Head For The Hills And Plains Around Goa

Beat the summer visiting an art village, doing a coffee trail, watching windmills whirring, indulging in a ‘farm’ breakfast or just chilling. Some offbeat destinations around Goa are covered here …

GREEN fields flank the roads and then begin the climb onto the ghats but not a steep one; Wai in Maharashtra is a small town on the way, made famous because of the Shah Rukh Khan film ‘Swades’. Admiring the magnificent mountains and valleys, one reaches Panchgani. About 20 km away is Mahableshwar; this quaint hill station was once the summer capital of the British Raj, and the name Mahableshwar means ‘God of Great Power’.  

ART IN PANCHGANI – DEVRAI ART VILLAGE 

A day trip to Devrai Art village is enriching. Situated about 20 km away on scenic roads, this art gallery houses an amazing range of unique art forms. Mandakini Mathur, founder, met Suresh Pungati, an artist from Gadchiroli. Impressed by his art, Mathur set up Devrai Art village where five adivasi craftsmen under the guidance of Pungati began creating beautiful works of art out of river pebbles and brass: beautiful fish, trees, leaves, and women’s faces are made from rock and brass. Devrai Rock Dhokra, is a fusion of rock and brass, although Dhokra is an ancient art form. 

PHALTAN CALLING

Flat landscapes make driving a pleasure. A quiet town with a variety of farms, orchards and natural beauty makes Phaltan, near Pune a great weekend getaway. Phaltan was the ancient capital of Maharashtra and also the birthplace of Shivaji Maharaj’s first wife, Saibai. It is a hub for temple tourism and forms a mid-point for the Pandharpur Yatra every year. 

RAJWADA – GLORIOUS PAST

Have a glass of the fresh sugarcane juice and drive out to the Rajwada situated about 15 minutes away and soak in the glory of the Maratha Empire. The palace was once the maternal home of Sambhaji Maharaj, son of Shivaji. 

THE GLORY OF THE WINDMILLS

A drive through the countryside, a bit of twists and turns, and you reach Pusegaon. The highlights of this spot are the gigantic windmills. Jakson Inns take their guests right under the windmill to experience the glorious sunset or enjoy the wind in the open! Vast plains, undulating hills and the fresh cool breeze that blows constantly make it a unique experience. As you walk below the towering windmill, the swish of the blade cutting the wind is a new sound! It whirs, generating electricity and creating a totally exotic setting. Add to this the hospitality of a sofa right in the middle of the meadow, a table spread with goodies including chilled wine and toast to the good life! Sandwiches, pasta salad, cake, chips, juices – indulge in the cool fresh air. 

FARM BREAKFAST 

Wake up to the blue skies and a short drive to the river. Hand pick some tomatoes or brinjals, before proceeding to meet Vithal Nalawade, a farmer. His wife welcomes you and serves authentic kothmir vadi, chakli and Shankarpali. Wash it down with home-grown ginger flavoured tea. Stroll around the farm, with farm dogs for company or say hello to the buffaloes and cows! 

OUT OF PHALTAN 

To reach the Thosegar waterfalls, you need to drive to Satara, which is an hour’s drive. Up the winding hills, Thosegar is a popular picnic spot so you should preferably visit during the weekday or early on weekends. The Ajinkya Tara fort and Varudad Fort are two historic forts for those who do not mind a steep climb to soak in the glory of the Maratha Empire.

COFFEE TRAILS IN COORG 

The Ibnii means dew drops in Coorgi language. Coorg is a district in Karnataka, a state in the south of India and part of the Western Ghats. Full of undulating hills and dense greenery, this district has an amazing climate which makes it very popular for a holiday. Coorgi cuisine is delicious and a treat for non-vegetarians as pork is their speciality.

 NATURE TRAILS AND COFFEE WALKS 

Besides the enchanting town of Madikeri, you can relax on the eco-luxe property of the Ibnii with nature, where almost 100-year old trees grow on the property; discover the natural spring and a fresh water lake where a number of birds can be spotted. This is also a great place for yoga on the wooden platform with a gazebo overlooking the lake.  

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For us at Planet-Goa, our team is driven by that feeling of exhilaration that one gets when discovering that something ‘unique’ and ‘new’ about Goa for our ever-so-discerning readers.

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Author: Planet Goa Team
For us at Planet-Goa, our team is driven by that feeling of exhilaration that one gets when discovering that something ‘unique’ and ‘new’ about Goa for our ever-so-discerning readers.

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