Lavasa. For those of you who haven't heard of it, it is a beautiful planned town built on the banks of the Mutha river along the Western Ghats. It is an extremely popular tourist attraction situated around 70 km from Pune. The entire hamlet is a replica of the Italian town of Portofino in terms of building architecture and street design. Truly mesmerizing.
I've been working in Pune for 2 and a half years now, and it was only recently that I finally got to visit this much talked-about place. In fact, I've been there twice now, once before the monsoon and second time during the monsoon. And trust me, there is a big difference between these two occasions.
In this post, I would like to show you the contrast between visiting Lavasa during the monsoon and non-monsoon time. I initially thought of making two different posts about it, but then decided to club them together in one post so as to highlight the differences. So this post is going to be a little bit heavy on images. You can click on all images to enlarge to a new tab.
As I mentioned in my earlier post about visiting Lion's Point at Lonavala, my two friends Esther and Thara were really concerned about me being cooped up at home all alone during that time. Around five months ago, when they heard that I had never been to Lavasa in spite of me living in Pune for more than 2 years, they decided to plan a trip for me.
And so one sultry April Saturday morning, Esther and Thara came over to my apartment along with Gary, Zamzami, Johntea and James. We booked a cab and off we went to Lavasa!
We stopped at the famous Rohit Wadewale on the way to eat the best Misal Pav in town.
As noon slowly approached, it was starting to heat up. We stopped frequently by the roadside under a shade because our cab driver didn't allow us to smoke inside his car.
It was scorching hot just standing outside the AC cab.
As you can see below, the journey was quite barren and dry. All around the Western Ghats slopes, one could see just dry trees and shrubs.
This dude suddenly appeared out of nowhere just as I was about to click a photo of the mountains :D
The road below kinda reminded me of that song -
"On a bright desert highway, hot wind in my hair…"
"Warm smell of gaichap tambaku, rising up from behind…"
"Up ahead in the distance, I saw the Temghar Dam…"
"My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim… I had to sleep for the day!"
After a couple of more winding roads, we were soon approaching our destination…
Yeah it was searing hot!
As it was my first time, the heat didn't really bother me that much. The place was so beautiful!
Posed for a few photos here and there.
Thara took a Facebook and IG profile pic for Esther :D sigh, such a lovely couple.
It was so hot that we decided to do a bit of our traditional rain dance ritual in order to appease the rain gods and bring down some rain…
Meanwhile Zamzami did a rain pose…
But it was of no avail.
We ran inside the first pub we saw - "Past Times - The English Pub".
Muchhhh better inside.
The place had a good "Buy 2 Get 1 Free" offer, which we took to our advantage. We also ordered a lot of snacks.
Esther in action, lolzzzz.
When I stepped outside to smoke, I saw these people enjoying a siesta under the shade of a tree…
I was like, how can anyone sleep like that in public? Two minutes later, I was like…
Outside, it was starting to cool down (or maybe it was the beer talking), and things were starting to look awesome again.
With Zamzami. Without Gary.
The organizing couple Esther and Thara.
Finally, after a couple of rounds of pint, we left "Past Times". A little bit tipsy some of us were :P
Thara aimed his DSLR for a beauty shot. I wondered which pic he was trying to take. The serene valley surrounding the township? The mesmerizing river flowing through it? The tranquil lazy Saturday afternoon environs?
Green shot from below.
Ok, have I told you that I almost died?
Yeah that's right. I could have died that day!
So, as we left the pub and explored the rest of the place, we were a bit tipsy. And then we came across this section below.
It was cordoned off with a long yellow barricade tape. But since it was hot, there weren't any people nearby, not even a guard was around. Idiot me walked over the barricade tape and down the steps. I removed my shoes and kept my phone inside my shoe (Thank God I did that!) and wanted to dip my feet into the cold water. I took one step. It felt good. I took a second step and immediately… BUUURRRUBUURRRR, I was completely inside the water!
Luckily I could swim but I struggled to get back because the water splashing on the steps kept pushing me away from it. Esther and Zamzami rushed down towards me, but they were afraid to come near the edge (lolz). None of the other guys were around. Eventually I managed to pull myself back to the steps (there was no freaking grip either, which made it even more difficult). My wallet and hanky were completely wet, and I nearly lost my specs (I had to stop swimming to grab it after it came off).
It was then that we knew why the entire area was cordoned off. Two uniformed guards frantically ran towards us, shouting at us in Hindi or Marathi, I really can't remember now because I was so busy being grateful that I got out alive.
Man that was intense.
Here I was, drying myself on the hot parapet wall.
At least the intense heat worked favorable for me as I was completely dry in a matter of minutes.
We reached Pune after dark, completely tired and worn out, and we all went back to our respective places. The next day, Sunday, we all showed up at Church again, fresh as a daisy, as if the previous day never happened :D All of us decided to take a photo together again :D
Yeah, the Lavasa Summer gang :D
A moment to remember.
And that was my experience of going to Lavasa before the Monsoon.
Now for the Lavasa Monsoon visit part.
We usually shout "Tequilaaaa" after taking our shots, but this time we all shouted "Lavasaaa" after every shot.
We even baked our own early morning garlic bread as we got ready for this trip.
Why so much preparation this time? Because I was going this time with the E-17 gang. The notorious awesomest "E-17 gang" of Aundh, Pune.
This was like some hardcore gangsta stuff, definitely on a complete different level. Mess with them and you'll find yourself lying in a gutter with your throat slit. Doesn't matter if you are West Side or East Side, for E-17, the only side that matters is the fun side :)
As predicted, it was already raining as we started off…
Law enforcers Tuli and Christina in action at the back seat…
"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your pierced ears"… Sanga's DSLR in action.
The journey continued with the usual romantic somber mood of rainfall and 90's slow rock love songs playing on the cab speakers. 'Twas definitely a memorable moment to remember, watching the sudden lashing of rains to the brief moments of lull in between taking place alternatively.
We even came across trees that fell victims to the monsoon's rage.
A brief pit stop at a petrol pump. I wanted to smoke so I remained on the road…
We finally reached Rohit Wadewale again, where we stopped and ordered their awesomest Misal Pavs :)
Searching for a ladies loo could be quite a pain in the ass on this long stretch of road. Luckily we managed to find one.
The journey continued. So much gloom and yet so much beauty. Melancholic, yet tranquil.
Carefree school kids waving at me as I took their picture!
A pic from behind…
So much greenery this time. Compare this to the time I passed by this place earlier above and you can see such a huge difference.
Waterfalls! Don't go, Jason waterfalls! :P
The Tequila works in mysterious ways :D
Soon we reached Temghar Dam.
See how different it looked from the earlier visit…
Felt sooooo much like Mizoram! :'(
We did find it a tad funny though, that every vehicle immediately switched to emergency lights. In Mizoram, this would be quite normal. But then again, yeah, quoting cheesy BRO road-signs, better safe than never.
Lavasa security guards were collecting the entry fees with their raincoats on…
More waterfalls here and there…
So… fresh and different from the last time I was here.
Here we go…
Group selfie time!
Courtesy Sanga's DSLR…
Gary and John in action.
Do pardon them for that, it's their mating season, you know… :D
We roamed around the place for some time, taking pics here and there…
I just love the color contrast. So fresh and vibrant.
Gary, the Instagram-boyfriend :D (refer "Instagram husbands" on YouTube)
I wanted to compose a sad love song right here…
This place had a really appealing photo session background…
Muddy waters, running wild and free…
"And then I tried to create an Instagram account for u-Kima without him knowing about it."
"How did that work out?"
"The authentication code was sent to his mobile phone and he caught me red-handed!"
"Ha ha ha haaaa!"
"Hold it like that, and I will pose like this…"
"Helloooo... who's taking our pic? We're over heeere!" :D
Once again, I met my dear old friend, Mister "Past Times - The English Pub" :D
I totally fell in love with their new Bira drink mats!
Photo-shoot time! :)
Tuli, remaining classy as ever :D
John (finally, you get to meet the man from whom many of my fictional stories were inspired from :D )
Johntea (another interesting character I would like to build a new story on)
Sanga and Christina (aka do-not-disturb-anyone-in-the-morning-bleh-bleh-bleh)
Tuli (the accidental celeb)
At one time, I was trying really hard asking the bartender and the manager if I could buy one of their Bira drink mats :D Didn't know Sanga was slyly documenting the incident :D
Unfortunately, they were not for sale :(
You know you haven't had complete fun yet until somebody start posing for pictures like these… :D
Tuli trying to capture a picture perfect selfie…
Tuli happy she captured a picture perfect selfie…
Tuli posing for another picture perfect pose…
Tuli annoyed people disturbed her picture perfect pose…
Pics from the GoPro.
One last pose before leaving the place…
Outside, the rain had stopped and it was breathtakingly beautiful!
Love this pic I took below because from my angle, the photo looked like something else :D
And so, as all good things must come to an end, we headed back towards Pune…
One thing you must never miss out on your way back from Lavasa are the roadside corns!
Yummm… just select the ones you want and they will roast it right there…
Sulking Tuli, because we didn't allow her to eat corns :P
The cold and wet climate went so well with the hot popping corns.
Lime, black salt and chilli powder can really do magic to the corns!
Off we went again, heading back towards Pune.
Objects in the rearview mirror may appear handsomer than they are :P
Traditional drinks on our way back…
…and of course more beer meant more roadside pit-stops :D
Finally, we reached Pune. We were exhausted and drunk but extremely satisfied with our trip. Christina and Sanga cooked us an amazing dinner and after a couple more beers, it was time for me to head back to KP. As I was leaving the E-17 crib, I realized my friends definitely had a great time because… they left the keys dangling outside their door since our return :D
So yeah, that was it. Lavasa - Summer versus Monsoon.
You should definitely check it out too if you haven't been there yet, but make sure you do it during the monsoons. Looking forward to another memorable trip there before the monsoon ends. Who's with me? :)
One piece of advice I'd like to give you though, if you're visiting Lavasa during the monsoon, try to STAY DRY as much as possible, especially if you're traveling in an AC vehicle. Like I mentioned above, we got wet a lot of times, and then we were under an AC most of the time. The next day, Sunday, all of us were supposed to attend the talented 2Blu's "Tribute to Guns n Roses" live show at High Spirits. None of us could attend because we were all down with slight fever! Missed such a great opportunity to watch Tirthankar Poddar in action :(
So that is something you should keep in mind. Other than that, what an awesome experience it had been. Until the next time, peeps. Cheers.