Kharghar in Monsoon –Tale of two Bengalis with tummy full of Biryani on a hilltop in the lashing rain

Kharghar is a part of Navi Mumbai, India. Those in Mumbai may frown a bit when I drop the ‘Navi’ and call Kharghar just a part of Mumbai, but for everyone else, it doesn’t matter much. A local train on harbour line from CST (ChattrapatiShivaji Terminus) station of Mumbai takes around one hour and fifteen minutes to reach Kharghar.

Technically, it is a valley surrounded by hills; hills with cute heights, not the high ones. The golf course and the Central Park opposite to each other are the lungs of this suburb. The south to north running hills along the golf course is known as the Kharghar Hills. These hills spring to life only during monsoon, in the months of June to mid October.

Our parents were worrying about our well being when the monsoon rains were lashing in Mumbai. We, on the other hand, were enjoying the best time of Mumbai, in terms of natural beauty of the Sahayadris.

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The curvy hills of sector 35

Adventure on Kharghar Hills of Sector 35

Since the advent of monsoon we had been seeing several waterfalls plunging from the hills. I (Tania) am a huge fan of waterfalls. On a Sunday afternoon after overeating one of our favourite dishes, Biryani, we set out to chase the most popular waterfalls of Kharghar – Pandavkada.

The sky was grim with occasional clouds and downpour. We tried to reach the waterfalls through a village in sector 35 of Kharghar. Our good intentions were thwarted by a man who looked like a policeman. He communicated to us that people are not allowed to go to the Pandavkada waterfalls as it is considered too dangerous.

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Way to the village

There was a hill to the right of us. We suppose the curvy hill of sector 35 is the northern-most end of the Kharghar hills.  We don’t think the hills end, but it probably takes up a different name and runs in a different locality.

The base of the hill was very busy. Groups of friends and families were having monsoon themed photo sessions. We could have joined the majority, click selfies, do what normal couples do and returned back. Unfortunately, we are abnormal. Powered by a bulging stomach full of biryani, defying logic, we decided to climb up the hill to enjoy the view of Kharghar from the top.

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Outings in the monsoon

As we climbed up, the crowd started thinning. We had to place our feet very carefully. The uphill way was extremely steep and terribly muddy. We had been regular in the gym since February 2017. Those 15 minutes of daily jogging on the treadmill saved us that day.

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Way to the top of sector 35 hills of Kharghar

Kharghar, just like other surrounding areas of Mumbai, becomes pretty green during monsoon, but it is not the green of the trees. Mostly these are grasses. It can be compared with the knolls and prairies of the highlands.

My knees were at the verge of revolting when we finally reached the top. The top was very narrow. Through the curtain of mist, we saw what lay on the other side of the hill. A water body, which Google Maps told us was Owe dam, was visible. We saw villages and croplands by its side. On the opposite side of the hill were highrises. The contrast was so stark. It felt funny that we need to bend our heads down to see the ‘high-rises’. We enjoyed the bird’s eye view of the entire township of Kharghar.

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Owe Dam lake in Kharghar
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Villages in Kharghar
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Highrises in Kharghar
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Enroute to the top

The soft mistiness of the clouds changed into a stern grey. The sky was tinged in black and white. Strong winds started blowing. Soon we saw the clouds break loose over a distant part of Kharghar. We were still on the summit and thinking about ways to get down without dying. We literally saw the rain and clouds gradually moving northwards, towards us.

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Angry Sky
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Monsoon clouds in Kharghar

We knew it was impossible for us to get down before rainfall drenches us. We focused on finding the safest route. Rainfall would activate all the small streams and every slope would become a cascade. The trail which we took while climbing up would be extremely unsafe to climb down under rainfall. Due to the lack of plants and trees (only grasses grew in the area), the soil erosion was so very real over that stretch.

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View from the top of the curvy hill
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View from the top of the curvy hill
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View from the top of the curvy hill

We decided to tread down through the curviest part of the hill. It was steeper with sharper drops but there were plants we could latch onto to prevent slipping. No, these hills are not deadly, but yes an accident could surely leave us with broken limbs.

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See the route we came down?

Rain got the better of us within a few minutes of our downhill climb. The wind was making the rain fall horizontally. Like spears, those water droplets struck our skin. It felt like someone was pricking us a million times without any hint of humanity. Meanwhile, the streams were activated and we knew it could get worse if we didn’t hurry up. We knew how persistent the Mumbai rains are. If the rainfall continued for hours, it could bring a flashflood and we, mere humans dangling on shrubs from a cliff, would be washed away.

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Heading down

With a tummy full of biryani and heart full of fear, we completely gave up standing upright. We sat on the muddy slope and pushed our bodies with our forelimbs and hindlimbs, one at a time, quickly but carefully.

Fortunately, the rainfall stopped before we completed our downhill hike skirting over the four curves of the hill. After entering the safe zone, we spent time playing with the water of one of the streams. It was amazing to see thin water ribbons tumbling down the slopes. The clouds were still rolling. The entire place was shimmering with glittering greenery.

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Little streams of Kharghar

We feel there are locals who don’t fully appreciate the natural beauty of Kharghar. That includes people who live in the nearby areas and the main city of Mumbai. In monsoon, it is so romantic with all the greenery, waterfalls, clouds and peaceful ambiance. Not just romantic but it is also family friendly. We also wonder how come the potential of this place has not yet been tapped by some resort owner! Not that we are complaining, we love Kharghar exactly the way it is!

Are you a Mumbaikar? Have you been to Kharghar? How do you like monsoon in the Western Ghats? If you are a non-Indian, tell me if you want to visit this place!

*****

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16 thoughts on “Kharghar in Monsoon –Tale of two Bengalis with tummy full of Biryani on a hilltop in the lashing rain

  1. Glad to see that you didn’t let the rain stop you both from having an adventure. That view from the curvy hills of sector 35 in India look amazing and it is definitely a hike that I would add to my list if I was in the area. I love the little streams of Kharghar I would be getting into that water 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m surprised too that it has not yet been tapped by business entrepreneurs. Of course, being a hidden gem also makes it extra special 🙂 Such a fun journey you had and it’s great that you can get here without needing a car of your own.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would have never imagined that it was a place so green and lush near Mumbai. It looks like a great place to escape the polluted city. I am not sure if I would do it during the monsoon season though. I hate getting wet haha. I would love to explore places like this in India and see local villages.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow really well written article. Only a non mumbaikar can pen it down so nicely. Being a mumbaikar even I haven’t been to this side of the city and missed this beauty. Loved the way u write

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Stunningly beautiful photos. I love that there are so many peaceful and beautiful destinations you can get to from Mumbai without needing a car.

    Also – wow, that route downwards! With the rains, you must have slid the whole way down. Who knew that skiing was an option so close to home?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we actually slid the whole way down! 🙂

      Thank you very much for reading the post! For a travel lover, Mumbai is a great place to base in, there are so many beautiful destinations around that none of the weekends will ever be event-less!

      Like

  6. What an amazing set of photos. You are both so adventurous. That rain certainly looked dangerous. I would love to visit that place but we’re a retired couple from the U.K. and we’d only get to India as part of a cruise. Anything is possible!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! 🙂
      We are really trying to make up for the part of our lives that we spent(rather wasted) without having adventures! You are welcome here anytime and all the time! Which part of India will you touch on your cruise?

      Like

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