Monsoon is here. It's finally time for cosy blankets and hot chocolate as you stare at raindrops racing down . your window pane. And also, time to bring out your favourite book and re-read it. But apart from enjoying the rains from your balcony, the monsoons also bring along with it lush greens and beautiful scenic landscapes that beg you to step outside. Especially in Maharashtra, where the Western Ghats come alive during the season, offering verdant views and short getaways perfect to finish that book we mentioned earlier. Combine that with some hot pakodas and a fried bhutta and you're all set.
Here are 10 places in Maharashtra that you should definitely visit, to enjoy the landscape as well as the food.
The word Panchgani stands for five hills. Now, imagine yourself in a place that is surrounded by hills and greenery. If you plan a trip to Panchgani, definitely visit Table Land, the longest mountain plateau in Asia. The town also houses Mapro gardens, which is famous for their strawberry produce. Famous food joints in Panchgani include: 1) Rainforest: A multi cuisine restaurant located on the edge of a cliff, giving you a spectacular view as you enjoy your meal. 2) Mantraa: Definitely try their tandoors and kebabs, at pocket friendly prices.
Best known for its numerous sight seeing points (like Arthur or Needle Point), forts and the place of origin of River Krishna, Mahabaleshwar is an evergreen spot. However, if you visit during the rainy season, the optimal weather and cool breeze aids in enhancing the overall experience. If you happen to find yourself in Mahabaleshwar, remember to visit: 1) Meghdoot: They serve all kinds of dishes from, Mughlai to Maharastrian. 2) The Grapevine Restaurant: If you wish to try authentic Parsi fare.
Lying on the banks of River Kundalika is Kolad, a village in Raigad district. Visiting Kolad in monsoon will present you with thick verdure and the sight of misty mountains. Kolad is famous for white water river rafting, apart from the breathtaking waterfalls and forts. After an adventurous day, you can visit: 1) Shreekar The Dhaba: They serve wholesome, authentic Indian fare and seafood. 2) Hotel Kalakruti: They are well- known for serving authentic Maharashtrian food.
About 40 miles from Pune and 52 miles from Mumbai, lies this paradise that is much loved and famed for its chikki. Nestled among the Sahyadri range, this hill station demarcates the Deccan Plateau and the Konkan Coast. So when you step out to sight-see the numerous forts and caves located here, don't forget to try out these food joints: 1) Live Fudge Factory: Drop by at this dessert shop for a bite of freshly made fudge. 2) Parsi Dhaba: Visit here for their Parsi cuisine. They also serve vegan options.
Karnala, also located in Raigad district, is famed for its bird sanctuary, which is home to over 150 species and other wild animals. The hill station is also a haven for history and architecture lovers, owing to its ancient forts. All in all, it's a wonderful place to be when you need a break from the bustling city life. For food you can visit: 1) Shaollin Temple: A must- visit for those who love an authentic Oriental meal. 2) Masala Central: For all street- food lovers, this place is your destination.
Igatpuri is surrounded by the highest peaks of the Sahyadri range. The hilly landscape is a haven for hikers and trekkers. It is also famous for scenic valleys and waterfalls. The serene and tranquil location is a good option for a quick weekend getaway Do not forget to visit: 1) Creme Restaurant: They serve dishes from all corners of India. 2) Vallonne Vineyards: If you fancy a little wine tasting, you should visit Vallonne, a boutique wine estate.
Adjacent to Lonavala, Khandala is located at the top end of the Bhor Ghat, which connects the Deccan Plateau to the Konkan plains. Famous for its sunset points, if you wish to just relax, rather than opting for an adventure, Khandala is the place to be. And once you are done staring into the mesmerising vast expanse or lush green lands and mountains you can simply walk up to the closest kiosk and enjoy a vada pav or misal, with a cup of hot tea. Plus, you can easily travel to Lonavala, which is about 5-10 kms away, for more food options.
Also known as the paragliding capital of India, Kamshet in Pune district, is a treasure trove of scenic landscapes. You can opt to paraglide, trek to Tikona fort or camp for a night by a lake. And after a day of exploring stop by at: 1) Trikaya Retreat: Spend an evening here for their awesome barbecue dishes. 2) The China Town: If you love Chindian food, try this place.
Located in Ahmednagar district, Bhandardara is famous for its greenery, waterfalls and mountains that make it the go-to spot for hikers. During the monsoon all of this is amplified, accompanied by cool weather and the sight of misty mountain tops. When hungry, you can visit: 1) Hotel Kaka: Famous for their Gujarati cuisine and they serve a mean thali. 2) Lake View Grill: While they serve international cuisine as well, don't forget to try their grilled fish.
Last but not the least, we have Alibaug. With around 14 beaches in the location, it is a paradise for all those who want to simply take a break and laze around as they enjoy the sea breeze. And during the monsoons, the appearance of sight seeing spots like Korlai fort or Kanakeshwar forest is calming and peaceful. The weather is also optimal, thanks to the showers. Since it is a coastal town we will definitely urge you to try their seafood. You can visit: 1) Cocum & Spice: Best for those who love seafood or want to try Maharashtrian cuisine. 2) Aparanta: For those who wish to have a fine-dining experience and a buffet, Aparanta is your go to.
Natasha Kittur is an aspiring writer. Her love for anything with cheese and spice is profound, but a white sauce pasta always tops her list. In her free time you will catch her reading or watching crime books and shows or go on and on about psychological experiments and theories. She aims to write a book in the fictional genre someday.