Water is the elixir of life. The water supplied by the rains – stored in reservoirs and lakes, interconnected by the networking of rivers and canals carrying life in the form of water. The Panshet Dam on the Ambi river, along with Varasgaon, Temghar and Khadakwasla Dams form the lifeline of the residents of Pune. Not only do they supply water to quench the bodily thirst but they also provide a peaceful getaway to heal the soul.
One weekend with nowhere to go, came up a sudden proposal from friends for an unwinding one night stay somewhere in between Panshet and Khadakwasla. I am ever ready to grab such golden opportunities. Monsoon has always been the best makeup artist in the Western Ghats region. When she comes, she paints every inch of the earth here with green and fills the lives of the people with prosperity.
The surrounding has turned green, so bright, so vibrant that it emits a fluorescent glow all around. Mostly semi-dry Mutha river was full. The Khadakwasla Dam was releasing water through all its gates. The enthusiastic picnickers embraced this scope to fold their trousers and get into the waters for some perfect selfie. The bank of the lake was crowded too – all enjoying the beauty of the place blessed by the bountiful rains.
The green hilly road within the greenery leading to Panshet is no different from the other hilly terrain of Sahyadri. But this fact never stops me from getting awestruck each time I see such places. The Panshet Dam was releasing water through an open sluice gate, while the surrounding was green to its utmost. The view can also be compared to a shade card with different shades of green. The darker green trees lining the road leading to lighter shades of shrubs, herb and uneven grasslands with the brightest of greens.
The Panshet backwaters extend parallel to the road. The hill on one side of this road formed the barrier to separate the Varasgaon waters. The backwaters continued with us for a long. Meanwhile, we passed many small to big waterfalls on the way. An interesting spot was an undulated meadow, richly green descending down to triple curved banks of the water.
The place was sparsely inhabited. Cattle were grazing around with small villages far from the other. The monsoon had its toll on the roads. Some places even showed signs of landslides. After few kilometres of an aimless drive just to enjoy the sight, we decided to head towards our stay.
All credit to our friends who booked such an amazing stay through Airbnb. A double storeyed farmhouse located on the side of a hill with the open view of the stunning landscape. The vast valley intercepted by the serpentine road leading to the view of the Panshet waters at a distance. When the clouds get blown away from the top of the hill on one side, the Sinhagad Fort is visible at a distance. The other houses by the slope cut the greenery with its brightly coloured exteriors.
The house is built with great care to allow ample light in through glass doors, large windows and some part of the transparent roof too. The added beauty are these glass barriers leads to the view of the picturesque expanse. The interior too decorated with an equally aesthetic sense. A small water reservoir in the first-floor hall is the home for a catfish couple. The fountains attached to it provides an excellent night show. The place below this on the ground floor is the home for a decorative palm that meets its photosynthetic requirement through the glass roof above it in the ceiling.
The amicable family taking care of this beautiful and large property practices seasonal farming in a small plot of land within the compound. They grow groundnuts, bitter gourd, tomatoes, brinjal, papaya, pomegranate. The other side of the remaining area is covered by terraced landscape garden with bright and vivid blooms and decorative plants. The balcony had the view of all. The heavy clouds above sometimes moved to allow the sunlight focus on the far-off lake. The scene was a moment to behold for a lifetime.
Most of the time we spent on the balcony watching and capturing the vista that was changing the mood with the moving clouds. At times we were forced inside by the rain accompanied by the strong gust of winds. The only prevailing sound in this otherwise quiet place is the howling winds, creating a surreal atmosphere. The monotonous sounds were broken by frequent calls of peacocks probably in search of its mates.
The night was little different. Outside view was curtained by the darkness with the city lights twinkling far off. The strong winds gave their chilling punch to get ourselves locked within the house. The couches in the hall now served us as a place of ‘Adda’. Conversations went on from food to politics to travel to childhood stories to supernatural experiences. This is when a friend shared her fright of being in a big house, in such isolated place. The howling of the wind along with the sound it created while crushing on the doors and window panes seemed eerie.
With our story bags emptied, we finished dinner early and went to sleep in cosy luxurious beds. The morning was clear and soft rays of the sun brightened the surroundings with its golden hue. No sooner we walked up the road, rain started. It poured for a minute or two and then stopped. A frail rainbow appeared from one corner of the sky. That too was short-lived. Walking around was even more interesting to get the view of the valley from a different angle.
As we were enjoying our morning walk so were the tiny millipedes. A group of marching millipedes were crossing the road, all together as a big single creature. A calm environment with encompassing charm tickled my imagination and I fantasised to stay there forever. The time in this fantasy land was soon over and we were back to the real life. This pleasant stay gave us fascinating moments. Not only did we capture them through the lens but also through our eyes to our soul – locked in a corner of the everlasting sweet memory.