An Enjoyable Journey down the Mumbai-Pune Expressway
One of the best road journeys out of Mumbai is to Pune, especially via the Mumbai-Pune expressway. This expressway has been modelled on international patterns and allows the traveller to zip through.
However, the entire journey from city to city involves going through parts of Mumbai and Pune as well as hill towns, and there are several ways to enjoy this route. For those who are not in a hurry, there are several stops that can be made on the way.
A good option is to leave Mumbai early morning (around 7 am) so that you are out of the city before the office rush and regular traffic begins to build up. Approximately an hour out of Mumbai and just before the start of the expressway, is the ever-favourite McDonald’s, which works as a good break especially as they now serve a breakfast menu. This break is welcomed by kids as the eatery has a small play area, and of course, their favourite food.
Once onto the expressway, the car zips through the tunnels. This route accords a nice view of the Western Ghats (small hills around Mumbai) and gives a nice view of the flora and fauna. Travelling on this route in the monsoons is especially nice as the hills are a beautiful green and lush with the rains. Small streams and waterfalls can be seen cascading down the hillocks.
A little over an hour, the expressway passes through the twin cities of Lonavala and Khandala. Many tourists take a break here (either for a meal or tea, depending upon the time of day) and also make purchases of the famous chocolate fudge and peanut toffee (called chikki in local parlance).There are lots of motels, hotels, roadside cafes and fancy restaurants to choose from.
Another hour on the expressway brings you to the periphery of Pune and the entry into the city is a route through the military areas and gives glimpses of tanks and other army paraphernalia.