Thursday, September 22, 2016

Mumbai for kids: Visit picturesque Malshej Ghat in the rains

Malshej Ghat, Sahyadris

Malshej Ghat is a must-visit with kids in the rains
Malshej Ghat is a must-visit with kids in the rains

Before the last rains, there is one more outdoorsy place to visit with the kids. Malshej Ghat is at its picturesque best with peaks, waterfalls and clouds. If your kids have told you they want to ride a cloud, this is where you take them. Here, there are clouds above you, clouds swirling around you and some beneath your feet. If that isn't enough, there are waterfalls that seem to have come to life.

Monkey Moth
Monkey Moth

Are parts of Malshej Ghat that ideal for kids? Yes and no. This mountain pass has something for everyone — trekking, enjoying the waterfalls and lakes, birding and exploring its nearby forts. As a parent, I loved the easy-grade walk at Pimpalgaon Joga Dam built over the hypnotic Pushpawati River. Ideally check with the BNHS that usually make at least one trip to Malshej Ghat every month, between June and September. With BNHS experts, the trip is more focused. Wild flowers like Kokan Pinda, Rock Balsams (Impatiens acaulis) and Graham's Groudsel are in abundance. Another feature is the stunning variety of moths around us, including Monkey Moth and Footmen Moth.

Kokan Pinda
Kokan Pinda

With my daughter Vani taking interest in history, we drove to Shivneri Fort, located roughly 35 kms from the ghat, which is the birthplace of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, founder of the Maratha Empire. The rocky flights of steps and the view from the top make for a spectacular visit.

Whether you are a first-timer or a seasoned trekker, Malshej Ghat doesn't disappoint. Among the most popular trails are Ajoba Hill Fort, Darkoba Peak, Jivdhan Chawand Fort and Naneghat. It's a must-visit during this time of the monsoon. Jump into your rain gear and get ready for the downpour: of rain and surreal beauty.

Fact file

Where: Malshej Ghat
Best for: Older kids, aged nine and above. Younger kids may enjoy the drive but not the trek
How to reach: It is 126 kms (approx) away from Mumbai. Check BNHS website for day trips. You can also head to Kalyan and hire a vehicle from there. ST buses ply from Vashi and Kalyan
Timings: Early mornings are best for bird-watching.
Food: Available but best to carry
Water: Available
Rest Room facilities: Yes
Where else to go: Harishchandragad for its Buddhist caves and Ajoba Hill Fort for seasoned trekkers

Parent Poll: Loved it
Rating: ****
Kids' Poll: Happy and tired
Rating: ****

What's Good: The view, flora and fauna
What's Not So Good: Weekends are crowded and with crowds, come litter. Drive carefully because of the fog

Safety Tip: You need to accompany your kids everywhere. The ghats are steep and there are sections of low visibility due to dense fog. In the waterfalls, watch out for slippery stones

from travel

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