I am sure, you would have heard of Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra. Have you ever heard of a village called ‘Wai’ at the foothills of the Sahyadri mountain range, just before you hit Panchgani? If not, let me tell you a few reasons you must visit Wai the next time you plan a weekend getaway from Mumbai.
1 Doesn’t this picture remind you of the movie, Swades? Wai is one of the most popular and favourite shooting locations for many Bollywood filmmakers, including, Rohit Shetty, Ashutosh Gowariker, etc. The list of movie sequences shot here includes scenes from Swades, Gangaajal, Dabangg, Dabangg 2, Chennai Express, Omkara, Singham, Bol Bachchan, Taare Zameen Par, R Rajkumar, Ishqiya, to name a few.
2 Wai is where you go seeking peace and serenity away from the maddening crowd of Mumbai. It also gives you a respite from the overcrowded hill stations of Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar, if you prefer solitude.
3 If history is something that intrigues you, Wai has a rich history that can keep you engaged till your last day of the stay. It is believed that Pandavas stayed with King Viraat of Wai when they were in exile. You can also visit the Phadnavis Wada which is one of the oldest buildings in the area built in the year 1780. A good part of the movie, Bol Bachchan was shot in this old house.
4 Wai is also known as “Dakshin Kashi” for a reason. It has more than 100 temples and ghats built along the bank of the river, Krishna. Most popular among them is Dholya Ganapati temple on Ganapati Ghat.
Where to stay?
While you may find it a bit expensive, this is the one and only resort in the village that can do justice to your precious time spent here. I liked this resort for the following reasons:
- Strategic location offering a wide view of the lake and the mountain;
- Beautiful architecture of its resort with dedicated balcony to enjoy the evening;
- Riverside camping tent;
- Machans, structure built on trees where you can just sit and spend good time doing nothing.
Things to do in Wai
- Enjoy boating in Dhom lake;
- Make a day trip to Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar (photographs in the right);
- Visit pracheen mandirs (old temples) built along the river Krishna;
- Explore Buddhist caves and Phadnavis Wada;
- Visit a strawberry farm and have fresh strawaberry (if it’s winter);
- Have local Maharashtrian delicacies like Bhakhri and Thalipeeth.
Where to eat?
- Mapro Food Park, if you don’t mind the crowd, wait for an expensive sandwich;
- Not at Magnus Cavern, if you have the option. The food is average out there.