The monsoon turns Igatpuri into a gorgeous expanse of green. The town nestling in the Western Ghats comes alive in the rain; its hilly terrain is carpeted in green, the waterfalls begin to surge and gush and the air becomes cool and fresh. Easily accessed from both Mumbai and Pune, Igatpuri is perfect for a short break at this time of the year.
You can stroll along winding roads, trek up to waterfalls, explore ancient forts and temples, and take up meditation in the town known for its Vipassana centre. In Igatpuri, the Ratangad Fort and the Tringalwadi Fort attract lots of visitors. The latter is considered to be one of Maharashtra’s architectural treasures. Located at a height of about 3,000 feet in the Sahayadri hills, the fort offers a sweeping view of the surrounding ranges and the valleys below. Tringalwadi, along with the nearby Kalsubai Kulang mountains, is popular with weekend trekkers who enjoy the challenging trail here.
Another must-see is the Vaitarna Dam constructed across the Vaitarna river. From here, you can take in pretty views of the Western Ghats. Visit also the nearby lagoon set amidst dense forests. Some four kilometres from the main town is Camel Valley, which lies within the picturesque Bhatsa River Valley. Here, there’s an impressive waterfall that comes crashing down from a height of 1,000 feet. In the monsoon, the valley becomes especially beautiful, as the earth becomes lush and green and the clouds drift soothingly overhead. It’s a great spot to relax in, from where you’re bound to come away utterly refreshed.
Drive – Igatpuri is 120 km and a comfortable drive of 2 hrs from Mumbai. From Pune, it’s 240 km (4.5 hrs) away.
Stay – There are resorts aplenty in and around Igatpuri. The Dew Drops Boutique Resort (www.dewdrops.co.in) comes highly recommended.
Tip – The monsoon is the best time to see Igatpuri. Go when the rains arrive.
Meditate Igatpuri is home to the Vipassana International Academy, which offers training in the ancient Buddhist meditation technique of Vipassana, going back to some 2,500 years. The Vipassana course itself is a 10-day routine, but you can explore the centre on your short break and decide to sign up for the full course at some point.
Get An Adrenaline Rush On your break in Igatpuri, take your pick from adventure sports and activities such as rappelling, rock climbing and trekking, all of which are available. During the monsoon, river crossing and river rafting are also popular sports here.
Visit Wine Country Nashik is a short drive away from Igatpuri. Take a trip to visit some vineyards there. Wineries such as Sula also offer wine¬tasting sessions for anyone who wants to learn to tell their Merlot from their Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
Make A Day Trip Located 45 km from Igatpuri is Bhandardara, a charming hill station which also shows off its best side in the rainy season. It sits on the bank of the Pravera river. In Bhandardara, you can go trekking and explore several crumbling forts.
Picnic In A Valley On the outskirts of Igatpuri is Bhatsa River Valley, blessed with natural beauty. Lying in the Bhatsa river basin, this verdant spot makes for a great break from the noise and pollution of the city. See the fascinating rock formations created by the slowly flowing river. Walk through woods and visit the Ghatandevi Mandir, dedicated to the goddess of the Ghats. Bhatsa River Valley is perfect for a family picnic.