Hugging the Kalsubai Harishchandragad Wildlife sanctuary, Malshej Ghat is nature in its full glory with mountains, valleys, dark forests and a large dam. In monsoon, numerous waterfalls invite you with clean water.
Bestowed by lush greenery throughout, the winding roads of the Malshej ghat make for an intriguing riding experience. The ideal time to ride to Malshej is early morning. When the traffic is almost negligible, you can take the Kalyan route towards Malshej that goes through Murbad. From Kalyan, you have to take the NH 222 which traverses through the northern suburbs of Shahad and Titwala. You can see the busy concrete jungle opening up into lush green fields and tile-roof old-school houses. The road is a dual carriageway and just wide enough to serve purpose. The tarmac quality though, is generally good albeit for the occasional pothole that can be happily ignored.
The road snakes through the greenery offering you elevation changes and free-flowing corners to add the fun element to your ride. After Kalyan, you will reach Murbad in a jiffy. Murbad is from where the real challenge starts. The road winds up the mountain and the good quality of tarmac and sparse traffic means you can also push it if you are a corner connoisseur. Be careful about not venturing in the oncoming lane as you might get carried away with the beauty of the road.
For leisure riders, the canopy of trees over the road opens up as you climb up. The valley view is gorgeous and there are quite a few kerbs to stop and immerse yourself in the view. Up top, there is a huge lake with small road-side restaurants around that serve excellent misal-pav and batata-wada along with chai and pakodas. There are not many fancy places around though for fancy food.
The way back is through Murbad. But instead of going through Kalyan, you can take a detour through Shahapur. The Shahapur road starts from the Murbad market where you have to turn right. This is a longer route but will keep you away from the traffic in Kalyan. The road will take you to Shahapur on the Mumbai-Nashik highway from where you can get back to the island city within a couple of hours.
The ride is not just filled with lush greenery and cool atmosphere, but also includes simple yet involving twists and corners distributed throughout the route. It has a bit of everything – narrow village roads, mountain roads and the big fat national highway too.
From Mumbai – Approx 140 kms.
June to March
Mumbai – Thane – Kalyan – Murbad – Malshej – Murbad – Shahapur – Thane - Mumbai
Harishchandragad, Pimpalgaon Dam and Shivneri For
Avoid going off the highway after sundown. The wildlife is thick and there is a good population of the striped tiger as well as leopards.