Friday, August 28, 2015

A monsoon drive and 2 chance discoveries

Monsoon is THE month for Maharashtra. It turns the state into a lush green wonderland with places like Lonavala, Khandala etc coming alive with water falls and the hills / Ghats turning into a very bright shade of green. It is only after shifting to Mumbai I realized the love for Monsoon that people can have. I come from Assam, where rains are abundant. I used to love rain when I was younger. I was always fascinated by the sound of falling rain drops on the tin roofs of our "Assam type" houses. I said houses, because all my relatives, grand parents stayed in such Assam type houses. Gradually after moving out of Assam and staying the hostel in Gwalior, and then flats in Delhi I lost that fascination. It's only after staying in Mumbai, I fell in love with rains all over again.

So as the monsoon was bidding adieu for this season, we went out on a small day drive to Igatpuri. My father in law had been to Mumbai many times. But he had never been out of the city during rains to see how amazing the places turn to be. We started very early in the morning. It was not raining when we started. But as soon as we were out of city limits and reaching Shahpur it started to pour. The drive itself was amazing. We stopped at Krishna's Udupi restaurant for an amazing breakfast of fresh idlis, vadas and upma.
The bridge on Vaitarna river

P was at that area few days ago on work. So he lead the way. We entered Vihigaon. Saw the sign board Ashok Dabdaba but we did not head there as to reach the water fall you need to walk downhill for sometime and my father in law was not fit enough for that adventure. Instead we went further towards the bridge on Vaitarna river. It was beautiful. For us city weary souls the quietness that it offered that stroke me the most.
FIL on the bridge on Vaitarna

The main gate at Vipassana Center
Then we drove up on the road for sometime towards Upper Vaitarna. But did not go upto Upper Vaitarna and returned as we wanted to go to Vipassana center at Igatpuri.

We reached the Vipassana center only to come to know that the center was closed for visitors that day. They allowed entry only till the hall. Point to keep in mind every alternate Saturday the center is closed for visitors. It is advisable to check once before you plan on a Saturday. As we were returning after spending about half an hour there; P just asked the security guard at the gate for his suggestion as where we could go to get a clearer view of the mountains. He said "Railway dam". We drove along the railway track asking people the way. Finally we were there at railway dam. I don't know if it has some other name. But the place is breathtakingly beautiful with a clear water body, lush florescent green fields and am amazing view of the hill. Besides that, there was no one else. Only us and so many butterflies.

"Railway Dam"
Father in law was exhausted. So he decided to stay inside the car. I & P sat there for a while soaking in the nature, the silence and the breeze. It was a feeling I cannot put in words. You must experience this to feel that.

While going to Railway dam we had crossed one very interesting looking old church. While coming back we stopped there. P and I opened the closed gate and entered the church premises. There was a small hut but no one came out. A dog came running to welcome us. There was an old cemetery. Peeping though the church window we could make out that it was a functional church.

The grey clouds, rustling of dried leaves, the curved crosses over graves and an old church dated 1892 - it was a perfect setting for some "para normal" activities. P commented " This is what ghost stories are made of ". We have to admit, we were so intrigued by the church and the surrounding. There was a letter box at the entrance of the church. We thought may be in old days, the church also acted as the post office for the village. Stories we would have loved to hear if got a chance.
The old church

Waiting for his master's mail!

Sometimes just wandering may lead you to places you do not find in guide books. The Railway Dam and the old church were such discoveries. This sure hardens my urge to wander even more!

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