Weekend Getaway – Pune
Touted as Asia’s only automobile-free hill station, eco-sensitive Matheran is a must-visit for nature lovers. Standing at 2,652ft above sea level, this is perhaps the smallest hill station in the country. Besides the lookout points, like Panorama Point and Louisa Point, visitors can also stop by the racecourse and the two gorgeous lakes. And yes, if you are an architecture or history buff, do check out the colonial bungalows that dot the place.
Distance from Pune: 120km
Climate: Pleasant year- Cool, not too humid
Best time to visit: All-year round
Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary
This natural World Heritage Site has three rivers running through it: the Koyna, the Kandati, and the Solashi. Densely forested, the sanctuary is home to a lot of species including the Bengal tiger, Indian leopards, Indian bison, sambar deer, otters, and giant squirrels. There are also a whole lot of rare species of trees and medicinal herbs and shrubs in this forest.
Distance from Pune: 147km
Climate: Hot and dry summers, cool winters
Best time to visit: October; June to August if you don’t mind the rains
A coastal town, Alibag is also famous as the homeland of the Bene Israeli Jews. In fact, legend has it that the town takes its name from an Israeli orchard owner who lived there many centuries ago. The beaches are of course the star attraction here. You could also check out Alibag fort, and Khanderi and Underi Islands that have Shivaji-era forts. Murud-Janjira is also a must-visit; one can actually find freshwater ponds inside this island fort.
Distance from Pune: 143km
Best time to visit: November-July to enjoy the beaches
A city with many varied attractions, Mahbubnagar is a great weekend getaway location. Want to see a 700-year-old banyan tree? It is situated right in Pillalamarri Park, which also has a deer park, an archaeological museum and a mini zoo nearby. If you would like to explore nature, do head to the Mallela Theertham waterfalls, situated in the Nallamala forest.
Distance from Pune: 50km
Climate: Harsh summer; pleasant winner
Best time to visit: June to December