The wanderbug chronicles – India Today

De-stress and detox–Ark Wellness Retreat

It’s one of those places where you start planning your next trip even before you check out. The charming decor inspired by authors and books, cozy rooms, vistas of the mountains, the gurgling sounds of the water and the warm hospitality instantly lull you into a state of calm. The rooms, nooks and corners all have books by different authors on varying topics which they encourage you to read while you put your phones and ipads away. If you’re looking for a digital disconnect, it’s a great place to do that-cycle by the pond, take a walk in the hills or explore the herbal garden which has a variety of medicinal and culinary herbs. The Urban Nirvana Spa at the resort offers therapies ranging from ayurvedic abhyangam to calming aromatherapy and facials. Prasaanna Kumar, the affable general manager, eagerly offers tips on making your stay memorable. So, if you’re inspired by the changing colours of the evening sky, ask them for a canvas and paints and bring out the artist within you. The restaurant offers organic foods with most vegetables and fruits grown locally in their farm. Be it a romantic getaway or a quiet escape from the city life, Ark Wellness Retreat promises to soothe your nerves. Price starts at RS 4,500; At Nandgaon, Mulshi, near Girivan; Contact

Soaring in the skies–Nirvana Adventures Kamshet

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Photo: Mandar Deodhar


Once you overcome the fear of jumping off the cliff, paragliding is a fun activity and with Fly Nirvana and its resort, the Native Place, only an hour’s drive away, it’s a good option for a quick adventure-filled getaway. Don’t expect any luxury here; the place is basic and clean but buzzes with energy with numerous amateurs, professional flyers and adventure seekers discussing their flight. If you’re a first-timer, go for tandem, where the pilot steers you in the right direction as you glide over mountains and the scenic landscape. The flying starts only at 3 p.m. and winds up by sunset with a break during the monsoon. The owners Astrid and Sanjay Rao are warm hosts who open up the space like you’re guests at their home, planning barbeque nights and gatherings by the bonfire. So, even if you don’t want to soar high in the skies, use the quiet time here to unwind with a digital detox.

Getting there: Take the old highway, pass Talegaon and Vadgaon to reach Kamshet and turn off the highway onto the relief road. Price starts at Rs 8,000; At Golden glades, Kamshet; Contact

Beauty beckons–Malhar Malchi

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Photo: Mandar Deodhar


This place may be its glorious best in the monsoon, when you can spot the rainbow, see the flaming colours of the evening sky and the migratory birds, but Malhar Machi is a treat to the eyes and the senses all-year-round. The views are stunning, the 20 rooms and cottages are comfortable and the hospitality is warm, which gives you the feeling of being at home. Overlooking the lake and vistas of lofty mountains, it’s a retreat tucked away in the hills at just a 1.5 hour drive from the city. They have a game room, a small animal farm and plenty of outdoor space to relax in while you watch the stars. Go cycling in the early mornings to take in some fresh air or soak in the morning sunlight. The room package includes all meals and features local seasonal fare as well. What stands out is the hospitality; when they are not too busy, they gladly customise meals. The rooms are comfortable and clean. While winters are a good time to enjoy the crisp morning breeze or the evening bonfire that they arrange on request, the best time is definitely the monsoon months when you can see the sky change colours by the hour and the mist and clouds floating in. Go here when you want a break in the hills at a short drive from the city. Price Rs 9,500 onwards; At Valne, Mulshi; Contact

Lap of nature–Jalashruti Island Resort

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Photo: Mandar Deodhar

Their website itself gives you a peek into the wonderful holiday with nature that you’re about to enjoy-the audio has sounds of tweeting birds and soothing music that instantly tempt you to drive down to the island retreat at a 1.5 hour journey from the city. Drive up to the entrance point on the mainland and a two minute ride on a raft takes you over the lake waters to reach the island resort standing amidst a lemon and strawberry garden. They have 14 rooms and cottages eight of which offer spectacular views of the river and the experience that follows is all about relaxing and getting pampered. Curl up with a book in the hammocks, take a bullockcart ride or watch the ducks waddling in the pond as you tuck into the sumptuous high tea in the farms. If you want a feel of living in a houseboat, opt for the cottages by the river where the deck opens out into the river. They have live music and bonfire in the evenings and while the look is rustic, they have modern amenities. Summer months tend to be hot here and the resort is closed during the monsoon so keep this on your itinerary for your post October break when you’re looking for a de-stress quiet retreat. Price Rs 12,000 onwards; At post Jamgaon, Taluka-Mulshi; Contact

Sea and sand–Ganpatipule

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Photo: Simply Pune


From a historic temple for believers to fresh fish for food lovers and a pristine coastline for beach bums, Ganpatipule offers myriad experiences for everyone. A stunning view of a beach with almost white sands invites you to the tiny coastal town, better known as a place of pilgrimage with an ancient Ganesh temple standing bang on the beach. It’s a far cry from the bustling beaches of Goa and while you won’t find any shacks serving fresh catch, they have numerous small eateries that serve authentic local preparations in seafood or vegetables. There are hotels to cater to every budget but among the best resorts here is the Blue Ocean Resort and Spa tucked away in a quiet corner away from the main market or temple area. A drive on a narrow road takes you to this beachside retreat with garden villas, an executive wing with rooms, luxury suites and sea-facing villas. The sprawling property has a dense green cover with gardens and lawns dotting the landscape, a spa, restaurant, swimming pool and indoor recreational games. But the highlight is the almost private beach attached to the hotel where tiny cabanas done up in aquamarine blue offer the perfect spot to curl up and hear the sounds of the washes washing up on the shore. Go here during the non vacation times if you want to experience a private beach. If you want a quiet romantic getaway, ask for their sea-facing villas. Price starts at Rs 10,000; Details blueoceanresort. in

By the sea–Alibaug

Rustling palms on the beach, parasailing and water sports in the clean sea, numerous wellness resorts and seafood restaurants-they all make Alibaug a good beachside pick if you don’t want to take the long drive to Goa. Explore the 15th century island fortress Murud Janjira or the Kolaba and the Korlai forts. The Nagaon and Mandwa beaches are popular for water sports. While the coastal town is home to numerous resorts and hotels, there are a number of cool homestays that offer you both privacy and comfort. Check out the Casa Feliz, a Goan-style home which comes with a swimming pool, landscaped garden spaces and even dance floor. It can house up to 20 people so it’s a good place when you’re travelling with a big group of friends or family. The home is pet friendly and they even ensure separate serve ware for vegetarians. Details; Price starts at RS 29,900; At Casa Feliz

Into the hills–Evershine Keys Prima Resort

Be it during winters or the summers, Mahabaleshwar is the go-to hill station round the year for its lush woods, clean air and numerous look out points and recreation options that make it a popular tourist attraction. Here. summers are all about buzzing bazaars, the monsoon is a time for a serene retreat with mist and rain and the winters are all about strawberries and cream beside a bonfire. While hotels of varying budgets abound in the sprawling hillstation, the Evershine Keys Prima Resort ushered in a hotel chain with chic decor and modern amenities. They have pretty landscaped lawns, a spa, restaurant and a pizzeria. The location is a highpoint-it is conveniently located at a short drive from the main market and yet not close enough to hear the constant movement of tourist cars and buses that pour into the holiday spot. Price starts at RS 6,000; At Gautam Road, Mahabaleshwar; Details


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