The road to Khodala is not paved with gold. Neither Khodala is a city of gold that awaits you. But for over 4 months in a year, when the sky brims with monsoon clouds, when the parched earth soaks up the rainwater and turns vibrant green, and when the hills and valleys are adorned with tiny streams and roaring waterfalls, the road to Khodala becomes much more than that.
The best thing that can happen to someone itching to get out of the city on a Sunday morning while the clouds waiting to burst is perhaps Khodala!! Not known to too many people and with no tourist attractions, Khodala is a small village with a few shops, a bank, and a post office—a typical rural setting. It is somewhere between Jawahar and Kasara, but closer to Kasara. On an early Sunday morning, we decide. And we get out.
This is not about Khodala. It is about the road to Khodala.
Enriching your soul is a beautiful landscape of forests, green-carpeted hillocks, and fields, embellished with rivulets and waterfalls.
Waterfall-hopping was part of the agenda. But one is spoilt for choice. Small ones on the roadside, several easily accessible and safe ones, countless small rivers, ones that roar through deep crevices flanking the road …
A roaring waterfall near the Vaitarana bridge caught our attention from top. Several policemen and local people had gathered near this.
Curious, we took the dirt track that leads to the fall. Sad, a boy had drowned in the falls the previous day and the body was not yet recovered.
The calm, almost still river empties itself into a deep gorge. If you are lured by deceptive calmness of the river, you may end up in the gorge.
That very few people choose to venture to Khodala that day made the trip more delightful. No wild, drunken crowd to take away the pleasure of splashing under a waterfall.
Further ahead of Vaitarana bridge, a well-laid road pointing to Middle Vaitarana caught our fancy.
Pity that this leads to Middle Vaitarana dam and power station, and hence access is restricted. Nevertheless, it was a pleasure to drive along this quiet road.
About 2 km ahead of Khodala village, in a valley is the Deobandh temple by the river bank. From atop the road, it is a picture postcard view.
We were hoping that it would rain but rain gods blessed us only when we started the return journey. Then it was pouring till we reached Kalyan. With only a few feet visibility, the drive back was quiet and thrilling.
The meagre eating options at Khodala are mentioned in the 2003 edition of Outlook Traveller’s Weekend Breaks from Mumbai.We thought this would have changed in the past 10 years. But we could find only cold vada pav and bread pakoda. Our grumbling stomachs had to manage with this and whatever remained in our picnic basket. In a way, it is good that the scenario remains the same after 10 years.
Khodala is about 150 km from Mumbai, off Mumbai–Nasik highway. Also accessible from the western side via Jawahar, which is about 45 km from Khodala.