When you have holidays, all you need is a destination. This time, it was my chance to discover Igatpuri. Unheard, untouched, unexplored this gem of Sahyadris is a breathtaking sight.
Igatpuri is a major railway junction and a hill station located between Mumbai and Nashik. The lush green meadows, dams and the Sahyadri ranges are its beauty spots.
How to reach: Igatpuri is 120 km from Mumbai and 50 km from Nashik. you can reach by buses or private taxis.
When to go: The beauty of Igatpuri is at its peak in the monsoon with the fields becoming greener and the clouds descending.
Where to stay: There are many local resorts in Igatpuri. To name a few: Manas resort, Dew drops boutique and resort, Mystic valley resort etc.
Where to eat: While most of the packages will include MAP plan, but you can try a lavish lunch at Soma resort while visiting Sula Vineyards (Approx. cost for 2: 1000/-). The view is worth it.
What to see: While Igatpuri doesn’t have many local sightseeing points, there are many places to visit around Igatpuri.
In Igatpuri, you can visit Dhamma giri which is a Vipassana centre. The huge Myanmar gate welcomes you in the academy with mountains as the backdrop. It’s a major attraction for foreign tourists. There are many courses running in the academy and you can opt for premises tour, painting exhibition and 10 mins. “Dhyan” session.
There is a hidden paradise in Igatpuri which is easily accessible but lesser known, the railway dam or Igatpuri lake. It is just a few km away from Vipassana centre. The mere sight of the lake is breathtaking. Covered by green pastures and protected by the huge mountains, lies in the middle the serene Igatpuri lake. You can stand at the edge and let your mind be free from all worries and burden. It’s a great place for relaxation and I like to call it “Blank slate” point. It is accessible by car, but a walk down there is a wonderful experience. Shutterbugs would not like to miss this place.
As mentioned earlier, there are not many places to visit locally, but many places surrounding it. You can take a one-day excursion to Sula Vineyards which is an hour’s drive from Igatpuri. Maharashtrian highways are milky smooth and far from the concrete jungles, they have managed to maintain nature here. You can take a winery tour and wine tasting session which costs Rs. 350/- per person. The tours run all day at half an hour intervals, but you need to register early as there will be rush. The best part is wine tasting session where they offer you 7-8 different red and white wines. You can also enjoy some snacks with wine with a view of vineyard at it’s restaurant.
On your way back towards Mumbai, you can visit the Bhaoli dam. Another lesser known and even lesser explored place. The road that leads to the dam is a pleasing sight. The journey will seem unending, but the sight is worth the wait. The calm waters of the dam and the green fields below make a great combination. It’s a visual treat.
On your way further towards Mumbai, there is a photo-stop on the left- Camel valley. It is called camel valley because the shape of the mountains resembles the back of a camel.
On your way back, I would suggest you take a detour via Vihigaon falls and climb down Kasara ghat. It’s a shortcut that falls behind Ghatandevi temple (Protector of the mountains). It’s a beautiful drive with scenery on both the sides and if you’re lucky and there is ample rain then you can see the gigantic Vihigaon falls as well.
Another excursion you can take is to Bhandardara dam. It’s an hour’s drive from Igatpuri. The pristine Arthur lake will take away all the chaos away from you. Then there is the majestic umbrella fall which is formed by the water from Wilson dam and while it falls, it forms the shape of an umbrella and thus it is called “Umbrella falls”.
- Visit Igatpuri lake.
- Try wines at Sula
- Visit Bhandardara
There is nothing better than visiting Maharashtra in Monsoon and guess what, Monsoon is coming!