Tag Archives: places to visit near mumbai

Mumbai Darshan and Lonavala – Lavasa Diaries

What do you do when your best friends turned family come to visit you for the first time after marriage ? You plan an epic getaway. Our friends turned family consists of my husband’s cousin Sam and my best friend cum classmate Suchi who are coincidentally very happily married to each other. Sam and Suchi are very good drivers as well. So when these two genius decided to visit us I knew this will be a road trip  to remember. Away from home we were like free birds just waiting to take the flight.They landed on 24th January 2017 night and boy you should have seen us planning and plotting our great escapade. Unfortunately the next day I had office so with a heavy heart I went to office thinking that one day was getting wasted. But these guys were smart they rented a car from “Zoom Car” and picked me up from Powai while having a small snack break at “K3”. If you ever visit Powai don’t forget to gorge on their hot lip smacking jalebis. After that we headed straight towards Bandra Band Stand where all the celebrities stay.

First stop was definitely Mannat. Even on a weekday people like us come to visit Mannat to get a glimpse of Shahrukh. Standing in front of Mannat we felt unreal. After recovering from our awe we next headed towards Bandstand where we enjoyed the nice walk along the promenade. After promenade we zoomed past the Bandra Worli sea link. It was a long pending wish of mine that came true that night.

sitting in front of Mannat


Posing away at Bandra Promenade
tired from all the walking
The view behind Promenade
dinner at chillies
Whiling away till our order arrived

Finally we crashed at the Chillies in the InOrbit Mall Vashi , had a hearty dinner , went to sleep with the hope of waking up early to leave for Lonavala the next day.

Though my post is not sponsored byZoomCar still ZoomCar was really one of the reasons of our smooth trip. It made me and my husband want to learn driving badly.

The best thing about being in Mumbai is you have a number of places to visit in the vicinity. So our genius Sam guided by Google Maps drove us along the beautiful picturesque Mumbai – Pune highway. The hills here and there and the lush greenery soothed our eyes. Coming from the plains of West Bengal the road trip proved to be a treat for us. As we neared Lonavala , everywhere there were big posters of Wax Museum. There is a strange competition going on in Lonavala between various wax Museums like Sunil’s Celebrity Wax Museum then there is Lucky’s Wax Museum and many more. I can’t say how good they are because we didn’t get the time to visit them rather zoomed past them on the way to our hotel. We booked our hotel through Zomato which was a little outside Lonavala all thanks to the crowded houseful Republic Day.

We literally dumped our bags in the hotel , freshened a bit and again hit the road. Since our hotel was in the outskirts of Lonavala we drove back inside Lonavala to have lunch at the famous German Bakery. If you are at Lonavala then don’t forget to visit the German Bakery. I can’t explain my delightfulness in having their simple salads.



Brunch at the famous German bakery @ Lonavala



One of my happiest memories of Lonavala was the lunch at German Bakery. The continental lunch consisted of Chicken Caesar Lunch , Chicken Stroganoff, Chicken Chilly Dry , Pasta Alfredo blueberry cheesecake, mango cheesecake which melted in my mouth.


After having lunch we turned to Google Maps and found out we can visit Carla Caves , Bushy Dam  and Tiger Point. Carla Caves however would be closed by then. So we kept it to next day’s plan. Bushy Dam and Tiger Point are on the same way with Bushy Dam coming first. On the way to Bushy Dam we came across a very beautiful valley sort of place. We stopped a while at this place to take pictures.

After this we headed off to Bushy Dam. There is a nice little trek on the way to the base of the Dam. Since we visited Lonavala during winters I think we missed Bushy Dam in its full glory.

From Bushy Dam we started ascending towards Tiger Point. The road is steep and winding. Better to start early and climb down while there is light. I think in winters its stays open till 7pm. It is one of the most breathtaking places I have ever visited. Though the circuitous roads instilled fear in my heart but still the view from there is totally worth it.

My overzealous family couldn’t help themselves but go at the edge of the Tiger Point. I being a self proclaimed timid person couldn’t muster enough courage to go beyond the railing and enjoyed myself by taking their snaps.


Having had an eventful day we headed back to our hotel and on the way back planned for the next day. We were torn between Lavasa or Aligarh. We had to go Karla caves anyways. So next morning we finally decided that we will go to Lavasa no matter what and return back home. So our day started with a quick breakfast and we started for the Karla Caves. I wasn’t expecting much but I was pleasantly surprised after reaching the top of the mountain.

It gave us a feeling of a mini trek as we climbed up the narrow steep steps soaking in the morning sun and the humdrum of the shops that sat on the sides of the stairs.

At the top of the stairs is the famous Karla Caves and a temple.



After our Karla Caves expedition we started our journey to Lavasa , the first planned Hill station since independence. We crossed bustling Pune in between which was like burning hot. After crossing Pune we started ascending following the winding road to Lavasa. In between we stopped for a while at a solitary eatery for a cup of tea but instead had pitla and jowari roti.

The road to Lavasa is as picturesque as the place itself. I had seen Lavasa in a number of movies and longed to visit those colourful buildings. It was like a long pending wish that came true. Finally even I could take a picture standing on that little bridge with the colourful buildings in the backdrop.


I would have loved to stay at Lavasa for a day to just spend the night taking a stroll around the place but alas the hotels were too costly to ruin my plans.

We found a dainty little popsicle shop which makes awesome cold coffees. I could just spend hours sipping the coffee and selecting the variety of popsicles.


The Lavasa Lake gives the perfect spot for shooting those candid car shots or bike rides.

After a long ride we were hungry as hell even the cold coffee didn’t help so we went searching for a restaurant and found ourselves here @ All American Diner.

The trip couldn’t have ended better without us getting a glimpse of the beauty of the sunset while returning back. It made all the effort worth while when we just drank all the gorgeousness of the mellowed sun over the Lonavala Lake.

P.C Sam .. The wind added to the romantic view
P.C Sam … I can’t explain how gorgeous the scene was
P.C Sam or Suchi

We came home with truck load of memories of a good time. My only regret is I couldn’t take them to Colaba. I badly wanted me and Suchi to have a haul at Colaba but alas not all dreams come true at the same time. But we ended the trip with a visit to Starbucks that kind of made up for the loss.


Travel Diary – Rutugandh Resort & Sinhagad Fort

The entire team was bored and it was about time that we packed our bags and set out for some exploring. So started our frantic search for a good resort. I being new in the city I was super excited to go absolutely anywhere as long as my team members are there. Having a husband at home who was preparing for exam and amidst a whole lot of household chores I was feeling overwhelmed. It was like my big escape with new set of people , their families and me. For me who’s a little sceptical about going alone anywhere it was a big move trust me. But my team was a friendly one. They took me in like I was there all along.

While searching for the perfect getaway that suited our budget we came across Rutugandh resort. I may warn the non vegetarians that its has pure veg restaurant so if you are the one who can’t survive a day without non veg this place is not for you. The Funny thing about this place is all the villains in Bollywood have visited the resort.

This place is beside the Khadakwasla dam near Sinhagad Fort.


We started our journey on the 1st of October 2016 in a tempo traveller along the Pune highway. With the kids around us cheering us on it couldn’t have been better. On our way to Pune we stopped near the …. to grab some breakfast and tea.

I was quite apprehensive about the Rutugandh Resort but it really turned out to be a nice retreat especially if you have an energetic team with you who can make the stay worthwhile. It was like a small place tucked away from the humdrum of city life . The air changed to a lighter one and the greenery around soothed our eyes. Our flats were also nice and cozy which felt more like home rather than hotel rooms.

We reached around afternoon so soon after we headed for lunch and were greeted with a scrumptious veg spread. It was quite chilly given the rainy weather and the hot dal and paneer gave us new energy. We spent the entire afternoon and evening playing carrom and table tennis. The swimming pool however was closed for the day.



By late evening it had started raining heavily so after having snacks I retired back to our room while others tried going to the Khadakwasla dam which was just 5 mins walk behind the resort. However given the rain and the muddy roads even they had to come back.

Rain having dampened our mood we decided to make most of our time indoors. We played non stop card games and non stop “Chor Police”. It was damn funny when we were suspecting our manager being the thief he tried hard to ward off our suspicious looks.
It was past midnight when we finally hit our beds. The weather by then had turned to that of a winter night and we snuggled under our blankets.

Next morning we woke up to a pleasant sunny morning. After having tea I had a very refreshing round of badminton with my manager Shrirang and his son Tanay.

Having finished our breakfast we headed for our next destination The Sinhagad Fort. I didn’t know that Sinhagad fort was one of the popular security posts of the Legendary Shivaji. Though the place is in ruins but the trek to the top really gives you a glimpse of the Maratha Empire. From the base of the Sinhagad fort big vehicles are not allowed so we hired an open jeep which took us the gate of Sinhagad fort.

The weather being lovely cool we gorged on the vada pao with chillies – my first time finding out why Marathi people are obsessed with Vada Pao and bhajia and I could not agree more. The journey to the top began with lots of knickknacks like singhdana which are peanuts actually and raw mango with chilly powder , cucumber etc. The slippery steps and the foggy weather were adding to the mystery of the place.

While climbing we came across the memorial of famous Maratha general Tanaji who won a vicious battle against the Mughals.Visiting his memorial was like witnessing a part of Indian history.
Kaundinyeshwar temple is also worth mentioning. We even got to see a lake which I am not sure is temporary due to the heavy rains or a permanent one.
We walked for around 3-4 hours after which we got tired and started descending. While descending we came across a hut where an aged Aunty served us hot lunch consisting of Bhakri, Pitla, baigan ka bharta , bhajiya and homemade yoghurt which are made in clay pots. It was my first time trying out Marathi cuisine and I am not sure if the clay oven added even more taste to our simple lunch. I absolutely fell in love with Pitla the simple gram flour dish which is like the local fast food.

After the lunch affair we got down to the entrance of the Sinhagad Fort where we enjoyed ice creams. While going back to the base we felt our trip had come to an end so quickly.