Looking for a place to get away from the teeming Mumbai crowd, Saguna baug located in Neral offers a great option. Spread across 16 hectors of land owned by Harikaka Bhadsavle, Saguna Baug is treat to every agriculture lover. Located 5 kms from the Neral railway station, it is well accessible by the road and rail transport.
We reached the Baug at 10 am and were greeted with a warm welcome. The farm has options for day picnic as well as stay in dormitories, cottages, bungalow and pond house.After the complimentary breakfast and change of clothes apt for the array of activities planned for the day, we were taken for a guided tour. The area is covered with paddy fields, coconut trees, cinnamon , bottle brush , sapodilla , lemon, bottle palm, Pterospermum acerifolium(karnikara tree commonly known as Maple-Leafed Bayur Tree) to name a few. After a walk for about an hour , enjoying the beauty of water lilies, lotus , roses , nests of the weavers birds and honeycombs, everyone was mesmerized by the flora and fauna. The place is not just a cultivation site but holds the pride of being scientifically involved in experimental breeding and hybrid cultivation. They have gained immense success with their purple rice technology. There is an in-house dairy farming and a gober gas plant connected to dairy which provides cooking fuel. Milking the cow, buffalo ride and fishing are a wonderful experience to most of the urban folks. At the end of tour, fresh kokam juice was offered, produce of the farm itself. The visitors have the privilege of buying fresh farm produce like fruits, vegetables,dairy products, prawns, lobsters and carps.
Lucky to visit during the rainy season, we were taken to the bhivpuri waterfalls about 8 km from the farm. A small trek upto waterfalls, amidst the lush green mountains with the continuous drizzle was the icing on the cake. The trail was covered with the water from the waterfalls , mushy soil and rocks but the serenity of the place was unquestionable.
Once back to the farm after the dip in the waterfalls, we were served hot lunch made from the farm produce. The simplicity of meal was striking. After the light lunch, we are free to enjoy activities like fish farming,horse-riding,swimming,kayaking,boating,rifle-shooting, archery and bullock-cart ride.
A snake show was organized to end the day by the sarp-mitra ( literal meaning snake-friend) working at the farm. The snakes showed are rescued from the nearby village, registered at the regional center, taken care of and nursed in case wounded, shown in snake shows to increase public awareness and left back to the wild within 48 hrs. The snake-handler conducting the show, defied several common myths regarding snakes and provide a bundle of information regarding venomous,non-venomous and semi-venomous snakes found in India. All-in-all, it was the most informative session on snakes, I have ever attended.
Biding adieu to the farm, I felt rejuvenated and better equipped to handle the Mumbai rush after the weekend. I enjoyed the natural ambiance to the fullest and it was a leisure learning process. A recommended place to all Mumbaites and anyone looking for a break from urban monotony.
This trip was originally published on Travel | Let yourself free.