lush green carpet and the weather Gods obliging with pleasant weather.
Rains mean cool weather and hot food. Onion Bhajia’s or Fritters are everyone’s favourite, accompanied by a cup of steaming ginger Tea. The aroma of freshly roasted Corn on the Cob, seasoned with salt, red chilly powder and a dash of lemon juice is another great snack to nibble on as you watch the rain from the safety of your home or car or are adventurous enough to walk in it.
If you live in Mumbai or Pune, you have some exciting getaways to drive down to for long weekends or a short trip. These are my favourite destinations in Maharashtra to head to in the Monsoons.
Lonavala and Khandala: I call these hill stations the twin sisters, as both are located right next to each other. They are the closest driving distance from Mumbai and Pune. Famous for their Chikki and a Chocolate-Walnut Fudge, you could make a day trip here, if pressed for time. Feast on hot Corn on the Cob as you walk around the crowded town and enjoy the weather.
Mulshi Dam: This is veritable tourist attraction, for people from all over and not just Maharashtra. When the rains are in full spate waterfalls form at various places. People love frolicking under the gushing water, and the sight is an amazing photo opportunity too. The Mountains form a backdrop and a pretty picture. Feast on the piping hot Bhajias, Tea and Vada Pao sold by roadside vendors as you get drenched in the rains or waterfalls.
Mahabaleshwar: Or Mahabi as the locals call it. Long weekend coming up? If living in Maharashtra, make the most of it and drive down to Mahabaleshwar. The weather here is pleasant all year round, and more so during the Monsoons. Mist envelopes this Strawberry town, famous for it’s fruit. Eat everything made from Strawberries, from Jams to Crushes to Syrups to hand churned Ice Creams as you enjoy the delightfully cool weather.
I have lost count of the number of times I have visited Khandala, Lonavala and Mulshi for day trips during the Monsoons.
Mahabaleshwar is always a longer trip, mostly because the driving distance from Mumbai is longer and there are a lot of scenic points to enjoy. The Hotels in Mahabaleshwar are varied and you could find one to suit every requirement and budget.
So these were my favourite Monsoon getaways. Which one is yours?
All pics courtesy: Pixabay