If you’re planning a short weekend getaway, Igatpuri is the perfect little hamlet you can escape to. Located only 130 km of Mumbai, this hill station in the Western Ghats provides a flawless blend of complete relaxation and adventure activities.
Here are a number of attractions that Igatpuri offers, proving that it has something for every visitor:
- Scenic surroundings
Igatpuri is located in the highest branch of the Western Ghats, the Sahyadri Hills. It is surrounded by imposing green mountains on every side. During monsoons, all the waterfalls in these mountains fill up and start gushing with water, making it a truly memorable site to visit.
- Historic Buildings
The surrounding hills all have forts going back to the Satavahana dynasty, one example being the Tringalwadi Fort, located 1300 m above sea level. Igatpuri is also home to the Dhammagiri Meditation Centre, which is the largest centre teaching vipassana meditation, and in this capacity draws people all over the world.
The pagoda of Dhammagiri is an instant tourist attraction.
- Adventure activities
From hitchhiking in the nearby hills to river-rafting on the Vaitarna Dam, there’s no end to the activities you can pursue here if you want a diversion.
How to get to Igatpuri—The Best Ways
Igatpuri is immensely well-connected, as it lies on the Mumbai-Nasik Central Line, and the trains have to make a stop here in order to make an engine change. Most trains however stop at Kasara, from where one takes an up-hill bus to Igatpuri.
But the best option to reach Igatpuri is to take a rental car and drive from Mumbai. The megacity and hill-station are connected by the National Highway 3 that goes from Mumbai to Agra. The roads are in good condition, there’s comparatively less traffic and the view on the long drive is exceedingly beautiful. Here are a number of travel particulars if you’re driving a car out of town.
- If you manage to leave early and avoid the traffic, you’re due to reach Igatpuri from Mumbai in a maximum of three hours. Once you’re on the National Highway, it won’t take more than 2 hours
- Make sure you take enough fuel, both for the onward journey and return. There are a number of petrol pumps on the way, but making continuous stops somewhat dampens the enthusiasm.
- The scenery is beautiful, with the rolling fields of the countryside on either side. You will pass a number of ghats, with the formidable mountains on one side and the scenic valley on the other. In addition, there are a number of sites you can enjoy along the way; starting from Mumbai itself. Catch the famous Tungeswar temple, the Tara Singh Temple, the Sai Mandir, the Krishna Dan and Dive Village Lake.
- You can drive over the Vaitarna Dam on the way. Once on the hills, you’ll also have to pass over a number of waterfalls on your drive, if you visit during the monsoons.
Where to stay—The Best Fares and Amenities
Igatpuri is a popular travel destination, not only for sightseers but also for important conferences, weddings and film shoots. Hence the area is virtually throbbing with a number of accommodations; hotels, guest houses, spas and resorts, so that there’s something for every pocket.
- Low to medium budget
If you’re not on that high a budget, you can camp out at the Hotel Comfort Inn, Hotel Panchvati, or Radhika Inn. The rates here are good, and the accommodation is reliable.
- Medium level budget
Those wanting to unwind in further luxury can go to the Manas Resort and the Dew Drops Boutique Resort. They have excellent views of the valley, and come equipped with modern amenities like room T.V, air-conditioning, attached baths, swimming pools etc.
- High level Budget
If you want to invest in quality accommodation, go to the Mystic Valley Spa Resort. It’s a three star resort located snugly on top of the hills, from where you get an excellent view of the Camel valley. The food and service is excellent. The hotel has a number of activities on offer, including outdoor treks, local sightseeing etc.
Unwind in style at Igatpuri—what to see, do etc.
Nestled amidst natural charms, Igatpuri has a number of attractions which can all be reached by trekking or by drive.
- Bhatsa River Valley
Make sure you drive down to the Bhatsa River Valley, on the banks of the serene Bhatsa River. This place is quiet and secluded, a perfect refuge from the humdrum of the regular city. Sit next to the sandy river bank and indulge in contemplation.
- Tringalwadi Fort
This is a must see for all Igatpuri visitors. Located high above in the mountains, it can be accessed by trekking, but is well worth the effort. Its allure lies in the marvellous architecture and the panoramic view of the entire hillside from the top.
- Trimbakeshwar Temple
The temple is unique in housing one of the twelve jyotirlingas of the world. It is a historic site, as it was commissioned by Nanasaheb Peshwa. It is located on the foot of the Brahmagiri Mountains, which is the origin of the Godavari River. Reaching Trimbakeshwar from Igatpuri is easy by car, and the beauty of its surroundings, its religious and architectural significance etc. all make it a must-stop on your visit.
- Vaitarna Dam
The dam is one of the chief attractions of Igatpuri. The huge serene lake on one side is an ideal spot for boating amidst the quiet green hills. At specific times during the year, the river water is released and then this area becomes the hot-spot of river rafting.
It may be said that Igatpuri is an ideal spot for a weekend getaway, because of its proximity to Mumbai as well as its natural appeal. Though well connected on every side, it is mostly a quiet and secluded space through most of the year. Surrounded by a number of interesting haunts, this place should be on your quick-trip list if you’re looking for a drive out of the city.