Monday, April 17, 2017

Native Place, Kamshet - #AtoZChallenge

Have you ever felt a craving for something or a feeling that something is missing, but you can't pinpoint what that 'something' is? It is a strange feeling as you don't know what you are looking for and obviously, you don't know where to look for it. We had this experience recently, and accidently we stumbled upon an oasis near Mumbai. Mumbai may have its own charm, but people like us who like to be close to nature, who like to see the sky from their windows, or occasionally want to look up and expect to see stars; it can be equivalent to a desert. It becomes even harder to spend summer here for obvious reasons that at times the combination of heat & humidity becomes unbearable and we are confined to our home as there aren't many opportunities to plan outdoor activities or quick weekend getaways as everywhere you go may be equally hot or worse. The word 'parched' takes a new meaning when our souls are parched to be out there amid nature.

When we planned a quick weekend paragliding trip near Kamshet, little did we realise that the place would have so much to offer than we had imagined. The moment we got out of our cars, nature welcomed us with open arms at the entrance. Being mid-April, the temperatures had already touched 37o C with dried grass and leafless trees everywhere, but this place was in contrast with its surrounding. Our room and the overall place had a rustic feeling to it, with large rooms with high ceilings, large windows and basic necessary furniture. Even though it was 1 in the afternoon and the Sun was at its brightest, we didn't feel any need for an Air Conditioner. The place is owned and managed by a lovely couple Astrid and Sanjay.

After a quick lunch, we relaxed a bit and set out for a Tandem Paragliding experience. But more about it in a later post (on Wednesday - 19th April, under P) ;) . After returning from Paragliding, we settled down on a picnic bench in one of the many hangout areas with hot cups of tea. As it is a paragliding school, many of the guests at this guest house were there for an elementary or advanced course. As many of them started returning from the paragliding site, the size of the group on our bench went on increasing until it was filled to the capacity. Before we realised it was a large group of friends from diverse backgrounds, with so many common interests and a variety of topics to talk about. As night set in, we all headed to the roof for dinner which soon became a party of a group of almost 12-15 people, many of them solo travellers and a couple of families. When we had reached there in the afternoon, we had seen a group of friends having a good time together and had felt that we should have come there with a group too and before the day ended we had formed a new group already, to hang out with, including both Astrid & Sanjay, one of the instructors on his 1 year break from his job in Switzerland, an IIT pass-out who had quit his career in IT to be in construction with his wife who participates in national level rallies, few of the students doing advanced course and regular visitors to this place and some of the new members visiting it for the first time like us. It was so good to find like-minded people who like us didn't mind downshifting their lifestyle for 'living life' and who had opted for different lives rather than running in corporate races to show off their wealth or power. That exciting mix of guests gave this place a feel of a youth hostel.

We concluded our day with an hour on the roof of our room under the sky filled with stars and with the lake visible just a few meters away, just the two of us, while the laughter and light background music from the main roof still audible where the party still continued.

P.C. Kedar Gadre

Although we went to bed pretty late and were doubtful about our plans to wake up at 6.15 next morning, to go for a trek up the nearby hill, I woke up even before the alarm buzzed. You see most of the mornings, I wake up with the noise of traffic in the background and there I woke up with the most unusual & beautiful alarm, loads of birds singing. As there was still time for me to get ready for our trek, I decided to take a stroll in the garden. Halfway through my stroll, I saw a gate opening to a narrow pathway leading to the lake. All the trees around the pathway were full of birds, I could see so many red-vented bulbuls, most of the trees being leafless, it was very easy to spot them. There were a couple of trees covered with nothing but Red flowers. Such mornings remind us why we are alive, when we are in-tune with the universe around us, when we realise how insignificant we are in the larger scheme and yet how much importance we give to the petty things in life. After spending many more moments in the serenity, I headed back to the room to get ready for our trek. As we were leaving the guest house, we ran into another guest, an architect from Kerala. We offered him to join in our trek which he willingly accepted. Three of us along with our guide climbed up till an ancient Buddhist cave, which was probably abandoned after some initial work on it. As the sun was getting hotter with every passing minute, we decided to cut our trek shorter than what we had planned, sacrificing a panoramic view from the hilltop. Our fellow trekker turned out to be a very interesting company as he had travelled to 17 states of India and had good information about various architectural marvels in old caves of Ajanta, Ellora and various temples in the country.

P.C. Kedar Gadre

After breakfast, we joined Astrid in the Easter egg hunt and other games she had planned for the kids of guests along with the kids from the nearby village. Soon it became an event for the kids of all ages, with the adult guests joining in for a game of musical chair and tight-rope walking. I spent a leisurely afternoon hanging around in the common areas and learning more about the place followed by a walk through the garden Astrid has so carefully planned, developed and is improving constantly. Her passion for her garden was evident from her enthusiasm and the minute details she provided. Right from the trees, shrubs, climbers, vines, crawlers indigenous to the native place to the salads, vegetables, herbs, chillies and flowering plants, the garden was full of plants supporting a complete ecology of various birds, bees, and other insects in the vicinity. She explained the philosophy of permaculture she has started following for sustainable ecology wherein the focus is on giving back to nature than taking from its resources, with each plant having 3-4 different functions. After spending almost an hour on the garden tour, we went for a dip in the lake, which was blissful given the hot days of the summer. Again evening was filled with laughter and hanging around with the newly found friends. Before going to the bed, we spent some time sitting on a bench in the starlit garden, gazing at the still lake. We wanted to carry as much energy from this place as possible to keep us going with our life in the city, until the next time we manage to escape it to be in a place like that.

You can find more about this place here - Native Place, Kamshet

P.C. Kedar Gadre

Download this and other posts published as part of the #AtoZChallenge  -


  1. Lovely place....going on our To-do list immediately!!! Nice pics..

  2. Yes...seems to be a must go to!

    Pics and narrative both are superb!

  3. Seems like a superb place.. thanks for putting it in our places to visit list..

  4. Enjoyed the virtual tour of the beautiful place Gayatri. Sometimes the lesser known places remain closer to nature compared to the popular ones, which become very commercial. I loved the line where you mentioned being woken up in the morning to the different chirps of the birds. What a great start to the day!

  5. It looks beautiful! specially the place you stated at seems like a cozy B&B.
    Thanks for sharing :)
    Best Wishes!