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'Maha' monsoon destinations you must visit!

Indian monsoons have always been romanticised. Breaking the monotony of the sweltering heat, the first drops of shower offer a welcome respite to cities and states that had been shackled by long hot months of summer.

Maharashtra is one such state which springs to life as soon as showers hit the state and is transformed into a lush green emerald milieu waiting to be rediscovered with fervent passion.

One of the more popular travel destinations in India, we share places in Maharashtra, ranging from untouched beaches to hill stations, wildlife sanctuaries, natural caves and even historic monuments that can be enjoyed by travelers during monsoons.

Malshej Ghat: A popular monsoon destinations for travelers, many explorers list this destination in their yearly schedule merely because the place provides a holistic view of nature. Here, the Sahyadri mountain range towers above everything else. The area is a trekker’s paradise with its tremendously rugged and rocky hills on which the explorers will experience forts, temples and ancient traditional caves. While the ghat zone is often dry throughout, the rains offer an incredible transformation in just a few days.

How to reach

The locations offer various mode of transportation

By Air-Nearest airport is Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport at Mumbai.

By Rail-Nearest terminus is at Kalyan.

By Road-Drive to Malshej Ghat via Kalyan, Vaishakhare and Bhiwandi.

Things to do and see:

Hiking at Ajoba Hill Fort

Trekking at Harishchandragad Fort

Relax and rejuvenate at resorts.

Rock Climbing

Drive through exotic mountains

Enjoy the Waterfalls

Bird Watching at Pimpalgaon Joga Dam

Where to stay: MTDC Holiday Resort, located at Malshej Ghat is the finest property to stay amidst the lush greenery of Malshej Ghat.

Lonavla –Khandala: Commuters residing near Mumbai and Pune ponder it as blessing that they have the two hill stations of Lonavla and Khandala almost a step, bounce and roll away distance. Winged high on the hill ranges, both these places are known for their decent climate and the attractive green cover they display during the monsoon. Like other hill stations in Maharashtra, here tourist can sense amazing ‘spots’ that offer magnificent highlights of the valley and the hills with tiny villages inserted in their folds.

How to reach:

By Air - The nearby airport is at Pune, 66 km. away. Voyagers can travel from Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai as well.

By Rail - From Mumbai, step down at Lonavala station which is about 2.5 hours away.

By Road - Mumbai - Pune Expressway to Lonavala takes about 2 to 3 hours from Mumbai depending on traffic conditions. ST and Asiad buses directed for Pune from Dadar stop at Lonavala.

Things to do and see:

Tiger's Leap is well-known tourist spot; the echo point is a major fascination here.

Bushi Dam is the most popular monsoon tourist spot.

Kune Waterfalls is an attractive cascade, cushioned between the scenic valleys of Lonavala and Khandala. It is the 14th highest waterfall in the country.

Bhaja Caves are  22 rock-cut caves which portrays various sculptures.

Celebrity Wax Museum offer to glance the statues of various celebrities and eminent personalities.

Rajmachi Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the hilly landscape and foothills of the Western Ghats of Sahyadris and it is perfect for nature walks, trekking and bird watching.

Where to stay: MTDC Karla Resort is located near Karla Caves in Lonavala off the old Mumbai-Pune highway.

Chikhaldara: A hill station in Amravati district, it is the only one of its kind in the Vidarbha region. It is located on a mountain range outside which Maharashtra ends and Madhya Pradesh begins. Chikhaldhara comes alive in monsoon when haze overwhelms the area. Driving around with lush green framework, smog and waterfall in monsoon is an experience that attracts explorers.

How to reach:

By Air: The nearest airport is Nagpur which is 230 kms away.

By Rail: Nearest railhead is Amravati, 100 kms away.

By Road: There are several luxury buses that drives on Mumbai - Aurangabad - Nagpur highway.

Things to do and see:

Gavilgad and Narnala each offer astonishing archaeological and architectural visions

Several remarkable vantage views such as the Panchbol Point, Hariken Point, Mozari Point, Devi Point, Sunset Point, Prospects Point, Monkey Point, etc.

Attractive reservoirs such as the Bir Dam, Kalapani Dam and the Shakkar Lake

Where to stay: MTDC Resort at Chikhaldhara provides accommodation from ordinary to deluxe rooms and dormitory

Amboli: The beautiful hill-station of Amboli is also called the ‘Queen’ of Maharashtra’. This is an impressive hill station situated in Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra. Famous amongst ecologists as a valuable environmental hotspot, it is calm, tranquil, peaceful and augmented with all the treasures that the world of flora and fauna can impart upon. Amboli is positioned on the edge of the Western Ghats and is particularly splendid when spontaneous waterfalls flow down the hilly terrain.

How to reach

By Air: The nearby airport is Dabolim

By Rail: The nearest railway station is Sawantwadi road on Konkan railway.

By Road: Amboli is well linked by road from Sawantwadi, Belgaum and Kolhapur. Many buses work from Pune and Mumbai to Amboli.

Things to do and see:

Sunset point is a popular dream point for tourists to converge in the evening.

Shirgaonkar Point oversses thick forests around the area.

Amboli Ghat offers guests spectacular views of the heavily forested valleys around

Hiranyakeshi Mandir is where the Hiranyakeshi River springs out from the entrance of a cave which also has a small Shiva Temple.

Kawaleshet Valley is an outlook and a kind of an echo point

Nangartas Waterfall is most admired place to visit

Where to stay: MTDC Resort at Amboli is a modest domicile situated in the heart of the city.

Jawhar: Jawhar hill station is in Thane district of Maharashtra. Blessed with mysterious valleys, thick rich forests and pleasant climate, Jawhar offers different type of enjoyment comparing to other hill stations of Maharashtra.

This hill station has unique tribal kingdoms in Maharashtra. The palace of the tribal lords provide an exclusive chance to expose and experience the tribal way of life. Jawhar is also recognized as the Mahabaleshwar of Thane District.

How to reach

By Air: Nearest airport is at Nashik (80 km) and Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai, which is nearly 165 km from Jawahar.

By Rail: Nearest major railway station is Mumbai CST railway station, which is nearly 165 km away from Jawahar. Taxi and bus services are accessible from railhead to Jawahar city.

By Road: Maharashtra Road Transport Corporation provides bus services between       Jawahar and other cities in and around Mumbai.

Things to do and see:

The Sunset point is bliss for nature lovers; this place is well-known for its attractive surroundings and mesmerizing sunset view.

Dadar-Kopra falls and Palusa falls.

Jai Vilas Palace which once served as the home to the kings of Munke Family.

Hanuman Point offers pleasing natural scenery. According to legend, Lord Hanuman relaxed at this place while on his way to meet Lord Rama's brother.

Where to stay: There are many private resorts near Jawhar which offers a holistic natural views to the holiday seekers.

Bhimashankar: The perfect natural surroundings with hills, waterfalls and forests; a wild life sanctuary and a prehistoric temple! Bhimashankar offers an idyllic setting for nature lovers. Known for its treks, it is also the place where one may find shekru the huge flying squirrel which is also referred as the state animal of Maharashtra.

How to reach:

By Air and Rail : Bhimashankar is 250 km from Mumbai and 127 kms from Pune. The nearest airport is Pune and so is the railway station.

By Road : You can take the route of Pune-Rajgurunagar-Manchar- Ghodegaon–Pokhari Ghat Bhimashankar. State Transport buses are accessible at steady intervals from the Shivajinagar .

Things to do and see:

Bhimashankar Temple is amongst the twelve traditional 'Jyotirlingam' shrines of Lord Shiva in India.

The Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary was mainly formed in 1984 to guard the habitat of the Giant Indian Squirrel in the Ambegaon and it is a thrilling place for treks and nature adventure.

The Hanuman Lake is a stunning lake located in Bhimashankar. Lots of creatures including squirrels and birds could also be speckled here.

Where to stay: MTDC Holiday Resort, located at Malshej Ghat is the supreme property to reside 39 km away from Bhimashankar.

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