After a lot of deliberations and checking out the reviews on Facebook, we finally decided to take off for Purushwadi, a small village located in Akole block of District Ahmednagar, approx 220 km from both Mumbai & Pune en route Nasik. It's an eco tourism project undertaken by Grassroutes. Hats off to the entire Grassroutes team!
We hopped onto the 7:35 local from Thane station headed to Kasara. It took us about 1.5hrs to reach Kasara station. As informed to us earlier by Grassroutes team, we jumped onto a jeep headed to ‘Rajur’. These jeeps are available at the steps at the bottom of the station road. Rajur is a small town on the Igatpuri - Sangamner highway Approximately 70-80 km from Kasara. The jeep should cost Rs. 100-120 per seat ETA: 2.5 hours. Request the driver of the vehicle to drop you at the Rajur petrol pump. At the petrol pump a guide (villager) and the village jeep will be waiting for you with a board “Purushwadi”. The cost of the jeep is Rs. 300 per way. The village Purushwadi is 12 km from Rajur. ETA: 30 mins.
So, we finally reached Purushwadi around 12:30 pm. and were greeted in traditional style with tilak and 'topi'. Our guide showed us to our tent, which was well kept, neat and had bottles of mineral water and a bedding for the two of us. But as we had heard from the reviews earlier, we decided to explore the homestay option, to get to know the village life closely. And to our pleasant surprise, the homestay option was a much better experience. We stayed with a local 'Aaji' and enjoyed her hospitality to the core. She was super cute and funny and shared her life stories with us.
After settling for a while, our guide 'Naresh' invited us to the other home, who were our hosts for the lunch and dinner. The food was authentically cooked on a 'chulha' and the menu had 'Bajri ki roti' and sabzi. After enjoying the lip-smacking food and eating to our heart's content, we headed for some 'mangolicious' time.
Naresh climbed on to a tree in a 'blink of an eye' and picked some ripe mangoes for us to enjoy during the afternoon. We had a great time sitting and laying down on the rocks on the riverside, far away from the hustles of the city. The only sounds were of the chirping birds and that of the water flowing down the rocks. The emersion of redish-orange sunlight behind the trees seemed kissing the calm sky.
When it was twilight, we headed back to our homestay as we had something extraordinary planned for the later part of the evening. After a little rest, we headed to witness the 'extravaganza' that was the main highlight of the entire trip. A million fireflies lit up the night sky like 'green glitter scattered on trees'. The view was one to behold for the entire life. And the only thing that I could remember that moment were the beautiful words by Eddie Cantor, 'Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going too fast - you also miss the sense of where you are going and why'.