Mumbai wears it’s best during monsoons. Ample of trekking spots in and around Mumbai offer a great respite from the chaotic city life. We were back from Switzerland a couple of weeks before and could not just wait to experience the magic all over again.
Pandavkada Waterfalls around an hour drive from the central Mumbai is situated in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai. Pandavkada makes for an easy half day trip. We started late in the morning after a good breakfast. Navi Mumbai is much greener and laid back when compared to the buzzing central Mumbai. The traffic and mass of concrete buildings started giving way to the green scape dotted with buildings with a backdrop of undulating lush green hills.
Soon we were in Kharghar but could not locate the spot from where we entered into a large open area which leads to the falls. Confused we enquired with some passerby who informed us that the previous entrance was closed and the only way was through the village couple of km ahead.
The left we took from the main road looking for the village transported us into a mini-wonderland. The green rolling hills around was a feast for eyes. Other than us there were two more couples one in the car and another on the bike. The beautiful landscape was pretty much to ourselves. We clicked few pictures and moved ahead.
At the end of the road was a small quaint village. Another charming world of its own. Frolicking kids, chickens running across the streets, cows mooing and women busy with their daily chores. A rustic atmosphere beckoned us. For a moment we were lost in their world away from all the sophistication yet very content. Reciprocating smiles all the way we drove with vigilance not to hit one of those frolicking hens and its chicks on road. At the end of the village, we asked a passerby for the waterfalls. He ushered us to cross the stream and walk ahead, though we were skeptical we had no choice than to follow his directions.
The route ahead was mostly unpaved but was teeming with lush green meadows peppered with wildflowers and balsam flower plants. The first glimpse of the falls unfolding behind the hills was a blissful sight to behold.
We have done numerous treks and hikes around Mumbai but this time it would be a bit different experience as we had our 2-year-old kiddo Chhavi along with us. We had to choose an easy trek with less trekking time. Trek to Pandavkada falls is simple with a mostly plain terrain. The walk to the falls takes around 15-20 minutes with a slight hike for last 5 minutes.
The stream formed by the falls crisscrossed our route forming pools at places where kids flaunted their diving skills.
Pandavkada falls is said to be named after the Pandavas from the Hindu mythology Mahabharat. The Pandavas are believed to have visited this location and stayed here for some time during their 14-year period of exile in the forests.
It had not rained for the last couple of days and hence the route was mostly dry with tiny puddles here and there. If it had rained the route would have been slushy and the rocks slippery which makes it difficult to hike.
We crossed a stone bridge running over the stream. From here it was mostly hiking through the dense thickets and the final stretch of paved stone steps leading to the vantage point of waterfalls.
The vantage point brings you in close quarters with falls enough to feel the cool splash of the falls leaving you almost drenched. The imposing waterfall plunges down the Pandavkada hills from a 100 m height onto rocky surface beneath.
One can get down to the bottom of the falls into the small deep gorge. The gorge at the bottom of the falls was already crowded with a group of students and hence we refrained from getting down. It is an amazing experience though the gorge is considered very dangerous due to several accidents of people slipping and drowning. It is recommended to stay out during heavy rainfall when the falls cascades in full volume. Below is a picture of the falls during heavy rains when one can find another strand of falls beside the Pandavkada.
And as there was no one else other than us we even descended down to the bottom of falls but stayed away from the gorge.
The greenery and the cool splash of the falls had rejuvenated our spirits.
All of this was new to Chhavi though the only time she trekked before was through the snow when we visited the Wildkirchli in Switzerland. Chhavi did have her share of fun playing in the stream and running behind the butterflies. The stream we crossed was much shallow when compared to last time we visited. The last time crossing the stream was a task even for the adults for the water was up to knee level and we had to trudge through the waters.
We could not stop taking pictures of the green hills and the pools on the way back.
Can you spot the tiny plane flying over the green hills?
Pandavkada Waterfalls is also accessible by Mumbai local trains via Harbour Line with the nearest station being Kharghar. Auto rickshaws can be hired to the falls from the Kharghar railway Station. Best time to visit the falls is during the Monsoons from June to September.
What is your favorite activity during monsoons (Rainy Season)? Do share with us in comments.
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