Trekking, rafting, rappelling, motorbiking: the hills and coast within easy reach of Mumbai offer a number of adventurous monsoon activities.
WATERFALL RAPPELLING AT VIHIGAON (KASARA)
Vihigaon waterfall is 10 km from Kasara railway station, and half an hour’s walk from Vihigaon. The gush of water falling 120 ft will give anyone an adrenaline rush.
“Vihigaon is a unique place and easily approachable,” says Vikram Singh of Trekmates. “Compared to other places for rappelling, Vihigaon is less crowded. Most people still do not know about it.” His company takes teams of 100 people rappelling; a one day trip costs Rs 700-800. Overnight stays are in caves or tents.
Vikram Singh, 9987761562;
NATURE TRAIL TO VISAPUR FORT
This isolated and peaceful hill fort is a good weekend getaway. Access is via the same route as the popular trek to Lohagad Fort. From Bhaje, the village at the base of the hill, it is a two and a half hour walk to Visapur Fort. Bhaje is 74 km from Mumbai. It is well known for its group of rock-cut caves which are at least 2,000 years old. The walls of Visapur Fort have been properly preserved and are a good spot to take in the view toward Pawna Lake and Lonavla.
For more difficult climbing, Jayesh Morvankar of Odati Adventures recommends Prabalgad Fort, 2,300 ft up in the Sahyadri range. It is not far from the old tourist favourite, Matheran. “To reach Prabalgad,” he says, “one can either take the easier Bombay-Pune Expressway trail or the comparatively more challenging route which faces Matheran. Both are beautiful and will keep you involved.”
Odati Adventures usually takes a small group of 6-20 people for one-day or overnight treks. The cost is Rs 1,250 per person per day or Rs 2,200 for two days. This includes food, transport, guidance and tents and sleeping bags for overnight stays.
Odati Adventures: firstname.lastname@example.org;
call 9769679802, 022-26353861
PINNACLE CLIMBING AT KARNALA
Karnala, known for its bird sanctuary, is on the Mumbai-Alibaug highway. The sanctuary includes Funnel Hill and the historically important Karnala Fort. The fort overlooks the Bor Pass, a trading route between inland Maharashtra and the Konkan coast.
A trail through the sanctuary leads to the 150 ft pinnacle, a two-and-a-half hour climb.
“For rock-climbing, a lot of precautionary measures have to be taken,” says Yateen Gharat of Outdoor Adventure Management (OAM). “Therefore, go with an experienced group or organiser.” An adventure enthusiast, Gharat is a regular at activities like cycling to Rohtang Pass, rock climbing and pinnacle climbing.
OAM takes groups to Rajmachi for Rs 1,000 and to Karnala for Rs 750. Breakfast and evening snacks are provided, but carry your own lunch.
Outdoor Adventure Management: Yateen Gharat, 9820833622;
MOTORCYCLE RIDE DOWN THE KONKAN COAST
According to Konkan Moto Tours, all you need to motocross down the coast is a taste for adventure and an ordinary motorcycle of 150 cc engine capacity. The two-day, 500-km road trip from Panvel continues through Alibaug, Korlai, Kashid, Murud, Harihareshwar, Shrivardhan, Diveagar and Lonavala, and back.
“We have designed the route keeping in mind that we want to enjoy both the coastal route and the ghats. Therefore, the first day we will follow the coastal route and stop for the night at Diveagar. The next day we will cover the rest of the distance through the ghats”, says Abhishek Kadam of Konkan Moto Tours.
The company organises a coastal Konkan ride in October and a Ratnagiri ride in November. Each costs Rs 1,500 per day, excluding bike and fuel charges. For longer routes, a bike can be arranged.
Konkan Moto Tours: www.konkanmototours.com
FLYING FOX AND RAFTING AT KOLAD
Kolad, in the Raigad district, is best known for its river-rafting experience, but a visitor can couple that with other activities, like the flying fox. For the flying fox, one is harnessed to a zip line at a height and then slides downward a long distance at an angle.
Dhiren Talpade, founder of Jumpstart, says that “though rafting is a year-round activity, the thrill of doing it in the monsoon with the added water flow in the rapids and the rain merging with the spray from the river is an experience which should not be missed. I would recommend Kolad for an overnight stay.” A one-day trek costs around Rs 1,500, and a two-day trip with rafting and flying fox is Rs 4,000.
Jumpstart Mumbai: email@example.com;
Akul Tripathi, 9819726688;
Dhiren Talpade, 9619793983;
Ryan Thomas, 9920263810