Maharashtra

In and around My City, Mumbai!!

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Mumbai ❤ What do I say about this city that people don’t already know? The city that never sleeps, the city of dreams, inspiration, pollution, population, poverty and the city I was born in.

As a kid, I always lived in the protected shell of my parents. Coming back home by 7:00 PM was non-negotiable. I spent my day studying, watching TV and attending classes. That’s how most kids (especially girls) spent their childhood in India. I broke free only after moving to the USA and that’s definitely the best thing that happened to me. Which also makes me kind of sad, If only I could be free and parents could be free to let their daughters just be. Wish things were different…

Anyhoo!! Point being, Coming back to the home Country is always special. I usually come for two weeks, once in a year. That’s the only amount of time I can tolerate my parents restricting me from doing things (like going out with friends and staying out late) and not letting me just be :p. Soon I learnt, there is no point in rebelling or misunderstanding them for being that way. So I decided to come up with a peace treaty where I would come for two weeks and spend a week with them, travelling somewhere within the country and remaining days are for me to just explore Mumbai( that includes food, my favourite spots etc). This time I explored Bhutan with my parents and when I was back, it was time for my rituals!!

I call the list “Rituals” If you are in Mumbai, I would recommend giving them a try!

  • Poptates (in Mulund, Vidyavihar, Bandra): My most favourite place to have Chicken Shaslyk Sizzlers, chicken Lollypop and beer.
  • Mamledar Misal (in Thane): This was day 1 in the city, I was jet-lagged and one of my friends informed me about an app called Swiggy that was recently launched in India and that I could order food at home. I gave it a chance and I had my misal pav within 35 mins of time (well it’s awesome because it wasn’t the case before). I was super impressed with this app and how fast the service was and needless to say, the Misal was amazing!! 😀
  • Aachija Pav Bhaji (Mulund and Ghatkopar):  There are number of places in Mumbai that you can get amazing pav bhaji from, but this one is my favourite ❤
  • Powai Lake, Hiranandani to just sit back with some ice-cream/sweets from Theobroma 
  • Mahesh Lunch home: For some great Malvani food.
  • Marine drive: I love watching the sunset from here with the view of Mumbai’s skyline.
  • Colaba Causeway: For some cheap street shopping, this place is awesome.
  • Cafe Britannia: This place has good Iranian food. Their Kheema Berry Pulao and Chicken Dhansak are yummmm…
  • Elco Market: Another good spot for some street shopping and overpriced Paani Puri’s :p
  • Panchgani: My favourite weekend getaway spot.
  • Lavassa: Another favourite getaway destination near Pune.
  • Leopold cafe
  • Cafe Mondegear

I usually plan my stay in Mumbai two months prior to my visit. In the past 4 years, I have taken small trips to places within Maharashtra like Panchgani, Nashik, Lavasa, Pune.

Panchgani

Panchgani is a small hill station in Satara District near Mahabaleshwar. I have very fond memories of this place. My cousin sister was studying in Kimmins high school here and I use to visit her every other weekend or during our school vacations. So whenever I am in India, if feasible I make sure I go here. It’s about 5 hrs drive from Mumbai and 2 hrs from Pune. There are so many spots that I like to revisit.

1) Table Land:  What I Love the most about this place is the view of the city and the hills. Being the highest point in Panchgani, this place is a delight. You can drive up here and get a horse ride to explore or just walk. You will find tiger caves here where you can get some coffee and relax.

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Table Land!

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And the view ❤
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stairs to Tiger Caves

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2) Sydney point: I remember being absolutely jet-lagged and waking up early in the morning around 5:00 am. I was wondering what to do when I was in the hotel room. So I decided to go check out the sunrise and we were staying very close to Sydney point. I decided to just walk there and see the sunrise. The gorgeous view of Krishna valley is something you cannot miss during sunrise.

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View from Sydney Point

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Krishna Valley.

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3) Mapro garden: This is another famous tourist spot. It’s short for Mahabaleshwar products and is famous for their strawberry products.

4) Hotel Ravine: This is my favourite hotel to stay in Panchgani whenever I go there. Its right next to Sydney point and they have valley facing rooms and tents. A Valley facing room costs around Rs.4000 per night.

5) Shop in Mahabaleshwar: This is my favourite part 😀 You will find lots of handicrafts in Mahabaleshwar and if you can bargain its really awesome place to shop at.

Lavasa

So this is a private man-made hill city planned by Lavasa Corporation. We were here for a weekend. Khandala, Lonavala, Pune, Raigad are all places close to the city. The city is designed as per Italian town Portofino. You should just walk around in the city, that’s how you will see how beautiful it really is. Its just surrounded by greenery, lakes and multicoloured buildings. Temghar Dam is one of the famous destinations to get a complete view of the city.

On our way back we stopped at Pune for lunch at Mahesh Lunch home for some awesome Malvani food. After lunch, we dropped by German bakery for some dessert ❤

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Temghar Dam

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Their Carrot Cake is a must try!

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treats at German Bakery

Nashik

Its about 3 hrs drive away from Mumbai. the best thing about India is you don’t need to worry about driving and can just contact any car agency close to you to hook you up with a car and driver for however many days you like. We booked a car with a driver and drove to Nashik on one weekend. The view of Sahyadri range on your drive going via NH160 is unbelievable. We were driving to Sula vineyards in Nashik.  Along with wine tastings and winery tour they also offer to stay at their hotel- Beyond by Sula and The source at Sula

The winery tour is about 1hr long after which you go for wine tasting. I love Sula vine ❤

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We were staying at Soma vine Village, which had a really beautiful view of vineyards from the hotel. Its located at the edge of the backwaters of Gangapur Dam. We were welcomed with one of their vines and we spent the rest of our day exploring the hotel and the area which has yet another breathtaking view of Sahyadri range and Godavari river.

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Soma Vine Village

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The next day was spent exploring Nashik, we were just driving around when we decided to check out Kalaram Temple. After which we went to see Pandavleni Caves. These caves are at 20-minute hike with an entry fee of Rs.20.

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Near the Temple

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Pandavleni Caves

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We then went back to the hotel and relaxed with some good wine and food.

After few weekend getaways, I always go to my favourite spots in the city.

Gateway Of India

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Mohammad Ali

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Bandstand!

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Bandra-Worli Sealink

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Marine Drive ❤

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There are many more places to still explore in Maharashtra. So I make a point that every year I go, I visit one at a time 🙂 What I miss the most and every Indian abroad would agree with is food!! I definitely miss it the most and always indulge when I am in my country. I see so many blogs that have come up recently that give a great idea on where and what to eat when in India. FoodmaniacIndia is my favourite and go to guide

I believe I have enjoyed doing the things and revisiting places I always liked growing up. These are my favourite places in and around Maharashtra 🙂 Now that I am back in Seattle, totally nostalgic writing this blog 😦

 

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