From a village where warriors stopped to change horses before the steep Konkan climb (Badla means change) to movies about kabaddi and bereaved lovers, Badlapur has come a long way. The town, fast developing, is around 75 kilometres from Mumbai, yet still retains its old world charm. It comprises the villages of Badlapur, Kulgaon, Manjarli, Belavali and others. It is in Thane, and is a part of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, recognised as a municipal council in 1971. It is surrounded by a mountainous terrain and the Ulhas river flows through it.
Its moment of fame came with the movie Badlapur starring Varun Dhawan and Yami Gautam, directed by Sriram Raghavan. It tells the story of a bereaved lover (played by Dhawan) whose wife and son are killed by goons, and his quest for revenge. It released in February 2015 and went on to be a critical and commercial success. A lot of the shooting did not happen in the town itself, so heres a peek into what the real Badlapur looks like.
Image by RatnakarThatte/Wikipedia
Places to see
The town is lush with quiet, green surroundings that rejuvenate everyone from the tired picnic-seeker to the local who sits back to enjoy the beauty. With dams, waterfalls and a pace far slower than the rat race civilization has become, here are a few things to do to enjoy your time here to the fullest.
A waterfall and pond, it derives its name from the Shiva temple that is situated there. The waterfall, at its peak in the monsoon, is situated at a 25 minute walk from the nearest village and is as secluded as they come. A warning here though, the water tends to get a little tricky and one must take care while venturing into the water.
A massif, that is, a group of majestic mountains that stand 800 metres high, and the walk to the Chanderi fort it is one of the most difficult and lesser known treks of the state. It can be approached from both Vangani and Badlapur. Vangani itself is 12 kilometres away, and a starting point for several treks.
The climb to the Mhasala, or the four mountain pillars is the same as the that of the fort, until a point where the road breaks into a fork. Once atop, you will reach the ruins of the fort that once was a Shiva temple and a statue of Shivaji inside the cave.
Image by Morning walk group badlapur/CC BY-SA 4.0
Built on the Barvi river, it is around 18 kilometres, and a popular spot to go for a short picnic. On that note, here’s why old-school picnics should be brought back. Sandwiches in cane baskets, lots of water, hats, cricket kits, when did we stop enjoying it?
Alternatively, you can also choose the Chikhaloli Dam, located at Ambernath. This is closer to Badlapur at around 5 kilometres, and one can even take a dip in the dam. Bhoj Dam, the third of the lot and an important component for the rural economy, it provides water for summer farming to nearby villages and is located on the Kondeshwar Road.
Image by Proyectohornero/CC BY-SA 3.0
Vishnubaaug – Environment Theme Park
For a stretch of 10 acres on the banks of the Ulhas River is the Vishnubaaug Environmental Theme Park, with the option of tent stay available at reasonable tariffs. There are a host of activities on offer that include eco workshops for kids and adults, a furnace visit to learn about brick-making, nature puzzles and games, small-time adventure activities like valley crossing and, a village visit to see what rural life is really like. This combination makes it ideal for school picnics, both for an alternative lifestyle experience and to generate an interactive environmental awareness.
In Badlapur East, near the Bhoj Dam is the Bhoj Resort, thats a fitting break for a day or two of lazing around. For those of you who dont remember what that was like, a trip here is a must. Set amidst the scenic locales of the region, with basic amenities like a swimming pool, good rooms and sightseeing opportunities, it is a great spot to unwind. If youre the workaholic kind and want to pack in a business meeting here, there is a conference room too.
Image by Epgyleme/CC BY-SA 2.5
Rainy Resort & Water Park
Located in Kulgaon in Badlapur West, the Rainy Resort is a water park and resort thats affordable, accessible and a great weekend option. Vegetarian and non-vegetarian packages are available for large groups. It has a range of rooms, bungalows available for stay, and banquet halls and restaurants to hold events. A complete package, we say!
At Ambernath, which is a few kilometres from Badlapur, is another Water Park & Resort, the Shanti Sagar. A few water slides, accommodation opportunities for upto 30 people in one bungalow, and even a lake house along with A/C and non-A/C rooms, it is perfect for large groups. There are pick-up and drop services to the Ambernath Railway Station and there is parking space available for private vehicles. It also has a restaurant and bar.
Image by West Brom 4ever / Wikipedia
Yet another option for a lazy weekend out of the city, is the Harmony Village, on the Barvi Dam Road in Badlapur West. It has a conference room, swimming pool, and indoor and outdoor game options like badminton and table tennis. Because the family that plays together, can go to work on a Monday, happier! Also, Monday is holiday for the local businesses in Badlapur. Sweet, right?
Image by Iijjccoo/CC BY-SA 3.0
Ganesh Chaturthi is popularly celebrated in Badlapur and the town is worth a visit during the time. However, the real local flavour comes out during the Maghi Ganpati Mahotsav, celebrated during the Magh month of the Hindu calendar (around February-March). It is celebrated as the re-birth of Lord Ganesh and the festivities include a big fair set up in Badlapur, and are attended by people from far, far away. A play depicting parts of mythological stories is put up, and generates quite a buzz.
The Badlapur Vikas is the Marathi newspaper favoured here, and enjoys quite a bit of popularity in the Thane district and the first daily to be published from the town.
There are a number of temples located in both the east and west. These include the Shri Ayyappa temple, Samarthwadi/GuruPanchayatan, Moolgaon – Khandoba Temple and GaonDevi Temple.
Image by Jaisonagy/CC BY-SA 1.0
There are a quite a few schools, affiliated to CBSE and the state board, which includes DAV Public School, Ashok Academy, Army School, Nalanda Public School among others.
The property rates of Badlapur are around Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 per sq. ft. , and has seen quite a rise 2010 onwards. Going ahead, it is expected to grow exponentially and one can already see the infrastructure slowly but surely changing the landscape. Buildings are coming fast and that makes it a good time to invest here.
Image by Rsrikanth05/CC BY-SA 4.0
How to reach
The nearest airport is Mumbai, around 96 kilometres away.
The Badlapur railway station is an important junction on the central line, and you can catch a train from CST, Mumbai which takes over 2 hours to reach.
If you want to go by road, take the Pipeline Road. There are also buses available to Ulhasnagar, from where a local three-wheel transport to Badlapur is easily available.
Not quite behind-the-scene, but the true picture of an upcoming town, Badlapur offers everything from investment opportunities to quaint picnic spots.
The main image for this article was sourced from Wikimedia. Image by Ganesh J. Acharya