A thriving, vibrant metropolis, Pune is a centre of academia and business that epitomises ‘New India’ with its baffling mix of capitalism, spiritualism, ancient and modern. It’s also globally famous, or notorious, for an ashram, the Osho International Meditation Resort, founded by the late guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.
Here are a few uncommon weekend getaways from Pune
Daman is a small area located between the State of Maharashtra, Gujarat and the Arabian sea. Daman possesses a rich cultural heritage. The history of Daman dates back to 2000 years and has witnessed various rulers, conquests and surrenders. The Portuguese observed this port in the 16th century and acquired it from the Shahs.
Daman exhibits a salubrious climate throughout and comprises of casuarina windbreaks, quiet sea shores, exquisite beaches and easy availability of liquor. The place also attracts history students and enthusiasts owing to the distinctly visible Portuguese influence. The beaches and religious areas in Daman are a spirited combination of silver talcum sands, stretches of palm groves and ancient monuments. On all the festive occasions the locals decorate the parks throughout and celebrate all the major events with great fun and gusto. The leather products, bamboo mats and baskets are extremely enticing for shopping freaks. The handmade articles are also worth buying.
Matheran, literally ‘Jungle Above’, is a tiny patch of peace and quiet capping a craggy Sahyadri summit within spitting distance of Mumbai’s heat and grime. Endowed with shady forests criss-crossed with foot trails and breathtaking lookouts, it still retains an elegance and colonial-era ambience, though creeping commercialism and illegal construction are marring its appeal.
Getting to Matheran is really half the fun. While speedier options are available by road, nothing beats arriving in town on the narrow-gauge toy train that chugs up to the heart of the settlement. Motor vehicles are banned within Matheran, making it an ideal place to give your ears and lungs a rest and your feet some exercise.
The village of Diveagar is a notable tourist destination in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. The village is famous for its beach which is serene and tranquil and is not infested with tourists. Diveagar is a splendid beach almost 15km from Shrivardhan and Harihareshwar. Though usually the beach is solitary, the place is marked by influx of large number of devotees at Suvarna Ganesh temple which houses a pure gold idol. The beach is strewn with rocks at some places.
Diveagar is approximately 170 kms from Pune and the route to Diveagar via the Tamhini Ghats is astoundingly beautiful particularly during monsoons. One has to take NH 17 in order to reach Diveagar from Mumbai. Diveagar is richly abundant in beetel nut, jackfruit and banana plantations. 'Belu' plants cover access to the Diveagar beach. One can make Diveagar trip unforgettable by catching a ferry from Dighi to Murud Janjira. Sand bubble crabs are found at the Diveagar beach and at Harihareshwar one can find dolphins.
Diveagar is well connected to major cities by road transport, train and flight services.
Credits: Lonely Planet, Tourism