5 Of The Best Weekend Trips To Take From Mumbai During Covid
The entire nation has taken a huge hit owing to the coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown from March. Since then, many restrictions and regulations have been relaxed by the government – allowing for travel as well. If you’re a Mumbaikar who’s been feeling cooped up being in your house all day, there are some places where you can just unwind for the weekend out of the city limits. Mind you, we don’t encourage travel just yet – not with the threat of Covid still looming large. But if you absolutely must have a weekend getaway, here are a few places close to Mumbai.
Sula Vineyards, Nashik
Whether you’re a connoisseur of wine or would just like a sip to enjoy your weekend, Sula Vineyards in Nashik is the answer to your perfect weekend getaway. It is a four-hour drive from Mumbai. So if you have your own car or motorcycle (we’d prefer that you travel in your personal vehicle instead of opting for public transport to reduce risk of infection), it’ll make for an awesome ride through the scenic Western Ghats. Once you reach the vineyards, you can explore the place to your heart’s content and experience what it takes to make wine – provided that you follow the safety standards.
Sula Vineyards is serious about the Covid restrictions and guidelines to ensure the safety of both its staff and guests. This includes regular disinfecting and sanitizing of the rooms and common touch points (door handles, knobs etc) and even your luggage. There will be regular temperature checks for the staff and those handling food are to sanitize their hands regularly. With reduced places for seating in public areas and hotels/bars, social distancing norms are kept in place and your interaction with the staff will be kept to a bare minimum. Just remember to have your mask on and have the updated Aarogya Setu app installed on your phone.
(Note that the annual SulaFest to be held in February 2021 has been canceled due to Covid.)
Distance: 170 km from Mumbai
Nearest Railway Station: Nashik Road
This is the average Mumbaikar’s quintessential weekend getaway location. It would take you just about two hours to get there and thus is an ideal backyard tourist destination. You initially needed to have an e-pass to travel from Mumbai to Lonavala owing to Covid travel restrictions. However, that rule was lifted in October.
While Lonavala is best known for its greenery during the monsoon, now will be the perfect time to enjoy the pleasant winter. If you’re a trekking enthusiast, you’ve got Rajmachi Fort and Tiger’s Leap. If what you want is to chill out by serene waters sipping on a cup of tea with a loved one, you can camp at the nearby Pawna Lake. A history nerd would enjoy exploring the mysterious Bhaja and Karla Caves. If you’d like to dedicate one whole day to thrilling rides and roller coasters, Imagicaa is the place to be.
Distance: 83 km from Mumbai
Nearest Railway Station: Lonavla
If what you crave is golden sands between your toes and a salty breeze through your hair, Alibaug is for you. This coastal town has also earned the moniker of ‘Mini-Goa’, so those who’d planned that Goa trip can go to Alibaug! Also, with the monsoons over, this would be the best time to visit this town. As social distancing is a priority, you’d want quiet places to explore. The serene Akshi Beach and the Kolaba Fort are ideal for just that. But if you’d like to get in touch with your adventurous side, you can hop onto a jet ski and blaze through the waters. Maybe you’d want to take to the skies over the water by parasailing.
You can have all the fun you want in Alibaug, but remember that there are restrictions in place owing to Covid. The social distancing rules still apply and masks are compulsory in public areas. Ensure that you have the latest version of Aarogya Setu installed in your phone. You need to submit your self declaration form once you arrive in Alibaug. Additionally, you will need to be in self-quarantine once you reach home. It’s a small price to pay for your much-needed getaway, really. But it’s all in the best interest of your health and that of the people around you.
Distance: 94 km from Mumbai (Alternatively, you can just sit in your car and drive it onto a ferry in Bhaucha Dhakka and reach Alibaug in 60 minutes!)
Nearest Railway Station: Pen
Nestled between five hills that give its namesake, Panchgani is a hill station in Satara. It’s also close to the town of Mahabaleshwar, which is arguably one of the most popular tourist destinations in Maharashtra. What’s even better for the weekender is that they’ll get sanitized rooms with trained hotel staff in Panchgani.
If you’re a lover of chocolates and candy, Mapro Garden is a must-visit place. Want to look out towards the valley as the glorious sunsets? We’re sure we’ll find you relaxing at Sydney Point. If you’re up for it, a short hike up towards Lingmala Falls would be definitely worth it. For the thrill seekers, Harrison’s Folly offers paragliding activities too, but if it’s closed due to Covid, you still get to experience a nice view of the valley.
Distance: 244 km from Mumbai
Nearest Railway Station: Satara
Chances are that you’ve not heard of this place, and in this scenario, that’s good! Jawhar is a hill station close to the Maharashtra-Gujarat border. This city is perfect for the weekender who’d love to visit cascading waterfalls and a place rich with Warli tribal heritage. The prominent landmarks here are the imposing Jai Vilas Palace, which was featured as haunted places in movies and web series. If you want to, you can visit the perennial Dabhosa Falls and get in touch with nature.
You’ve been in your house for way too long, and we get the mental toll it can have on you. So we understand your need for a refreshing change of scene. Fortunately, Jawhar being a destination that goes under the radar also makes it one that’s safer than most to visit during the pandemic. Lesser people means social distancing becomes that much easier. Sure, you should keep in mind the social distancing norms and all the necessary precautions at all times.
Distance: 129 km from Mumbai
Nearest Railway Station: Igatpuri/Palghar
Things To Remember
While lockdown restrictions are being lifted by the government, it DOES NOT mean that the threat of Covid is gone. It still remains a very real risk. So we’d like to impress upon you that it’s best you avoid any unnecessary travel. But if you’re set on having that weekend getaway, here are the things to bear in mind:
Follow social distancing norms at all times, everywhere you go.
Wear your mask at all times and keep sanitizer with you.
Travel with the least number of people.
Avoid interacting with too many people.
Use your private vehicle to reduce risk of infection.
Have your coronavirus self declaration form available with you.
Use online payments in order to reduce risk of infection.
Look for hotels and locations that adhere to the safety guidelines.
Ensure that you call up your destination to know that the places are open – subject to Covid safety guidelines. You don’t want to reach your destination and realize that your place of interest isn’t open to the public yet.
If you start developing symptoms, seek help immediately.
Lastly, wherever you go, try your best to make your weekend trip happy and safe for yourself and those around you.