Thursday, 2 February 2012

Mandwa Kihim Beach

Kihim Beach

Mandwa Beach and Kihim Beach are situated near Alibag, the beautiful hill station in Maharashtra. Both the beaches have been gifted with fabulous locales and extremely tranquil surroundings. This is what makes them a popular haunt, especially amongst the city dwellers. Mandwa and Kihim Beaches are only 120 km from Mumbai and being close to Alibag, they usually form a part of the excursion trip from the city, to the hill station.

Lying to the north of the Mumbai city of India, the beaches boast of exquisite natural brilliance. Kihim Beach is an isolated beach, which has still been able to escape from the clutches of commercialization and retains its natural appeal. Surrounding the beach are numerous wooded trees, which mostly remain in full bloom, with wild flowers and colorful butterflies. The coconut trees that can be seen amidst the colorful flowers add to the scenery.

Kihim Beach is also a heaven for bird lovers, as it serves as retreat to a wide variety of resident and migratory birds. Kolaba Fort, situated at a small distance from the beach, is worth having a look at. Mandva Beach of Maharashtra is as magnificent in its beauty as the Kihim Beach. The pristine location of the beach, combined with its virgin beauty, has attracted tourists from various corners of India as well as other countries.

Mandva Beach lies quite near to the Gateway of India, the pride of Mumbai, and on a sunny day, you can easily see the magnificent monument from the beach. One look at the beach and it is sure to remain etched in your memory for a long time to come. The Mandwa village, situated nearby, also draws visitors with its coconut trees. Chaul - known for Portuguese ruins, Buddhist caves, a church, a temple and even a synagogue, is also located near Mandwa Beach............

Malshej Ghat

Malshej Ghat, that forms a part of the Western Ghats of India, falls under the Pune district of Maharashtra. Perched amongst the ghats, at an altitude of approximately 700 m above sea level, the tourist spot can be visited throughout the year. However, the monsoon season forms one of the best times to visit the Malshej Ghat. This is because during this time, the entire hill resort seems to be covered in the shade of mint green, with its locales presenting a very pristine and beautiful sight.

Infact, during the months of August and September, the weather is also at its best - being neither warm nor cold. It is that time of the year when the cascading waterfalls flow with ice cold water. In the winters, the misty surroundings of the Malshej Ghat add to its splendor. Apart from its breathtakingly beautiful landscapes, the hill resort is also known for its rich and varies fauna. Bird lovers residing in the nearby area make it a point to visit Malshej Ghat, to see its rich avian population, comprising of Quails, Rails, Crakes, Flamingos, Cuckoos, etc.

The adventure lovers, especially trekkers and hikers, will find the hill resort a blessing. The unending expanse of rolling hills provides them with the perfect opportunity of undertaking long treks. Whether they want to go uphill, scaling the peaks of the hill, or downhill, exploring the intricate jungle paths, they wouldn't get disappointed here. One of the must-see places in Malshej Ghat is the Shivneri Fort, the birthplace of Chhatrapati Shivaji - considered to be one of the greatest rulers of Maharashtra.

Apart from its attractions, another feature that attracts tourists to this hill resort is its undisturbed peace and solitude. Unlike most of the other hill stations in India, Malshej Ghat is not visited by tourists in too large numbers............


Mahabaleshwar is a hill resort in Maharashtra that comes under its Satara district. Perched at an altitude of approximately 1372 m, the hill resort is situated amidst the Sahyadri Hills. You will get an idea about the beauty of the place from the moment you start driving uphill towards it. The drive to Mahabaleshwar, whether in a car or a bus, readies you for the natural splendor the resort is so full of. Located at a distance of approximately 247 km from Mumbai and 120 km from Pune, it is easily accessible for tourists.

You can easily get State Transport buses, private buses as well as private taxis to reach the hill resort. Matheran has been a preferred holiday destination amongst people since the time of the British Raj. Serving as a proof of this, are the numerous bungalows that dot its landscape, reminding one of the British architecture. However, the time is taking its toll here also and the historical bungalows are being replaced by houses and mansions built as per the modern architectural style.

Mahabaleshwar is full of spots that offer breathtaking view of the valley below. The lush green forests, blooming flowers and splendid ravines make you fall in love with them. The hill resort is also full of cascading waterfalls and gushing springs that seem to be adding to its glory and magnificence. Though you can easily hire vehicles for going around Mahabaleshwar, it is best of you explore it on foot. The beauty that you will come across like this can hardly be seen while in a vehicle. You can also ride on a pony here.

Tourist Attractions
One of the major attractions in Mahabaleshwar is Arthur's Seat Point, a very scenic spot. It is situated near 'Gau-Mukha', believed to be the source of the five Deccan Rivers, namely Krishna, Koyna, Veena, Savitri and Gayatri. The other attractions here include Echo Point, Malkam Point, Tiger Spring, Hunter Point, Castle Rock Point, Savitri Point, Elphiston point, Cannought Peak Point, Wilson Point(Sunrise Point), Bombay Point (Sunset Point)and the Babington Point. The Krishna Valley and Venna Lake situated nearby are also worth having a look at............


Lonavala hill resort lies nestled in the Sahayadri ranges of Maharashtra. It is perched at a height of approximately 625 m and is located at a distance of around 96 km from Mumbai and 62 km Pune. The place is very popular, not only amongst vacationers, but also amongst adventure seekers. Trekkers especially find Lonavala a very exciting destination, as it has numerous possibilities for long treks. A visit to the hill station also serves as an excellent getaway, away from the dust and pollution of cities.

The hill station of Lonavala derives its name from a Sanskrit word 'Lonavli', which means 'City surrounded by Caves'. As far as the history of the place is concerned, it used to serve as one of the important Buddhist centers in India. Infact, the Bhaja and Karla Caves, situated near Lonavala, have Buddhist origins and date back to somewhere around the 2nd century BC. The hill station also formed as part of the empire of Chattrapati Shivaji. From him, it went, first into the hands of the Peshwa rules, and then, under British rule.

Though the place witnesses pleasant climate almost throughout the year, the best time to pay a visit comprises of the months of October to May. In the monsoon season, the entire Lonavala dons a clean and fresh look. The entire valley gets covered in a green cloak, with the colorful rainbows providing the perfect backdrop. Situated in the Western Ghats of India, Lonavala is also known for its Chikki, a sweet made from jaggery, combined with peanuts or cashewnuts or sesame seeds.

Places to See:

Rajmachi Point

Rajmachi Point is situated approximately 6.5 km from Lonavala, on the way from Mumbai to the hill station. Lying just before the point from where the Ghat starts, this spot offers visitors amazing views of the Rajmachi Fort, situated in the valley below. The famous Vaghjai Dari is located here only.

Ryewood Park and Shivaji Udyan 
Ryewood Park and Shivaji Udyan are splendid gardens, which boast of lush greenery. The majestic tall trees and wide open spaces provided by this park make it the perfect picnic spot. Kids love to come here, to run around, enjoy swings and have fun. Situated inside the park is an ancient Shiva Temple, revered by the local people.

Tungarli Lake

Tungarli Lake provides the combination of magnificent surroundings and peaceful ambience to its visitors. It serves as the main source of water to the Lonavala hill station and is also a very popular picnic spot.

Valvan Dam
Valvan Dam is situated near Lonavala, at a distance of approximately 2 km from the town. One of the major attractions of the dam is a beautiful garden, located at its foot. It is the main source of water for the Khopoli power station.

Lonavla Lake
Lonavla Lake lies on the outskirts of Lonavala, about 1.6 km from the town. The natural scenery and enchanting environment of the lake draw a large number of visitors here.

Karla Caves
Karla Caves, situated around 20 km from Lonavala, are believed to date back to somewhere around 200 BC. One of its major attractions is a huge Buddhist stupa, which is more than 2200 years old............

How to Reach Lonavala

The nearest airport from Lonavala is situated in the Pune city, which is serviced by all the public as well as private carriers. It is located at a distance of around 62 km from Lonavala. The nearest international airport is the one at Mumbai, which is about 96 km away.

The railway station of Lonavala falls on the main railway line between Mumbai and Pune. The express trains that ply between the two cities go through the hill station, making a stoppage there. The next closest railhead is Pune, serviced by trains that connect it with all the major cities of India.

The hill station of Lonavala is sited at a distance of 106 km from Mumbai and 62 km from Pune. It takes approximately 2 hrs from Pune and roughly 4 hrs from Mumbai to reach the hill resort by bus. Buses plying between Lonavala and Khandala can be taken at an interval of about 15 minutes............


Khandala is situated at a distance of approximately 101 km from the Mumbai city of India, the hill station is visited by most of the tourists who visit the Dream City. Infact, most of the people who stay in Mumbai also visit this hill resort on weekends, to forget the daily tensions and let their body as well as their mind relax and rejuvenate. Located amidst the Sahayadri ranges of India, Khandala has an altitude of 625 m.

There is little information regarding the history and origin of the hill station. However, it did form a part of the territory of the great Maratha leader Chattrapati Shivaji. He is the one who was responsible for organizing the Maratha clan into a formidable military power. From the Marathas, Khandala went into the hands of the Peshwa rulers. The last power to rule over the hill station was British, who took over it when the Peshwas lost power. Today, Khandala is counted amongst one of the most visited tourist destinations in India.

Khandala has been blessed with nature's beauty in abundance. Once you have been to the place, you will find the memory of the trip etched in your memory for a long time to come. The natural splendor, combined with peaceful surroundings, makes the hill station the perfect holiday spot. The steep valley on its one side and the high hills on the other, make the landscape simply wonderful. Khandala has managed to save itself from the clutches of industrialization & commercialization till date and this is what contributes to its popularity. 

Places to See:

Duke's Nose

Duke's Nose is the name given to a cliff situated near Khandala. It was so named because the cliff seems to resemble the shape of the nose of Duke Wellington. Duke's Point boasts of spectacular natural beauty that can mesmerize people at any time of the year.

Amruntanjan Point

Amruntanjan Point is a beautiful spot, located just at the start of the Khandala Ghat. From this point, one can have magnificent views of the Duke's Nose as well as the city of Khopoli.

Reversing Station Point 
Reversing Station Point also offers breathtaking view of Duke's Nose. From here, one can also see trains changing lines on either side.

Tiger's Leap 
From the vantage point of Tiger's Leap, you can hope to get some of the most spectacular views of the valley situated below. The name of the spot is 'Tiger's Leap' because as you gaze down it, it looks like a tiger leaping into the valley. To ensure the safety of the visitors, big holes have been provided for looking down from the great height.

Karla and Bhaja Caves

Karla Caves

Bhaja Caves

Karla and Bhaja Caves are located at a distance of approximately 16 km from Khandala. Dating back to the 2nd century BC, these caves are visited by a large numbers of tourists every year. They belong to the Hinayana sect of Buddhism and serve as an example of the rock cut architecture of that time.

Khandala Lake and Bhushi Lake

Bhushi Lake

Khandala Lake and Bhushi Lake situated here are definitely worth having a look at. The picturesque surroundings and serene environment of the lakes are surely going to take away your heart.

Rock Climbing 
The adventure enthusiasts wouldn't go back from Khandala empty handed. They can try their hand at rock climbing at the Duke's Nose peak and other locations in the Karla hills............

How to Reach Khandala

The airport that lies nearest to Khandala is that of Pune, connected with all the major cities of India by direct flights. It is situated at a distance of around 65 km from the hill station. The next nearest airport from Khandala is Mumbai, which is about 101 km away.

Khandala hill station falls on the main railway line between Mumbai and Pune. Each and every express train that plies between the two cities makes a stoppage here. Lonavala railway station is also situated quite nearby.

Regular buses ply between Lonavala and Khandala, at an interval of 15 minutes. Apart from that, one can easily get buses as well as taxis, from Khandala to Mumbai and Pune. By bus, it takes approximately 2 hrs from Pune and 4 hrs from Mumbai to reach here............

Elephanta Caves

Elephanta Caves are situated at the Elephanta Island, which lies at a distance of approximately 10 km from the Gateway of India. One of the major tourist attractions located near the 'Commercial Capital of India', these caves basically comprise of rock cut temples. The name of the caves has been kept after the island's name on which they are situated. The island in turn was named so by the Portuguese, after the massive elephant statue that stands majestically near its landing area of the island.

Elephanta Caves have been found to date back to as far back as the 5th century CE. These caves have been beautifully adorned with Lord Shiva sculptures, to whom they are dedicated. They were chiseled out of a rock, leading to the creation of the columns, the internal spaces and the images. The rock surfaces of the caves comprise of both highly polished ones as well as raw and bare rock ones. If you look carefully at the Elephant Caves, they come across as a huge sculpture, which has corridors and chambers for people to walk through.

Spread over an area of approximately 60,000 sq ft, the cave temples comprises of a huge, main chamber. Apart from that, there are two small chambers, few patios and a number of secondary shrines. Elephanta Caves of Maharashtra can be entered from three sides. Of these, the eastern and western entrances serve as the axis of the temple, lining which is a 20 pillared hall. Toward the western end of the caves, one can find the vault that in which the Shivalingam has been enshrined.

The pillars adorning the Elephanta Caves have fluted columns with square bases and stand adorned with fluted cushion capitals on the top. However, the major attraction of the caves comprises of the idol of Trimurthi Sadasiva, the Sadasiva manifestation of Lord Shiva. The main temple has a courtyard in the east, where one can find another small shrine, flanked by six pillars. The entrance of the Elephanta caves leads one to a huge hall, where the sculptured panels depict the legends from the Shiva Purana.

Trimurthi Sadasiva
At the end of the north axis of the Elephanta Caves, one comes across the magnificent image of Trimurthi Sadasiva, the Sadasiva manifestation of Lord Shiva. The massive statue is 20 feet high and depicts the Lord in His three-headed form. The central face depicts the benign Lord Shiva, as the 'Preserver of the Universe' (Lord Vishnu). The right one depicts the feminine side of Lord Shiva, as the 'Creator of the Universe' (Lord Brahma). The left one depicts the angry side of Lord Shiva as the 'Destroyer of the Universe' (Aghora Bhairava)............

Bassein Beach

Bassein Beach is situated in  Bassein, which is somewhere around 50 to 60 km from the Mumbai city of Maharashtra. The splendid beach has, infact, become one of the major attractions of the town today. The beautiful fusion of natural beauty with historical and religious significance that  Bassein town offers could never ever get complete without the splendid beach, which has been attracting tourists from far and wide.

The white sandy shore provided by the Bassein Beach is just perfect for lazing around or strolling aimlessly. The palm trees encircling the beach undoubtedly add to its scenic grandeur. Being located close to the Mumbai city of India, the beach has turned out to be one of the popular picnic spots for its residents. A day at the beach serves as the perfect way for them to forget the tensions of daily life and spend sometime with family.

As far as the history of Baseein town is concerned, it was used as a shipbuilding destination by the Portuguese, in the early seventeenth century. It was here only that they lost power to the Marathas, in the year 1739. The fort that was built by the Portuguese, at the time of their power over the beach, can still be seen today. Thus, apart from the beach, there are a number of other worth-visiting places at Bassein, including the fort and a number of marvelous churches............


Alibag is a very picturesque town, situated along the west coast of India. It is a municipal council that falls under the Konkan region of Maharashtra and is counted amongst the popular weekend getaways from Mumbai. The town forms a part of the Raigad district of Maharashtra and also serves as its headquarters. Most of the high society people of Mumbai have bungalows or farmhouses in Alibaug, where they come to escape from the mundane tensions of routine life, every now and then.

The coastal town of Alibagh dates back to the 17th century, when it was developed Sarkhel Kanhoji Angre, the Naval Chief of Shivaji Maharaj. It is situated to the south of the Mumbai city, at a distance of approximately 35 km. One of the major attractions of the town is its serene beach, which boasts of exotic locales and azure blue waters. Along with that, it has nine other beaches, situated in the vicinity. All these beaches combine to boost the travel and tourism industry of Alibag.

Then, there is the Kulaba Fort, situated just off the main seashore of the town. However, it can be visited only during low tide, when the waters have receded back to the sea. Even though Alibaug has much to offer in terms of tourism, it is visited by a moderate number of visitors and this is what adds to its charm. The serenity that this coastal town offers is hardly available in most of the other beach resorts of India. So, come and explore the sun and sand at the coastal town of Alibagh and go back with memories to last a lifetime............

Hazi Ali Pictures

Hazi Ali Pictures...........

Juhu Beach Pictures

Juhu Beach Pictures...........

Kanheri Caves/Canery Caves

Kanheri Caves...........
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