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Best Places To Visit Near Pune - Weekend Getaways
Pune is one of the most significant cities in Maharashtra after Mumbai and Nagpur. Nestled in the Western Ghats, this city has developed and how! With the creation of a better Mumbai-Pune Expressway in the recent years and a shift of many consumer, service and B-to-B industries to this city, Pune has shown tremendous growth. So in addition to attraction tourism, Pune also sends its own local residents away as the place is no more half nature-half rustic city. People wander off on weekends and long holidays to seek peaceful, greener lands.
If you are one of these wanderlusters from Pune then here’s a little list for you to ponder over. A list of splendid weekend getaways from the city of Pune.
The first place for a small weekend from Pune is Lonavala. It is the prime suspect because of its placement, only 64 km from Pune, as well as for its reputation as a coveted hilly getaway by tired Mumbaikars. The Sanhyadris and their undulating slopes, view points and dams, lakes and chikki centres, these all come together and make Lonavala worth touring. There are numerous luxury and mid-range resorts to stay at, bungalows and cottages readily available to rent, and even camping grounds to pitch a tent in. Visit the Bhushi Dam, eat cheese-corn bhajiya at Tiger Point, indulge in piping hot maggi on the road to Amby Valley and check out the Tikona Fort.
Around 144 km from Pune, Kolad is a relatively exotic getaway. With its white water rafting, trekking, hiking and overnight camping activities beckoning thrill seekers, Kolad has in recent years rose to fame. Most Pune residents like to spend a night or two here, try their hand at some adventure and then roam around its sites like the Kuda Caves, Kansai Falls and Tamhini Falls. Even a day is usually sufficient around here, as the village is small and does not have much luxury to offer in terms of accommodation.
Get ready to scale a hill fortress. Because that’s what Sinhagad is! 37 km away and beyond beautiful, Sinhagad is a lush mountainous terrain ensconcing a massive stone fortress in its wake. It is a top favourite among Pune locals, and makes for an ideal weekend hop-off, especially for nature enthusiasts and trekkers. With the hangover heritage of the Marathas, this fortress echoes with history. Monsoon and winter months are great for treks, and you must plan a day out between the months of July and February.
The name might sound synonymous to Vipassana. Because Igatpuri is the hub of one of India’s biggest Vipassana centre - the Dhamma Giri academy. This place is peace personified, and though it is not open to tourists, you can get yourself booked in for their 10-day Vipassana (meditation) course. Or if you want to just spend a weekend, then there is much to do in Igatpuri itself. From wildlife safaris at the Kalsubai Harishchandragad Wildlife Sanctuary (see deer and leopards), to the Ghatandevi Temple and Bhandardara camps, Igatpuri offers you a plethora of fun.
Not too far from Pune, Kamshet is only at a distance of 48 km. An hour’s drive, tops, Kashmet is great fun if you are into little hamlets, local Marathi cuisine, camps, treks and cave explorations. Visit the Vidveshwar and Kondeshwar Temples, check out the Vadivali lakeside, go exploring into the depths of Bhaja and Bedse Caves and try your hand at paragliding. A nice winter trip out of Pune!
Located 64 km from Pune, Pawna Lake is the go-to for night campers and trekkers. This lake, near Lonavala, is best enjoyed on winter nights, especially when meteor showers or special astral lights are predicted. Photographers, adventurers and peace seekers come here, pitch a tent on the lake shore, cook food over a bonfire, and spend the night enjoying. Sunsets and sunrises are epic on Pawna’s horizon and you can come here just for those. Monsoons are also good to hang out as the lake is lush and full in the season.
A very cool theme park opened just around a 100 km from Pune, Adlabs Imagica is perfect for a day’s fun. With some of the most thrilling rides, theme park areas, regular shows and your favourite cartoon characters dancing around, Imagica is perfect for family weekends. There is the Novotel inside the park and a couple other hotels outside for accommodation. Rides like Scream machine, Rajasauraus, Deep sauce, Salimgarh and Mr. India are top favourites among visitors.
Mahabaleshwar & Panchgani
Another coveted destination from Pune, the twin hill stations of Mahabaleshwar and Pune, at an estimated distance of 100-120 km. With the plateaus and valleys, temples and forts, markets and game arcades, these two places are usually clubbed together for a weekend vacation. Visit in any season and indulge in fresh swollen strawberries, the famous Strawberry Cream of Mapro Gardens, eat pizzas and grilled cheese sandwiches, and shop for your yearly quota of fruit crushes, syrups, jams and chocolate fudges.
Satara near Pune is known for its nature, views and forts. Visit this district 112 km away from the city and enjoy the ruins and historic landmarks of the ancient Maratha Empire; Sajjangarh Fort and Ajinkyatra being the most coveted for tours. Trek up the Kaas Plateau, chill by Vajrai Waterfalls and open your favourite picnic foods from a packed basket.
Lavasa is a planned holiday city, built 58 km away from Pune, in the plateaus of the Western Ghats. Inspired by the Italian city of Portofino, Lavasa is a private city, with its manmade lake and bridges, bright coloured buildings, pubs and shops. Because of unfortunate circumstances, the city could not fulfil everything it promised, and today there are only a few hotels where you can stay. But still, Lavasa makes for a nice two-day sojourn. With musical fountain shows, laser animations and the Varasgaon Dam, there won’t be a dearth of exciting things here.
A sucker for water sports and night camping? Fond of beaches and birds and forts? Then Kashid is the right fit for you. A small beach town not more than 145 km from Pune, Kashid is home to some cool beaches (re: Revdanda Beach, Kashid Beach) and forts (re: Korlai Fort, Revdanda Fort and Murud Janjira Fort). Here you can also go bird watching at the Phansad Bird Sanctuary, indulge in picnics as well as safaris. For families, this is a wholesome destination, and is rich with nature, history and fun.
Wai, a town known for its temples and vada pav, falls on your way to Mahabaleshwar. Located on the bank of River Krishna, Wai is a great weekend spot to escape from Pune. The lush greenery, the beauty of the mountains, the adventure activities lined up for your indulgence… Wai is perfect for thrill seekers. You can go raft-building, stargazing, river crossing, camping as well as ride kayaks and ATVs to your heart’s content. And then there are temples here that give it the name of Dakshin Kashi or Kashi of the south.
A collection of caves and caverns, hiking and trekking routes, natural green spaces and parks, Junnar is a coveted weekend escapade from Pune. Here you can visit the birthplace of Shivaji Maharaj - Shivneri Fort, admire the caves carved with sculptures at Manmodi Hills, go visit temples up the Malshej Ghat, Darya Ghat, Nane Ghat etc. Winter months are good to enjoy it all, and monsoon may also suffice, except, some hiking routes may become slippery and not easily usable.
The scenic peak of Bhandardara is best known for its star-gazing camps among the many other treats it has to offer. 162 km long drive from Pune, and you reach Bhandardara. Here you get to enjoy magical greenery, waterfalls, mountains and temples. There is the Ratangad Fort to explore, Arthur Lake, Bhandardara and Wilson dams to chill by, Randha Falls to picnic at and Amriteshwar Temple to pray at. Many tour agencies and adventure companies also arrange overnight stargazing camps, bonfires and BBQs.
Forts and amusement parks, hills and bird sanctuaries, Panvel is home to some rustic and some modern fun. Located less than 2 hours away from Pune, Panvel is known for its host of farmhouses, open green spaces, the Karnala Fort and Bird Sanctuary as well as Prabalgad Fort. Shivganga Waterpark is another great haunt to enjoy with friends and family, and take your kids. Trekking and hiking are both coveted here, and people like to go up hills to tall forts. Monsoon is the best season for a visit.
The hill station of Matheran makes for one of the most coveted winter and monsoon getaways from Pune. Not too far, only 126 km away, this place is beautiful with its waterfalls and hills, viewpoints and parks. What’s unique about Matheran is that it forbids any vehicles from entering the main town. So you have to leave your cars in the foothills and come to the hilltop via the toy train, on ponies or by foot. And the experience is simply marvellous, as is the pollution-free town.
A little beach town 142 km away from Pune, Alibag is the best place for beach babies and lovers of the sea. Since you can’t find Vitamin Sea in Pune, this is a good idea to escape for a long weekend. The coastal stretch is filled with beaches, palm trees, hotels and resorts. Some historic monuments like the Kulaba Fort and Kanakeshwar Devasthan Temple are good for sight seeing, while beaches like Akshi, Nagaon and Versoli beckon you into their charming pieces of paradise.
Shirdi, the dwelling place of Sai Baba, a fakir saint of 19th Century, is today a huge pilgrimage centre of India. People from all religions, all walks of life, irrespective of caste, creed, gender flock here to offer prayers to this dead saint. The Sai Baba Temple dedicated to him is huge and a must-visit. There is the Dwarakamayi Mosque adjacent to this temple, and it narrates the tale of communal harmony that Sai Baba preached. You can also visit the Shani Shingnapur temple, Dixit Wada Museum and Gurusthan.
The Mayanagri, the city of dreams, one of the fastest cities of the world. Mumbai is everything you could ever imagine. Located 150 km from Pune and connected extremely well to the city via road, air, rail, Mumbai beckons you for a chic fun weekend holiday. From the trendy pubs and restaurants of Lower Parel to the malls and street shopping extravaganza of Bandra, from the old architecture and Victorian buildings of Town to the quiet hip vibes of Carter Road, Mumbai offers you so much. Places to see here include the Juhu Beach, Nariman point, Gateway of India, Film City and Siddhivinayak.