Pune – a culturally vibrant city in India surrounded by the hills. This location means there are ample options for one-day outings from Pune.
In the lap of the Sahyadri mountain range (the western ghats are referred to as the Sahyadris in Maharashtra), Pune is connected by good highways in all directions. In little over an hour of travel out of Pune, you can be in the middle of nature, of different kinds – from swaying fields to lush green forests, grasslands to rocky craters with a good dose of history and culture thrown in.
If we list down all the options for one-day outings from Pune that will get you close to nature, it would make for a booklet. Instead, we will suggest 5 kinds of day trips easily possible from Pune, which will transport you to a different world. It doesn’t take much planning to head to these destinations. The day-trips from Pune are suitable for all age groups, making them perfect for family outings as well.
Here’s our list of 5 one-day outings from Pune to get close to nature
Tamhini Ghat is hands down our favourite outing from Pune. It’s one of the several routes that connect the Sahyadris to the Konkan coast – this one from the Pune region to the Raigad district of Konkan which is the west coast of India in Maharashtra. Monsoon months are the best time to visit the Tamhini ghat.
How to reach Tamhini Ghat?
- Head to Chandni Chowk in Pune. Reach here early in the morning to avoid the city traffic. At Chandni Chowk, take the road heading to Pirangut.
- You will first come across what are now crowded urban villages like Bhugaon and Lavale.
- Once past these villages, you will get a vantage view over the small Pirangut ghat.
- Past Pirangut, you reach a tri-section called Ghotawade phata. The road on the left leads to Lavassa, the one on the right is the Ghotawade road. Straight ahead is the road to Mulshi which is the one you take to head to the Tamhini ghat.
- Once you are on the Mulshi road, you will start seeing resorts every few metres, indicating that the “tourist spots” are nearby.
- Driving straight along this road will get you to Tamhini village, beyond which the Tamhini ghat and the descent into Raigad district begins.
What to do on your day-trip to Tamhini ghat?
- When we visited Tamhini ghat from Pune, we were asked by some tourists about what was there to do on the Tamhini ghat. We were at a loss for words. We just pointed to the landscape around and said…”look at this?”. Soak in the beauty – that’s what you do at Tamhini ghat.
- Start as early as you can, because you will want to stop and look at many places. Almost everywhere is picture-postcard perfect. Take the time to soak in the rains and the landscape.
- Mulshi has a big lake. Entering the lake is not permitted for safety reasons (there is a known population of crocodiles in this lake). But the views of the Mulshi lake surrounded by the hills covered in a thick monsoon fog are enough compensation for not being able to enter the lake itself.
- This is the Maval region of Pune which grows a special variety of rice called “Indrayani”. It’s an aromatic, flavourful sticky sort of rice. You’ll see the village folk working in the rice fields all through the journey. This is your chance to buy this special “Indrayani” rice directly from the farmers.
- Waterfalls and gushing streams are all over. Some – stunning ones are visible on sheer cliffs at the roadside. There’s no fencing whatsoever, giving everyone “easy access” to these cliffs. A word of warning: Be careful. Don’t let the excitement cause any harm.
- A beautiful waterfall off the main road is at Palase. Park your car near the Atmantan resort and start walking through a muddy pathway on the left. A short walk will lead to this Palase waterfall.
- There are side roads along the entire Tamhini ghat road which leads to fairytale-like villages or dense forests. A road to the right at the village Pimpri is the starting point of the Andharban forest trek – trekking through a dark forest is a popular trek (not suitable for all ages, decent fitness required). If you venture on any of these off roads, make sure your car is in excellent condition. Preferably have more than one car in your group, for safety’s sake. These inside roads are pothole-ridden.
- The Tamhini village is a scantily populated sleepy village. It has an ancient stone temple of the Goddess Vinzai.
- The good thing about travelling to the Tamhini ghat is that you can turn around from anywhere. The point to keep in mind is that you should try and reach the city before the evening peak hours begin. Otherwise, there are chances of getting stuck in a traffic jam on your return journey.
Facilities available on the Tamhini ghat
- There are a number of resorts and eateries along the entire route to Tamhini ghat, so you need not carry any food.
- Also, these restaurants mean that toilet facilities are easily available.
- You will find a number of street-side vendors selling the local wild fruits. You should taste a few of these for the local flavour.
- Medical facilities and mechanics might not be easily available.
Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary
Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is known for its population of the Indian gazelle. Unlike the Maval region, the Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary has a brown landscape of the dry scrub forest. Winter months from November to January are the best time to visit. There are chances of spotting migratory birds in this season.
How to reach Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary?
- The Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is at a distance of 71 km from Pune.
- There are a number of ways to reach here from Pune, depending on where you start the journey from – via Uruali Kanchan, Saswad or via Katraj. Try to reach these places by daybreak so you not only avoid the city traffic but also enjoy some birding in the early morning hours.
- Supe is the nearest village to the Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary.
- After making an entry at the office of the Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, you can explore the actual sanctuary, on the opposite side of the road by foot or by car ( you are allowed to take your own vehicle inside).
Things to do on your outing to the Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary
- If you take the Saswad route, you can halt for breakfast at Saswad. Right from Saswad, farmlands begin.
- In the winters, you will see farms full of pink winter blooms ready for harvest. Jowar (sorghum) fields shine golden in the winter sun.
- Near the village of Singapur, there’s an open rocky patch. If travelling in an SUV, you can go offroading here. This is where we had our first sighting of the Indian gazelle.
- Inside the Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, there are a number of routes (trails) that you can take. Some go across the sanctuary, some along the edges. You will now be face to face with a characteristic landscape of rain shadow Maharashtra.
- Afternoons are a good time to relax on the watchtower as even in the winters, the afternoon overhead sun can be harsh on this open landscape. Golden grassland against black rocky mountains will be the view all around you.
- Step down from the watchtowers later in the afternoon, as the drylands get covered in a golden glow and the flat babul treetops get covered in a mellow glow.
- You will spot birds like Larks, Lapwings, Bee-eaters, Pied Bushcats, Shrikes and even some birds of prey doing their thing.
- You will spot the Indian gazelles taking shade under the few, thorny flat-topped babul and neem trees.
- When we visited, we had the whole sanctuary to ourselves and because it’s a treeless landscape, we knew there was no one but us here, in a human-less sanctuary listening to the sounds of the forest, the gentle breeze as the dry grass rustled under our feet.
Facilities at the Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary
- The forest department has 3 tents which can be booked for an overnight stay if you fancy the idea of spending the night in the forest. This is also where the toilets are.
- Food and water are not available inside or anywhere close to the sanctuary. Supe the nearest village is where you can have your meals.
- You are allowed to carry food and water inside. If you do, please do not feed anyone other than yourself. Don’t leave any trash behind. Don’t do anything that will damage this characteristic ecosystem.
- Carry enough water.
Just around 50 km from Pune, this is probably the easiest one-day outing from Pune with a mix of nature, history and food. Unlike the Tamhini ghat and the Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary for which you need to have a private vehicle, Bhor can be easily visited by public transport.
How to reach Bhor?
- Head south of Pune along the Bangalore highway. You can take the route via Katraj or along the Sinhagad road to get out of Pune and onto this highway.
- At the Bhor phata, take the right. Soon the Bhatghar dam will come into view. Cross this and follow the straight road into Bhor.
- The town starts past a small bridge. This is where the bus will drop you if you’re travelling by public transport. Ask anyone for directions to the rajwada (palace).
Things to do in Bhor
- A quirky little palace of the Peshwa era is in a semi-dilapidated state. Made in black stone, mythical creatures are carved in wood on the brackets, the stone has some fine gold print embossed in it (reminded us of Chinese architecture). The palace is available on rent if you fancy a royal wedding, without having to sell your kidneys!
- Palange in Bhor is famous for its mutton thali. Order conservatively, a single thali was enough for the two of us.
- On the way back, alight at Sangvi. Take a narrow path off the road to your left. There’s a small spot here, hidden from easy view. You can enjoy a beautiful view of the Bhatghar dam and the water sprawled in front of you. The Sahyadris rise majestically as if protecting all this water which is the lifeline. Only the howling winds will break the quiet calm you feel.
Also in the rain shadow region of the Sahyadris, at the foothills of the famous twin hill-stations of Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar is the beautiful town of Wai. The town of Wai is situated on the banks of the river Krishna. Wai gets a lot of its character from this river Krishna.
How to reach Wai?
- Unlike the previous three destinations we have mentioned for day outings from Pune, Wai is in the district of Satara.
- Though at a distance of 80 km, most of this journey is along the well-paved Mumbai – Bangalore highway and can be reached in less than two hours.
- Like Bhor, frequent public transport is available for Wai as well.
Things to do in Wai
- Of course, you can go for drives to Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar and pay a quick visit to spots like Arthur’s Seat.
- Wai is prominent for its temples built in the Hemadpanthi architectural styles. Built in stone there are many temples along the ghats of the river Krishna.
- Nana Phadnavis, a minister during the Peshwa rule is a prominent historical figure associated with Wai. The Phadnavis wada, also on the Krishna ghat should be visited to not only see the house but also enjoy its peaceful location.
- The backwaters of the Dhom dam are a perfect spot for a picnic lunch!
Yes, I agree this sounds like an oxymoron since we are talking about day outings from Pune that will bring you close to nature. But allow us to explain. Mumbai, being the colossal city that it is, there are many places to visit in Mumbai. Many of which are close to the one thing that Mumbai has and Pune doesn’t – the sea!
There’s also the Sanjay Gandhi National Park – a rare national park within the limits of a metro city. Kanheri Caves, the Shilonda trails, the One Tree Hill trek can all be done as a day trip from Pune.
Besides these one-day outings from Pune that will bring you close to nature, the city itself has a number of hills that you can visit. The Vetal tekdi, the Hanuman tekdi, the Taljai hill are the local hills within the city limits that can be visited daily even for morning walks.
Its geographical location means there is no dearth of places that you can visit for one-day outings from Pune. All the places that we have recommended for day trips can also be extended to longer weekend getaways from Pune.