After savoring the food scene in Pune Ep 1, it was time to hit the road. The beauty of Pune is that you don’t have to drive far to get out of the city and be amidst the nature. Every road branching off from the highway has something interesting to offer. And my idea of a weekend getaway from Pune involves: Drive: 2 hours from both Pune Mumbai Story A middle aged couple from Mumbai who decided to leave the busy world of advertising and settle permanently amidst Mother Nature Food: Chicken cooked with red hot stones Exploration: A secret waterfall with no name lots more ..... And thus came along Banyan Bliss a rustic homestay around 100 kms from both Pune and Mumbai, but feels like another world. Sitting on top of a hill The place looks straight out of a storybook a huge banyan tree, a tiny lotus pond, cozy rustic cottages and an amazing view of the valley Plus it comes with a bonus No mobile network. Trust me its a blessing :
An idyllic village at the foothills of the Sahayadris, Dehene is located a mere 160kms from Pune and around 200 Kms from Mumbai. Lying deep inside a forest in Maharshtra, this is one of the places that is still not on the commercial tourism map and can truly be called an offbeat destination of Maharashtra. Because instead of sightseeing tours and star hotels, it offers an experience of living with the villagers and tracing the journey of your food. Staying with a local family not only provides insights into the village life and the concept of rural tourism in India but also a peek into their lifestyle, traditions and struggles. Rural experiences like these, have been made possible by an award winning social enterprise and a responsible travel company called Grassroutes. In a way they adopt these villages, train them in hospitality and enable an alternate livelihood opportunity for them. The days spent here were a remarkable example of experiential learning. While our contribution helps the villagers to supplement their agricultural income, they showcased how to smile and keep the show running amidst all the struggles. May be this what we call the pursuit of happiness :
Panchgani Alternate Travel Guide: The series TravelForMore is all about seeking more than just the sightseeing spots. And this last episode is a proof that even in a popular and commercial destination like Panchgani, you can go beyond the famous tourist attractions and experience it on a whole new dimension. I always wanted to visit Mahabaleshwar Panchgani during the monsoons because while it is beautiful all year long, monsoon enhances its charm to a sublime degree. No matter how popular a destination is, there is always a side to it that is still comparatively preserved and that locals keep to themselves. And Kunal and Laura helped me experience this unexplored side of the western ghats of Maharashtra. I was hosted by them at their lovely Airbnb called The OddGumnut. They are A couple of IndianAustralianAmerican hybrids who, after travelling the world, decided to build a self sustaining lifestyle.
17 February 2021