Weekend Tete-a-Tete: Kolad

I have been wanting to write about my latest trip to a tiger reserve in India. But, I guess I still have to collect my thoughts about it, before I start penning down anything.That’s what Jungles do to you- they soak you completely in themselves. While reeling under the magnetic pull of the few secrets that the jungle had opened to us, I along with @Srinistuff decided to take another short weekend trip to another forest. Only, this time, closer home- Mumbai.

Mumbai, or rather the state of Maharashtra (of which Mumbai is the capital) is home to Western Ghats. Western Ghats or the Sahayadri mountains as it is popularly known are mountain ranges that run almost parallel to the western coast of Indian peninsula. While reading about it, I also discovered that they are  a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also “one of the ‘hottest hotspots for biological diversity,” according to Wikipedia. The ranges start right from Gujarat in India and spread till Kanyakumari, the last mass of land in South India, before the Arabian Sea begins. While closer home, it is hailed as the Sahayadris, it is also known as Niligiri Hills and Anamalai ranges down south as we step in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Feet on the map, Deepika, Nilgiri, Sahayadri, Western Ghats, Mumbai, Kolad, Blueberry

A view of the Western Ghats, as we traveled

The mountain ranges house a total of 39 properties between the state of Gujarat to Kerala, that includes national parks, wildlife forests, tiger reserves, reserve forests along with umpteen and some of the endangered species of flora and fauna.

IMG-20140706-WA000

IMG_20140711_001350Since the western ghats turn into a rich lush carpet of ‘green’ in the monsoons, we decided to pay them a visit. In fact, it’s the rains that give the region its flavour and richness. With the rains, also come a pool of opportunities for nature lovers and trek lovers to spend time in the region doing things they like the most.

We decided to take a trip with The Blueberry Trails, an experiential travel company in Mumbai that arranges small group treks and trips to some of the off beat places closer to home and as far as you might want to go! We had heard a lot about these guys (in every good sense) and I personally was tracking their social media presence. Their trips and itinerary fascinated me to no-end and we decided to revel in the experience of their Kolad package. We left Mumbai on Saturday at around 8 AM and took a small bus-tempo drive to Kolad. Kolad, is a mere 3 hours drive from Mumbai and therefore makes for a perfect weekend getaway.

For anybody who doesn’t like to travel in big groups and is apprehensive about solo travel , The Blueberry Trails, is a perfect way to start tripping. Small groups, of 10-12 people is the best simulation to prep you for awesome travel experiences. While for this trip, I tagged along with @srinistuff, my experience with The Blueberry Trails has thrust a lot of confidence for my solo trip, that will hopefully follow shortly.

Coming back to the trip, we reached Kolad and had our first brush off with the river Kundalika. Kundalika is one of the smallest rivers in the state originating in Sahaydris  and joining into the Arabian Sea. On the banks of the rivers, there are umpteen resorts, retreats, home stays offering some of the best views of the river, access to chickoos, guava, pineapple and mango plantations along with options for innumerable water sports, counting river rafting, Kayaking, river crossing etc. We had to cross the river by boats to reach our weekend stay- Ecomantra Holidays– a great place to unwind and spend a serene time away from the bustling crowd of the city. Here are a few memories and beautiful pictures from our trip!

Kundalika,, Feet on the map, Kolda, Ecomantra Holidays

On the banks of Kundalika

travelers, Deepika Gumaste, Feet on the map

The Blueberry gang at the resort

Feet on the map, Kundalika, Deepika Gumaste

Panaromic views from our resort

Feet on the map, Deepika, Ecomantra Holidays

Warli art, on the walls of the resort

Being the quite and laid back town that it is, Kolad is one of the best possible options for Mumbaikars looking for a nice getaway. The tranquility of the surrounding hills, the breathtaking beauty of the valleys, the gurgling streams, the twittering birds, the picture-book houses, and the refreshing waterfalls make Kolad a heavenly retreat. Apart from sleeping in the nature’s lap, one can keep up with an adventurer within with a complete bouquet of adventurous treks and night jungle trails. Leaving you with some more postcard souvenirs from the trip. Currently, I am at my workstation and will soon update on the other activities we indulged in, through the upcoming blog-posts! 🙂

Kolad, Feet on the map, Blueberry trails

Laughing Frog

Deepika Gumaste, traveler, Kolad

Trekking with torn shoes

Feet on the map

Varayanai Falls

Feet on the map, Miss_nautanki, @srinistuff

Getting ready to Kayak!

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