Sunday, June 10, 2018

Magic of Millions of Fireflies

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The memories of my Enai's ( that's my maternal grand mother) home in Meleng, Jorhat are many and one very vivid memory that I still have in my mind is that of hundreds of twinkling fireflies. Enai's home has quite a big ground in front and there were paddy fields around. I am talking about 1985 here. In our summer vacations all our cousins would gather at her place and spend some time there. Electricity was erratic and it still is. Evenings when there was no electricity, we would sit in the long verandah and listen to Puthau's ( grand father) stories. And then fireflies would come twinkling. Some of us would run after them to catch them in our hands. Enai would shout " Don't touch them. Otherwise in the night you will have to go to the toilet!" Now that's something all of us wanted to avoid. The bathroom was outside of the main house. Just outside in the backyard. But if you had to go to the toilet at night, you had no option but to wake up an elder. If there was no electricity then, imagine the shadows on the wall from the flickering light of the hand lamp! No way.

Last week, I and P had been to Purushwadi. We heard about the place from a friend. She said " You have to see it to believe what I am telling you." We were intrigued. Every year just before the monsoons, millions of fireflies come to this tiny village and put up a spectacular light show, which now I also say " You have to see it to believe it." 

The Valley

We went to Purushwadi through Grassroutes They aim at , in their own words, " to create 1 million livelihood opportunities in Rural India." They have various stay options available. We opted for the canvas tents. There are shared western toilets with running water too. But please donot expect all the luxuries of the city life that we are used to there. That is NOT the idea and we must respect that. 

Valley facing Tents

We went by local train to Kasara from Dadar. In Kasara there are shared jeeps available which will drop you till Rajur, the nearest "town" to Purushwadi. From Rajur another jeep to Purushwadi. You can take your own vehicle too. Purushwadi is about 220 km from Mumbai in Ahmed Nagar district. The jeep travel part can be a bit harrowing. They stuff people into one vehicle way more than it's capacity. 

We reached the camp site by afternoon. All your meals will be at the village at a villager's home. Our hosts were ready with lunch. It's a simple vegetarian meal of what they also eat. We loved every bit. We thought of lying down for about an hour as were up since 4am. But it was too hot. But to our surprise, by 4pm we could clearly see the clouds coming in. The breeze got cooler and suddenly the sky opened up. It started pouring heavily. We enjoyed the weather with local mangoes. Since it rained we were in two minds about the sunset trek. But thanks to another couple that we met there, we just went out for a hike. Grassroutes assign one household in the village for each of the guests and that keep rotating thus making sure that everyone gets equal opportunity. All four of us were hosted by the same family. We went up to the Sun set point even though there was no " sun set view". But for all of us, we enjoyed the small hike, rains and the weather. 

Our gracious hostess

There was no electricity in the village after the storm. The camp site was lit by solar lamps. As we walked to our host's home for dinner, already the tiny twinkling lamps were everywhere. Our guide told us that it was just a trailer and the full show was still to come. How true was that. After dinner we started our walk to witness the magic of million fireflies. All along the way there were thousands of them. Then we were there. Standing across a bridge, we saw a light show put by amazing nature. The tree looked like glittered with thousands of tiny Christmas lights. The fireflies were illuminating all over.  But it was so synchronized that we were awestruck. We just stood there silently witnessing this phenomenon. We returned to our tents happy.

Magical Fireflies

Next morning after a delicious Poha breakfast, our guides took around the village giving us a glimpse into their daily lives. Even though it had stopped raining, the weather was little humid but thankfully not scorching hot. We walked till the river, but we did not take a bath. Just sat there remembering Enai - Puthau and the fireflies.

Friends met there and our guides Sandip & Avdesh


  1. Must have been fascinating. Very well narrated and lovely captures.

    1. Oh yes. It was an awesome experience. Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  2. Nice write-up on Fireflies of Purushwadi 👍
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Thanks so much..:) It was something to experience at least once in lifetime.