“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water”
Mumbai, a culmination of seven islands sits at the very source of the Ulhas River and Salsette Island. The Arabian Sea, the colossal spread of blue, binds the city in the west. Also, there are lakes and the water bodies that account for the supply of water to the city are spread across various locations. The colossal city does face ‘dry days’ as the taps soon run dry just as the summer kicks in. But despite the challenges, the people know how to find the silver lining in almost everything. This undying spirit helps the water bodies serve an auxiliary purpose. These spots make an excellent spot for road trippers and nature enthusiasts alike.
Mumbai’s water supply comes from seven lakes spread across the city – Modak Sagar, Tansa Lake, Vihar Lake, Tulsi Lake, Upper Vaitarna, Bhatsa, and Middle Vaitarna. The lakes have reservoirs built to cater to the city’s water supply. The reservoirs are a sight to behold in the monsoon, thriving with waterfalls and covered in lush green. Despite being surrounded by water on almost all sides, the relationship of water and Mumbai has always been like a one-sided lover – stranded in the middle of the sea yet dying of thirst.
So if you are unacquainted with these spots, then fret not!!! Here is a list of water bodies around Mumbai that make for a perfect spot for a road trip:
1. Bhandarwada Hill Reservoir
The Bhandarwada Hill Reservoir sources its water from Vihar Lake. Built in 1884, the reservoir was meant to address the problem of shortage of potable water in the city. Bhandarwala Hill, a basalt rocky hill was the site for Mazagon Fort which was built in 1680. The fort today lies in ruins after being destroyed during the Mughal rule in India.
The ruins of the fort and the Joseph Baptista Gardens, more commonly known as the Mazagaon Gardens make it the top choice among road trippers for discovering water bodies around Mumbai. The Mazagaon garden at an altitude of 32 meters offers a panoramic view of the Mumbai harbor and southern business district of the city. The park is a plethora of flora and fauna. Some of the gems found in the park are cycas, ixora, musanda, bougainvillea and hibiscus.
2. Morbe Dam
Morbe Dam is a gravity dam on the Dhai river near Khalapur. This dam is the main source of water supply for Navi Mumbai. It is a great spot for road trips as it is situated at a short distance from both Mumbai and Pune. Surrounded by the mountains, the peace that envelops your soul the moment you are in the vicinity of the dam is unfathomable. The dam also boasts of being the shoot locations for blockbuster movies like Slumdog Millionaire and the song ‘Lean On’. Boating and other activities are an allied attraction to the place making it the best choice for a road trip for discovering water bodies around Mumbai.
3. Tulsi Lake
Tulsi Lake, the second largest freshwater lake in Northern Mumbai is located within the densely forested Sanjay Gandhi National Park. The Lake was built by damming the River Tasso and was completed in 1897. Rainwater from the catchment area of 676 hectares of Powai-Kanheri hill ranges drains into the lake. During the rainy season, the excess water flows out into the Powai Lake and further down into the Mithi River.
The Tulsi Lake is a hidden gem within the concrete jungle of Mumbai and not a lot of people know about this lake. Once the monsoons kick in, the lake is brimming with water with an average depth of 12 meters. The lush green Powai-Kanheri hill ranges and the pitter-patter of rain ensure the perfect soul calming experience for any individual. The hill ranges make an excellent choice for easy to moderate trekking experience.
4. Upper Vaitarana Dam
Upper Vaitarana Dam, is an earth fill and gravity dam on west flowing Vaitarna river near Igatpuri. The reservoir created by this dam spreads on both Vaitarna and Godavari rivers catchment area. The dam holds special significance from an engineering point of view as Vaitarna river drains into the Arabian Sea and the Godavari drains into the Bay of Bengal.
This area is carpeted with fauna and flora of every kind making it a perfect spot for a road trip. The numerous waterfalls in the area are an added attraction for the trekkers in the area. The mist spray from the gigantic waterfalls is a sight to behold. The background of the spectacular peaks and trenches of the Western Ghats makes the place look absolutely heavenly. You can also rent bicycles from nearby resorts and hotels to make your whole experience of discovering water bodies around Mumbai memorable.
5. Modak Sagar
The beautiful Modak Sagar Lake happens to be a pleasing cove, attracting a huge number of visitors each year. It has an overflow level of 163.15 meters, making it the second largest of the lakes supplying water to the city of Mumbai. The State Government guards and protects the Dam premises. Access is only for officials from the MCGM, however, if anyone wishes to see the dam, special permission can be obtained from their head office at CST. For, as they say, the forbidden fruit is always tempting!!!
The Modak Sagar Lake happens to be the abode of crocodiles that inhabit the shallow lake near its coast. A look at the perilous crocodiles makes all the pain of going through those special permissions worthwhile. Shutterbugs and road trippers flock in hundreds every year to this location to experience the forbidden pleasures of this place.
6. Bhatsa Lake
Tucked beneath the Bhatsa Dam, the Bhatsa Lake is at a distance of 100 kms from Mumbai city. It draws water from the Bhatsa and Corna Rivers. Drawing a large number of visitors during the monsoon season, one can see the water flowing in panels through the dams and beyond the foliage of trees.
The massive force, with which the waterfalls meet the dam, sprays the surrounding area with water. The water force creates an optical illusion and it appears as the whole area has been enveloped in mist. Hence, the name the ‘Fog City’. The place is a must visit for road trippers for discovering water bodies around Mumbai in the monsoon season.
Hope this carefully curated list of water bodies around Mumbai will surely make you itch for a road trip to explore these hidden gems so close to the city. If you need help with planning a trip to any of these places, feel free to reach out to us on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram. We will surely help you with all we can and take you #AageSeRight.