Route: Upto Kasara (Local Train), Kasara – Rajur (Shared Jeep), Rajur - Maveshi (Shared Jeep), Maveshi - Purushwadi (3 kms walk or Shared Jeep)
Best Season: May to Mid-July
Attractions: Pedha at Rajur (the shop is near Vaishali Dresses), Indrayani Rice
Tip: Carry your tent
Some phenomena are to be witnessed with naked eyes, and one such is the rise of the fireflies! A long-awaited event on our bucketlist got fulfilled on June 3, 2017 and we had several options like Rajmachi, Bhandardaara, Peth Fort etc., apart from Purushwadi. My cousin Rahul and me chose Purushwadi because all the articles on internet termed it as a “Home to Million Fireflies” and we knew that this is the perfect place to witness the magic.
It was a hamlet, with quiet surroundings, chirping birds, mango trees everywhere, sparse population et al. The fireflies event over there is monopolized by an NGO called Grassroutes. No doubt they have provided all the facilities at the site like fixed tents, services on call etc., but it appeared to us as more ofa commercial event and we have a strict NO-GROUP POLICY!
We started to scout for a place for camping and after fewer enquiries we met Ulhas Dighe, a localite. We struck a deal with him for lunch, dinner and breakfast (Rs 800 for all) and 1 Kg of locally grown Indrayani rice for Rs 100/Kg. Ulhas was also excited as he was a farmer and he got a fair deal as compared to his daily labour work. We pitched our tents, had a refreshing bath at a small reservoir and then made tea on our camp stove, had some refreshments alongwith Ulhas and then laid back for a few minutes, till it was 4 o’clock. After our simple village lunch at Ulhas’s house and some rest, it became pitch dark by evening.
As the small lightning bugs started to pop out, we headed for our village stroll alongwith a bagfull of mangoes, and within few minutes the whole village was glittering with fireflies. The hills were lightning, treefull of these fireflies from everywhere made a magical colourscape in my mind and was nothing short of a psychedelic trip. “To me it was like celebrating Christmas.”Ulhas then took us to a place where a tree named “Hirde” is believed to attract more fireflies than others. The Hirde tree was like an array of lights in some fairytale setting that increased our zeal to explore this fascinating place. We must have had a 10-12 km walk just experiencing the fireflies, lightning patterns in the sky, constant drizzle and the buzz of crickets until we reached our tent at 2 AM.
Come morning, we had our breakfast at Ulhas’s house, thanked the Dighe family for their hospitality and left to reach Maveshi Village. Purushwadi is not an oft-visited place and transport is an issue. Till the transport arrived we relished some freshly plucked mangoes and slept under the neem tree. After some hours, a shared carrier left us at Maveshi Village around 12 PM and from there we took the same route home.
All in all, this event was a mix of witnessing the magical light of fireflies, bird spotting, bathing in a quite stream, mango and tomato plucking, relishing village food, and experiencing a sound sleep in the midst of all this.