Take on the monsoon!
Weekend getaways, journeys of discovery, chill-out breaks. Take your pick!
Out of MUMBAI (120 Km)
Sign up for a monsoon trek in Igatpuri, Maharashtra
Encircled by the highest peaks of the lofty Sahyadris at 2,000ft above sea level, Igatpuri checks all the boxes for a lovely weekend getaway – in the monsoons, it’s a welcome relief from daily city-life travails. Head westward for Tringalwadi Hill Fort, the area’s crowning glory at 3,000ft. En route, you’ll spot the ornate pagoda of the famous Dhamma Giri Vipassana Centre in the distance. After traversing through several freshly-ploughed fields, you’ll come across the Pandav Leni Jain caves – the overcast sky lends a haunting atmosphere to the derelict pillars, broken statues and chipped carvings. While it’s an easy climb, be careful as you follow the narrow path that leads up to the intriguing fort entrance. From the vantage of the fort’s ruins, you have incredible views of the Kulang and Kalsubai mountain ranges shrouded in mist and shadow, as well as of Tringalwadi Lake. Take your time marvelling at the beauty, and, when you retrace your steps back down, indulge in some sweet tea and a big pile of bhajjias, as you watch the hills blur behind a wall of rain.
Out of BANGALORE (140 Km)
Eat your way across Mysore, Karnataka
According to legend, Kakasura Madappa, a cook in the royal kitchen, invented Mysore pak to comply with the wishes of the Maharaja of Mysore, who was keen on creating a signature sweet for the city. Guru Sweets Mart, now 80 years old and run by Madappa’s family, continues the legacy of the humble sweet made of gram flour, ghee and sugar. But, it isn’t the city’s only iconic culinary institution. At Original Vinayaka Mylari, every diner is simply served the famous benne masala dosa with chutney and a dollop of butter (benne). GTR (Gayatri Tiffin Room) Hotel turns out an equally-scrumptious masala dosa as well as special rice dishes like bisibele bhath. If you need a break from all that amazing vegetarian food, head to RRR Biryani for a Hyderabadi that will put your spice tolerance levels to the test. Another good spot for carnivores is Jai Bhuvaneswari Military Hotel, a no-frills restaurant with a loyal fan following. It’s a long drive away but the mildly-spiced mutton chops and bheja fry with ragi mudde (finger millet balls) make it worth your while.
Out of MUMBAI (511 Km)
Soak in the rich history of Burhanpur, Madhya Pradesh
Perched on the northwestern banks of the Tapti River, Burhanpur has witnessed centuries of Mughal drama. It was here that Mumtaz Mahal died in 1631, at the age of 38, and it is here that Shah Jahan had originally decided to build the Taj Mahal. But the Mughal emperor’s fascination with building tombs extended beyond Mumtaz Mahal. Case in point: the well-preserved tomb of Begum Shah Shuja, which was built for his commander Shah Shuja’s wife. 20km away from the city is Mahal Gulara, where you’ll spot a plaque that cites it as a ‘pleasure house’. Legend has it that Shah Jahan would visit his courtesan, Gulara, here on full moon nights. Burhanpur has quite a few other historical sites, but the star is undoubtedly Shahi Qila. Built by Faruqi kings and revamped by Shah Jahan, it’s easy to imagine how opulent it must have been centuries ago – Mumtaz Mahal’s hammam even has a marble bath and frescos on its dome. Whispers of past grandeur linger in the city: if you know where to look, you’ll find old houses that are beautiful examples of Indian rural architecture.
To know more about a monsoon trek in Igatpuri, eateries across Mysore and the rich history of Burhanpur, check out LPMI’s August 2019 issue. Pick up a copy from your newsstand or click to subscribe via Zinio or Magzter.