The year 2020 will go down in history as the turning point in the lives of people. Who knew a tiny virus originating in a small meat market at one corner of the world would create havoc which would shake mankind in its entirety! The series of lockdowns has not just affected us financially, but has also taken a toll on the mental health of people who have been confined to their homes for months at the end. This time has been particularly stressful for younger folks – who would have thought kids would miss going to school!
When my 8 year old cousins started to get restless about going out and meeting friends or playing in the society park, my family thought to treat them with a small getaway. My dad already had an early flight from Mumbai, two days later. The plan was to take a rejuvenating road trip to Mumbai, drop him off and come back.
We are based out of Pune. The trip to Mumbai with all the detours wouldn’t take more than a day with little to no traffic on the road. I was well aware of the various offbeat sightseeing spots on the route; I decided to book a taxi for my journey as I didn’t want to take the pain of driving such a long distance, and preferred a laid back time with family.
I looked up for a couple of cab services online. Since safety was my major concern, I read reviews of all of these services before finalising one. I decided to go ahead with Savaari’s safe and reliable cab from Pune to Mumbai. With their promise of sanitised and disinfected cabs and the drivers following safety guidelines, I also found their customer reviews related to travel during COVID very helpful. I knew that we would be in safe hands.
Our first stopover in the journey was in Lonavala. Rajmachi Fort, a popular trekking site for the adventure junkies, this historic architecture is one of the oldest forts in Maharashtra. We drove along the roads to capture some of the most breathtaking vistas of surrounding hills from various angles. The serene atmosphere and the fresh air gave us the much needed respite in the arms of mother nature.
One of the many attractions near Lonavala, Pawna Lake is known for its charming sightseeing spots as well as amazing weather. We walked along its trails, enjoying the scenic landscapes of the lake. The place had a pleasant invigorating vibe about it; we gobbled down the piping hot cup noodles that we carried whilst admiring the views.
Another famous pit-stop on the journey, Bhushi Dam in Lonavala is a sight to behold, especially in peak monsoons. However, it was nothing short of mesmerizing even during our visit, early after the onset of the rains. The water from the Indrayani river flowed in its majestic glory, forming the stunning waterfall. Being waterfall lovers, we had a beautiful time, dipping our feet in the water and spending some time relaxing at the dam.
7-8 kilometres of uphill drive from Bhushi Dam took us to the Shooting Point which offered superb views of the Rajmachi Fort and the flowering valley below. Usually crowded by tourists as this point is a popular movie shooting location, we were lucky to have the spot to ourselves. We clicked at least a hundred pictures from this vantage point whilst enjoying the natural beauty of the place.
Khandala Sunset Point
Also known as the Reversing Station, the Sunset Point offers exquisite views of the curvy roads of the highway crossing the ghats. With the sun setting in the background as the glimmering vehicular lights brightened the spectacle, the sunset we witnessed here was out of the world!
While my father could have booked a direct Pune to Mumbai airport cab for his journey, we were glad we took the decision in favour of the family road trip. It was exactly the change in environment our family needed. It helped us do away with the lockdown glooms, energising our mind and soul. The kids had their share of the outdoor time which helped them remain less grumpy in the upcoming weeks.