Malshej Ghat – Flamingo Land
Those who have traveled through the western coast of India will gladly testify to the majesty and beauty of the Sahyadris – the range of mountains that border the Western Ghats. Nestled in the Sahyadris, is a breathtakingly beautiful pass – the Malshej Ghat. The misty views en route Malshej Ghat and the picture perfect shots you are likely to find here will make memories of a lifetime. Monsoon weaves its own brand of magic over Malshej Ghat. The entire valley wears various shades of green and the sprouting waterfalls gush down the mountains to add a misty haze. A veritable dream destination, Malshej Ghat is a popular weekend getaway for people from bustling cities such as Mumbai and Pune. The beauty and allure of Malshej Ghat apart, the drive to this beautiful destination is in itself a great attraction. Malshej Ghat has become a favorite with road trip enthusiasts.
How To Get There
By Air – The airports closest to Malshej Ghat are the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport of Mumbai (approximately 127 kilometres away) and the Pune Airport (approximately 115 kilometres away). Both connect Malshej Ghat with a number of domestic and international destinations. Cabs are available from Mumbai airport to Malshej Ghat and the ride is likely to cost about INR 3000. The Gandhinagar Airport of Nashik, about 170 kilometres away, also provides limited air connectivity to Malshej Ghat.
By Train – There is no railway station at Malshej Ghat. The Kalyan railway Station, some 86 kilometres away, is the closest railway station, and offers train connectivity with most of Maharashtra. Regular buses ply from near the Kalyan station to Malshej Ghat.
By Road – Regular buses ply from Mumbai, Pune, and Nashik to Malshej Ghat. The best way to get to this picturesque destination, however, is by car.
Activities In & Around Malshej Ghat
Walk Through Waterfalls
Malshej Ghat has one key attraction that is ubiquitous – waterfalls. From tiny trickles to gushing falls, there is water coming down the mountains everywhere you turn. You may want to walk through some of the smaller (and safer) falls – this is certainly a beautiful experience. A number of waterfalls also form canopies as you drive down to Malshej Ghat. Do stop to soak in the mist.
Camp At Harishchandragad
Located at an elevation of about 4671 feet, Harishchandragad Fort is one of the oldest and best known in Ahmednagar district. Glorious history apart, a trip to the fort is now an adventure-enthusiast’s dream come true. It offers great opportunity for camping, rappelling, and rock-climbing. The large caves at Harishchandragad allow for onsite camping.
Picnic At Pimpalgaon Joga Dam
The Pimpalgaon Joga Dam is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the region. The dam is a natural bund which partially chokes up the Pushpavati River forming a lake. The lofty peaks and the natural landfill dam make for a beautiful picnic. This is also the favorite place of ornithologists and birdwatchers in the region.
Malshej Ghat is a trekker’s paradise. Some of the popular destinations that trekkers head to from here are Shivneri Fort (birthplace of Chattrapati SHivaji), Ajoba Hill Fort (known for the presence of Valmiki Ashram), the Darkoba Peak (highest peak in the region), Jivdhan Chawand Fort, and Naneghat.
A Flamboyance of Flamingos
One of the most spectacular sights that you are likely to see in Malshej Ghat is that of a huge flock of pink flamingos comfortably settling into their southern home. A flock of flamingos is called a Flamboyance and the sight will teach you the sound logic of this nomenclature. The flamingos that get to Malshej Ghat every August migrate here from Siberia. They can be sighted in Khireshwar, some kilometres from the MTDC guest house in Malshej Ghat. Dongarwadi, which is two kilometres from the Ghat, is another great place to spot the flamingos in August.
Best Time To Visit
Unlike Mumbai and Pune, temperatures rarely soar to intolerable highs during summer in Malshej Ghat. Winters are cold and foggy and the breathtaking views often remain hidden. But this is also the best time for hikers and trekkers and adventure enthusiasts. But by far, the best time to visit Malshej Ghat are the rainy months of August and September. Since it is a mountain pass there is not much fear of landslides. The lush green hills come alive at this time and the flora and fauna are all at their best. Since this is also the peak tourist season, it is advisable to get your accommodation booked well in advance. Malshej Ghat is a round the year destination and it is a popular getaway during the summer months too.