There’s something about Pune that has charmed the rain gods. This Queen of Deccan is a Shangri-La during the monsoons. The rains don’t bide by a nature’s clock. They flow like the misty breeze until and when they feel like here. It doesn’t lash out like it has engulfed Uttrakhand. No sir, rains here are gentler. Their only mission is to remind us of our joys of childhood. It is no secret that we love waiting for rains in Pune. There is a gentle cloud cover over our heads and right away FB gets swarmed by posts of (or related to) the rains. Just the way a perfect day should feel like. It’s been almost a month now that the clouds first burst over our heads this year and it’s about time that I (and you) started visiting the umpteen places around Pune. If I could, I would open a portal between Pune and these places. You’d agree, they are what makes staying in Pune an unforgettable affair.
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Yup, when it comes to Khandala, even Aamir Khan couldn’t help but break into a song. The favourite place to visit from a tapori Aamir Khan to suave Puneites, Khandala is nestled between Mumbai and Pune. There is a spread of an unmistakable gleam of green that masks Lonavala during the rain. Being just 50 kms away from Wakad, Lonavala is the place to go when you have worked late into a Friday night and need a reprieve. Pack your bags, gather your herd and head for a rejuvenating sunrise. The houses here resemble a Smallville cottage. They always intrigue and entice me whenever I am taking the winding roads that circumvents the city. From reflecting upon history at Lohagad Fort, the battleground of Shivaji the Great to stealing a breathtaking view of the valley at Rajmachi Point, every nook at Lonavala stands testimony to it being a fragment of paradise. If you don’t mind the mucky shoes in monsoons, try trekking at the Duke’s nose. If I could raise the dead, I would, just to see the Duke of Wellington who lends his name to the famous getaway.
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Inebriated or not, 125kms isn’t a long distance to drive. We love soaking in the weather and driving in the rains here. Even better if you are jolting to Bhimashankar. A couple of hours of steep drive from Pune brings you to this auspicious place home to one of the twelve Jyothirlingas in the country. This is one place that satiates my wildlife, trekking and religious cravings all at once. After a visit at the temple, it’s time to let loose myself in the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary.
The largesse of Lavasa is such that it will always find a mention in your quick getaway plans of places to visit around Pune. A biker’s mana gets refilled with his/her drive on this beautiful stretch. The bright colored city structures with its waterfront and promenade makes for a welcome retreat. What makes Lavasa a perfect monsoon getaway? The perfect view of lake and valleys, the smaller things like water sports and games arcade of the promised grandiose and a walk in solitude stands apart for me. I can’t wait till this planned hill-city is made and constructed to its full promised glory. But, till then it promises the thrill of a helluva escapade from Pune to a promised ghost town.
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I am told that it’s a second home for Punekars. That this picnic spot has been frequented umpteen times by any citizen of this city. If you haven’t been here already, monsoon is the best time to plan a visit here. Its majestic when it has been sprinkled with rains. The several waterfalls are brimming with a new found vigor of life. Constructed on River Mula, Mulshi Dam is an amalgam of perfect scenery, a quick escape from the city and being surrounded by clouds with a spellbinding view of Konkan below. If only, those signs that prohibit the trespassers (read us) weren’t there. Alas!