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More kanda bhajia please," we told the owner of the shanty, eager to enjoy all the things that accompany a Maharashtrian monsoon. Think hot tea and pakodas (fritters).

Our short tea break in Amboli, in the Sahyadris (Western Ghats), was showing no signs of coming to an end.

Our family of four was Goa-bound for a long-awaited weekend road trip, but we decided to stay on in this unassuming town. In any case, Goa had seemed a little too adventurous for just a weekend trip.

We had breezed through the relatively dull National Highway (NH) 4 from Pune to Nipani before taking the state highway on the 75km Ajra-Amboli route. Paddy fields ran along with us till we hit a forested patch that kept us company. Our enthusiastic “oohs" and “aahs" paid tribute to the delightful scenery at every bend. As we neared Amboli, thick fog, clasped by the tall trees flanking the road, made its customary appearance.

What started out as a stroll turned into a 3km walk to Mahadevgad Fort, a collection of ruins outlined by a dramatic, cloudy sky. It was built in the early 19th century by the Sawantwadi rulers. On a clear day, we were told, one could see the Arabian Sea. But as the wettest place in Maharashtra, Amboli rarely enjoys that privilege.

Next morning, despite the incessant rain, we decided to drive from the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation’s Amboli Green Valley resort, where we were staying, to the Hiranyakeshwar cave temple, about 6km from the resort. The car balanced perilously on the road in slippery terrain, dipping and rising along the lush green ghats. The intermittent roadside waterfalls made us forget how difficult it would have been for the driver to navigate the misty roads.

A bridge to the cave temple. Photo: Alamy
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A bridge to the cave temple. Photo: Alamy

Around noon, we drove back to the resort for a leisurely lunch before adding the popular Amboli Ghat waterfalls, 3km away, to the itinerary. Enthusiastic hawkers sold freshly roasted corn on cob—the weather demanded we bite into a hot juicy one. People jostled to climb the steps that led directly to the waterfall, which resembled a white sheet. I spotted a vada pav stall on the side. We headed for it, but even vada pav could not satiate the appetite for local street food that the rain brings with it.

I will just have to return to Amboli in the next monsoon.

Weekend Vacations offers suggestions on getaways that allow for short breaks from metros. The writer tweets at @travelshoebum.

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