Friday, September 28, 2007

The quiet little getaway !!!

A couple of weeks back, I finally got the chance to say goodbye to work and its associated drudgery and headed to a weekend away from everything. Actually, I had planned the weekend in June itself but heavy rains in Mumbai on the last weekend in June washed away my plans. Thankfully, I could reschedule my resort bookings and hence got the holiday during the monsoon season itself. The choice of place was not easy. I had already decided to avoid Lonavala and its crowd (see one of my previous posts) and therefore, was searching for options. Then I read on the web about a place where you could go if you wanted to do nothing. That was exactly the sort of place I was looking forward to. A place where you could simply unwind and relax, a place that neither had a dozen tourist spots that you spent your time visiting nor a market that resembled any street in Mumbai during the weekend. The choice was made and I headed towards Bhandardara.

Bhandardara is a quiet little hill-station tucked away in the district of Ahmednagar in Maharashtra, about 185 kms away from Mumbai. It is actually not a hill-station in the sense that we understand it, neither does it have an array of spectacular view points nor is it a mini-town with a flourishing tourist industry. It is actually a small village whose main attraction is an artifical lake formed by the Wilson dam built by the British in the early 20th century. Having said that, the dam is quite a sight. Unfortunately, during our weekend there, the gates of the dam remain closed, thus depriving us of the apparently breath-taking sight of the water gushing through the open gates of the dam. There is a small garden very close to the dam from where you can actually feel the force of the water as it drops down the face of the dam. Apart from that one main attraction, there are a few trekking spots near Bhandardara, most famous amongst them being Mount Kalsubai (at 1646 m above sea-level, the highest peak in Maharashtra) and the Vishalgad fort (one of Shivaji’s favourite forts). But if you ask me, the real beauty of Bhandardara is actually that it does not have many distractions in the form of tourist spots. It is actually a place where one can just sit and forget about the world (the fact that cell phones do not work there makes this all the more easy ;-)). The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has built a decent, functional resort right next to the lake with each room facing the lake. There is also a good lake-side restaurant serving food that, given the lack of choices, is pretty delicious. There is also the opportunity to go on long walks besides the lake and the hills.

So if you are looking to run away from the world and have just the hills and the water for company (besides your loved one of course !!), then this is the place to go. A weekend in Bhandardara serves as an ideal dose to get people back in their best spirits and in the mood to face the world again.



How to get there: Mumbai-Bhandardara is a 185km drive, first along the Mumbai-Nasik highway and then taking a right after Igatpuri. Or you can take the train and get down at Kasara/Igatpuri and catch a bus/jeep (45 kms from Igatpuri).

To stay: MTDC is the most conveniently located resort. In addition, there is also a private resort (Anandvan resort) that is some distance from the lake.


Monsieur K said...

Nice trip report! Bhandardara is one of the places, that I have heard, one must visit during the monsoons. I guess I will have to wait a year before I can go there. :)

Dhananjay said...

Nice post Gokhale. Thats how a weekend trip should be for some one in Mumbai, away from the maddening crowd, doing nothing but seating in a lounge chair and sipping on tea :-)

Amit Gokhale said...

right said Dhanno... tht is my idea of a weekend getaway.. not a place where you spent most of the time visting tourist attractions :-)