A couple of hours' drive away from Mumbai, in the outskirts of Lonavala, The Machan is comfortably placed in terms of drive and distance. What a complete difference a few hours can make!
We follow a tradition in our family to celebrate special days and occasions with holidays. This time around, it was to bring in the husband's birthday. The holiday was special in many ways, because it was our first since the lockdown and restrictions began, owing to the virus that's changed all our lives. While a holiday is a much needed respite, and it's a time we need to reconnect with ourselves and one another, it is something that can not be decided lightly in these times. Considering this, Machan has been a perfect decision, with their efforts around social distancing and general hygiene. With the basics in place, the mind is free to explore and truly relax.
Our room was what's called the Forest Machan. It is built on a height with glass walls giving a majestic view of the surrounding jungle and hills. The first and the last reaction to this view were a deep sigh - the former in appreciation and latter in misery of an almost-ending holiday.
The best part about the holiday here, apart from the room of course, were the treks in the forest. The trek paths were clearly marked. Forests and its abundant charm teach us about mindfulness. There was a stream in the forest which was pretty lean this time of the year, but I am sure must be generous with water during the rains. Speaking of the monsoons, I am not sure if the treks in these parts would even be possible at the time. Imagine thick greens, heavy sound of insects, light pouring in through slight open areas in the trees above. One such time, there was a drizzle and we could hear the sound of the rain falling on the leaves high above us, but barely saw any drops fall on the ground. So, that heavily thick and deep woods.
If you are travelling with children who love the outdoors, this is just the place to be. My toddler couldn't get enough of the woods, and wasn't in the bit interested in coming back home at the end of our holiday.
The most important thing to pack for the treks here has to be fully covering clothes - more for the mosquitoes than the weather. Pack mosquito repellants, and remember to use generous amounts before each visit to the jungle.
The days in the jungle and the evenings in the room - that was how we split our days. The night sky is covered with stars, and you could also see some planets that can be visible with a naked eye. Lie down on the deck and feel the magic of the twinkling sky. Reset with nature.
An unforgettable holiday in the midst of nature that packed us off with memories and calm minds.
"In the forest of a hundred thousand trees, no two leaves are alike. And no two journeys along the same path are alike." - Paulo Coelho