Koyna: One of Maharashtra’s best kept secret: A weekend getaway from Mumbai & Pune
Do you love unexplored places, seek adventure away from the mundane life, surrounding
yourself with nature & getting lost in the wilderness of lush tropical forests? Of course, you
do! And so, do I. If you are a city dweller like me then welcome to the club.
My search for such unexplored adventurous destinations unearthed Koynanagar, also
known as Koyna. Nestled in the lap of Sahyadri’s aka the western Ghats, Koyna is renowned
for the largest dam in Maharashtra, the largest completed hydroelectric power plant in India
and the gushing Koyna river that originates from another popular hill station in
Koyna manages to hold the rawness and charm that quench the thirst of a wandering soul
and itchy feet. It gives that scented feeling of being on an escape, a forest escape. While one
can opt for a weekend getaway from Mumbai or Pune, one can also plan beyond the
weekend. The surroundings are beautiful and perfect to do a little soul searching and
immerse oneself in nature.
Best time to visit Koyna:
This hidden gem of Maharashtra is a year-round destination. The monsoons are an inviting time to
chase the majestic waterfalls of Koyna that pour in all their glory. The cooler temperatures during
the winters are best for camping and trekking through the dense wild forests. The summers, though
scorching hot during the day, are equally pleasant around sunset. And family barbeque dinners need
no schedule 😊
How to reach Koyna:
If you are planning a weekend trip from Mumbai or Pune, a self-driven trip is the most
convenient way to reach Koyna. It is a near 6 hour drive from Mumbai & only 4 hours from
Pune. The scenery during the journey transitions from little houses along the road to the
calm river flanked by an endless stretch of dense trees.
Alternatively, one can hop on to a bus from Mumbai to Koyna. The buses plying on these
routes are non-ac seaters with a fare of Rs.400 per person during off season and Rs.600
during peak months. The pains from the uncomfortable journey in cramped bucket seats
will surely diminish at the sight of an early morning, misty-aired Koyna.
There are no direct trains to Koyna. The nearest railway station being Chiplun is 40 km away & cabs from the station are easily available.
Where to Stay in Koyna:
Koyna is slowly evolving as a tourist destination especially for weekenders. Stay options
are far & few, each offering its own unique experience. On a long weekend trip to Koyna, I
stayed at two different properties; one was a budget stay and the other had a dash of
My first and the most preferred choice is Wind Chalet, an undiscovered stay
option in Koyna. It is perfect for budget travellers and for those who prefer a bit of solitude.
A place that spells tranquillity and peace away from the concrete jungle, the melodious
chirping of birds is divinely soothing. Wind Chalet sits at the edge of a hilltop with a few
rooms catering to families & backpackers alike.
The rooms are spacious & equipped with
basic amenities. The tall sliding panes offer an unobstructed view of the marvellous Koyna
Dam, the passing clouds & the sun-kissed mountains; the view is simply magical.
Meals here are served depending on seasonal ingredients and include popular
Maharashtrian breakfast staples like kande-pohe, sheera, upma, bhurji pav (scrambled
eggs), Bread toast, etc. Lunch and dinner are made to order as per preference and include
meat curry, dal rice, vegetables and chapatis. The food is simple, homemade and yet
Forest Escapes Holiday homes:
Visiting Koyna is a travel dream for
nature lovers and staying at an eco-friendly resort makes this trip even
Forest Escapes is nestled amidst the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary, a UNESCO
World Heritage site. The resort offers a magnificent view of the lush green
surroundings & the windmills in the distance. The chirping symphony and
the enchanting fragrance of wildflowers punctuate the air. The resort houses an array of rooms from deluxe to luxury villas. Equipped
with modern amenities yet focusing on zero plastic use it’s a stunning
property. Cobblestone pathways connect the rooms to the infinity pool, the
play area, the machan for bird watching and the sauna.
The food served here scores perfectly on the taste-o-meter. Think of fish fry,
meat curries and delicious vegetables made in local styled cuisine served
with a side of Taak (buttermilk) and crunchy papads. Excellent service by
the humble staff added value to an already pleasant stay. A surprise romantic candle light dinner setup specially for us.
Things to do in Koyna:
You can trek along a rocky path to the view the waterfall up close or simply perch yourself at
the backwaters soaking in the mesmerising sunset.
The Wildlife Sanctuary offers Safari tours through the dense green forests of Koyna.
Or you can choose to go for a moonlight trek (hiring a guide is strongly recommended).
Koyna is a bird watchers paradise with an opportunity to spot a variety of different species.
Fishing at the Koyna river is a great experience. We arrived just before sunset for fishing, not
the best time of the day. But we did manage to get a glimpse of this beautiful flock of birds
flying just above the surface of the water. Earlier in the day would be a great time to go
fishing and get yourself the catch of the day.
Nehru garden offers an adjacent view of the magnificent Koyna dam.
Koyna is truly the best kept secret of Maharashtra. It is a haven of surreal views and vivid
hues. It does not share the same popularity as Lonavala or Matheran or other weekend
getaways from Mumbai and Pune but still has a lot to offer. Try something unique this weekend and head to this patch of green paradise!