Written by Ishani Roy.
As we battle through a pandemic, much has changed in our lives and almost every sector has succumbed to restructuring their methods of doing business. The travel sector has been at the forefront and has taken up the biggest brunt in terms of decline in profits and some companies have even gone out of business. Due to the lack of availability of flights and trains and also due to the added risk in travelling in these modes of transport, travellers across all parts of the globe have mostly refrained and delayed their travel plans. But out of these campervans have stood the test of time and has emerged as one of the best modes of travel to nearby places without coming in contact with anyone else.
Recently, Maharashtra Government has announced the collaboration of Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and Motohom, a motor home company in Maharashtra, to encourage travellers to explore the beauty of the state with the help of campervans. Therefore in the near future, it can be said that much of exploring India’s beauty may get shifted towards campervan trips due the demand for experiencing this way of travel and also in order to travel independently with reduced risk of contact.
Motohom, for now, has rolled out two vehicles, a traditional campervan which is perfect for a small family and a minivan which is perfect for an individual traveller or two. The traditional campervan has the facilities of a kitchen, small bedroom, living room, bathroom and a terrace area on the roof. The minivan comes with a rear passenger seat which can be converted into a flatbed, a detachable living space and a repurposed trunk. The vans are equipped with high-end front and rear security cameras and GPS system. There is a security siren board to alert and ward off any potential danger and also there is an SOS button.
These vans can only be rented to explore Maharastra. The traditional large family campervans can be rented for INR 21,000 per day (USD 285) and will come with a driver and also an attendant can be hired if required. The minivans can be rented for INR 4,000 per day (USD 54). These vehicles can be booked by visiting Motohom’s website.
Maharastra is a state full of breathtaking landscapes and sceneries. While the capital city Mumbai is stated to never fall asleep due to its fast-paced life full of people coming into the city to fulfil their dreams, the state yet does not lack on amazing road trips to refresh the mind, body and soul during weekends and other holidays. A campervan trip is the best way to unwind from the pollution and population of the cities and for exploring the natural beauty that the state beholds.
Here is a curated list of campervan trips that you can take in Maharashtra,
1. Pune-Lonavala and Khandala
Lonavala and Khandala are the most visited hill stations in Maharashtra. It is located in the Sahyadri range of the Western Ghats and has in store lots of waterfalls, lakes and hills where tourists usually enjoy trekking, camping and other adventure sports. The best time to visit these twin cities is during monsoon. Any resident of Mumbai has definitely visited Lonavala or wants to visit it sometime.
The view while sipping on a cup of tea at Tiger Point while driving to Lonavala is a must-do. Other than that there are many more attractions in Lonavala and Khandala which will keep you busy during during your weekend getaway and also at the same time refreshes you to the core. Here are the places in Lonavala and Khandala that you must see,
- Tiger’s Leap
- Rajmachi Fort
- Karla Caves
- Lonavala Lake
- Aamby Valley
Lonavala is situated at a distance of 65 km from Pune via the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and takes around 1 hour and 14 minutes to reach. The time required to reach Khandala from Lonavala is 10 minutes.
2. Mumbai-Malshej Ghat
Malshej Ghat is a mountain pass in the Western Ghats which is also home to a varied species of flora and fauna. This trip is a perfect fit for nature lovers with breathtaking waterfalls like Malshej Falls, rock formations and green hillsides. The nearby places to see in Malshej Ghat are
- Pimpalgaon Joga Dam which is 5 km long dam structure over the Pushpavati river and also is a great place for viewing birds like alpine swift, whistling thrush, green pigeon etc.
- Shivneri Fort which is the birthplace of Maratha ruler, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj
- Harishchandragad Fort for trekking
- Ajoba Hill Fort for trekking and rock climbing.
Malshej Ghat is situated at a distance of 126.2 km from Mumbai and takes around 3 hours to reach via NH752.
The queen of hill stations in Maharashtra is unmissable especially for a road trip in a campervan with your loved ones. Mahabaleshwar is the source of the Krishna river and presents panoramic views of lush green plains, sloppy peaks and a drive past through amazing strawberry fields. On a short drive from Mahabaleshwar is located the UNESCO World Heritage site, Kaas Plateau of flowers. Drive to Mahabaleshwar through Mumbai-Pune expressway is considered to be one of the most memorable road trips that you can take in India. Some of the must-visit attractions near Mahabaleshwar are,
- Wilson Sunrise Point
- Elphinstone Point,
- Lodwick Point
- Pratapgad Fort
- Boating in Venna Lake
- Markets of strawberries
Mahabaleshwar is situated at a distance of 263 km from Mumbai and takes around 4 hours to reach.
A treat to the eyes during winters and monsoons, Bhimashanker is another must take campervan trip in Maharashtra. There are many waterfalls, lakes, scenic points and temples that attract tourists for a quiet weekend getaway from their busy lives. The scenery, while you drive, will be nothing less than a heavenly feeling and you will get to see lush greenery and wildlife. The Bhimashanker temple is the main monument at Bhimashanker. Some of the other important places to explore here are
- Nagphani Point
- Solanpada Dam
- Hanuman Lake
- Big Bell at Hemadpanthi
- Kothaligarh Fort
- Pawna Lake
- Mumbai Point
- Sangram Durg Fort
Bhimashanker is situated at a distance of 109 km from Pune and takes around 3 hours to reach via NH 60 and MH SH 54.
A perfect getaway for couples for spending some peaceful romantic time at the beach. The town also entails historic importance which makes it worth exploring. Before the rule of Maratha emperor Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj who developed Kolaba Fort, the Portuguese used to live here. The perfect time to visit Alibaug is between November and February. Do try to avoid the monsoons because it is a little dangerous time to visit due to high tides. Apart from natural beauty, you will get to explore many forts, temples and churches. Some of the major attractions here are,
- Alibaug Beach
- Varsoli Beach
- Kolaba Fort
- Kanakeshwar Temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. To visit the temple you will have to climb around 700 steps and along the way, you will get to enjoy an amazing panoramic view.
- Native Biodiversity Garden near Teenvira Dam
Alibaug is situated at a distance of 94 km from Mumbai and takes around 2 hours and 20 mins to reach via NH 66.
Travelling through campervans is the next trend in travel and India has many astonishing places to enjoy a beautiful and memorable campervan ride. Even if you have travelled to these mentioned places before, this time you can take the experience of a campervan and make some amazing memories with your loved ones.
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Ishani Roy is the Marketing Head at The Strong Traveller. Dr Instagram, she is a freelance content writer, an avid reader, fond of minimalism and an ardent supporter of leading a sustainable lifestyle. Being a fitness enthusiast, she loves to work out when she’s not working. Apart from that, she also loves to check out delicious recipes from the internet while waiting for the perfect day to try that out by herself!