Pune: With the onset of the monsoon in the State, Puneites have started thronging the hill stations and other ‘wet’ places around the city to enjoy the perfect monsoon getaway.
While the resorts and waterfalls and forts around the city are already full, travel experts feel that the number of people opting out of these usual getaways, and instead looking for a less-visited destination or a different type of tourism has increased significantly.
“Monsoon tourism is not just about enjoying under a waterfall and relaxing at a resort in a picturesque location any more,” said Nilesh Bhansali, Director of Travel Agents Association of Pune (TAAP).
He added, “People are fed up of just going to Lonavla, Matheran, Mahabaleshwar or Goa, the traditionally favourite monsoon destinations. Now they wish to try something new. Mulshi, Velhe, Panshet and Malshej Ghat developed a few years ago to cater to the offbeat demands of tourists and the footfall at these places has increased a lot now. So now, we are introducing new places like Pavana Lake, Nilshi, Shilimb, small lesser-known villages nestled in nature’s lap, that are not very far from Pune.”
Bhansali said the new-age tourists are also looking for activity-based tourism. “Very soon, we will be planning a tour where the participants will be able to indulge in activities like paddy plantation or firefly
Cycling is another new trend among monsoon travel lovers. “In monsoon, we have special cycling tours. We have observed that the number of riders interested in monsoon cycling tours is higher than usual,” said Abhijeet Londhe, Secretary, Indo Cyclists Club (ICC).
Lohgad, Visapur, Tikona, Rajmachi and Tamhini are some of the most popular getaways for cyclists, added Londhe. “These days, people love to explore nature in its rawest form, and one of the best times for them to do so happens to be the monsoon,” said Shrikant Mestry, who arranges regular tours to Amboli every year during rainfall.
“What most people want is a place that can provide them with everything rain has to offer and Amboli is one of the perfect places. It has waterfalls, good resorts, heavy rainfall and people also enjoy night trails in the dense forests. People come here to spot indigenous plants as well as different types of snakes, frogs and other animals in Amboli’s forests. While some people think this activity interests youngsters alone, I have taken people as old as 65 years on Amboli tours, thus proving that it has no age bars,” Mestry added.
“If we talk about the class that has the capability to spend, a new trend of Rakhi Tourism can be noticed amongst them, since the last year or so. Here, a group of 10 to 20 close-knit family members, usually close relatives, first cousins, book a resort at a monsoon destination like Mulshi, Matheran, Lonavla and enjoy there for a couple of days. This is one of the major new trends growing rapidly,” Bhansali said.