A Guide to Maharashtra’s Offbeat Adventure Hub: Kolad | Zostel

Mostly frequented by the residents of Maharashtra for a weekend respite, the village of Kolad deserves more recognition than it receives. Featuring activities like white water rafting, kayaking, riverside camping, and other little adventures that amuse the weekenders, this green town has roots that go deeper. To a traveller’s delight, many incredible forts of Maharashtra are only a short drive away, offbeat experiences such as meeting a local tribe & watching fireflies await, and a refreshingly different cuisine makes meal times a true treat. Welcome to Kolad.

Adventure Activities in Kolad

Known for the Kundalika White Water Rafting, Kolad has not one but many water adventures to offer. Located right by the river, Zostel Kolad is at a walking distance from the adventure hub, where you can try water activities such as jet ski, banana boat ride, ziplining, and kayaking. In-house, we also offer bungee jumping and boating at night, along with the mandatory adventure of crossing a river in the boat to reach the hostel!

Kayaking near Zostel Kolad, Maharashtra
Kayaking near Zostel Kolad, Maharashtra | Picture by @ankitguptaphotography​

As an outdoor adventure lover, you can also look forward to many soulful hikes, village walks, and explorations, more of which I’ll describe in this Kolad travel guide. Yet another highlight of Kolad is riverisde camping, where you can pitch your own tent and spend the night barbequieng, stargazing, and sleeping in the wilderness.

Places to Visit in Kolad

Tamhini ghat

Bringing a bounty of waterfalls, lakes, and green valley views to the palette, Tamhini Ghat is a mountain pass that falls between Pune & Kolad. Tagging along as its exploration-worthy counterpart is the Devkund Waterfall. While you can take your vehicle all the way to the Tamhini viewpoint, the waterfall is a 4-5 km hike after a certain point, where you’ll need to park your vehicle.

Tamhini Ghat near Kolad, Maharashtra | Zostel Kolad

The green roads of Tamhini Ghat, Maharashtra | Picture by Abbie

Insider info: Sunrise & sunset are the best times to visit the ghat. If you’re in Kolad during the monsoon season, the lush and blooming foliage of this valley is bound to leave you stunned!

Sudhagad Fort

Recently declared as a wildlife sanctuary, this area features ruins of a fort, ancient temples, plateaus, a granary, lakes, and more. Nestled in a remote village called Pali, the base of the fort is reachable by vehicles. Then it is a nearly 30-min hike to the top of the fort, where stunning views of the sanctuary await you. The fort is at a distance of 25 km from Zostel Kolad.

Sudhagarh Fort near Kolad, Maharashtra | Zostel Kolad

The Sudhagad Fort of Maharashtra, near Kolad | Picture by Akshay

Avchitgad Fort

A small fort at just 15 km from the hostel, Avchitgad is perched up on one of the hills of the Sahyadri range of Maharashtra. While its history dates back to the early 1800s, there are only some ruins to explore here, but the hike makes it worth the while. From the base, it will take you around an hour to reach the top of the fort, making for a fun li’l adventure on a pleasant day.

Raigad Fort

Seized by the great Shivaji Maharaj in the 1650s, the Raigad Fort is popular till date as the place from where the king administered his Maratha Kingdom. Entailing a glorious past, the village of Mahad, where the fort is situated, was the hub of traders at the time. Currently, history enthusiasts and curious travellers climb the many steps that lead to the fort. The hike is about an hour long. Alternatively, you can opt for the ropeway.

When in Mahad, you can also visit the serene Mahad Lake, which entails with a local history of its own.

Murud Janjira Fort

One of the sturdiest marine forts of the country, the Murud-Janjira Fort is located on an island. It was built by Sambhaji Maharaj (the son of Shivaji Maharaj) back in teh day to control the many ports. Now in ruins, it was a living fort in the 16th century, when it boasted top-notch security and rugged fortifications. The fort is at an hour’s drive from Kolad. Once in Mahad, you take a ferry to reach the fort which is built on a rock in the middle of the sea.

Murud Janjira Fort, Maharshtra | Zostel Kolad
The Murud-Janjira Fort of Maharashtra, near Kolad | Picture by Animesh

Kulaba Fort

An island fort just off the shore of Alibaug, Fort Kulaba is a protected monument popular amongst the tourists. You can visit this fort when in Alibaug, which makes for a great day trip from Kolad.

On your way to Alibaug & Murud, you can also visit the Birla Temple, a shrine showcasing stunning architecture.

Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary

Home to sacred groves, waterholes, open grasslands, and plenty of birds, the Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary is a delight for anyone who loves a raw encounter with nature. While there are four different trails in the sanctuary, the best one is approached from Roha, very close to Zostel Kolad. It is recommended to spare half a day for exploring the wilderness.

Unere Hot Springs

Located near the village of Pali on the way to the Sudhagarh Fort, these hotsprings are sparsely explored at best. They are at about a 30 min drive from the hostel.

The Food of Kolad

In Kolad, the Konkani cuisine rules the culinary scene, featuring umpteen seafood delicacies infused with fragrant local spices. Look forward to trying the Konkani Thali, which is a seafood delight for the non-vegetarians. Other dishes include fish and prawns cooked in the local style as well as the dishes of popti and undi. We recommend a local joint called Jachak Kaku Mess for the most scrumptious delicacies.

Konkani Thali in Kolad, Maharashtra
A typical Konkani thali | Picture by @muchfoodgoa

Your trip to Kolad just got better! Did you know, Zostel Kolad offers Bungee Jumping, a mini-bar with beers, and a kick-ass swimming pool? Check out the hostel here!

Offbeat Activities organised by Zostel Kolad

Night boat ride

This is an exclusive activity by Zostel, wherein you take the boat post-sunset and row for 1-2 kilometres. In a remote village like Kolad, things get extremely quiet after the sun goes down, making this a unique experience.

Night hiking

Explore the trails around the hostel post-dinner. You can look forward to watching the stars and spotting fireflies on this hike.

The Tribal Village of Pala

Tribal Village of Pala near Kolad, Maharashtra
Tribal Village of Pala near Kolad, Maharashtra | Picture by @ankitguptaphotography​

Zostel Kolad is surrounded by a range of hills that are home to many tribal settlements. The village of Pale Khurd is on one such hill, at a 20-min hike from our hostel. On this sunset exploration that lasts for about two hours, you get to observe the lifestyle of the tribal people, with their indigenous homes, ancestral rituals, and friendly demeanours. Watch the sunset from this hill and then make your way back to the hostel, just in time for dinner.

Local Konkani Food

At our in-house restaurant, local Konkani delicacies are available upon prior request. Try the Konkani Thali or dishes like Popti and seafood curries to taste a refreshingly new palette.

 Popti, a local dish of Kolad, Maharashtra | Zostel Kolad
Popti, a local dish of Kolad, Maharashtra | Picture by Shubham​

Pitch a tent

Our hostel has two options for camping, one within the hostel grounds and another, by the river. The team helps you set up a camp.

Time to head out into the wilderness? Plan your escape to Zostel Kolad here.

Zostel Kolad, Maharashtra
Pitch your own tent in the campus or by the river at Zostel Kolad, Maharashtra | Picture by @ankitguptaphotography​

How to reach Zostel Kolad

By a private vehicle

From Mumbai- 123 km. Take the road to Panvel. From Panvel, take the Mumbai Goa Express Highway. Enter Kolad

From Pune- 113 km; two routes, depending on where you’re starting from. Navigate Kolad via Tamhini.

Another option is to take the Mumbai Pune Express Highway and reach Khopoli (Imagica). From Imagica, take the road towards Pali & then join the Mumbai-Goa Express Highway towards Kolad. Once you enter Kolad, take an auto to the boating point (INR 20 pp).

Near Zostel Kolad, Maharashtra
Near Zostel Kolad, Maharashtra | Picture by @ankitguptaphotography​

By Train

Reach Mumbai. From the Dadar Station, take the Savantwadi Passenger train, which leaves at 5.30 AM and drops you at Roha Station at around 8 AM. From the Roha Station, which is at 7 km from Zostel Kolad, take an auto to the Kolad boating point. For a cheaper option, take a shared auto to Roha Bus Stand & from there, another shared auto (INR 20 pp) to the Kolad boating point. Take a boat from here to Zostel Kolad.

Note: There is also a railway station at Kolad. However, transport from this station is not always available, which is why we recommend you to get down at the Roha station & take an auto from there.

By Bus

Take a bus to Kolad. Get down at Ambewadi Naka. From here you can take an auto to the Kolad boating point.

By Air

Fly down to Mumbai or Pune. A one-way direct taxi from both the airports to Kolad will charge around INR 2500.

Know Your Hostel

Zostel Kolad is located on a private island, accessible by a boat only! Once you reach ashore, a sparkling clean swimming pool, dedicated work-stations with WiFi, a restaurant & mini-bar, and sociable common areas await you.

Zostel Kolad, Maharashtra
Swimming pool at Zostel Kolad, a backpacking hostel in Maharashtra | Picture by @ankitguptaphotography​

The private cottages come with seclusion and a porch seating, whereas the dorm rooms are as sun-soaked & neat as they can get. For leisure, we have a garden, hammocks, a bonfire area, as well as a playground. And to top it all off, we have exciting and exclusive in-house activities, making the hostel your one-stop holiday destination.

Zostel Kolad, Maharashtra
The bonfire area of Zostel Kolad, a backpacking hostel in Maharashtra | Picture by @ankitguptaphotography​

Excited for your vacay? Check out our hostel here.

Writer, Pranavi Chhikniwala.