This time I would like to talk about a holiday which is different from most holidays I have ever gone to. It is about an experience of living in a village and living like the villagers do. Add beautiful natural landscapes and undisturbed natural habitats to it; and it makes this trip experience even more breathtaking.
This village, Dehene, is around 4 hours from Mumbai and in the lap of the Sahyadri mountains. It has affiliated itself to Grassroutes, an organisation which works towards sustainable rural tourism.
This village, Dehene, is located perfectly as it is surrounded by beautiful rivers , green mountains and loads of waterfalls especially during monsoon season. It is an ideal place for nature lovers, trekkers and adventurers; this village provides you all that nature has to offer.
We started our journey from Mumbai and reached the village around 12. I would recommend leaving early and reaching by 10 as there are lots of things to do and very little time. You get to experience working on rice fields, harvesting rice, cleaning and removing the grains from the husk, grinding them to cooking it all in a natural and organic way.
Then you get to trek to nearby waterfronts and waterfalls where there is fresh water and a chance to dip and immerse yourself in water. Then clean yourself through waters from hand pumps and immerse in an evening surrounded by the nature and quietness around to reflect.
For people who like to indulge in music; there are bhajans at a local temple. Also, plenty of traditional games to walk back in your past and bring out the child in you. If you are travelling with your kid, they get a chance to play with the local children and some of the games are not the one experienced by city kid.
In between all of this, you get a glimpse of the local villager's life and lots of conversations about how people live in villages and how the whole community support systems work. Then you have a nice village dinner followed by time to talk around with your group, guides, relatives etc and sleep early as a long adventurous day awaits.
We went to trek to a nearby waterfall on a mountain called Aaja mountain which has a temple on top of it. The trek is completely surrounded by trees and does get a bit tough in between as you climb almost vertically. After an hour and half of the climb ; you reach the temple and another 15 mins from there is a waterfall which is truly amazing. You can dip in it and get refreshed and then come back to the temple complex to have some hot refreshments and come back down through the same route or alternative routes depending on your preference.
After a tiring trek, have your breakfast in the villagers house and visit a nearby Adivasi village and walk through the rice fields or see some beautiful flowers around. The rest of the day is for you to explore local schools, houses or temples. The villagers will not let you go without a proper Marathi lunch at their home. If you wish to stay longer; you get to see nature even more closely and for a longer time.
We left in afternoon after a lunch. The village people will take great care of you and try their best to give you all you need. They feed you as many times as u want and ensure that you have the best of experiences.
Our Guide, Mohan, was a local villager's son. He took us around to meet the locals and experience best of his village. We had done the local activity of refining the rice grain and making bread at his place and his grandmother was the one who showed us how to do it.
If you love nature, trekking and want to do a trip closer to the grassroots of our country; I will highly recommend you this place.
This trip was organised by Grassroutes, they have been very helpful and informative about all their associations with villages. This initiative is to provide a sustainable rural tourism to these villagers and give them a chance to get extra income. This tourism has not just given us a chance to get out and take a break from a city life, but also provided villagers a good source of income for their development. The cost of the trip is very reasonable and worth every penny!!!!
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