This year has seen a new low in travel. I wonder if I have traveled less in last 5 years. The solace is that the year is not over yet. And that this time the monsoon is not being stingy like last year. So I can at least have the consolation of short trips around Mumbai. Last week we drove off to Bandardara. The day began with a generous pour, and we had planned to do a small hike at a place called Umberkhind. For some reason, enroute, we took the Nasik highway in stead of the Pune and decided to enjoy the many waterfalls of Bhandardara.
To reach Bhandardara, we took NH3 upto Igatpuri (~130 km from Mumbai) and then took a right at the next exit- Bhandardara was another 50 km from there. The route was beautiful throughout after Bhiwandi, as it usually is during monsoons. Especially after taking the exit from NH3. Then the road goes through farms and villages and you can see the lake and a few waterfalls – its fun to stop on this way – more fun than to drive anyway.
I am sure there is much to visit in Bhandardara and around, but we were not in the mood to see some crowd (Which is plenty at the popular hillspots around Mumbai). So we parked the car at the MTDC guest house and went for a walk around the Arthur lake, presumably the largest lake in Maharastra. It was raining and we did not have raincoats or umbrellas – a pleasurable situation if you are not trying to get to work and are away from dirty potholes. We walked towards Ghatghar, though not all 22 kms – just a few actually, before retracing. The route is lined up with numerous waterfalls. We thought we would stand beneath one of the bigger ones, until I saw a vicious looking scorpion and changed my mind! Perhaps it is easier to soak yourself in the more popular Randha or Umbrella falls where the excess of people would have scared off the scorpions.
We returned back to MTDC, which is not a good place – unclean and uninviting. That is how most Government tourist houses in Maharastra are – damp, sloppy and rotting. It rains a lot in most of these places and this little fact is forgotten while building and maintaining these places. Across the MTDC is the very expensive Anandvan resorts which charges more than the Taj for a night – and I wonder why.
After changing (in the car – because there is no other option except perhaps the rest rooms of the MTDC restaurant, but I was not adventurous enough to explore that), we started our drive back, caught some traffic near Kalyan and reached home in the evening.
Next week, it is time for Goa and the night at Leela – can’t wait to get there!