Everybody loves to celebrate and I guess Indians are very passionate about their holidays that they get. Well, I would say Indians are hard working and we usually work more than 60 hours per week so we truly deserve every bit of celebration that comes our way. I am not quite sure about the rest of the country, but being a Mumbai citizen all my life I have known that people here are always ready to take off for some holiday destinations and places where they can forget all those worldly issues and spend some quality time with their family and friends. This year Independence Day is on a Friday which means that people have more reasons to walk out of their homes and enjoy an extended weekend time. In fact, to make it even better it will be an extra-extended weekend this year as Parsis (including me) will be celebrating Parsi New Year on August 18 that falls on a Monday. So, it’s a Friday-Saturday-Sunday-Monday extravaganza this August and I am so excited about it. If you’re an Indian, I will give you a good news, there are two more extra-extended weekends (4 days official holidays in a row) coming up in October, so you can also checkout these destinations then.
I have already covered many weekend getaway destinations in some of my earlier posts which are not too far from the city and can offer a perfect backdrop to let you celebrate your weekend in style or go for a weekend drive across Maharashtra. Even before you get started, I would recommend you to go through my earlier posts as well which are informative and offer you more recommended hill stations and beach destinations.
However, if you have already experienced those places, here are few more destinations that you can visit this year.
Although, the monsoon picked up very late this year it has been raining really hard in July and I am sure by now most of the region must be covered by green grass and spectacular landscapes. I visited Igatpuri in such weather earlier and I was amazed at the beauty that it has to offer. You might underestimate this place because it is not on a tourist destination list, but let me tell you that many unexplored places on planet have the best landscapes and Igatpuri is no exception. If you enjoy trekking you will enjoy the Bhatsa River Valley.
You should also checkout the Tringalwadi Fort nestled in the Sahyadri mountain range. If you are lucky and if the sky is clear you can view the Kalsubai Peak from here, the highest peak in the state. Not too far away from Bhatsa River Valley is Camel Valley. There are many lakes in Igatpuri and one of the lake is very close to the railway station. Do take your camera with you because you might just feel like capturing all that serene beauty in your camera lens. Igatpuri is well connected to Mumbai and Pune so there are many trains and buses and even rental cars that you can choose from.
I just love the Konkan strip and Diveagar is another not-much-explored place where you can find peace this Independence Day. Experience the beautiful beaches here along with the monsoon wind. The best part about being in Diveagar is that it offers Goa-like experience, but there is no rush here. Couples can enjoy some privacy here and spend some quality time together. You can also enjoy some camel rides, horse riding, and boat rides here when the weather is pleasant. The beach itself takes the number one spot here which is around 6 kilometers long (3.7 miles). Let me tell you Diveagar is not a shopping destination, so don’t expect too much from it. There are few historic forts, temples and villages close to Diveagar which you can visit if you have time.
To be honest, Ganapatipule is not the right destination for monsoon season because of the heavy rainfall in this region, but if you have your own vehicle you can certainly make the most of it. The beach here attracts many people from all parts of Maharashtra, but during heavy rain it might not be the ideal place to be. However, there are days when it does not rain much and the sky is clear this is the time when this place can offer you peace of mind that you are searching for. This place is magical in its own ways. I doubt there are many high class luxury resorts here, but you can stay in hotels that offer basic amenities and still return home rejuvenated.
If you are in love with foggy climate, high mountains and lush greenery all around Panchgani is the right spot for you. Not too far from Wai, this place can offer you the best holiday experience that you can imagine. Lots of hotels here, from basic to ultra-luxurious cottages that you can book depending on your budget. You will also find the Table Land which is credited as Asia’s second longest mountain plateau. Panchgani lies in between Wai, which lies at the foothills of Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar which is another top destination just 20 minutes drive away from it. You can also stay in Wai for few days, then move up to Panchgani for a day and then head to Mahabaleshwar for the rest of the holidays so you wrap up that holiday triangle without pushing your budget further.
I have already covered many beach destinations in my earlier posts, but so far haven’t covered Tarkarli. This beach place is clean and silent and probably will make you feel in paradise. I understand the reasons why Goa beaches are so popular, but if you are looking for an alternative, Tarkarli is the right destination for you. The best part about Tarkarli is that the beach here it is not as overcrowded as you will find in Goa. You can find many seafood restaurants here offering you local cuisine at moderate rates. You can also move to different places like Vengurla, Amboli and Sawantwadi which are not too far from here. I have already covered Vengurla and Amboli in some of my previous posts so you can find more information about these places on my blog. Oh, yes, let me also add if you think Tarkarli is the quiet version of Goa, you’re wrong. Tarkarli beaches also offer water sport activities like snorkeling, parasailing and more similar to what you find in Goa. See more of Tarkarli pictures by Riya Ghosh.