“The world is a book and, and those that do not travel, read only one page.” St. Augustine.
Travelling is like eating those foods, the more you eat, the more your tongue longs for it. Like many of you do, I too love to travel and experience the taste of a new sojourn. The constraints thrown upon us by our ever growing busy schedule should not be some kind of excuses for not taking a break that your soul is so much longing for.
Be it for a short period, never say “No” to a chance to travel that might pop up suddenly which also might seem odd enough for you to take up at that very moment. Even a break of a smaller magnitude wonderfully works upon the wellbeing of our brain functioning releasing the level of stress and anxiety to a remarkable position. So, this time I decided to take a short break despite all the daily businesses of life.
My next step was to shortlist a few probable destinations and upon much discussion, we stopped at Panchgani, in Satara district of Maharashtra. Choosing Panchgani this time was somewhat personal as I so longed for the hills and the cooling breeze that these hills throw upon. Having been born and brought up in the hills I am always carried away by any kind of references to any such destinations. This is because it brings back some lost memories that you lived with once upon a time, which you hold so close to your heart now. And most interestingly you tend to relate things that make you even more nostalgic.
So our journey started on a bright morning in our personal car set to drive through almost 275 km long road to our next destination. Road trips have always thrilled me to the bone as they come with really exciting packages.
What I love most about such trips is that you get to actually absorb the nature at its best and secondly, the highway dhabas/eateries offer an incredible authentic food that you can unregrettably relish on. It took us around 3 hours to get out of the Mumbai city and reach Pune Express highway.
Through this highway road, the journey seems to be an exuberant one as you drive through the rocky hills on both sides of the road. The broad sprawling highway, a clear blue sky, freshly inhaled air, good music and beautiful scenic view did set our minds for the drive ahead. We carried food and in between, we did halt which was nothing less than a much awaited small family picnic.
Another magnetic thing about this particular road trip is the magnificent tunnels that you cross by. Built by the Konkan Railways, these tunnels pass through the mountains of Western Ghats of Maharastra. The thrill that runs through your nerves while passing through these tunnels is something you would understand once you are on it.
Around 5 pm we stopped by for some refreshment and I must tell you that you would not find as many foods stops as we might generally think of on such road trips. There are food courts where you have options for fast foods and refreshments with good ambiance and parking lot.
At around 7 pm we diverted our road towards Panchgani that is quite an amusing zig-zag way with a marvelous view of the city down the hill. As it was dark by now so you can imagine how it must have appeared. With the glittering of lights, it felt as if all the stars from the sky had fallen down.
Driving past the hill in those hours also felt to be precarious as the road was narrow comparatively and the turnings were adjacent to steep rock cliffs on one end or deep valley on the other end. Nevertheless, it felt so pristine to be among the hills as the wind was getting colder with each passing hour.
Exactly 8.30 pm we reached our resort (Sherbaug Resort) in Panchgani just 4 km before the town. At the entrance, we were welcomed by our family friends who were already staying there. Haggard we all were, but the smiles of our friends that welcomed us in an unknown land took away all our tiredness. It was dark so we could not get hold of the resort that very moment, but we knew that we had come to something really exciting and serene.
After checking in, we freshened up and I could by now feel the chill of the hill tickling my skin. Ours was like a small cottage in the farthest corner of the resort but we looked for a tent (the resort has 9 tents) as our friends were staying there. Due to the peak season rush, almost all rooms/tents/cottages were blocked.
However, we had our friend’s tent to fall for the party late night around a bonfire and barbeque. Each tent has the bonfire provision in it. The milieu was just perfect for a night to remember for life. I could sense that the whole surrounding area of the resort was submerged by trees and plants of a different kind. It was 12.30 midnight and we realized that silence fell all over.
The chills aggravated and post our dinner something creepy happened when the trees and its leaves shook out of nowhere. There wasn’t any wind blowing nor could we see anyone doing it but the whole feeling was really scary at that moment. Very soon we headed to our respective rooms and at heart, I waited for the morning sun to rise soon. With all the exhaustion from the long drive, the moment I was in bed I lost any kind of sense and just succumbed to sleep.
The fresh morning next day was as pleasant as the first rays of the sun. I could not resist the urge of taking a stroll around the exquisite garden that lay with a colorful spread of flowers and plants. I was taken aback by the beauty of this place. The tree houses, the animals, the swings, the antique museum, the cactus garden, the artificial waterfall, the pool etc. created a different atmosphere altogether in this heavenly resort. The maker of the resort must have planned well before it was set to start.
After breakfast, we decided to head for the city to gulp more of Panchgani. First, we landed on the table-land which is a vast spread of land from where you can have a great view of the picturesque beauty around.
Next, we visited the Rajpuri caves that added more adventurers’ spirit to the trip. We then explored the local market for some time and picked up some delicious strawberries to relish on. While on a trip I do not much prefer to hop from one place to the other for sightseeing. Rather I would gulp the natural abundance in its purest form and feel the worth of the place by meeting local people and enjoying some local cuisine. A very restricted and mechanical tour does not give you the real pleasure of the place you visit. It should be a relaxed one without any kind of hurry.
In the afternoon we trekked in the hills and it felt bliss. It took us almost 2 hrs and as we reached a small spring below. This isn’t any tourist spot but we felt quite proud having discovered this beautiful scenic treat.
By the time we reached our resort it was already dark. Though we all were exhausted from the trek, the thought of sitting around the bonfire again gave us an instant verve to look for the night. Soon after the bonfire was set we were served with barbeque chicken over some red wine. The dinner too was spread on the garden and it was a true delight on a wintry chilling night.
The next day was the end of our short trip to this elegant hill station. As we packed our bags there was some kind of sadness in some corner of our hearts. We all felt it but could not express. Bidding goodbye to this beautiful resort was another sad episode but we resumed our happiness that we would soon be here again to explore more of it.
On our way back we didn’t miss the opportunity to check out the famous Mapro factory. This is a must visit option for anyone visiting Panchgani. The magnitude of this factory is amazing and there is this person who guides you throughout the factory explaining you about the products that are being processed. We were given small cups of drinks to taste its various flavors and I must tell you that they are so fresh and juicy. We filled our kit with few bottles of mapro squash and juices. One must also try the strawberry ice cream that is a yummy delight.
So, our trip to this quintessential hill station comes to an end. But the memories we created during our stay would never erase from our hearts. Panchgani is definitely a traveller’s delight with not only its beauty but with also a suitable environment. You need not think twice before you choose your next destination.
How to Reach:
By Air: Nearest Airport is Mumbai
By Rail: Nearest station is Chiplun
By Bus: Well-connected from all the major cities
Hope you have enjoyed reading this article…For more such feeds keep reading my blog. And yes, thank you very much for reading my posts.