Connoisseurs of the grape variety, heed the call of India’s first vineyard at Sula. Past the gates of the Sula Vineyard, rows upon rows of pristine grapes, organically grown, are lined up to greet you. And before the wonder wears off, embark on a whirlwind tour of the facilities for a glimpse of grape squashing, a lesson in oak barrels and finish off with a 6-wine tasting session. If you haven’t sniffed and sipped to your heart’s content, plop down on the patio for an evening with wine.
Conspiracy theorists would have you believe aliens gave rise to the largest rock-cut monastery-temple caves complexes in the world. But for unassuming visitors, the place is awe-inspiring. The serpentine corridors in the mountainside linking immense Buddhist prayer halls and the traditional Hindu mythological carvings make these some of the most intriguing caves you can find anywhere. They also provide significant insight into the region’s past. It’s basically catnip for historians.
The final call echoes through the alley and hands work faster. Limber hands and muscly tones work in sync to place the finishing touches on the idols of Lord Ganesha. From the smallest to the largest, clay and plaster sculptures are decked up in preparation for the largest Ganesh Festival parade in India. Starting from the workshops, follow the procession as devotees head to the beach to dissolve the idols and metaphorically, wash their sins away.
Looking at the carpet of pink that lays at your feet it is easy to see why the place is protected so fiercely. When the morning fog lifts, the sheer variety of flora can captivate you for days. Interestingly, trivia buffs will have a ball alongside the nature lovers – the Kaas stretched as far as the eye could see at one point. Find out what changed at the iconic pink valley of Maharashtra.
In the fashion of hot cakes, Mirchi and Mime is a nondescript bar & grill in trendy Powai that has been setting the food scene on fire! What makes it stand out from the crowd is its ‘Do as I do, not as I say’ attitude; we are of course referring to its differently abled wait staff. The seamless dining experience takes away any inhibitions you might have about communicating in sign language, with a very helpful staff dressed in quirky shoes and a wide smile always on hand.
This immersive back-to-the-roots experience comes with a twist. By the time you leave, you will master any one of the key survival skills out in the countryside – coconut frond mat weaving, bamboo basket weaving or Warli painting. But wait, there’s more! Zip line across shallow fields and scale the height of a coconut tree on the rope course, to pack a punch into this eco-friendly day of planting trees and harvesting grains.
Mumbai gets lit up at night! All the famous views and attractions are that much more enticing come nightfall. And what better way to experience the sights than with the wind in your hair? Hop on a chauffeur driven motorbike and witness the Ever-Kulfi-Eaters and the Non-Sleep-Chai-Drinkers as a clandestine tour unfurls.
Come rain or shine, Mumbai never loses track of its lunch, and I’m not talking about the time. Over a hundred years, the Dabbawallas (lunch deliverers) have organically grown into a 200,000-strong network. But it’s not the systemic growth that has top management schools around the world studying them – it’s that they NEVER lose a lunch box. Follow the label trail through local trains, to truly understand what it means to be a lunchbox in Mumbai.
Whether it’s four men flying from a punch or the romantic overtures of a pining village boy, the megastars of Bollywood always deliver with panache. Take a walk down the sparkling lane where Indian heroes live and finish it off with a visit to centre stage. Re-enact your favourite action scenes and shake things up with a racy number!
Click for a quick taste of the region!
Living in harmony with tigers is no mean feat, yet at Tadoba it’s the norm. Catch a tiger safari and lay in wait with your camera primed for the perfect shot of these majestic creatures. Birders and naturalists will also have a field day roaming the jungle, discovering Nature’s best kept secrets.
This city has been a hotbed for a number of religions from Buddhism to Jainism and Hinduism as is evidenced by ensconced cave complexes of Ajanta and Ellora. Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb also constructed a tomb for his beloved wife, fashioned after the Taj Mahal. With many forts for the inquisitive traveller, Aurangabad is a wonderful city to spend a few days.
The lifeline of Nashik is the Godavari River, which like the proverbial phoenix rising from the ashes has seen a resurgence in recent years. Replete with temples and historical buildings, photo opps present themselves every way you turn.
A unique city for the elite, established by likeminded denizens. Steeped in culture yet an incubator for fresh minds, the place abounds with coffee shops and nightlife. Ask a local what he thinks of Pune and he’ll say, “You won’t find this anywhere else.”
The once small archipelago of seven islands, through happenstance or divine intervention, is now the largest trading port in India. A veritable treasure trove of architecture from the time of the British rule remains, while strides are made in fashion and film every day. Mumbai is a hub, for India’s most glamourous and those ardent fans of samosas and bajjis.
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