Mesmerising Maharashtra

You might have received the list of long weekends in 2015, which has gone viral on Facebook, Whatsapp and umpteen other social platforms. Reason enough to begin planning for some memorable weekend holidays, eh?

If you live in Mumbai like me, chances are you don't want to venture outside the state of Maharashtra for short holidays. After all, 20-hour long train journeys can drain all the spirit out of you. However, if you talk to people about weekend getaways around Mumbai, you'll keep getting the same answers - Alibag, Gorai, Khandala, Lonavla. Been there, done that. Besides, even if it's a new place you're trying out, staying in a dowdy, dimlit room can take all the fun out of the experience. Trouble is, none of us have gigantic budgets for what should ideally be pocket-friendly breaks.

That's where Airbnb comes in. I've been hearing about Airbnb quite often on social media and I browsed through some of their international listings - they are truly stunning. There is everything from tree houses, European villas, horse ranches, windmills, retro trailers and luxe yachts, thanks to over 34000 local hosts in more than 190 countries.

So, I was sceptical about whether the website would be equally good for Indian listings. I searched for listings in Maharashtra under 2000 rupees. And I wasn't looking for run-of-the-mill rooms in godforsaken lodges. I was looking for something special. And I wasn't disappointed. Click here to join Airbnb (it's free) and view my pick of the top five weekend getaways in mesmerising Maharashtra.

1. Hill top camping near Lonavla

Courtesy: https://www.airbnb.co.in/rooms/480015
Wake up to the chirping of birds and a glorious view of Pavana valley and lake. Then, spend the day exploring fort Tikona, while you soak in the sounds of temple bells and rustic cows. Go for a boat ride on the lake and enjoy a panoramic view of the mountains. By night, relax with your special one around a bonfire and  dine on a sumptuous barbeque. This camp is located 130km from Mumbai and rooms are priced at Rs 1700 per person. Sounds good? Go ahead and join Airbnb then.

2. Serene eco-village at Pune

Courtesy: https://www.airbnb.co.in/rooms/3917657
Have workplace demands and the tiring schedule of home-work-commitments exhausted your soul completely? Have you forgotten what peace and silence feel like? Then this quaint bed and breakfast in the midst of a 30 acre forest may be just what the doctor ordered. Feast on homemade organic food and explore the trekking options nearby, or simply go for an excursion to the dam. The property costs only 1200 rupees per night and I think you should give it a try. I certainly will.

3. Swiss cottage tent at Ganpatiphule

Courtesy: https://www.airbnb.co.in/rooms/4588858
Ganpatiphule has been on my wishlist since a while. It's close to Mumbai and it's renowned for its white sand Arabian beach, exotic birds and the Ganpatiphule temple. This particular property is located close to all the major attractions and is priced at 1600 rupees per night. The idea of reconnecting with nature at the bald eagle nest at Kalbadevi and dipping my toes in the pristine waters of the beach near Suruban sounds very tempting indeed. Aren't you tempted too?

4. Gulmohar homestay at Nashik

Courtesy: https://www.airbnb.co.in/rooms/3201381
I just love living in villages. The charm of the rustic life, with its freedom from the frenetic pace of cities and alluring proximity to nature truly calms the senses. Nashik is a gem of a getaway with its fruiting and flowering trees, flowering bushes, green lawns and lotus ponds. Gulmohar Homestay is a family-run guesthouse in the village of Belgaon Dhaga, 11 kms from the city of Nashik. The rooms are priced at 2000 rupees per night with a wide range of amenities, rivalling that of any luxury hotel.

5. Crazy camping at Raigad

Courtesy: https://www.airbnb.co.in/rooms/472620
Raigad Fort has found quite a few mentions in our history textbooks, thanks to its pivotal role in Shivaji's exploits. Green Hill Estate, Khopoli is raised some 100 feet above a lake with a backdrop of the local hills. All you have to do is drive around 80km to get here from Mumbai. Be prepared to wake up at the crack of dawn for a rejuvenating yoga session and a nature walk. Learn the art of pitching a tent and firing up a barbeque grill while you're at camp. You'll return with a renewed spirit and a whole new set of camping skills.

If what you just read has whetted your appetite for some truly amazing holidays, sign up at https://www.airbnb.co.in/invite/?af=3330229&c=IndiBloggerref and make your bookings from my wishlist visit https://www.airbnb.co.in/wishlists/46710192. Happy travelling!

This post has been written in association with Airbnb and Indiblogger
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