The Road to Khodala

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.

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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.

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This is not about Khodala. It is about the road to Khodala.

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Enriching your soul is a beautiful landscape of forests, green-carpeted hillocks, and fields, embellished with rivulets and waterfalls.

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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 …

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 A roaring waterfall near the Vaitarana bridge caught our attention from top. Several policemen and local people had gathered near this.

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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.

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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.

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New Vaitarana bridge under construction

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.

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Further ahead of Vaitarana bridge, a well-laid road pointing to Middle Vaitarana caught our fancy.

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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.

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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.

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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.

11 Comments

  1. Saumya

    I know. I have been he and some other hidden spots. But loathe to put hem nline, because of the rush of camera happy people with penchant for putting everything on social media. Then the picnicers move in. Then teh resort peole. Followed by the builders selling ‘forest view villas’, ‘river front bungalows’ etc. and reduce a beautiful location to mess, and turn the simple free living local farmers into landless house maids and drivers. Lonavala is a fine example. So is Pavana.

    Wsh there were a secret society of people like us who love and enjoy nature and work hard to keep it hat way.

    Kudos to bringing back the garbage.

    1. thecouple

      Thanks, Saumya. “Secret society” – now that’s interesting. Like Freemasons? 🙂

      1. Saumya

        Hahaha. Not exactly. But wish these beautiful places remainded quaint and undiscovered by the vast majority: people who go, not because they love untainted nature, but just because they want to go somewhere in their brand new cars, wailing children and an army of maids in tow. People who go to quaint locations to get drunk, dance in their underwear in the waterfalls to loud blaring music, people who go to jungle resorts to blast firecrackers in diwali and new years’, who dont think twice before throwing their garbage out of their car windows and move to destroy the next quaint location. Wish such people would never get to know of these kind of beautiful locations.

        On a more positive note: somewhere around this place, i had shot a beautiful image of a long road with a ‘Deer Crossing’ signage. How pleasant. For some feason, i didnt want to put that picture online.

        1. thecouple

          You exactly described the crowd we hate. Unfortunately, it is a growing tribe. 🙁

  2. Neeraj

    What a beautiful place – such “hidden gems” should stay that way… hidden!
    It’s really sad that when a spot becomes a “picnic spot” in India – it almost necessarily becomes a garbage spot. No?

    1. thecouple

      In fact, we thought twice before posting about Khodala. Internet and people like us are the main reasons for hidden gems becoming picnic/garbage spots. Respecting the nature is not in our blood, that’s the curse. We went for a trek in SGNP yesterday and came back with a bag full of garbage, picked up on the way. 🙁

      1. Vikas

        Hi Guys – I’d like to touch base. If it’s ok, can you please mail me your email id. It is simply regarding like-minded couple getting together to make similar trips. Many Thanks.

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