|On the way to...|
Splashing rain, rolling greens and, sharp meandering roads and loud thunders drowning the music playing in the car.
|Shyadari is all green|
Clock ticking, 10:30 A.M. it displays, but Nature seems to be stuck perennially at 5:00 PM or 6 maybe. I slide the car window down only to hear the strong winds whirring in Western Ghats. The car keeps gaining altitude; I refuse to shy away from the monsoon now; face rain kissed, hair ruffled up and in a disarray but I am too lost to think about anything, not even the crazy week that went by which was my biggest thought train an hour back maybe.
|Let me pass!|
I reached my destination, in a way, just to be greeted by a long queue of cars and bikes, all waiting for an entry to India’s First Planned Hill Station post-Independence – Lavasa. But the minute I entered through the huge gate of Lavasa, I could only hear a symphony of wind and water. High on a hill, rhythm of the falling rain and gurgling of mountain streams because they dot the whole driveway, but no sign of a city yet. And then there it is, below, almost hidden by clouds, surrounding a big dam, a tiny cluster of colours amidst a verdant valley. This was my first impression of Lavasa when I had visited this tiny, still developing hill station, just for a day last year (Facebook reminded of the visit today - hence the post).
|Not Portofino - It is Lavasa|
Lavasa in the very first look tells how similar it is to Portofino, Italy, but the charm of the city is its landscape. Built in a valley between two dams – Temghar and Warasgaon dam, Lavasa is about 2 hours away from Pune, which is the closest airport and railway junction to Lavasa. People prefer to stay overnight at Lavasa but I was there just for a day during monsoons last year and beware, it is a very touristy place!
|One of the many mountain streams|
Though the place was flocked with tourists as it was a Sunday, I managed to find my own rhythm with the place by strolling around, soaking in the rain. After all, it is still a hill station and you can happily connect to a place by just walking around! Lavasa has a lot of watersports and extreme sports options but due to rains, watersports were unavailable and extreme sports require a lot of patience and waiting in queues so I chose to explore the unoccupied colonies and the nursery foundations in the place. Surprisingly, I found the roads empty, cars parked and no soul to be seen around. Weird right?
|Warsagaon Dam enroute Lavasa|
A few resorts and a few empty houses led to a part that seemed as colourful as Stockholm, but the parking crisis outside told me where the whole crowd was. The Waterfront of Lavasa or Waterfront Shaw, like it is called, is its busiest area and I dreaded entering it. But to my surprise, the cobbled pathway next to the gushing waters of the dam was the prettiest spot in Lavasa. Clean, somehow peaceful even in the cacophony of the tourists and colourful.
|Water gushing in from the hills..red a proof that the place is still in making|
Maybe it was the constant rain that kept the touristy noise subdued, but I was more than happy to walk the whole path sipping coffee from CCD and munching warm muffin from Grandma’s Homemade on a cute little bench.
|This is pretty much it - Lavasa|
Waterfront Shaw is full of dining options, but be prepared to loosen your purse strings because they are all very heavy on the pocket. But some options are really good so maybe it will be worth it. I specially loved my lunch at Orient 8, which I would recommend to all Chinese rather Indian Chinese cuisine lovers.
|Peaceful and bright|
I spent almost 2 hours at the waterfront visiting shops and staring at the dam while the intensity of the rain increased. People huddled under the shades of the shops or relaxed in the cafes while I looked at the sleepy city one last time, thinking about how touristy the place would grow in some years.
I wouldn’t lie. Lavasa is just another Lonavala in making and it will remain the same, but at the same time it has a link with Nature that has potential to make it a lot more than just another hill station for the masses. We will just need to wait to see the place bloom. For now enjoy the drive, enjoy the waterfront and enjoy a weekend. That is Lavasa in my point of view.
|The greens after the rains|
Best Time To Visit Lavasa: September - January
Limited staying options so plan your trip accordingly.
More Information on - http://www.lavasa.com/