Khandala and Lonavala were a disappointment chiefly because I visited there in the peak of summers. And when I say disappointment it means for me. The place may excite other travellers abound but since I can speak only for myself, it failed to excite me. They are monsoon destinations I believe. The fun might lie in seeing the mist and experiencing subtle winters in Mumbai, which we north Indians experience aplenty already. Still we managed to enjoy the best we could.
Had booked a resort for the weekend which was a nice place to unwind. It had a fair amount of greenery and the only greenery I saw during my whole trip. We reached there on Saturday and decided to stay in the resort for the evening, which was quite musical by the way. The speakers were set in full volume in the lawns and the guests (including me) danced to groovy music sipping the drinks of their choice and enjoying snacks. Spent some beautiful moments strolling around watching the dusk settling in, chatting and whiling away time. During our two-day stay, we ordered room service, relished ‘chai and charhca’ and visited local stalls for packed foods that had some interesting edibles to offer.
But that was it. The touristy exploration was a let-down. As first-time visitors, we were given a list of nine tourist places. It began with Laxmi-Narayan temple. Parents were happy to start with an auspicious place as always and I was like “temple here too”? Anyways, so began our journey that would prove to be a
nightmare pain. The temple was beautiful but closed when we reached. We roamed around the premises and clicked pictures. The stairs, as seen in the picture below, lead to the main temple.
Next on the list was Sunil’s wax museum. We were hesitant to go and dad outrightly refused to be a part of it. I insisted saying what’s the harm in having a bad experience together though later it proved to be the only fun we had that day. The wax statues were admirable. We had our tiny winy kiddish bit of entertainment getting pictures clicked.
Next destination was the Lion’s Point. Open breezy space and beautiful peaks. Again because of the weather, the place felt short of the scenic charms I had seen in Kausali, Shimla, Nainital, etc. Though comparisons are not healthy but I am doing so just to give an idea to others planning to visit the place.
Lion’s Point will be long remembered because it was here that I forgot my bag. My bag containing cash, cards and many id proofs. I realised I have lost it on reaching Bhushi Dam, our next destination. My throat dried and the heart started pounding. I immediately rushed back which took us good 25 minutes. The drive back was fraught with anxiety. Much to my relief and sister’s grin, I found it at exactly the same table where I had left. Normalcy returned and again affirmed my belief to take nothing for granted in life.
Bhushi Dam was okay but the experience made me laugh at myself. To reach there we had to hike 20 minutes of not-so-deep stretches and stairs. We decided to leave mom dad at the base and let the sisters do the marching in scorching sun, fighting and laughing all the way up and down. The view was something like this.
After such a long day, we wanted to tick mark all the designated spots just for the formality. We had found nothing great as yet and were hungry too. It was hard to find good places for snacks or lunch. Our next stop was the Monkey Point. While entering there we had second thoughts on covering the full area. It made no sense to traverse the ill-maintained park just to see some monkeys. There was litter all around. We hurriedly had a look and ran back.
Last stop was the Sunset Point. With heat, crowd, unhygienic surroundings and growing hunger pangs, we decided to skip the Sunset Point and head back to the resort. We had left right after breakfast and managed to get only Limca and mangoes (called Carrie) in between. Reached the resort around 7 pm, had some tea-sandwiches and finally felt at home. On Monday, we headed back to Mumbai. Midway, met my cousin and her family after 10 years.
It is in moments like these when you realise how life just passes by. The clock keeps ticking whether we are aware or not. My cousin and I are an year apart. We grew up together, had sleepovers at each other’s place when we were young, learnt cooking skills from our mothers around the same time and got scolded for being careless teenagers. In later years, we used to commute daily back and forth from Ambala-Chandigarh to our workplaces via train. We had a huge friend circle of girls who boarded the same train every day. Very much like the Mumbai local. Today, we met after a decade. A lot had happened in between.
So, that’s how my Khandala trip ended on a bitter sweet experience. In my next travel post, I will culminate the series winding up my travails. You have one more boring post in the offing but with the most interesting part, driving around Juhu and Bandra in an auto and an evening at the iconic Taj. The best experience so far. All in next travel post.