Just a couple hours from Mumbai, Igatpuri emerges as an ideal destination for an easy weekend getaway, where nature, tranquility, and relaxation merge to rejuvenate and generate before heading back to the city.
Sometimes the journey is as good as the destination, and in the case of getting to Igatpuri, it’s certainly true, especially during the rainy season when the green hills, tumbling waterfalls and misty mountain scenes merge to create the perfect backdrop for a relaxing getaway.
The distance between Mumbai and Igatpuri is 130 kilometers (80 miles), or about two hours by car. Or, take a Central Railway-based train from Mumbai in about 2.5 hours, making it an easy weekend out of the city. If you decide to take up the train, then any Central Railway train heading from Mumbai to Nasik city would do. Pre-booking the train ticket is highly recommended to avoid last-minute hassles. But if you decide to wing it without a pre-booked ticket, then one option would be catching a Mumbai local train from CS Terminus (V. T. Station) that ends at Kasara, then taking public transport or a cab/rikshaw to Igatpuri,18 kilometres or 16 minutes away.
By road, drivers will follow the Mumbai-Nasik highway, passing places such as Thane (known as the City of Lakes), Kalyan bypass, and Kasara along the way.
En Route to Igatpuri
As Thane ends, the scenery begins to widen and the greenery, mist and far off mountain views set the mood for the surrounding monsoon landscapes. Don’t worry—the rain only adds to the mesmerizing ambience.
Numerous waterfalls and views of the valley are especially beautiful, especially near the Kasara Ghat, also known as the Thal Ghat, a mountain pass in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra. For about 15 minutes, the winding roads offer marvelous and verdant vistas at seemingly every turn. On the way, snack stalls sell roasted corn and tea.
The end of Kasara Ghat means the arrival of Igatpuri town, which at 600-metres (1968-feet) has hill station status. The pure air, rain, and cloaks of moody mountain mist inspire artists to paint, photographers to capture, and poet to pen down stirring words.
The area is geographically blessed with pleasant weather, which makes it visitor-friendly, particularly the Arthur Lake, Kalsubai Peak, Dhammagiri Vipassana Meditation Centre, Amruteshwar Temple, Ratangad and Tringalwadi Fort, waterfalls and the Camel Valley.
With so much to explore, it’s tough to see experience everything in a weekend. Since the distance is short, many people from Mumbai and Nasik visit more frequently throughout the year, which allows them to take their sweet time to explore this wondrous area more deeply.
During my recent escape to Igatpuri, I chose to visit the Dhamma Giri Vipassana Mediation Centre, an institute that teaches the Buddhist meditation technique of Vipassana. It is one of the world’s largest Vipassana meditation centres, and offered its first course in 1976. Today tens of thousands of students study here every year.
It’s also enough to merely ‘be” in the centre’s calm or in the surrounding mountain setting. Sometimes that just the spark you need to revive and refresh for another busy week in Mumbai.
BeSeeingYou In: Igatpuri, India.
Good to Know: During monsoon season you can spot a lot of mini waterfalls all around the landscapes.
WOW! Factor: The Myanmar Gate at the entrance of the Dhamma Giri Vipassana Meditation Center is definitely Insta-worthy!
Tip: The art museum at Dhamma Giri is open from 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. throughout the week. Visiting tourists are not allowed entry to the Meditation Centre area.
Author Bio: Shraddha C Sankulkar