Lake hopping in Western Ghats

We ride two Ducati motorcycles – Scrambler and Multistrada, one Skoda car – Octavaia, and the newly-launched Audi Q5 facelift to a beautiful part of India.

 

India has some incredible lake clusters—the great lakes of Kashmir, the tals of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, the lakes of southern Rajasthan, everywhere on the Western and Eastern Ghats, and in the entire Northeast. So, the next time you travel, forget Como, visit Loktak instead

Forget the Lake District of England or the Finger Lakes of upstate New York or even Como in Italy, there is a beautiful lake district just two hours from Mumbai, which while most travel enthusiasts from Maharashtra would have heard about and/or visited, but it’s relatively less popular in others parts of India (and not high on travel list of someone, let’s say, from Delhi).

It lies to the south of Mumbai-Pune Expressway (mostly in Mulshi and Vehle tehsils). We ride two Ducati motorcycles, one Skoda car and one Audi to this beautiful part of India.

The approach: Driving from Mumbai, one has to take right from Lonavala, and gradually this lake district starts to open up. The most popular ones—where you can get enough camping and stay options—are Pawna, Mulshi, Temghar, and ones inside Lavasa and Aamby Valley. Then there are smaller lakes such as Hadshi, Salter and numerous others, reaching where you have to go a bit off the road but, as we experienced, the effort is worth it. Smaller lakes, in particular, have a lot of undisturbed flora and fauna, and one can spend entire day studying these. Many of these lakes are a result of damming local rivers.

In addition to lakes, this region is also popular for its fortresses, almost all of which are on hilltops and need some amount of trekking to reach. These include Morgiri, Korigad, Tikona, Anghai, and the most famous of all, Lohagad. Other fortresses located further south are Mangad, Konkan Diva, Raigad and Sinhagad.

Another place worth visiting here is Thanale Caves, the 1st-century AD Buddhist caves.

Lake hopping is a popular travel activity in many parts of the world—it’s an exciting way to understand local culture, flora and fauna and even monuments—but it isn’t as popular in India. This is proven by the fact that local travel portals generally promote wildlife, and historical and cultural monuments as must-visit places; lakes aren’t always high on the list.

India has some incredible lake clusters—the great lakes of Kashmir, the tals of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, the lakes of southern Rajasthan, everywhere on the Western and Eastern Ghats, and in the entire Northeast. So, the next time you travel, forget Como, visit Loktak instead.

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