I stopped over by the beautiful Pavana Lake while returning to Pune after a lovely Lonavala weekend. It was a day before the Holi festival and I was invited to a friend’s house for a small get together. I had just finished a tranquil week at the Machan Resort in Lonavala and did not look forward to getting back to the maddening demands of my professional world. It was also my last week in India and my friends joined me for the stay.
Friendship and constant traveling are extremely difficult to handle at the same time and I hated the thought of parting with my childhood buddies. Needless to say, it was a quiet drive towards Kamshet and the region was breathtakingly beautiful. Amy Winehouse played in loop and she sang only for us all the way to Deogadh. A cloudless incredibly blue sky accompanied us on our wayward journey and it was a very lovely early spring morning. Summer flowers splashed reds, yellows and pinks and paddy fields bore a tender green colour. Friendly villagers paused from their tea and misal pao breakfasts to help us with our directions and we shared traditional Marathi snacks with them.
It was more than 3 hours since I had checked out of The Machan and after an early breakfast, leisurely made my way out of Lonavala town. The town was busy as usual but the inroad to Maratha hinterland was blissfully empty. Only a few villagers in their signature white caps passed by on puttering motorcycles and bejewelled nose rings, sun flower fields, cotton farms and tomato patches welcomed us to a huge empty space. The Western Ghats cradled us in its expansive bosom as we drove deeper into it. It was rural India at its best and the urban craze seemed to be like another planet.
After hours of happily getting lost, we finally reached our friend’s house which also doubled up as a pristine home stay and immediately got charmed by the property. The owner was a talented environment friendly architect who had lavished his art on the house. A big sprawling wooded estate, it was the perfect combination of natural light, folksy furnishings and eco friendly amenities. The artificial sparkling Pavana Lake lay right in front of the house and it offered all the peaceful seclusion we all were craving for.
Our day at Deogadh was spent indulging in the beauty of nature that surrounded us and the silent peace which prevailed in the deep bowl like valley. Strange conical hills of the towering Western Ghats made an interesting skyline and fragrance of flowering mango trees attracted bees in hordes. Paragliders swooped around like big, bold butterflies in an otherwise empty sky and the cool, crisp breeze ruffled the neon coloured wings. Kamshet is famous for paragliding and its mild winds make it a gliders’ paradise. My friends and I gave paragliding amiss and instead did whatever else was possible in the sunflower riddled village.
Swimming, walking, sleeping, playing a bit of awkward cricket and eating completed the afternoon and in the evening friends drowned us with company, conversation and open air movie projections. Twilight dawned too quickly as it always does when you want time to stretch and in the evening we dragged out canoes and headed for the lake. A huge cheese yellow moon rose high over the jagged hills and fireflies descended like a million stars around us, as our little paddling circlet created dark ripples on the water.
It was Holi the next day and “Holika” bonfires crackled merrily in the distant darkness. Although Holi is my favourite festival which I always like to spend with my family, that year, I had no regrets of missing it. Somewhere in nearby villages, villagers reveled in Holika madness and drums, cymbals and voices rose in cheerful notes filling the huge silent valley with their traditional Holi songs. As our paddles rippled silently through the moon drenched shimmering water of the Pavana Lake, I thanked God for the moment.
It’s very rare in our busy modern life that we, the busy professionals of today’s world, usually take time out for the sun, the moon and people who matter to us the most. All my closest friends were with me that evening and it was a beautiful break from the hurried and lonesome journey called professional adult life.
TRAVEL TIP – Kamshet is a picturesque hill station in Western Ghats, renowned for paragliding and flying schools. Located in Pune district, just 45 km from the main town, Kamshet is a paragliders paradise. Surrounded by Western Ghats, this place is regularly featured in the top 10 must visit destinations of India for an adventurous junkie. It’s a beautiful little place with small villages with natural scenery and fresh air. You can enjoy the surroundings and also have a closer look at the village life of India with muddy huts and village markets.
The area is surrounded by paddy and sunflower fields and it provides an awesome view while you are enjoying the world class paragliding facilities here. Among other important attractions in this region are the Bhairi caves, Bhedsa caves, Khondeshwar temple, Pavana lake and Shinde wadi hills. If you’re looking to go beyond the Pavana Lake and wish to explore the areas in and around there, you will find the forts of Lohgad, Tikona and Tungi ostensibly visible from the Lake. Make your way tol either of the forts and enjoy a piece from our country’s history, set against the backdrop of the lush Pavana Lake and the areas around it.
Due to its proximity to other hill stations like Lonavla and Khandala, one can include those places in this trip as well. Source – http://www.holidify.com/kamshet For those seeking a place to unwind in picturesque Kamshet can look up, Deogadh The Homestay, Thakursai Village, Pawnaa, Maval. +91 98 20 045921 Apart from regular rustic home stay accommodation, Deogadh also offers star gazing, forest walks, movie nights and camp fires.
RESPONSIBLE TRAVELING-BECAUSE I CARE