Mumbai monsoon always reminds me of an impromptu road trip we had taken a few years back. It was raining all day and we friends decided that next day we’ll go on a road trip ..where? Nobody had an idea. We just took off in the car early morning at 7 to enjoy the rains. We took the Nashik highway , and on reaching Kasara ghat took a detour to Jawhar. Nobody knew where this place was or how long will it take to reach there. We just saw a signboard which showed left for Jawhar and off we went. We did reach Jawhar an undiscovered hill station close to Mumbai but not before discovering the hidden gem Vihigaon.
The roads were so good that we dint want to stop. The rains had painted the whole place green. It was so beautiful and calm that we wished time just stops here. After driving for long on those beautiful winding roads we reached khodala road. We could hear the sound of waterfall somewhere but couldn’t locate it. We kept looking outside the windows but couldn’t see anything , we could only hear the sound of gushing water. A few kms ahead, we came across this little boy who was walking towards his house. We stopped the car and approached him, asked him is there a waterfall closely. This little boy only spoke Marathi , he dint know Hindi. Luckily for us, everyone in my group knew Marathi ,they started talking to him but they couldn’t find a word for waterfall in Marathi and kept repeating waterfall. This boy was clueless as to what the hell is waterfall. He kept saying there is a dhabdhaba here…and we kept arguing that we wanted to know about the waterfall. After arguing for 15mins we finally realized dhabdhaba is the Marathi word for a waterfall. Dumb people that we were. Err
So the boy agreed to take us to this Dhabdhaba which was close to his house. He asked us to park the car near his house and follow him. We walked for half an hour and finally reached the waterfall. Till then nobody of us knew that there was a village called Vihigaon or that there was a vihigaon waterfall. The boy took us to the top of the waterfall from where we could just sit and enjoy the place. When we looked down, we could see loads of tourists enjoying in the water, there was also an adventure group trying their hands at Rapelling. It was such a beautiful sight. We were glad that we were the only ones here while the crowd was below us, as this gave us all the privacy we needed.
The boy along with his friend showed us some stunts in the water. Told us a lot so stories about his family, school, his village etc. the falls itself was so beautiful that we could stay here forever and the drizzling rains added to the fun. Both the sides were covered with lush green trees. It was a perfect place for camping. After spending some time here at vihigaon and saying goodbye to our new friend we then moved on to Jawhar. We passed the Old British bridge on our way to Jawhar. We stopped here for some photo ops , bridge was such a beautiful sight to see…with the river flowing below… And greenery on both sides , the bridge looked picture perfect.
We continued our journey to Jawhar. With no hotels or restaurants in sight it was getting difficult as we were damn hungry. As soon as we reached Jawhar, the first thing we did was hog like a dog. And then we set out to explore the place. Somebody told us there was a famous waterfall called Dhabhosa a few kms ahead which is known for adventure activities like rappelling, river crossing etc. On our bid to explore Dhabhosa , we came across this neglected little lake which looked like it was almost covered with trees when seen from the road. We stopped our car and walked a bit to this lake. The locals were moving around with their goats there. The whole place was so green as if someone had just painted it. The most serene place we came across in this whole trip.
After about half an hour, we reached Dhabhosa. The place was crowded. And there was some kind of construction going on. Because of which the whole water was brown or muddy. We stood at the viewing point and wondered if not for all the construction this place would have been perfect. We could see people doing Rapelling, river crossing etc. There were a lot of adventure groups there. We realised that we dint know about all these places even if we stayed so close to them. It was just a four drive from Mumbai yet nobody knew about them. But the whole fact that this place is not popular among tourists added to its beauty as it is not yet commercialized. There are just a handful of hotels /restaurants and more of natural beauty. That’s what I liked about this trip. It was all about discovering these little hidden gems in your own backyard.
The clean almost new and perfect roads, greenery on either side, waterfall everywhere, the British bridge , the little boys that we met, the drizling rains which painted the place green, wild flowers and the wild turmeric on the edges of the road , everything was picturesque and made our trip a memorable one.