Walking through the clouds: Malshej Ghat, Maharashtra
Malshej Ghat is a charming hill station which is located at an altitude of 2,297 feet above sea level. It is a mountain pass located in the Western Ghats range in the Pune District in the state of Maharashtra. This place is also the home of various different flora and fauna which includes a host of migratory birds.
Makshej Ghat is situated on the border of Thane and Ahmednagar districts. It is at a distance of 154 km from south Mumbai towards northeast and 130 km north of Pune. The nearest railway station is Kalyan near Mumbai. From Kalyan one will have to board a State transport ST bus from the bus station which is located on the western side of the railway station.
Regular buses ply on hourly bases from 6am onwards. The bus journey is a good three hour ride but one will not feel the time since the view all along the way is very scenic with lush greenery all around the place on either side of the road. To go to Malshej Ghat by road from Mumbai, take NH3 to Bhiwandi and turn towards Murbad or take the state highway via Kalyan, Murbad, Saralgaon and Vaishakhareklm.
Malshej Ghat is a place that one can visit all year round but the monsoon brings amazing charm to this beautiful hill station. The picturesque valleys and woody forests of Malshej Ghat come alive during the monsoon by displaying the beauty of its lakes and dancing waterfalls. Malshej Ghat is an ideal place to visit for hikers and nature lovers since this place has plenty to offer in the form of trekking trails, abundance of wilderness and plenty of large flock of migratory birds coming from Siberia.
If one loves to walk and experience the whole region first hand then travelling on foot is the best way of getting around the place. It is advisable for one to get off the bus just before the tunnel. There is a really small temple just before the tunnel which attracts a lot of crowd, but there is nothing special about this temple. After one crosses the tunnel there is a massive vertical rock around which a railing is built which also serves as an echo point in that region. As one keeps walking along the way one will notice plenty of waterfalls which are seasonal and only come to life during the monsoon.
These water-falls attract a lot of crowd and owing to this villagers have set up small make shift stalls which serve tea along with roasted corn and omelette. The omelette and chai (tea) are a must have. One will also experience the feeling of being within the clouds and walking through them as the visibility will drop to as low as 15 meters. The feeling is splendid but one is advised to be careful while walking on the road during this time.
There is also a lake in the village of Kumbe which is located at a distance of 25 km from the tunnel. This is a dammed lake and supplies water to people in the neighboring village. The villagers even breed fish in this lake. The banks of the lake is a good place for one to set up camp for the night. There are a few home run vada pav stalls in the village selling some really good and mouth watering vada pav.
These stalls also provide accommodation to travellers on request. One will find a number of people sleeping inside these stalls which are actually homes of the villagers. The only other place where one will find accommodation is in the Flamingo hill resort and sanctuary which has the best location in Malshej Ghat with the view of the lake and the lush green mountains all around it.
Malshej Ghat is really an amazing hill station, which caters to the needs of people visiting the place during all the seasons. The lush greenery and the tremendous cascades mesmerize the city dwellers to get away from the hustle and hectic modern day life.
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