Monday, October 13, 2008

Home sweet Home?

I was at Bhandhardara this weekend. Its a quaint little hill station nestled among the Sahyadri Hills about 185 kms from Mumbai, 35 kms off the Nashik-Mumbai Highway.

I fell in love with this place the minute the car took a turn off the Nashik highway! The lush green farms on either sides of the narrow road your driving on, the green topped hills (which we're not used to seeing anymore) and small herds of cattle herded by a typical farmer-cowboy with the traditional blanket on his shoulder to ward off bees is a pretty sight.

The Locals in Ghoti village (which you need to pass to get there) all wear traditional Maharashtrial dhoti-kurta and Nehru cap. Women are dressed in Lugdas (a variation of sarees) and it was most enchanting to see this traditionalism prevalent just about 4 hours away from the commercial hob-nob that is Mumbai where traditions and customs have all but taken a back seat.

The view from the MTDC resort is breathtaking, the photo below was taken just a short 10 min climb down the hill from my room. The fact that there are only two paces to stay here - MTDC and Anandvan resort has ensured that this place remains non- commercial, non-tourist attraction crazy and clean.
The MTDC resort rooms are your basic functional rooms, with no frills. But at Rs. 1000 a night (deluxe) what more can you expect. The rooms that we stayed at have been recently renovated by the Mah Govt, hence we had to pay Luxury tax (!!) on the cost!

The food was really homely, if you ordered right. we ordered baingan bharta (eggplant) and dal (pulses) and pitla (a besan preparation famous in Maharashtra) and Bhakri (roti made from Jowar) and thoroughly enjoyed.

Course there was a group of people on the adjacent table experimenting with Chinese (why they were doing that is beyond me). Its like ordering a Pizza at Kamat!

After sweltering in the Mumbai heat, feeling a chill in the air in the evening and wanting to cuddle under a blanket at night felt like a welcome change.

I'm pretty much at a loss for words to describe how beautiful this place was, which has resulted in a mediocre post trying to elaborate.

Why someone would want to pay anywhere between 45-75,000 a sq foot to live in THIS (see pic below) is beyond me.


Nirav said...

How's the drive? I've heard the road is not so great, which is why I've avoided the trip so far. How much time did it take you guys?

And I'm completely with you on this one. I have resolved earlier this year, to retire at 40 and go and live in the mountains of Himachal

Serendipity said...

I was trying not to mention he condition of the road!

My dad insisted on NOT paying toll at the booth because he felt the money wasnt being used on them.

However, its only about 30-40 mins after which it isnt that bad.. and the place is worth it.

we had gone to Nashik for a coupla hours, and went to Bhandhardara on the way back, so im not sure how much time the direct drive would take... but my guess is about 3.5 -4 hrs max.

Ashwin said...

quaint hill stations make awesome settings for horror stories :-)

Sam said...

Harsh Reality.

Abhishek said...

I need a vacation too!!!!

Serendipity said...

Abhishek- India seems like a good place to be. specially in Dec:)

Cuckoo said...

I have been to this place. It takes 3.5 to 4 hours from Mumbai though we were stuck at Ghoti for more than 30 minutes.
There is only one main road and that's the main market place as well. :-)

Best place to stay is at Igatpuri. We were on a 3 days holidays and covered/relaxed Igatpuri, Bhandardhara, Vipassana and Sula Vineyards.

You can check at my travel blog for details. :-)

Anil P said...

With your post you've ensured that I'll make a trip to this place sometime.

Like you said it doesn't make sense does it to stay in a highrise where you're lucky to get some sunlight a few hours a day.

~The Dream Catcher~ said...

It took us 6 hours to reach there.. did you see the Umbrella falls? They were breathtaking.. and I tried sketching the photo you took of the lake from the exact same point when I had gone there.. I loved that setting for a long long time..