Archive

Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

The Lakeside Beauty of Malshej Ghat – My First Camping Experience

January 2, 2017 Leave a comment

The New Year was planned and I was to go to an evening party but when I saw a message from my friend at night, I considered taking a detour. I love nature and things like trekking, rock climbing and camping attract me but considering the high prices, I restricted myself from taking those options. But this was different; an opportunity to go for a lake side camping first time in my life was available at an amazingly good price of 1.2K approx., from Peak tours and travels run by Raj Singh from Mumbai.

We were given two price points, one with self-travel arrangement (cheaper) and other with bus provided for the entire travel of 2 days from 31st Dec morning pick up till 1st Jan Night drop. I took the second option with bus included and found that it was also greatly affordable. The fee not just included the bus travel but also the snacks, tea, breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 2 days. Not to forget, the games we played and the additional sites that we visited in and around the Malshej Ghat. The itenary included Vigneshwara Temple, Ganesh Darshan, and Lenyadri ganpati Temple in addition to pimplgaon lake side camp and the valley view from MTDC resort on the mountain top.

road

The travel was rather an interesting one both because of the amzingly beautiful route and because Raj made sure that we did not get bored despite having a big group of 40 travellers in the bus. There were fun games played in the bus to engage and the trend continued till the camping site. Besides good pricing and loads of arrangements, I was quite impressed by Raj’s professionalism and preparedness to engage us in activities. He had got required number of print outs and chocolate packets as prize possessions for everyone who had registered. In the camp site, there were two people including a founding member of Peak Tours and Travels and a writer-cum-movie maker who were placed as judges for the games we played in the camping site.

When traveling in large groups, the biggest concern of people is the inability to enjoy because they do not know how to deal with strangers. If you are an introvert or a person who feels your family may not be able to enjoy in groups that include people unfamiliar to you, the problem is even more pronounced which restrict you to consider such travel trips while making outing plans. At this point, someone is required to take the leader role and bring everyone together. To be frank, what fun you can get in groups may never be there in a small family trip. So, for such people, Peak travel would be a heaven. The kind of environment that is created by Raj in his trips will make you not only enjoy the nature but also make new friends and you may bring along everyone from your parents to siblings, friends, kids and even pets (Can’t forget Simba the Labrador who joined us in the camp). I had a good time in the trip myself and got to meet some very good people, hoping to have a long term friendship with them in future.

The Lakeside Beauty of Malshej Ghat

camping

We had all colourful camps lined up in a curve near the lake. The serene lake with smooth waves was flowing aside housing many creatures in the lake and around it in mashes like frogs and bird species such as pitta, cuckoo, quail, purple moorhen, alpine swift, and whistling thrush.

Pitta brachyura, a bird known to occupy marine and tropical areas, was sitting on a small branch of a plant placed amid the lake water. This quick to fly bird had a very cute flutter when its bluish green wings pushed her little body up, taking small leaps in the air, jumping from one branch to another. Her blue little tail was hardly visible in the dim light of the setting sun but when the bird came to sit near the small growth on the rock I was standing on; I could take a nice look at this small colourful creature. Blackish eye line, yellowish body, bluish green wings and the tiny blue tail with a ting of red bordering under tail coverts – I was seeing this bird for the first from this small a distance – An amazing experience it was but unfortunately, I was unable to click her as she flew too fast.

Next, I decided to explore the marshes over the wet ground, going away from the crowd. There were 50 people on the camp site and yet, I could not hear a voice clearly. I was standing on the semi-circled ground that touched the lake, forming something like a small land plateau. Little whitish shrubs grew on the ground making it slippery and I adjusted by foot while going as near to the lake as possible safely.

the-lake2

How peaceful it was! All I could hear was the croaking of frogs from all sides. I closed my eyes and could then hear the voice from the wind and from the slow moving waves. It was not the sound of movement but the sound of silence. Yes, I could feel that even silence has its own sound and that is beautiful.

The time I spent with the lake felt like a heaven to me. It had more life than me and anyone else. To me, the lake was singing a romantic song and alongside contributed frogs to the tune with their trumpet beats. The frogs were not visible and the lake was silent, yet it felt like they were talking to me. I spread my arms to hug the chilled breeze and closed my eyes. It quietly caressed my hair and kissed my cheeks. I started to sing along with the nature. My soul wanted to leave me to explore the cool breeze that blew over the lake water and touch the snowy and soft water along.

I do not remember how long I had been standing there with eyes closed but when I opened them, I found myself watching the skyline. A sight that I would never see in Mumbai – the whole galaxy and those constellations that I had only read about in books were visible. I could see Aquila carrying the thunderbolt, Leo the lion with claws, Orion the gifted hunter, and the Ursa minor hanging from the bright North Star. A slight reflection of the stars was also visible on the water as it spread over the lake like a diamond shredded blanket.

It was quite long and I got a call from my friend wanting me to return. But, when I turned by back to the lake, it demanded more time before a friendly goodbye. I could feel a strange pull as if the lake was calling me and was going to open up to me to allow me to walk over its huge expanse. When turning back, it did not feel like the water that I could drown in but a lap of nature that I could sit on, the spread of its closely knit elements that I could walk on and the mountain that stood strong at its end was inviting me to complete my journey to heaven.

A Walk in the Dark

lane

I was refreshed and amazed as I returned to the camp with a wide smile on my face. We were to go back to the restaurant for dinner. It was pitch-dark and the ground was full of elevations and rocks. I had no torch so I depended on my friends for direction. People walked on a small pulled up track surrounded by small wheat farms and by spiny whitish bushes.

Few of my friends who were assisting Raj in settling the camp lost their way while walking to the restaurant and had an additional adventure. A reminder – if anytime you want to go out camping near this lake, do not walk alone in the dark.

The route from highway to the camping site is small and the place is safe to walk on except the deep well that you have to watch out for, so, make sure that at least one person in your group knows the route well.

The New Year Celebration

The return was followed by a celebration for New Year as we all danced around a campfire and then sung in chores amid the camp site.

This style of New Year celebrations was new to me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was first time that I celebrated the New Year not just with people but also with nature. The celebration, for me, continued throughout the night as I sat beside the campfire till 6 AM in the morning.

Another hint of precaution – please take a good amount of winter wears and blankets if you plan to set a camp at Malshej Ghat. The tents go wet and you will find yourself shivering throughout the night if you do not have sufficient stuff to cover you. I spent the night sitting near the campfire and still could not get rid of cold. But it was amazing to spend the night with stars and soft music playing on a cell phone.

The 2017 came not with a bang but a beautiful experience that I would remember forever. I would love to experience it again and again every year.main-small

Categories: Travel