Founded in the 14th century by a tribal king, Jayaba Mukne, Jawhar has all the attributes necessary to turn your break into an unforgettable experience. Once the capital of a Warli kingdom and now a predominantly tribal hill station, it is so graciously endowed with natural beauty and scenic locations that you could spread a rug and bring out your picnic hamper just about anywhere.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO

Jawhar’s unhurried pace, laid-back life and exquisite natural beauty provide the ideal backdrop for several indulgences. All it needs is adequate tourist infrastructure and a few spin doctors to sell this destination as an alternative to other, done-to-death spots.

However, if you want to be pampered and fussed over, and expect all your whims and fancies to be catered to, then Jawhar, with its embryonic hospitality scene, might disappoint.

Punit Paranjpe
Entrance to the Jai Vilas Palace at Jawhar
Entrance to the Jai Vilas Palace at Jawhar

Jai Vilas Palace

This regal structure, belonging to the erstwhile tribal lords, is surrounded by extensive cashew plantations spread over a massive area. Inside the palace, the hall has some lovely portraits of the Mukne clan. Upstairs is the children’s nursery, drawing room, some intricate antique furniture items, the royal bedroom, the obligatory stuffed tigers, bathrooms the size of bedrooms and a huge lobby. The guest section is locked but according to the guide, important guests come and stay here occasionally. For instance, Akshay Kumar and his team camped here for 10 days during the shooting of Khiladi. The palace is a popular location for film shoots. It has close to 50 rooms and the terrace affords a great view of Jawhar.

Hanuman Point

Just adjacent to Jawhar bus depot and close to Jai Vilas Palace is Hanuman Point. Apart from a temple dedicated to Ram’s faithful disciple, this place offers a good view of the valley below. From a particular angle you can even see the domes of Jai Vilas Palace silhouetted against the misty hills, giving it an ethereal appearance.

Shirpamal

There is hardly any place in Maharashtra where the great warrior Shivaji has not left his imprint. Shirpamal, just outside Jawhar on the Nashik Road, is where the Great Maratha camped on his way to Surat. There is a red welcome arch and a commemorative plaque here describing Shivaji’s halt. However, it is the natural beauty of this place that makes you want to linger here. From the top of the podium the view is riveting and the air divinely fresh.

Sunset Point

From this vantage point one can see a waterfall tumbling down a hill, splashing its way to the valley below. The sunset from here, obviously, is spectacular.

Warli art of Jawhar

vase painted by Warli tribals
vase painted by Warli tribals

The Warli tribe is famous for its lively paintings, which depict scenes from everyday village life. The paintings comprise multitudes of tiny natural and human forms in basic geometric patterns. They are traditionally made of rice paste and adorn many an adivasi hut in Jawhar.

WHERE TO STAY AND EAT

Sunset Point Resort (Cell: 09272057333, 09272602800; Tariff: Rs. 1,800–2,000; dorm 1,800 per person, with meals) has dorms, cottages and a restaurant. Symphony Lake View Resort (Cell: 09422479643; Tariff: 2,800–8,000), Hotel Pushpanjali (Cell: 09270656666; Tariff: 800–1,000), and Shanti Sarovar Resort (Cell: 09270656666; Tariff: 3,400–4,000, with meals) are other options.

AROUND JAWHAR

Dadar-Kopra/ Dabdaba Falls (18 km)

The road to Dabdaba is liberally sprinkled with lakes and streams, and unfurls like a ribbon. Dhabosa Waterfall Resort (Cell: 09223596506; Tariff: 3,250 per person; dorm 1,750 per person, with meals) offers trekking, exciting games and adventure activities for rambling tourists, who are few and far between.

FAST FACTS

When to go Jawhar is good for a visit anytime of the year but the ideal time would be October–February

STD code 02520

Region Konkan

Location This erstwhile tribal capital is 830 ft above sea level in the green hills of central Thane District, a tough 40-km trek across the Sahyadris from Khodala

Distance 120 km NE of Mumbai

Route from Mumbai NH8 to Charoti Naka at Kasa via Shirsad and Manor; SH to Jawhar via Sava and Balkapra

 

GETTING THERE

Air Nearest airport: Mumbai (120 km/ 3.5 hrs) connected by flights from all over the country. Taxi costs approximately 3,000–4,500

Rail Nearest railhead: Dahanu Road (65 km/ 2 hrs). Besides express trains, there are several local trains from Mumbai coming up to Dahanu Road

Road NH8 to Charoti Naka in Kasa, via Manor. Taxi costs 1,200–1,400 Take a right to Jawhar (39 km) via Sava and Balkapra.

Bus Regular State buses from Thane stand come to Jawhar (175/ 3.5 hrs) every half hour or take an ST bus to Jawhar via Charoli.