5 Of The Best Weekend Trips To Take From Pune During Covid
The beginning of the coronavirus lockdown felt relaxing: you could work or study from the comfort of your home and quite possibly in your pyjamas (Sorry extroverts). However, over eight months of this lockdown must have left you feeling cooped up and claustrophobic in such a huge city like Pune. If you’re craving a weekend out of the city, we can totally empathize with you. But is it 100% safe to venture out yet? No.
While the Covid cases are definitely coming down and the government is relaxing the restrictions, the threat of infection is still very real. So we’d highly recommend you to stay in your houses until the pandemic is gone for good. But if you’re determined to travel, having a short trip out of Pune’s city limits could be a relatively safe bet. Here are some Weekend Trips From Pune During Covid places where you can have it:
For the weekender wishing to spread their wings and fly high with the majestic Sahyadri below, set out towards Kamshet, a tiny village nestled between Lonavala and Pune.
Kamshet is best known for its adventure activities, particularly paragliding. There are multiple points in Kamshet for you to take a plunge into the abyss and soar into the skies – be it over the gentle Shinde Wadi Hills, the rugged Bedse Caves or the placid Pawna Lake. For those who developed a love for paragliding, they can also avail themselves of a course so that they can learn to fly solo!
Perhaps a hard day of flying has left you wanting to relax. For that, the Pawna Lake is in close proximity to Kamshet, making for a perfect camping spot for the night!
With the government gradually lifting Covid lockdown restrictions, this activity has started resuming in the region. Of course, there are a lot of Covid safety norms that will have to be followed for taking up this high-adrenaline adventure. Also, it goes without saying that paragliding is a risky sport, so make sure that you’re physically fit for it.
Distance: 46 km from Pune
Nearest Railway Station: Kamshet
Pune is a city that holds a prominent place in history – the valor of the Marathas under the leadership of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the quest for independence from foreign rule. Dotted around the city are numerous forts which are soaked in rich history and are architectural marvels. The forts are located in strategic and often hard-to-reach locations. Thus, they make for perfect spots for trekkers and those wishing to gaze upon these forts in all their glory. One such fort among them is Rajgad.
Rajgad is a massive fort that’s located in the Sahyadri Ranges to the south-west of Pune. Its proximity to the city makes it a great weekend destination for hikers from Pune. Bear in mind that the trek can be a little difficult for novices. But if you persevere, you’ll be rewarded with a mesmerizing view of the Sahyadris and the other forts nearby.
Considering how massive the fort complex is, you may not be able to explore Rajgad in its entirety in one day. For that, you could even choose to stay overnight and experience the life of a valiant past. Bear in mind the Covid safety norms mandated by the trekking clubs and follow them.
Distance: 61 km from Pune
Nearest Railway Station: Pune Junction
Panchgani is a hill station located in the Satara district, which derives its name from the five hills that surround it. Even though Panchgani is very close to Mahabaleshwar, which is arguably the most popular tourist destination in Maharashtra, it remains relatively uncrowded. As you’re a weekender who wants to stay as far away from people as possible, this is just perfect. What’s even more interesting? You’ll not suffer from a lack of resorts or hotels that don’t follow Covid safety regulations.
If you’re one with a sweet tooth, we’re sure to see you hanging around at Mapro Garden, relishing their delectable chocolates and candy. For the traveler wishing to gaze at glorious sunsets, Sydney Point is the place to be. The short hike up towards Lingmala Falls would be a treat for your eyes. If you’re up for thrills and want to have a bird’s eye view of the hills and valleys of Panchgani, you could take up paragliding in Harrison’s Folly.
Distance: 100 km from Pune
Nearest Railway Station: Satara
Ladghar Beach, Ratnagiri
If your idea of an ideal weekend getaway from Pune is to enjoy the sun and sands of the Konkan, then Ladghar Beach is where you must be. Ladghar may be relatively unknown to the mainstream tourist crowds, but has no dearth of places to stay or things to do. Particularly popular in Ladghar Beach among the thrill-seekers are watersport activities such as bumper boat riding and jet skiing. If you love marine life, you could even set out on a boat and have dolphins follow you. Those wishing to take to the skies can do so by taking up beach parasailing.
There are numerous homestays and beach resorts, making Ladghar an ideal location also for weekenders whose idea of a getaway is to bask in the sun outside the city limits.
Also, the beach is located quite close to Dapoli, a coastal hill station nicknamed ‘Mini Mahabaleshwar’. If you’d like to leave the sands behind for a chill spot, you could do that too. Just keep in mind the social distancing norms.
Distance: 193 km from Pune
Nearest Railway Station: Khed
Bhandardara is a quaint little village located a four-hour drive away from Pune. With its waterfalls, lakes and greenery, it is a true nature lover’s paradise. Also, Bhandardara is a place with a perfect blend of adventure and leisure.
The biggest attraction of Bhandardara is the Fireflies Festival, which takes place around May to September. However, the cool and breezy winter months are when migratory birds fly past this region, making it a bird watcher’s paradise. Couples seeking a romantic getaway can camp beside the Arthur Hill Lake. With clear night skies, you can feast your eyes with the stars overhead.
For trekking enthusiasts looking for a bit of a challenge, trek to the summit of Kalsubai and earn the achievement of climbing the highest mountain in Maharashtra. Or you could climb the nearby Ratangad, a 400-year-old fort which would be covered with flowers around November.
Please note that Bhandardara is relatively isolated. So while it makes for a perfect getaway location during the pandemic, you want your vehicle to be fully fueled. We would also suggest that you travel before sunset just to be on the safer side.
Distance: 163 km from Pune
Nearest Railway Station: Igatpuri
Things To Keep In Mind
Even if you’ve developed symptoms of common flu, decide to skip the trip. Better to be safe than sorry.
Follow social distancing norms wherever you go – maintain 6 feet distance, wear a mask and have hand sanitizer with you at all times.
Travel with a minimum number of people, and preferably in your personal vehicle. Public vehicles can increase risk of infection.
Avoid interaction with too many people, and wherever possible, insist on cashless transactions.
Choose hotels and locations that adhere to Covid safety regulations.
The lockdown restrictions may change without warning. Be up to speed with regards to Covid updates and their corresponding regulations in your city and the places you wish to visit.
While you may no longer require special documentation for travel during Covid, it’s a good idea to keep a copy of the coronavirus self-declaration form and the latest version of Aarogya Setu app installed on your phone.
Given the unforeseeable nature of the lockdown restrictions, make sure that the places you wish to go are open to the public.
If you start developing Covid symptoms, seek help immediately.
Wherever you wish to go for your weekend trip, take care to make it as safe and happy for yourself and those around you as possible