Ever since it rained and wet, it has been a while we made our last picnic trip in the beautiful countryside around Pune. Who says picnic needs sunshine and warm air? For all I know, picnic surrounded by natural wind and greens in any conditions is always a merry experience.
We have been yearning to have a long drive and slow walk through the greens letting the fresh sprays of rain fall on my skin. The rain carpeted Pune and its countryside with the greenish rugs and crystal dews sparkling on organic blades. The luscious green, velvety landscapes stood through the rainy breeze gifting the locals the resplendent parklands.
We have visited Lonavala many times, witnessed its specialties in every season, it is one of the nearest attractions to Pune city. Monsoon seemed to bring out the most charming feature of these splendid hills.
Lonavala is the hill station near Pune and Mumbai, about 64 km from Pune and 96 km from Mumbai, famous for magnificent scenery and cool, fresh air.
8 am of lazy Saturday morning we were still in bed, though wild awaking but the soft dribbles of rain solacing our indolence. I suggested we should go for a long drive through the beautiful mountains and picnic in the wild green lawn. I fixed and packed the hot meal while my husband and Yaseen got ready. Soon we were on the road and the magic of nature slowly unfolded.
There are two major routes from Pune to Lonavala, express highway which is faster and old national highway which is greener and scenic. We had no time to lose, driving through national highway enjoying every bite of picturesque views and every atom of fresh oxygen.
Both sides were brushed with the liveliest shades of green, moisten with the fine showers of the last rains. The water gushing from the mountain cracks, overflowing farmlands and small ponds, the smell of earthy greens and wet mud tinctured the air. We turned off AC, rolled down the windows and felt the bracing mountain air caress our souls.
My husband’s sudden curiosity derailed us off track to Bhaja Cave, the 200 BC Buddhist cave. It was our new found astonishment, and we would be soon revisiting the place in the winter. I will tell you more and all about it in the next post.
As soon as we reached Lonavala’s hills foot, we discovered the white, cold mist shrouded the majestic hills. Nothing could be seen beyond the white air veil. The freezing cold drops of rain continued descending the earth. The mountains spouted the fresh water out of every small crack of rocks. The overwhelmed inner currents sloshed into the waterfalls clashing against the cold slashes.
The more we drove up the brumous hills the thicker the mist beclouded the surfaces. The headlights were on, slowly we crept up the narrow lanes blinded all 360 degrees. The visibility was less than three meters, the delicate rains laid off allowing us to go on easier.
When we reached the top, there were a lot of people already. The families came for picnic, haunted in hot snack shacks, and strolled around in the thin cloud. Groups of friends and teen gangs found more excitement soaking in freezing waterfalls and shallow ponds, or lurking between slippery rocks. The young lovers always caught in the romantic spots along the sparkling stream feeling even more private with the thick mist hazed over them.
We found a perfect spot just a few meters off road, not sure where we were because nothing could be seen beyond our feet. The mist was so refined and pure like a fresh smoke of oxygen rendered the resilient zephyr to the surrounding.
The rain stopped and it was perfect. We laid the reed mat on the wet greens, and quickly spread the hot homemade food over. My husband always wanted stir fried chicken in red curry paste with rice for picnic. I also made some fried chicken and salad with homemade mayonnaise for Yaseen. For dessert, we had some juicy slices of fruits. It felt so rewarding and cozy at the same time picnicking in the mystical, misty, beautiful nature.
We could hear the stream slugging between the rocks softly, nearby, somewhere behind the fog curtain. I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t get the pictures of the mountains and waterfalls. My camera was wet and I really didn’t know how to shoot in this kind of extreme climate.
After lunch, we wandered around the dazed green park. Yaseen loved this mystery, dreamy place carefully slid along our sides. The rocky floor was flooded out fresh water from stones covered in green moss. Though there was no way we could catch the glimpse of the glorious views, the fresh air and green floor were gracious.
Climbing down the hills we could felt the rain drop against the car roof harder. The view of the lake at the bottom became visible.
We stopped there for some local sweet corn. Every hill stations in Maharashtra are famous for their sweet corn grilled over hot charcoal and rubbed with masala and lime.
The corns were so fresh and juicy. Every voluptuous kernel broke the silky, dulcet succulence in our mouths. We devour the hot yellow cobs right by the cold lake.
It was a memorable trip, misty and beautiful… another flavour of Lonavala. Though we couldn’t see the famous green terrenes, the cloudy paradise seemed to be equally graceful.