MALSHEJIf you love the mountains and wish to spend some time communing with nature, without having to spend too much of time or money, Malshej is the perfect weekend getaway from corporate Mumbai! On the State Highway 222, at a distance of 140kms from Bandra, Mumbai, Malshej is the sole resort to assist you unwind in any season – summer, winter or monsoon. As a matter of fact, in the monsoons the bird (winged variety) watchers flock to sight the flamingoes which home in there too and the resort was named Flamingo resort when a private entrepreneur had leased it. Now MTDC has it back under its control and the bookings can be done at the regular MTDC rates at their offices. To reach Malshej you have to take the highway to Ahmednagar (Nagar, as it is popularly known) via Thane, Kalyan and Murbad. The roads are good and a pleasure to ride on, especially the ghat section and the traffic beyond Murbad is sparse. A point to note is that there is no petrol/diesel pump beyond Murbad until Junnar a distance of about 60kms, so if you are running short on fuel please ensure you fill up at Murbad. The ghat section begins soon after crossing Murbad and is notorious for dacoity between sunset and sunrise, so it would be wise to cover the distance in daylight. The views of the mountainous region are breathtaking all the way to the top, which is Malshej. Once you reach the top, ensure that you do not miss out on the tiny board that announces and directs you towards the only habitation in the area – MTDC. There is a neat ramp built all the way to the MTDC office. Settle in to your room and throw away your watches as time by the clock is of no consequence except while checking in/out which is 12noon. The views from some of the rooms are spectacular and may restrain you from going out on to the cliffs but let me assure you that you will not be disappointed if you do step out. There are plenty of awe-inspiring sights of mountains and valleys that will make you utter those famous words – if there is a heaven, this is it…! There is no television and the only communication would be through your cell phone and that too if your service provider is ‘Airtel’. A few minutes walk will take you to the rock on which you have to sit if you wish to receive or make calls on your Airtel mobile! Am not being funny, dead serious! Therefore, you are literally cut off from civilization and you may rejuvenate your mental and physical strengths on the mountainous heights of Malshej, just a couple of hours drive from stress driven Mumbai, for as long as you wish!