The Western Ghats are great for monsoon escapades. Khandala, Lonavala, Malshej Ghat and so on are some of the exotic places which young couples, families and others throng to enjoy and have fun. Recently, I had an opportunity to experience the beauty of Malshej Ghat near Pune. The ghats were simply mindblowing.
What could have been better than a torrential rain at our starting point? As I reached Malshej Ghat through some of the most picturesque locales, I was stunned experiencing the magic of rains which added to the overall beauty of the place. Small crabs, monkeys, colourful bugs on flowers and frogs enjoying the rains made it all so breathtaking and musical. The view of the white streams of water flowing between the greenery on the mountains was just awesome.
On my way to Malshej Ghat, and also on the return journey to Mumbai, what I enjoyed most were the monsoon waterfalls. During the rainy season the area comes alive with numerous cascading waterfalls.
At the Ghats, you can enjoy some natural music played by flowing waters and flora and fauna. The morning fog, which blankets everything in the area, the slight chill in the air that makes you shiver and cuddle up, and the lush green carpet as far as the eye can see is what makes this a perfect landscape. The ghat area, which is often dry through the year, teems with life when the rains spark off a miraculous change.
Also, birds arrive here in huge numbers. These are migratory birds which make Malshej Ghat their home during the monsoons. I particularly visited the area for flamingos, but bad luck was in store for me. I was told that this year flamingos have given Malshej Ghat a miss, and I could not spot a single one. But there were many other varieties of birds to spot and identify like Alpine Swift, Whistling Thrush, Quail, Purple Moorhen, Pied Crusted Cuckoo, cranes, etc.
Malshej Ghat is an awesome place to visit. Cool, breezy and peaceful — the place left an indelible mark on my mind.
Where to stay?
Since the area is at a considerable distance from a small town, there are not many lodging options here. Also don’t expect any posh restaurants or shopping malls. Flamingo Hill is the best bet here, which is a resort run by Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC). There are other small private resorts where you can spend a day or two.
Accommodation is also available in a nearby village called Madh, which is about 6 km away from Malshej Ghat.
What to do at Malshej Ghat?
Bird watching at Pimpalgaon Joga Dam — The 5-km long Pimpalgaon Joga Dam built over the mesmerising Pushpawati River is one of the main attractions in Malshej Ghat. The dam is also a haven for several migratory birds.
Trek to Harishchandragad Fort — It’s a lovely trek up to Harishchandragad Fort, a 6th century monument.
Trekking Trails — Most popular trails are Ajoba Hill Fort, Darkoba Peak, Jivdhan Chawand Fort and Nane Ghat.
The historic Shivneri Fort — Located about 40 km from Malshej Ghat, this 17th century fort was the birthplace of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Cascading waterfalls — The beauty of Malshej Ghat is enhanced manifold by the many seasonal cascading waterfalls. Visitors coming here throng to these small and big waterfalls for picnics and also to take shower in natural settings.