Igatpuri is a very small town lying on the Mumbai-Nasik route, mostly unheard of and largely passed unnoticed by the many cars rushing by on the busy highway. And that perhaps is the most lucrative part about the town – just half a kilometer from the highway, it manages to be peacefully nestled in the hills, completely escaping the bustle.
But we hardly knew all this when we set out in a Qualis to spend a quiet weekend there. We hardly even knew the place, except from a friend’s description of it and a mere glance at it while on the way to Sula. We wanted a quiet weekend and we thought that a less popular destination will serve the purpose.
So almost five months after our first journey on NH-3, we traced back the route – this time with greater confidence and armed with an aggressive and scary driver. The journey seemed to be a roller coaster ride, specially on the ghats. But the route remained a beautiful green throughout. The hills that had been shades of brown in our last trip, were all proudly showing the new colorfull attire. If you have lived in North Indian cities for most of your life, You would have rarely seen this pretty green – it almost seems like a painting. And then there is the mist and the rain. It is a heady mixture and the only way you keep your head is if your car is being jerked about randomly and dangerously. Which, thankfully for us, was the case!
We reached the resort at around 11 in the morning. Igatpuri has only two resorts – One is the Manas resort, which is an expensive affair located right on the highway and serves as a halting spot for many highwayers. The other is the Golden resort, for which you have to take an offshoot from the highway and drive on a run-down muddy track for about half a kilometer to reach right at the foothills of – well – hills 🙂 The place is surrounded by green hills, small monsoon waterfalls and farmland. However, for all the beauty that surrounds it, the resort itself is an ugly structure, brought about haphazardly and run in an even more random fashion. Not a commendable place at all – but isn’t that the least of the concerns when you have to come to be close to nature?
We spent the better half of the day climbing the surrounding hills in an attempt to reach at the level of a small stream of water flowing down as a fall. And it was blissful as we sat down with our feet dipped in the water and enjoyed the cool breeze. The view was spectacular.
The later half, we still could not resist the greenery, climbed up a small hill with our books and enjoyed some good reading under a tree. The breeze was soothing, and a picnic pack helped, even if it did not constitute of much. We couldn’t have asked for more, but God, in one of his benevolent moods added up to the day with soft showers.
The next day we kept with the book-reading regime, this time under a different tree. One of our friends, going back to the roots, took to climbing trees and expertly dangling from a branch – and though he may have shed some blood and branches for doing that, it earned us a good picture 🙂
The climb also brought to our notice a beautiful lake in the vicinity and we set about hunting it. This time not on foot though. A few death threats later (remember the scary driver?), we reached the lake and it was beautiful! Ensconced between hills, outlined with green paths, it is too idyllic to be true. And to think that it is barely heard of!
Walking along the lake and sitting down to collect the moment, we found it almost impossible to leave the place. Who wants to return to a Monday after a dreamlike weekend like this. And true to its form, Monday showed its devilish fangs to each of us today. Perhaps the memory of a beautiful yesterday kept us going on.