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Saturday, October 31, 2020

The Unexplored Beauty of Western Ghats – Karjat

As you drive on the streets of Karjat, the stunning rural landscape is serene

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Pradeep Chamaria
Pradeep Chamaria
I am a photojournalist. Love to travel to unknown and unexplored vistas. Since 1992, I make places desirable for other travelers through experiential Travel Writing.

INDIA. Karjat, Maharashtra. The Western Ghats are famous for romantic locations like Khandala, Lonavala, etc. These locations are frequented by people from all over the country and are hotspots during the monsoons when the region turns into a spectacle.

But there are many other unexplored locations that people miss out on. Karjat can be very easily reached by driving on the Sion-Panvel Expressway within 1.5 hours from Pune.  

View of the village at Karjat – Pic by: Pradeep Chamaria
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Karjat is an old-fashioned little village along the Konkan coast and is quite fascinating and similar to other neighbouring Western Ghats locations but with less tourist crowd. As you drive on the streets of Karjat, the stunning rural landscape is serene and will seduce you into staying longer.

This is a relatively unexplored tourist destination, and it offers fresh mountain air driving past undulating terrains, gorgeous hills and greenery filled landscapes. Small hills all around with various shapes invite you to indulge in adventure activities and trek to one of the peaks.

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Karjat hides in the Sahyadris and the Western Ghats and is immensely beautiful with unbeatable landscapes. Located on mountainous terrain in the Rajgadh district of Maharashtra, Karjat lies secluded on the banks of the Ulhas River. It is a panoramic site replete with rich vegetation, a rocky terrain, and plenty of waterfalls that are in full bloom during the monsoons. Karjat, 67 kms from Mumbai, is slowly becoming a tourist hub with lots of upscale resorts coming up.

Tourists enjoying in Seasonal waterfalls – Pic by: Pradeep Chamaria

Skip in to celebrate. Karjat is kind of a “Step in to celebrate” location with a natural setting, just perfect for a luxurious weekend stay with plenty of green landscapes. Karjat is a declared a Residential Green Zone in proximity of other sought after Western Ghats attractions like Khandala, Karla, Lonavala, Matherran etc.  

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Adventure sport freaks from nearby areas love this place as there are plenty of options for river rafting, trekking, hiking and mountain climbing. Various trekking routes for novice trekkers as well as expert ones attract people who look for some challenge. The trek routes offer a glimpse into the unspoiled verdant environs that blanket the entire place and its a heaven for nature lovers as well. Various historical spots is surely going to make it a popular destination soon.

Trekking highly recommended. Even if you are staying only for a day, you can combine a trek with a visit to one of the historical places. Kothaligad (Peth) Fort is one such outing where indulgence in both the activities is possible.

The trek though is a long one but you can offer prayers and rest at a Ganapati Temple after a short morning trek in the hills near the fort. The conically shaped hill of Kothaligad and the scenic beauty of the foothills keep you engaged throughout the trek. Various birds give you company and keep you enthralled throughout the trek with their chirping music magically matching the orchestra created by the sound of the leaves swaying in the winds. The magnificent view all along the trek covering the Konkan field, the Ghats, Bhimashankar, and the whole Matherran range is fascinating.  

Besides Kothaligad, Karjat has many other sights of tourist attraction to offer, such asdxc:

  • Kondana Caves: Famous because of their Buddhist style sculptures, vihara, chaitya and stupas which are specimen of ancient Buddhist architecture.
  • Ulhas Valley: Ulhas Valley is one of the best places to relax amidst the divinity of nature. Blessed with an enticing panorama full of sparkling streams and waterfalls, the valley glitters with large flowing streams of Ulhas River and breathtaking sights of waterfalls gushing through the thick greenery of the valley during the monsoons.  
  • Bhor Ghat: Situated along the Konkan coast on the Deccan Plateau, it is a mountain section situated amongst Karjat and Khandala. It was once the ancient trade route connecting the ports at Choul, Revdanda, Panvel, etc.
  • Bhivpuri Waterfall: It is a delightful sight during the monsoons. The mist created as water falls from a height of around 20 feet a treat to watch.  
  • Jain Temple: Located on the Mahavira Peth Road leading to the Karjat railway station is an architectural marvel made of white shimmering marble. 
  • Kondeshwar temple: Based in Sanshi, the temple is known for its magnificent structural design. It is an age old temple of Lord Shiva and has been engineered and built in the old Hemadpanthi style. The main sanctum of the temple is encompassed by various little shrines.
  • Bahiri Cave: This is a great place to chill out for god lovers as well as adventure freaks. Home to Lord of Bahiri and also the most sought after trekking destinations.  
Roadside waterfall at Karjat – Pic by: Pradeep Chamaria

Facts:

Karjat can be visited throughout the year, with July to September being the best months. Reaching Karjat is very simple and convenient; about 70 kilometers away from Mumbai. Major languages spoken are Marathi, Hindi & English.

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