5 Reasons why you should visit Konkan.

Konkan is a region located in the western coastline of Maharashtra. It is known for its scenic beauty and nature’s abundance.You can travel here by roadways or by train. I visited my village Shrivardhan in Raigad district which is only 5 hours away from Mumbai city. I came here with my family this vacation and discovered various reasons why you should take a break from your busy lives and visit Konkan:

1)Nature at it’s best:

You will find large and dense trees everywhere around you! These trees will definitely make you feel calm and help you relax! There won’t be any noisy vehicles and you’ll find yourself at peace.You will find a variety of trees and would also find juicy fruits hanging on the branches! You will spot monkeys, cows and pretty birds too!

Wadi(a cluster of coconut,betelnut and other trees)
Betel nuts
chickoo trees
Vasru(calf ) resting

2) Divine temples:

There are many beautiful temples to be visited here. The temples do have a great architecture and a pleasant aura.

Audumbar vasini [ goddess residing under audumbar(cluster fig)tree]
Somjaidevi temple
Somjaidevi
Harihareshwar temple

3) Serene beaches:

Konkan is known for it’s breathtaking beaches! There are a number of beaches you can visit and the best part is that these beaches are not crowded and are very clean. You can also enjoy the water sports such as jet ski, banana riding,parasailing etc. Also, you can experience the quad bike rides,horse riding at the beach.

Harihareshwar beach

4) Best paths for long walks and drives:

You will find the paths covered with greenery on both sides accompanied by the chirping of birds. Thus it will be ideal to have long,refreshing walks. Even you should soak yourself in the fresh air during the pleasant rides .

5) Sea food!!

This is the best part about being in Konkan! The sea food cooked here is simple yet the most delicious food ever! You should try a variety of fried fish,prawns,shrimps,crabs. After filling your tummies with such good food, drinking the refreshing sol kadhi will help in digestion.

Pomfret thali
Modak(a sweet delicacy made of rice flour with coconut filling)

These are some of the reasons why Konkan is one of the best places you need to visit to take a break from your busy lives and rejuvenate yourself.

My visit to the refreshing Chota Kashmir in Mumbai!

My friend and I had visited Goregaon for an exhibition but it was postponed so we decided to visit some place nearby to hangout. So, we decided to visit Chota Kashmir and it turned out to be the best decision! Chota Kashmir is a beautiful and vast garden which will make you forget about your worries and help you rejuvenate with its unfiltered nature’s touch. This garden is all about huge trees and colourful flowers all around which did attract pretty butterflies and chirpy birds .

Things to know:

This place is located in the Aarey colony in Goregaon. You can hire an auto from Goregaon station which will cost you around Rs 40.

The entry fees is just Rs 5/ person.

There are food stalls outside the garden.

Things to do here:

1) Relax and breathe in the fresh air.

This place does justice to its name as it really is as cool and serene like Kashmir.It is engulfed in the Aarey forest and thus is untouched from the hustle of the city. There is no noise or polluted air. You can just sit here mindfully and meditate or read a book and find peace.

2)Hiking:

Chota Kashmir is so vast and there are so many paths that you can take which will make you feel you are literally in the forest and not in a garden. If you are a fan of hiking ,you can explore this forest and you will be amazed by its serenity! There are huge green trees all over accompanied by the chirping of the birds.

3) Photography:

If you are a photography enthusiast, you are really gonna love this place! You will find a range of beautiful and wild trees right from huge cactus to coconut trees. Also,the gorgeous flowers and colourful butterflies will be worth capturing in your pictures!

4)Boating in the mini Dal lake

The mini Dal lake is located outside the garden on the opposite side of the highway. There are various games to be played such as dashing car etc in the playing zone. But the best part is the boating here! The cost for paddle boating is Rs 30 for 40 minutes. Paddle boating was the best part of this trip! It was so therapeutic to boat in the calm and soothing waters of the lake. There were a few ducks too! We enjoyed the view of the beautiful sunset.

We had a perfect end to the day with boating in the calm lake and we returned back home feeling much more peaceful !

Fireflies night trek and Camping under a sky full of stars at Prabalmachi.

Prabalmachi is a campsite situated in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. It offers the view of the gigantic Kalavantindurga and Prabalgad fort.

My best friends and I had made a bucket list of the things we want to do together. Trekking and camping was one of them! So, we planned to visit Prabalmachi with a trek group. We were very excited as it was going to be our first trek together and also about seeing the fireflies!

So we left home in the evening and reached Panvel station from Thane station which takes 1 hour.

We met our trek group there. From there we travelled by van in a group of 7 in each van. We reached the base village ‘Thakurvadi’ in 45 minutes. We had a quick introduction session and then we started our trek.

As it was a night trek, we trekked using the torches that we carried. The path was almost plain. There was not much climbing. In about 10 minutes of walking , we reached the starting point of the trek which was a check post where we were supposed to pay an entry fee and our bags were also checked for liquor or cigarettes as it is strictly not allowed .

Then our trek began.Most of the ascend was a very easy plain path where we were just supposed to walk. There were some rocky cliffs. The thing that I loved most about this trek was that there were small stalls after covering short distances. There were 8 such stalls. Thus it gave us a sense of achievement and kept us motivated. Snacks and nimbu sherbat were available at the stalls.

We saw fireflies on 3-4 spots on our way. They were present on the trees. It really was a magical sight! As they blinked, they resembled the stars in the sky . The trees looked like christmas trees which are decorated with lights! We were supposed to be quiet and to turn our torches off as the torch light would have disturbed the fireflies.

Fireflies

We reached on the top in about 3 hours as we stopped at various locations to spot the fireflies. Otherwise, it woud have taken about 2 hours to complete the trek. The local villagers living there provided food to all the trek groups. We whole heartedly had our dinner after our adventurous trek. Vegetarian as well as non vegetarian food was available. Chicken curry, bhakri, chapati, rice, papad was served to us in our non vegetarian dinner. The food was really good and filled our tummies!

our dinner site

Then we were taken to our camp site where tents were arranged for us. 2 people were accommodated in each tent. We settled there and then we were taken to the forest area nearby where there would be more fireflies shown by our guide. We enjoyed the serene view of the bioluminescent fireflies. Then we sat near our campsite from where we could see the city lights below us and listened to some calming music. It felt very peaceful!

city lights

Then we went back to our tents to sleep. Loved the feeling of sleeping under a sky full of stars.The next day we woke up by the crowing sound of the hens early at 5:30. The sky looked beautiful in shades of pink. Then we enjoyed the view of sunrise after some time.

view at 5:30am
sunrise

We freshened up, clicked some pictures and had poha and tea in breakfast.We also bought fresh karvanda which was sold by the villagers . There were many hens and chicks present.

karvanda(conkerberry)
a hen with its chicks

Then we started the descend. We had nimbu paani (lemon juice) in one of the stalls . It took about 1 hour to reach the base village. Then we reached Panvel station by van in an hour. We bid our trekmates goodbye and went back to our homes.

one of the stalls
view of Kalavantindurga and Prabalgad
van

This trek will always be a special one because I made so many wonderful memories with my besties. Also, I would recommend this trek for beginners as it was really a very easy and non tiring one!

Out of all the paths you choose, make sure a few of them are dirt.

John Muir

PLACES TO VISIT IN IGATPURI.

Igatpuri is a small and beautiful hill station in Nashik. It is recommended to visit this place in the rainy season or winter season to enjoy the greenery and pleasant weather . However, you can also visit this place in summer as there are various places to explore here ! Also even though it was summer, it was not sweaty and it was a pleasant climate . I Visited Igatpuri with my family, this summer. We travelled to Igatpuri station from Mumbai. It took about 2 hours to reach .You can also travel there by car or bus which may take 3 hours to reach. We took a car on rent for 2 days to explore the places there.We visited the following amazing places :

Dhammagiri (Myanmar Gate)

Myanmar gate

Dhammagiri is an international meditation academy. Here there is a beautiful photo gallery of Gautam buddha which describes his life story. We also were shown a short 20 minutes video about Dhammagiri . They started a audio tape which guided us to meditate for 10 minutes. It was a calming experience.

Ashoka pillar

Then we were taken to the meditation centre where a guide showed us the places there and told us about the 10 day free meditation course where you have to live there for 10 days with no contact with the outter world.

Meditation cells

Camel valley

It is a valley between 2 mountains where one mountain literally has the shape like that of a camel. It’s on the other side of the highway. There were also some monkeys seen !

Consider The right mountain with the flat sunlit part as the camel’s head and the shadowed part as its hump

Ghatandevi temple

Ghatandevi means Goddess of the ghats. This is a beautiful temple here before the beggining of the ghats. The deity is believed to be the protector of the ghats by the locals.

Ghatandevi

Bhavali dam

There are many dams to be visited here. We visited the Bhavali dam . To see the dam we have to climb many steps . It was a thrilling experience as the steps did not have any railing on the sides for support. As we climbed up ,the steps started getting narrower. Also some steps were damaged. However the view from the top on the other side was worth it! Looking at the serene water was so soothing. As, it was summer , there were very few people . Our driver told us that it is extremely crowded in the rainy season and the sound of the flowing water is so loud that we can’t even hear each other.

Bhavali dam
view after climbing the steps
the other side of the dam

Railway lake

This is a beautiful lake to be visited here. There were some people seen fishing . There were some buffalos seen drinking water on the other side of the lake. It was a scenic view. We sat there for some time to enjoy the cool breeze and view of the calming lake.

Railway lake

Trimbakeshwar temple

Trimbakeshwar temple is a temple of lord Shiva and is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas. It is always crowded here as people come here from far away . We visited this temple on the 2nd day of our trip. It was a 1 hour drive from our hotel at Igatpuri. It was very crowded and there was large queue to enter the temple. There were many other small temples inside. The temple was magnificent.It was so cool inside the temple despite the summer heat outside. There were positive vibes all over.

Trimbakeshwar temple
small temples

Sula vineyards

Then we started our journey to Sula vineyards where we reached in half an hour from Trimbakeshwar. Sula vineyards is a very famous and leading wine industry in India. It is very well maintained and has a cute and colourful decor which makes it very attractive. We have to pay an entry fee of Rs 200.

Wine fields

We were shown the wine making machines and were explained about the wine making process by the guide . For the wine tasting, we have to pay additional Rs 200. They gave us 5 wines to taste and all of them were amazing! The guide told the significance of the 5 wines to us. It was indeed a lovely experience! You can even buy wine from the store here. They also have a restaurant.

Wine barrels
Wine tasting

See. Smell. Swirl. Sip.

Panduleni caves:

After sula vineyards, we visited this wonderful cave . It is said that the Pandavas resided here. It is a group of 24 small caves. To reach the caves , we have to climb some steps . It took around 20 minutes to reach the caves. There was an entry fee of Rs 25.

Steps to reach the caves

From the top you can have a beautiful aerial view of Nashik city.The architecture of the caves is magnificent! There were various small caves and many small rooms inside. It was dark, cool and pleasant inside.

View from the top

If you are planning to visit Igatpuri, you can visit these amazing places here! Keep travelling and exploring!