Last weekend, I got a generous dose of luxury and a taste of the rustic countryside, all in the same trip! I had always wanted to drive through the valleys of the Sahyadris and spend a night in the mango orchards of a village. So, I put a break to my wishful thinking and stepped on the accelerator. My frantic last minute search for hotels and cabs was wearing me thin. Did I expect to find an empty room for a sunny weekend when it was Friday already? Just when I was about to give up on my quest, I found a nice resort and decided to rent a car.
My self-drive vehicle wasn’t just any car, it was a BMW 3 series!!! 🙂 I have my entrepreneur buddies to thank for this brilliant idea. Justride.in, their startup, lets you hire luxury cars and enjoy your long drives like a boss! 😉
The drive from Powai to Karjat is a pleasant one. In the 90 minutes you spend on the road, you see the polluted cityscape transform into a quiet countryside. I had booked us into a resort in the Mohili village, which is a little toward the interiors of Karjat. We stopped for some watermelons on our way to quench our thirst and ask for directions. After few more minutes of negotiating narrow kutcha roads, we finally reached our weekend home just before lunch.
Mohili Meadows was a pretty picture to behold. They say, it becomes even more vibrant in the monsoon. We had almost forgotten about our hunger as we learnt about all the activities we could participate in at this village – flying fox, archery, water-zorbing, and the works. After a quick lunch, we set out to explore this part of the Western Ghats.
Even though it is summer, the valleys have ample green cover, with small lakes of fresh water adding a dash of blue to the frame. Most visitors like to trek in and around Karjat. There are plenty of plains too for those who love to camp.
The heat of the afternoon had drenched us of all fluids, so we bought some bottles of beer and drove back to our resort. Four pints of beer later, we changed into our swimsuits and faced the sun head on! We lazed in the cosy swimming pool until the guard said we could stay there no more. I was taking a swimming vacation after many years, and it felt wonderful to play catch, race and find the “missing coin” till our eyes burned with Chlorine. Oh, how I wished I could swim in one of those natural lakes instead…
Our tired and chlorinated bodies craved high calorie junk food in the evening. We gorged on French fries, potato wafers and samosas till a sensible voice said it was time for dinner. We walked about our resort, noting the plants gleaming under the dim lamp posts, and looking up at the sky, spotting a constellation or two in the relatively clear skies. Village skies always make me want to leave Mumbai forever. The lack of light pollution makes it so pleasurable to stargaze.
Next morning, it was time for us to leave. We drove past acres and acres of green lands and basked in the tranquil surroundings of this lesser known cousin of Mumbai. Our trip was a short one, but there is plenty one can do and see in Karjat. For architecture enthusiasts, the Kondana caves and Peth Fort should be on top of the list!
On our way back home, we met the same ladies selling mangoes from their cane baskets. Life does come a full circle, doesn’t it? 😉 With the mango season on the cards, juicy pieces from Ratnagiri are transported through Karjat before they reach millions of Maharashtrian homes.
My first road trip this year has set the ball rolling. I have several weekend outings planned for the next few months. Follow my travels on my blog to stay updated with my exploits. Until then, I shall leave you lusting after my BMW… (so what if it was mine only for a weekend!)
P.S. You too can go on your dream drive, thanks to the car rental service of JustRide. (Top Secret: Your first ride is on the house! 😉 )
P.P.S. Let me know about your road trips. How often do you hit the road? I’m all ears!