10 amazing waterfalls on the outskirts of Mumbai
Everybody waits for the rains to arrive after a long spell of torrid summer. When the first rains lash the Earth, every living being comes alive with joy at being delivered from the torturous heat at last. Nature comes into its own when the monsoon season begins, growing a green coat and offering gorgeous landscapes all around.
This is the ideal season to go trekking and bathing under a waterfall – in no particular order, are Maharashtra’s 10 best waterfall sites just outside Mumbai:
1 Lonavala, Khandala. The twin towns of Lonavala and Khandala are a veritable treat in every season. Apart from the area’s natural scenic beauty, the monsoon brings out the best in these hill stations with heavy downpour and rolling clouds. Those who own bungalows in Lonavala are truly blessed to have such close proximity to the hills that become natural waterfalls in the rains.
2 Mulshi Dam. Everybody loves Mulshi! It is a quick drive from Mumbai and Pune, and it offers some of the best waterfalls in the State. The Mulshi Dam is also located here, and it flows in peak force during the monsoon. Normally, too, Mulshi is resplendent with a thick fog, dense forests and cooler climes, making it an ideal picnic spot for harried souls.
3 Karnala. Another great spot for gushing waterfalls in Karnala, about 81 km outside Mumbai. Many trekking enthusiasts make a beeline for Karnala, taking in the views of the stunning Sahyadri mountain range and Karnala Fort. You can explore the Karnala Bird Sanctuary here and also keep a lookout for the most gorgeous migratory birds.
4 Malshej Ghat. Apart from Karnala, the Sahyadri mountains house the beautiful Malshej, home to the famous Malshej Ghat. Malshej Ghat becomes a veritable treasure trove of waterfalls during the monsoons, and it offers stunning vistas and crisp mountain air to boot. There are a few lakes that you can have a picnic by, or feast your eyes on visiting flamingos.
5 Kalsubai. Yet another Sahyadri mountain find is Kalsubai Peak, the highest peak in Maharashtra. It is normally full of greenery, and it develops charming streams and gushing waterfalls during the monsoon. You can visit a temple at the top of the mountain – a reward for having scaled the magnificent peak! – or make your way to Bhandardara for more trekking thrills. Do stay at a bungalow in Lonavala as a base camp for a few days to take in the wonders of Kalsubai in their entirety.
6 Kolad. Kolad Lake is famous for its natural beauty and the flocks of birds it attracts every year, but you must visit it during the rains to understand its true beauty. With rainwater adding to the area’s water levels, especially when the Kundhalika River flows through the town, the stage is set for myriad waterfalls to bathe under. Kolad Lake also offers many opportunities for water sports like white water rafting.
7 Bhandardara. Usually a hot, dry region, Bhandardara comes into its own during the monsoon season. It registers some of the highest rainwater levels in the State. Its proximity to the Pravara River makes it a good candidate for roaring waterfalls and excellent views all around.
8 Thosegar Falls. These falls are located a little far away from Mumbai, in Satara. The drive is scenic, though. And the falls are the best in the State, loud enough to drown out all your thoughts and to give you a spectacle like no other!
9 Durshet. A quick getaway among tranquil forests and the sounds of chirping birds for company, Durshet is a magnificent spot nestling by the Amba River, with craggy mountains devised for rappelling, hiking and adventure walking. Apart from enjoying the waterfalls, you can also wade through the river, or enjoy rafting or swimming in it.
10 Mahabaleshwar. Maharashtra’s beloved hill station is also the site of high rainfall and cold weather during the monsoon season. Any excuse is a good excuse to visit Mahabaleshwar, and no excuse is needed when the hills come alive with waterfalls. The mountains get a covering of lush greenery, while nearby Panchgani offers a quieter foil to the touristy attractions of Mahabaleshwar.