I am transiting through Singapore on my way to South Australia as I pen this. Amid the lavish hospitality of the Singapore Airlines’ SilverKris Lounge and the excitement of visiting the land down under, I find myself looking back fondly at the last week, which I spent road tripping through rural Maharashtra. Just 2.5 hours away from Bombay, the state revealed many hidden surprises! We drove along pristine lakes, stayed at a work-in-progress art village just off Panchgani, and lazed in the warm afternoon sun on virgin beaches along the Konkan coast.
This is our visual ode to Maharashtra; all photos are taken with the Sony Cybershot:
1. READING MURAKAMI BY PAWNA LAKE
near Lonavala, finishing this picture of tranquility.
2. A GORGEOUS SELF-CATERING ABODE IN PAWNA NAGAR
on a hill, overlooking Pawna Lake.
3. A PRISTINE OUTDOOR OFFICE
by the mango trees, quaint villages, untraversed hills and pristine lake of Pawna.
4. GOLDEN SANDS ON THE KONKAN COAST
shining at sunset.
5. FINDING A LITTLE BIT OF PARADISE
at Devrai Art Village, just off Panchgani.
6. TASTING CORN DELIGHTS IN MAHABALESHWAR
at Garden Ice-Cream Restaurant; corn is grown widely in the region and this little restaurant serves innovative and delicious corn snacks.
7. LIFE IS MADE FOR MOMENTS LIKE THESE
, on a virgin beach along the Murud-Alibaug route.
8. AFFLUENT BUT HARDWORKING, THE VILLAGE FOLK
of Maharashtra. Land values have gone through the roof, especially along the coast, but they choose to live simple lives, working on their fields and sending their kids to school. Mighty impressive.
9. THE COSY DEVRAI ART VILLAGE HOMESTAY
; the art village is a work in progress by a local NGO, that helps families from Naxal-affected areas to relocate to Panchgani and work on their Dhokra Art from the Bastar region, as a sustainable source of livelihood.
10. SPRING IS IN THE AIR
and the serenity of Maharashtra’s countryside is everywhere.
11. THE VIEW AT THE END OF A FOREST HIKE
in Mahabaleshwar, that was first charted out by the British. It has long been forgotten and covered by the hideous facade (think boating and horse riding) of touristy Mahabaleshwar. Luckily, we met someone who knows these forests like the back of his hand!
Have you travelled along rural Maharashtra? What gems have you discovered?