Best weekend destinations near Mumbai for exploring

Monsoon in Maharashtra is not always about waterlogging, flood and traffic jams. Places near Mumbai have some of the marvelous spots with green hills, lush forests, flowing springs and glinting waterfalls making for the best experience of trekking in Maharashtra. Maharashtra is a place rich in history, thanks to the tug of war over its ownership between the Mughals, the Marathas and the British East India Company. What better way to spend your weekend than making a day-trip out to one of the may forts scattered across this region! We’re talking to you, Mumbaikars! Get those trekking shoes on, and hit the trail! Sahyadri ranges have some of the best monsoons getaways that make for amazing trekking destinations near Mumbai. So here is the some amazing list of best weekend destinations near Mumbai.
The hill stations located near Mumbai offer the perfect getaway for the trekkers but the forts add-on to an idyllic holiday experience. These appealing retreats provide an adventurous vibe to the travellers (like me :P). So the article describes the places / forts which are nearer to Mumbai and a perfect weekend destination for one day trip.
Here are some of the best forts near Mumbai for trekking which would surely assist you to get the best pick. All of the below is arranged from the nearest forts to the ones that are far off.

Forts Near Mumbai For Trekking – within 100 km

1. Prabalgad and Kalavantin Durg



Prabalgad on right side of image
Kalavantin fort view from Prabalgad - image from http://i.imgur.com/Y2lzSQN.jpg
Kalavantin fort view from Prabalgad – image from http://i.imgur.com/Y2lzSQN.jpg

  • Distance: 48 kms
  • Prabalgad Fort is located between Matheran and Panvel at an elevation of 2300 feet in the Western Ghats. Trekking during the monsoon is really an exhilarating experience. It was built on a plateau very close to Matheran. Very good destination for trekking in monsoon and winter. Kalawantin Durg is also be possible in one day. You can read article on Kalavantin Durg trek on Trek Experience – Kalavantin Durg….कलावंतीण दुर्ग  And so the trekking to 2 forts nearer makes this place a best weekend trekking destination for me. The step to Kalavantin fort makes the Kalavantin fort as a unique place to visit and the view of steps from Prabalgad is also an amazing scene. One day trekking along with night camping in winter makes the place as one of the best weekend destinations near Mumbai.
  • Height: 700 meters / 2300 ft
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Edurance Level: Medium Endurance Level
  • Trekking Duration: 1 day
  • How to reach: Panvel is the nearest railway station to the fort. From  Panwel bus stand, we can get a state transport bus to base village Thakurwadi.

2. Karnala Fort

  • Distance: 50 kms
  • Karnala fort is located in Raigad district near Panwel city at an elevation of 1440 feet in the Western Ghats. Trekking during the monsoon is really an exhilarating experience.  Today, the ruins of the fort are a popular destination for hiking and tourism. It is a wonderful trek of 1 hour from the bottom of the hill. There are 5 resting places on the pathway made by forest department. The final climbing steps near the entrance of the fort are made safe by iron railings. It is not advisable to cook food at the base of the pinnacle, as the smell of smoke irritates the Honey Bees. The water from the southernmost rock cut water cistern is potable. First aid is available at the Forest guest house. There is a water cistern which provides fresh water all year long. From the top the forts of Prabalgad, Manikgad, Haji Malang, Chanderi fort, Matheran, Sankshi fort, Dronagiri fort, and Rajmachi are clearly visible. One day trekking and the greenary makes the place as one of the best weekend destinations near Mumbai.
  • Height: 439 meters / 1440 ft
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Edurance Level: Medium Endurance Level
  • Trekking Duration: 1 day
  • How to reach: We can get state transport buses from – Mumbai Centrail / Dadar / Borivali / Vashi till Karnala Bird Sanctuary. Along with it Panwel railway station is the nearest railway station and we can get state transport buses or hire auto from there till Karnala Bird Sanctuary.

3. Bassein (Vasai) Fort



Vasai Fort
Vasai Fort – Image source – thehistoryhub.com

  • Distance: 67 kms
  • Fort Bassein / Vasai Fort / Bacaim (Marathi: वसई चा किल्ला) is a large fort in Vasai village, in the Vasai Tahsil of the District of Palghar, Konkan Division, Maharashtra State, Republic of India. The fort and the village are accessible most easily through the Vasai Road Railway Station, which itself is in Manikpur-Navghar, a part of the newly raised City of Vasai-Virar, and lies to the immediate north of the cities of Mumbai and Mira Road-Bhayander. The “Vasai Road” Railway Station is on the Western Railway line (formerly the Mumbai, Baroda & Central India Railways) in the direction of Virar Railway Station.
  • Height: 11 meters / 36 ft
  • Difficulty: Low
  • Edurance Level: Basic Endurance Level
  • Trekking Duration: 1 day
  • How to reach: We can reach the fort by taking a train up to Virar Railway Station from Churchgate. From here, we can hire auto-rickshaw or taxi to reach the fort. Adjacent to Virar station, there is a bus depot from where tourists can take a bus to the fort.

4. Mahuli Fort



Mahuli Fort
Mahuli Fort
Mahuli Fort

  • Distance: 75 kms
  • Mahuli Fort at 2815 ft, is a popular trekking destination and a paradise for rock climbers because of many nearby pinnacles with interesting names like Vazir, Vishnu, etc., given by the local trekking and climbing fraternity. This mountain complex is actually a group of two or more hills with common cols and pinnacles.It is the highest point in the Thane district. The forest surrounding Mahuli has been declared as a sanctuary. Once Shahaji Raje, father of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, had this fortress. The fort has been declared as a protected monument. Besides an open Shiva temple there is a small perennial drinking water cistern on top, three caves of which the larger can be used as overnight shelter, like as on many other such natural hill forts of Maharashtra Western Ghats (Sahyadri Range). There is a stone arch historically known as the ‘Kalyan Darwaja’ but the dome of the arch is now broken. Asangaon is on Mumbai-Nashik highway (91) km from Mumbai. 5 km inside on to the left is the Mahuli village. The nearest railway station to Mahuli is Asangaon. One can catch either the Asangaon or Kasara Local from Mumbai CST, which could also be caught at Kalyan or Thane Junction. One day trekking makes the place as one of the best weekend destinations near Mumbai.
  • Height: 858 meters / 2815 ft
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Edurance Level: Medium Endurance Level
  • Trekking Duration: 1 day
  • How to reach: The nearest railway station to Mahuli is Asangaon. One can catch either the Asangaon or Kasara Local from Mumbai CST, which could also be caught at Kalyan or Thane Junction.

5. Lohgad Fort

  • Distance: 95 kms
  • Lohagad (iron fort) is one of the many hill forts of Maharashtra state in India. Situated close to the hill station Lonavala and 52 km (32 mi) northwest of Pune. The fort is connected to the neighboring Visapur fort by a small range. The fort was under the Maratha empire for the majority of time, with a short period of 5 years under the Mughal empire. Waterfalls on route in monsoon, One day trekking along with night camping in winter makes the place as one of the best weekend destinations near Mumbai.
  • Height: 1033 meters / 3389 ft
  • Difficultylevel: Medium
  • Edurance Level: Basic Endurance Level
  • Trekking Duration: 1 day
  • How to reach: From Mumbai, we can either travel from Train or Bus or our own vehicle till Malawali railway station. From Mumbai, by train we need to reach till Lonawala by either passanger or express and then get Pune local and the very next stop is Malawali station and Lohgad is far nearer from this station. If travelling by own vehicle or bus, then from Malawali station, need to take right for Lohgad fort.

6. Rajmachi Fort



Rajmachi
Rajmachi – Image source – wikimedia.org

  • Distance: 95 kms
  • Rajmachi Fort is a popular destination for nature lovers, trekkers and for outdoor campers. In the rainy season from mid June to mid October, this region is all the more beautiful with clouds, silvery water falls, streams, lush green forests and meadows. The local families provide food and camping accommodation to the tourists. Rajmachi Fort was a strategic fort to control Borghat (the Ghat between Khopoli and Khandala on Mumbai-Pune route). The tourism has enabled the local community to give up traditional occupations like agriculture and cattle rearing. One day trekking, night camping in winter and dam on route and so water joy makes the place as one of the best weekend destinations near Mumbai.
  • Height: 439 meters / 2710 ft
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Edurance Level: Basic Endurance LevelDifficulty level – Medium
  • Trekking Duration: 1 day
  • How to reach: There are two ways first from Karjat side which is tough uphill starts from Kondivade village near Karjat and second via Lonavala as well.
  • How to Reach from Lonvala: Train – Bus till Lonvala followed by rickshaw till Tungarli Dam.
  • How to Reach from Karjat: You can take sharing Rickshaw or State Transport bus till base village. Rickshaw will stop one village before Kondivane. You can get rickshaw till kondivane caves route as well.

7. Kolaba Fort



Kolaba
Kolaba – Image source – wikimedia.org

  • Distance: 95 kms
  • Kolaba fort is an old military fortification in India. It is situated in the sea at a distance of 1–2 km from the shores of Alibag, 35 km south of Mumbai, in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, India. It is a popular tourist destination and a protected monument. The average height of the fort walls is 25 feet. It has two main entrances, one on the sea side and the other towards Alibag. An interesting feature of this fort is that it has freshwater wells in its premises even though it is a seaside fort. In the monsoons, the fort can be reached by wading through waist-deep water at low tide. However, at high tide, boats must be used to reach it. The fort should be visited during the low sea tide timings.
  • Height: sea level
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Edurance Level: Basic Endurance LevelDifficulty level – Medium
  • Trekking Duration: 1 day
  • How to reach: By Road: Route of Mumbai to Kolaba fort Mumbai – Kurla – Navi Mumbai – Ulwe – Chimer – Pen – Vadkhal – Poynad – Alibaug – Kolaba Fort.
    By Bus: From Mumbai there are state transport buses, local transport available to Alibaug, which is 96 km from Mumbai it takes 2 hrs 30 mins from Mumbai, there are boats available to Kolaba from Alibaug, which is around 2 km from Alibaug.

8. Visapur Fort



Visapur Fort
Visapur Fort Image source – pritskulkarni.blogspot.in

  • Distance:  95 kms
  • It is located in Pune district, 9 to 10 km from Malavli Railway station out of which 5 km is steep road. It is built on the same plateau as Lohagad. Visapur fort was built much later than Lohagad but the histories of the two forts are closely linked. Visiting forts in monsson is an amazing things in life. We can finish trekking in one day, waterfalls on route in monsson and night camp to fort in winter makes the place as one of the best weekend destinations near Mumbai.
  • Height: 1084 meters / 3556 ft
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Edurance Level: Basic Endurance LevelDifficulty level – Medium
  • Trekking Duration: 1 day
  • How to reach: From Mumbai, we can either travel from Train or Bus or our own vehicle till Malawali railway station. From Mumbai, by train we need to reach till Lonawala by either passanger or express and then get Pune local and the very next stop is Malawali station and Visapur is far nearer from this station. If travelling by own vehicle or bus, then from Malawali station, need to take right for Visapur fort.

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