My daughter had a 3 day break & we wanted to go somewhere close to Mumbai but at the same time didn’t want to go to the usual Lonavla/Khandala hotels.
My favorite travel magazine, Lonely Planet came to the rescue ! They carry this nice feature on short breaks & had written about The Machan . . 16 kms away from Lonavala on the way to Aamby Valley. They are so discreet & well hidden that unless you didn’t have the detailed directions , right down to the 2 white milestones that mark the path to their property, you wouldn’t be able to find it ! And once you find it you’re not so sure if you want anyone else to find it ! Yeah, it’s that nice
So you’re basically up on a tree in a tent with a beautiful view of the Western ghats . A tent so to say but beautifully furnished with a big bathroom … All very nice & clean . And when you sit out on the deck the clouds came rolling over you . Definitely a magical place to go to in the monsoons. The food is nice, fresh home cooked fare served in a tent (on the ground) which is lit up with only candles & lanterns at night. And the silence there has a soothing sound … It’s the sound of a hundred crickets chirping, leaves rustling & the wind howling. Both the days that we were there it rained heavily & I loved listening to the storm, safely ensconced in our tent. My husband,Rohit thought that the tent shook too much & he barely slept a wink whereas our daughter Kiara & me slept like babies I must add here that Kiara & I are rollercoaster fans whereas Rohit gets sick just looking at the ferris wheel going round.
The Machan is located in Jambulne village which is considered one of the 25 biological hotspots of the world. So one of the activities they offer & I’d highly recommend is taking a guided nature walk around their size able property of 25 acres. They had a naturalist named Terry doing this & we really enjoyed it. Like typical city folks we squealed when we saw a snake & went Omg when he caught a small frog & held it up for us to see ! Terry also pointed out the different kinds of trees & explained how the Machan owners have revived the fragile ecosystem of this piece of land which was mostly degraded by repeated slash and burn cultivation, overgrazed and stifled by a dense carpet of Karvi (weeds).So while you marvel at the beauty of this place also bear in mind that a lot of effort went into making it the self sustaining property it is today .
After the nature walk we were charged up to do something a little more challenging the next day & decided to trek up to the Lohagad Fort,which is close by. Unfortunately when we reached midway it started raining heavily,becoming rather slippery & unsafe, so we had to turn back. But we’ll conquer it someday soon.
It was a refreshing break & we plan to return with our family. This time I’d like to book the Heritage Machan which used to be the original bungalow of the owners … 3 bedrooms with a stunning view of the valley . Always fun to stumble upon interesting places like this I plan to discover more such hidden gems & share them with you . And with this blog I start a new category of This, That & the Other . . . The Travel Tales . I’ve always loved traveling & have done a good bit of it but the heart wants to wander a lot more . . . So to many more travel tales in the future . . .
Until then . . I’ll keep in mind what the Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu said . . A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step .