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Khandala: Holidaying in the Clouds

I have always believed that monsoon is the best season to visit the places around Pune/Mumbai as the  color of fresh green leaves revitalizes the very soul. For this very purpose, I booked a weekend's stay at The Dukes Retreat, Khandala. Even the drive to Khandala was breathtakingly beautiful once you manage to squeeze out of the craziness called Mumbai. The resort's location atop a hillock with magnificent and unrestricted views of green plateaus and waterfalls is just perfect. However, the views aren't totally unrestricted as they are blocked by clouds intermittently. At just 245 meters above sea level, you get to enjoy being in the clouds as you would otherwise get at least 2500 meters above sea level.

As this weekend was planned just to relax, I hardly even wandered out of my room for a day. Just sitting at the window of the room blankly looking at clouds drifting in front of me and even enveloping me at times was giving a brilliant sense of calmness to my mind.

Next day, we decided to venture out. The first place to visit was a flat piece of grassland visible from our room called Table Land. This was a big piece of land with a few small waterfalls falling from it. Also, you get to see a huge waterfall coming down from the hillock in front of it from pretty close. There is also a small stream flowing between the hillock and the table land. While we were there, we were drenched by a small shower or probably because a cloud enveloped us.

After spending some time at Table Land, we went to Karla caves. The most efficient means of transport here are auto-rickshaws unless you have your own vehicle. The ride to Karla Caves was pretty long at about 12 kms and we were dropped at a point from where we could see a long staircase winding along the hill. By now, it was raining in full flow and I was focusing solely on securing my camera from rains. It took us about half an hour to reach the caves with our clothes fully soaked and my camera just about surviving in a plastic bag borrowed from a shopkeeper. We took a 5 rupee ticket to enter the caves. There is also a small temple in front of the main dome of the caves. 

When we came out of the caves, we were mesmerized by the lustrous green valley below us where paddy fields were flourishing in the Monsoon season. There was also a small waterfall flowing besides the caves where many people were enjoying a shower. A few pictures here and there and we were on our way back to the hotel. 

Back at hotel, a nice hot shower was followed by a few drinks late into the night. Next morning, we were to return to our normal work schedule.

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Room with a View

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Table Land as seen from our room.

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View from Table Land

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A waterfall

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Chaitya (prayer hall) of Karla Caves

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Upper columns of Karla Caves

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View of the valley from Karla Caves

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