I recently returned from Igatpuri. As always, I had gone without telling anyone. Upon my return, my friend said what she usually says with the expression that can tell you that she has given up on me. “You again went without me?”, She asked. “Why don’t you tell me places to visit in Igatpuri so that I can make a plan with my OTHER friends?”, She quipped. She emphasized on “Other friends”.
While I understand her frustration and angst, I can’t be the traveler that plans and invites friends. Wait…Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my friends. I have traveled with them in the past but when I travel alone, I don’t visit a place. I live in the place. I breathe the place. I don’t think, right now, my friend is interested in knowing why I travel solo but I will share my story with you hoping when you go to this place, you live differently this time. I hope you treat mother nature like she is a blessing. I hope you protect it like you are its child. I hope you become one with nature and you see no one but the beauty it paints on a white canvas.
Nestled in the surroundings of Sahyadri peaks, a small town in Nasik, Igatpuri shows you the Western Ghats. The beauty of Western Ghats multiplies manifold when during the monsoons, forests get dense, waterfalls start to reverberate and the green becomes profuse.
During my childhood days, when my mother used to take me to my relatives, I would shut my eyes in the car and imagine all the beautiful places in the world. I would make my imaginary world, which I distinctly remember, had lush green peaks, cotton clouds, little butterflies on the flowers and meadows where I could run. Igatpuri reminded me of my childhood dream. It is the kind of place that I had envisaged with my eyes closed. Back then I had my mother’s lap and in Igatpuri, I had other mother nature’s blessings.
First, here are a few details that you should know about Igatpuri to plan a trip.
Igatpuri is one of the most preferred weekend getaway destinations for both Mumbaikars and Punekers. It is around 120 KMs from Mumbai and 240 KMs from Pune. It lies between Mumbai and Nasik. It has a very huge railway station that makes it extremely easy to commute and get around there. Trains leave from Mumbai and Nasik to Igatpuri at different times, you can choose as per your convenience. If you have a car, I would suggest you do a road trip and take the car as it allows you more liberty to stop and click photos of the beautiful valley and waterfalls. The train, however, has its own charm. The train passes through mountains and offers a scenic view. I took a train. It was safe and convenient for a solo traveler like me. Alternatively, you can also opt for buses that run from Mumbai, Pune, and Nasik to Igatpuri.
Distance from Mumbai Airport – 122 KMs
Distance from Pune Airport – 255 KMs
Distance from Nasik Airport – 65KMs
Igatpuri is not just famous among trekkers and tourists but it is also famous among Bollywood directors. A lot of films have been directed here. As discussed above, the best time to visit Igatpuri is indeed Monsoon, in the months of June, July, and August. However, you can also go after Monsoon in the month of September if you like lush greenery but don’t like too much rain.
Trekking, Hiking, Camping, Monsoon Trekking, Sightseeing, Boating, etc.
There are many things to do at Igatpuri. It offers not just scenic views but also a lot of other things such as temples, lakes, hidden waterfalls, Vipassana center, high altitude peaks, etc.
Located a few KMs from Bhatsa river, exists a V-shaped astounding natural wonder, known as Camel Valley. You can’t miss the view of 5 waterfalls at the camel valley. This place is heaven for photography enthusiasts as it provides a mesmerizing landscape view. The clouds during the monsoon touch the mountains and offer a soothing experience. You can breathe in all the freshness of nature here.
A paradise for trekkers, Bhatsa valley is situated at the basin of Bhatsa River which is also the end of the ghat. While coming from Mumbai, you first encounter this beautiful river that not only captures your attention but also captivates you. The beautiful vegetation here makes this place famous among trekkers and campers.
Some of us always look for some offbeat adventure, don’t we? Well, Umbrella Falls and Randhwa fall flourish with pristine water during the months of monsoon making the place a favorite for many waterfall lovers and offbeat travel enthusiasts. You should not miss this place even in the month of September.
Situated at 5400 feet height, Kalsubai Peak is the highest peak of the Sahyadri Ranges and entire Maharashtra. Thus, some people also call it Mt. Everest of Maharashtra. It is 32 KMs from Igatpuri. This is another favorite spot of wildlife enthusiasts and trekkers. The trek can be a little challenging but it is moderately difficult. There is also a Kalsubai Temple that the trekkers visit. It also provides a view of Bhandardara.
This fort also seems to be inviting a lot of hikers and trekkers as it is situated at a height of 3000 ft. Those who can’t visit Kalsubai, can hike this fort, and witness a panoramic view of the entire town and can look at Kalsubai range. It also has a temple of Lord Hanuman which attracts a lot of tourists. Since the fort is situated at a height, it’s architecture is a unique piece of work in itself.
This dam is built on the Vaitarna river. It is one of the oldest concrete dams of our country which makes it unique and special. This dam also supplies water to parts of Mumbai. The dam looks beautiful during evening time and it also offers a view of the entire western ghats. It is also one of the best sunset points because when the sun goes down here, it feels like it is meeting the water.
As the name suggests, at Vipassana International Academy, you can perform meditation. Vipassana is an ancient way of mediation in which complete silence is required for 10 days. It can seem difficult for some people but It brings balance and peace inside one’s body. A lot of people visit this place to find their inner-selves and to get in touch with it. This place is also known as Dhamma Giri. It offers a lot of courses that one can opt for.
There are many lakes in Igatpuri and this one is the most scenic and mesmerizing. During the monsoon, it becomes even more active. From the fort, the lake can be seen. The lake is also surrounded by mountain ranges such as Kuland and Kalsubai. If you want to relax during the mornings or evenings, you must visit this lake.
Igatpuri offers almost everything to a traveler. It is the traveler’s job to pick locations and sights of his choice. From waterfalls to temples and from forts to lakes, it has everything. For the people who like to visit ancient temples, Ghatandevi Temple is a must-visit. Ghatandevi also means the protector of ghats.
Arthur Lake is famous as Arthur Hill Lake. It is formed from the water of the Pravara River. The lake has dense forest surrounding it from all sides. It is believed that Agastya Rishi meditated here for a year. People enjoy taking boat rides in this lake. You must visit it to enjoy the sunset and beautiful landscape.
These are the few things that you can do at Igatpuri if you have 3-4 days in your hand. If you are visiting the place only for the weekend then you can visit local places such as the fort, dam, temples and camel valley.
Igatpuri is a place that offers different options for different people. As for me, I breathed in the freshness of surrounding and showed gratitude to God for creating nature so beautiful. I spoke to the local people and enjoyed tea with them. I spoke to the priest in the temple and got to know the history of it. I spoke to the boat-man and he told me stories about the lake and the fort. Every day, I woke up early just to watch the sunrise. Sunrise at the lake and sunrise at the KalsubaiPeak took my breath away and reminded me of my childhood dream. I finally lived the dream. You would believe me when you also visit the place and its serenity eradicates all the stress and strain from your mind and body.
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