Monday, April 24, 2017

Tikona hillside camping, Lonavala - #AtoZChallenge

Have you ever visited a place where you felt a sense of belonging during the first visit itself? This campsite had that charm, for reasons unknown to us, we felt instant connection to the place as if we belonged to this place. It was a strange feeling at start given the scenario that we were visiting it for the first time, but as we spent more time, we felt more comfortable with that feeling and relished every moment at this serene, pristine place. The drive to the campsite was as breathtaking as the site itself.

Although usually, one can drive to the campsite, 4 days of non-stop pouring had made it impossible to drive regular car on the muddy road leading to it, hence we parked our car at their designated parking lot near the caretaker's house and started our journey on foot through knee deep mud. We had to look carefully for the spot with rocks, less amount of mud and least slippery before setting every step. It took us more than 30 minutes to cover 1 to 1.5 km to reach the campsite with most parts of our feet below the knees covered with mud. 

But as we cleaned ourselves and settled down with a warm cup of tea and a plate full of bhajiya, a sense of calmness spread all over us. The view from the campsite was spectacular. After the refreshments, we headed to a nearby waterfall. As far as our eyes could see, there was greenery with light drizzle and a fresh smell of the forest. After spending many moments at the waterfall we returned to the campsite before it got too dark.

The morning was as pretty as the previous evening. We couldn't come to the terms with departing from this lovely place. We sat on the wooden bench for as long as we could while enjoying the cool breeze and birds singing all around us. A drizzle here and there was just enough to make us feel loved but not drench us through. Sooner than we would have loved to, it was time to say goodbye. As we walked back to the car, we promised ourselves to return again next monsoon, only for a longer duration. 

What to pack for camping

1) Make sure you don't wear or carry trendy clothes. You need some simple, heavy duty, large enough clothes to cover yourself properly as it is not a great feeling to be surrounded by mosquitoes and all sorts of insects & bugs wearing shorts and vests

2) Footwear - The most important thing. Give those trendy high heels a rest for one weekend and wear only outdoor type of footwear. We met a lady at the campsite who wore her lovely silver pair of sandals, only to slip on her way and break those, not to mention the difficulty and time it took her to reach the campsite through that knee deep mud. While sports shoes may sound like a good option, once they are wet it may take ages for them to dry, especially during monsoon. The best ones would be floaters or some sturdy sandals with good grip

3) Carry some sleepers to roam around at the campsite as you don't want to roam around in the drenched sandals all the time

4) Rain and windcheater, if you are travelling during monsoon. (Psss this is a place to visit in monsoon). Umbrellas may not be useful as you want to keep your hands free to balance yourself and take support if necessary

5) Mosquitoes repellent, this is a must otherwise your camping trip would become a nightmare

6) An old school style torch. Don't rely on your mobile phone as you may or may not get an electric point to charge it once the battery has drained, not to mention the power outages (which people from Mumbai aren’t aware of)

7) Water bottle as you don't want to walk all the way to the pantry to drink water every time

8) Power banks for your phones

9) Music with portable speakers or a musical instrument

10) Towel & extra pair of clothes (if you get drenched in rain or decide to go for a dip in the nearby lake)

11) Swiss knife if you have one but this is a nice to have tool which may come handy occasionally

12) Be prepared to have basic home cooked meals, nothing extravagant

13) Yourself. You need to take yourself mentally out of your daily rut to thoroughly enjoy yourself and be comfortable without any network coverage in your cell phone or other gadgets. Don't bother downloading your favourite movie on your handset or tablet as it will be a serious insult of the place you are going to :(

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


  1. Such handy tips... don't wear trendy clothes! Movies show women in plaid shirts and shorts camping away to glory. Nobody talaks about the insect bites and leeches... :) The last tip about bringing yourself found a spot with me too. We need more mindfulness and less distraction these days!

  2. Lovely description Gayatri!! Luring me to visit the campsite. Hope I can do it this monsoon!!!

  3. Gaytri, you have a beautiful blog. I once went to Mt.Abu and felt like I am come in contact with serenity. I always have a secret love for camping.

  4. Really useful tips and they will come handy for anyone visiting the place. Btw, I loved your blog background.

  5. It is very rare to find a place in nature that offers serenity. I have visited two—on in Kansas, and one in Hawaii. Luckily, I am visiting the one in Hawaii again next month.