Surrounded by panoramic views of paddy and sunflower fields fringed by hills, Kamshet is a back-to-nature weekend par excellence. Its history has been shaped by the hills here. Once known for breeding fierce freedom-loving guerrilla warriors, it now plays host to bands of fearless paragliding pilots and adventure lovers.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO

Whether you are looking for adventure sports opportunities or wish to enjoy the breathtaking views in solitude, you will not be disappointed here.

Vadivali Lake

This artificially created lake is a delightful body of water and a habitat for a variety of birds. Vadivali stretches for miles, and is circumscribed by the surrounding hills. The Native Place Guest House is located here.

Adventure Activities

If you have always wondered what a bird’s eye view really is, give paragliding a shot. The intricacies of this delightful adventure sport can be mastered over two weekends. If you’re not prepared to do it alone, a tandem ride (a joyride in which an experienced pilot does all the work) should do the trick.

Stone pillars, Bedsa Caves
Stone pillars, Bedsa Caves

Kondeshwar Temple

The isolated Kondeshwar Temple stands among wild flowers and a gurgling stream that runs behind it. The stream turns into a pleasant three-tiered waterfall in the monsoons. A few metres ahead is a clearing flanked by cliffs on both sides. This is a perfect place for a quiet picnic. However, if you have a rope and the right skills, a hike to Bhairi Caves on the cliff to your right can be a satisfying experience.

Bedsa Caves

This set of caves is very different from the famous Karla and Bhaja caves near Lonavla. To get to them, drive towards Kale Colony and Pawna Lake. About 8 km down this road you’ll see the caves on your right, halfway up the hillside. A motor able road leads to the base village of Bedsa. From there it’s an easy half-hour climb. The majestic pillars in front of the main chaitya look almost Roman and are visible from far away. These Hinayana Buddhist caves are believed to date back to the 1st century BCE. Take a close look at the sculptures of animals and dancing figures here.

Punit Paranjpe
Paragliding high above the fields at Kamshet
Paragliding high above the fields at Kamshet

WHERE TO STAY

The Native Place Guest House (Tel: 02114-286007, Mumbai Tel: 022-26493110, Cell: 09323708809; Tariff: 5,000-12,000, tents 1,800 per person, dorms 1,800 per person, with meals) on the Vadivali lakefront, organises nature trails and walks to the waterfalls. For those who want solitude, their isolated Nirvana Cottage (Tariff: 6,000-12,000) is a good bet. Specify your meal times and a basket will be left at your doorstep.

YMCA Camp Lakeside (Mumbai Reservations Tel: 022-21026391, Cell: 08451871803; Tariff: 800 per person per day from Monday to Thursday, Rs. 900 per person per day from Friday to Sunday) is about 40 km from Kamshet, on Andhra Lake. There are ten cabins and ten tents. Activities offered include rock climbing, trekking, archery, nature treks, zip-line, swimming, kayaking, etc.

WHERE TO EAT

Apart from the food at the hotels and camps, highway restaurants in the dhaba tradition are Sunny and Babi da Dhaba for tandoori rotis, Mughlai food and Indian-Chinese fare. Rangoli Restaurant, also on the highway and just outside Kamshet town, is perfect for a filter coffee and a quick Udipi snack.

When to go Nature trips and spur-of-the-moment weekends can be indulged in throughout the year. October-June is for paragliding. Monsoon is waterfall-spotting time Location 17 km ahead of the twin hill stations of Khandala and Lonavla, 2,100 ft above sea level Rail Nearest railhead: Lonavla

THE INFORMATION

Tourist Offices

MTDC Mumbai

Tel: 022-22044040

W maharashtratourism.gov.in

Bhandardara

Tourist Information Centre

MTDC

Shendi

Bhandardara

Tel: 02424-257171, 257032

STD code 02424

Harihareshwar

Tourist Information Centre

MTDC Harihareshwar

Near Kalbhairav Temple

Tel: 02147-226036, Cell: 08879222040

STD code 02147

Ganapatipule

Tourist Information Centre

MTDC Holiday Resort

Tel: 02357-235248, 235061-62

STD code 02357

Kunkeshwar

Tourist Information Centre

MTDC

Tarkarli

Tel: 02365-252390

STD code 02364

Vengurla

Tourist Information Centre

MTDC Project Office

C-Block, 1st Floor, NH17, Oras

Sindhudurg

Tel: 02362-228785, 228115

STD code 02366

 

THE INFORMATION

Kaas Plateau

Tourist Information Centre

Forest Office

Dy Conservator Of Forests

(Satara Division)

Old Treasury Office Compound,

Powai Naka, Satara

Tel: 02162-220058/59

W kas.ind.in

STD code 02162

Tadoba Tiger Reserve

Wildlife/ Forest Dept Office

Chief Conservator of Forests

Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve

Rambag Colony, Mul Road

Chandrapur

Tel: 07172-251414, 255980

W mahaecotourism.gov.in

STD code 07172

Kamshet

MTDC, Karla

Tel: 02114-282230, 282064, 282102

STD code 02114

Toranmal

MTDC

T/1, Golf Club, Old Agra Road, Nashik

Tel: 0253-2570059, Fax: 2579352

W .mtdcindia.com

STD code 02566

Melghat Tiger Reserve

Chief Conservator of Forests and Field

Director

Melghat Tiger Reserve, Camp Amravati

Tel: 0721-2662792, 2551766

STD code 0721