Soak in the Discreet Charm of the Sahyadris in Kolad

Soak in the Discreet Charm of the Sahyadris in Kolad
At an adventure camp in Kolad, Photo Credit: RAMNIKLAL MODI /

This scenic town on the Kundalika River is a favourite with nature lovers and adventure sports enthusiasts

Clement Augustine
June 12 , 2021
08 Min Read

Since it has little to offer tourists other than the odd semi-dry waterfall, you can be forgiven for wanting to keep the accelerator down as you enter Kolad town on NH66. That, indeed, is the right idea here. For the lush valleys and wetlands of the Sahyadris around Kolad are actually an eco-lover’s arena, full of the pure greens of the Konkan.

River crossing in Kolad)

However, if you do decide to stay, there are simple pleasures such as angling in the Kundalika or getting a hydro-massage in a rare, perennial Sahyadri waterfall. For those who have been planning forever to build a holiday home and haven’t seen that dream realised, there is the option of experiencing the joys of the same in the rented country homes of wealthy Mumbaikars, who bring the magic of rural Konkan to urbanites.

Read: Rain in the Valley

Things to See and Do

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Kolad itself is a sleepy town of about 5,000 villagers, who seem content to let their town lie still in a time-warp. Kolad is so sleepy that it is ironic that the approach to the town is full of jolting hairpin bends, as you ride through the ghats to get here. It is advisable to eat light for the impending journey.

During the monsoon, visitors can see several waterfalls that dot this region during the rains.

Read: Janjira: Where the Siddis Ruled

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Tired of lying in a hammock and throwing stones in the river? Hike up a hill to Dholwal Dam. The immensity of the wide dam, with its gushing waters, will take your breath away. The Sutarwadi Lake, 13km from Kolad, has boating and water sports. About 17km away from Kolad is Ghosala Fort and 20km down the road to Pune is Tamhane Waterfall, at its most magnificent during the monsoons. Kuda Caves, 40km away, as per legend date to the time of the Mahabharata. The trip of about an hour is worth it, as there is also a small, secluded beach here. About 25km away is Tala Fort and 32km away is Gaimukh, a popular pilgrimage centre.

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Nature lovers can visit Bhira Dam, or the Tata Powerhouse Dam, about 28km away, which has beautiful scenery and a waterfall.

White-Water Rafting
Participants get a lesson on white water rafting before the actual event

Kolad has developed into a prime destination for rafting and kayaking. Mumbaikars, who are stuck in a rut through the week, come here to let off steam during the weekend. Prim and proper corporate types transform into a squealing, rowdy bunch as they battle the rapids, awe-struck and exhilarated in equal measure.

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The drive to the Murud-Kashid-Alibaug stretch via Roha from Kolad is among the best coastal drives in India. The road loops through paddy fields before running along the surf and sand, taking a far more circuitous route than the feisty Kundalika River, which empties into the Arabian Sea at Korlai Fort.

Where to Stay and Eat
There are a few lush farmhouses and camps, all just outside Kolad. All of them offer adventure activities such as boating, trekking, birdwatching and white water rafting as well as kayaking. Tariff is inclusive of meals.

All the eating joints are on NH66.

Also Read: The Definitive Mumbai Guide for Newbies 2.0


Nagothane (18km)

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There’s not much to do in Nagothane but Kamath Residency offers a slew of nature and adventure activities and picnics for groups. Even if you have no intention to stay, do try the Maharashtrian fare in their restaurant.

When To Go

June to August, during the monsoon season, when waterfalls are rushing down mountain sides. Kolad is coolest from November to February.

Getting There

Air: Nearest Airport: Mumbai (127km/ 3hrs
Rail: A few passenger trains from Mumbai halt at Kolad Railway Station
Road: Take NH66 past Vadkhal Naka and Nagothane. Short of Kolad, the road ascends over the ghats. The farms are off the highway; call ahead for route details. ST buses ply to Kolad from Mumbai Central and Borivali ST depot.

Tip: When you’re leaving Kolad in the winter, don’t start your road journey before 10am because of the fog.

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