Panchgani – A love story set amidst strawberry fields

Panchgani - you serene beauty

Once upon a time.. Well it had been so long ago that I have to deep dive into my tiny sized brain to search for the details of this impromptu trip with my best pals. With information overload being the flavour of the season, this is a painstakingly long process :(. Still for all you guys out there who think a weekend out of Mumbai is Lonavala, this post is for you! This little mystery town filled with strawberries (I am wondering if I am being transported into my own version of Hansel & Gretel. P.S. just exchange the dessert house with strawberries) is a must! I am talking about Panchgani.

I diligently flew back to Hyderabad after a week of work in Chennai thinking of relaxing, lazing around and may be getting drunk (On life.. sheesh!). The innocent me didn’t know that my crazy set of people decided to kidnap me and drive 570+ km to Panchgani. We set out at 1 am from Hyderabad, sleeping for a bit, playing music, chilling, cracking jokes and reached panchgani by 12 noon. Guess what’s the first sight you see?

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You guessed it! Strawberries.. everywhere and anywhere. There are strawberries, strawberries & cream, strawberry jam, squash.. you name it. We soon started driving around to find a place to stay. The problem with an impromptu visit to Panchgani during a three day weekend is.. The hotels are full. We are doomed as there is no room, no home-stay and not even a hammock available. Are we supposed to spend the night in the car? No Way! Finally Tripadvisor to our rescue. There is an eco-lodging named Terra available for rent. At the edge of a hill and with beautiful tents overlooking another hill. Though a bit on the expensive side, this was our only option. Soon after we checked in, we brought our wireless speakers out and played some amazing music as the sun started setting in the hills.

Pic: Terra Cottages and view from Terra.

After sunset, we went for a walk, away from the lights and to stargaze. Though a bit spooky, it is definitely worth it. The sky was illuminated with thousands of stars and 5 of us stood there staring in awe. The next day was spent in Panchgani. Exploring the strawberry fields etc., I won’t get into too many details. But one thing that is worth mentioning is about 500 metres walk from Terra Camp is the edge of a cliff, overlooking a dam. it is so serene and peaceful. We were the only people there. We spent quite a bit of time enjoying nature’s bounty.

Pic: View from the cliff.

Pic: Strawberry fields and ripe strawberries.

All in all, I am thankful to those who decided to kidnap me :). Though I wish we had more time here, we had to get back owing to well MONDAY!
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All in all it’s a love story set in the sweet fragrance of strawberry fields, in the beautiful mountains and the serene grasslands that makes you forget that there is this bustling world out there, an email from your boss and a work order with your name on it.

Happy Independence Day India.

Happy Independence day India

Happy Independence Day India

In a country I call home, over a billion people are celebrating this day for the past 69 years. For people who think, we are a country that is always in media for scams, population growth, our Swiss bank balance, think again. From now on you will hear us shouting at the top of our voices about our growth, our humanity and our culture.

I am proud to be born in a country with diverse landscape and unique culture. Though it drives me nuts that people has a set timeline (for job, marriage and kids) for their life in this country, it also makes me happy about the many festivals, the togetherness and warmth people seem to have here. I am proud to be born in a country which produces skilled workforce like no other. I am proud of the start ups and the younger generations making a mark in the world.

Then why do some of its own people, without a thought or conscience, are hurting this country’s pride? Let us ask ourselves on this very day which side on the line are we on. The side that’s winning for India, everyday by putting up a struggle to face the challenges this world throws at us. Or the side which is dragging us down and shaming us in front of the world by committing unkindly acts.

On this day, lets make sure India is a better place to live. Lets respect both the women and men. Let us make it safe for our future generations and the troves of travellers that visit us each year. It is time to grow together.

LET US BE A FORCE TO RECKON WITH!