During the first week of January 2017 I went for strawberry picking at Panchgani. This trip was organised by The Western Routes, a pioneer in hosting various events in and around Pune. It takes extra courage to wake up at 5:30 am on a chilly morning and get ready for an adventure. I took a cab to my pick up point, during which I am sure I was snoring all the way. After reaching at the place I met Jayesh our Host for the journey.
After everyone boarded the bus we left for Panchgani which is at a distance of 100 km from Pune. On the way we had breakfast of Aloo paratha, thalipeeth and sabudana khichdi. Everyone one was so happy eating the warm food that it was sometime before we realized that we were getting late. After that it was a sleepy journey towards the hill station. We reached the strawberry farm around 11:30 am. Here we got instructions on how to pick the fruits so as to not to destroy the plants. Cardboard boxes were given to haul our loot. I armed myself with the camera and box. While juggling between them I took photographs and picked up strawberries, which I believe was was worthy of an applause. After collecting our fill, we all had a great dessert with strawberries, chocolate, milk maid and cream.
Then we moved on to our lunch destination near Mahabaleshwar were we ate the traditional Maharashtrian thali. After filling our stomachs with the scrumptious meal we went to Wai ghat where we visited the house or wada of Nana Phadnavis. He was an influential minister and statesman of the Maratha Empire during the Peshwa administration in Pune. The Nana Phadnavis Wada is a large six-quadrangled, perimeter-protected wada. Nana Phadnavis settled the village and built himself the wada with the ghat on the river Krishna and the two temples, one dedicated to Lord Vishnu and another to Lord Shiva. An ancient tree, with a massive trunk has a platform constructed around it as old as the wada itself. This tree featured in the Bollywood movie Swades. In the movie, the village elders hold a Panchayat on the stone platform around this tree.
At last the time had come to return back to Pune. But the fun isn’t over until you play a game of antakshari where everybody is a winner. These type of journeys are rewarding in themselves. You get to meet many people from different walks of life, hear amazing stories, laugh with them and form a bond. Although at the end you do feel a bit sad when you go home but are hopeful to meet again some day to relive those cherished moments of the journey.