I have been staying at Mumbai for a while and I always wanted to explore the areas around Karjat, this was thus one such opportunity. We looked for a lot of things around, treks around hills, waterfalls, forts but we finally settled for some adventure sports. Among the many resorts we looked up, Nature trails naturally came out to be the best among them. From the pictures that we saw, the adventure activities looked really good, and the place was well dreamy with luxurious tents and swimming pools in midst of the jungle and hills.
Nature trails, a subsidiary of Sterling group of Hotels offered us four different places to choose from Sajan Nature Club, Dabhosa Waterfall Resort, Durshet Forest Lodge and Kundalika Rafting Camp. Each of these places offered a different kind of adventure sports. For example, Sajan Nature Camp and Durshet Forest Lodge offered trekking, Zipline, Burma Bridge, Campfire. Dabhosa Waterfall is one of the highest waterfalls in Maharashtra, the resort boasts of waterfall rappelling and kayaking. Kundalika Rafting Camp is well known for Rafting among other activities.
We checked our schedule and found that we could only go for two of these resorts since we were just there for the weekend and after several discussions, we decided to spend our Saturday at Durshet and Sunday at Kundalika. A decision which Nature trails people themselves helped us to come to. I was more than thrilled because it had been my dream to raft across a river and my dream was finally coming true. Plus the fact that we would be miles away from the hustle bustle of the city for a weekend was more than welcoming.
So, on 16th June, all of us were ready at 6 O’Clock in the morning. We had lots of stuff packed with us, from cameras to GoPro, Rain Jackets, Aqua Shoes and what not. I had this feeling in me that this was going to be an adventure of a lifetime. By 6:15, we had boarded the bus to Khopoli and we were already off for the weekend adventure. The bus trip was a fantastic one, the weather was on our side, as it started to drizzle and rain. The destination was more than 95 km far from my home and Google told us that it would take 3 hours to reach which was good because I definitely needed a nap.
3 hours later we were cutting through steep slopes and valleys of the area near Lonavala or Karjat. I couldn’t track because by now my cell reception had died down. The view was breathtaking in front of us as we made our way to the resort. Just before the resort, we could see forests everywhere and hilltops emerging through them. Slowly and steadily we finally reached our destination.
We were welcomed by the staff at Nature trails Durshet Forest Lodge. The lodge was literally in the middle of a forest area surrounded by lush greenery. We climbed up the hill on which the lodge was built and took the keys to our rooms directly because we were tired from the journey.
The place was gigantic, as I later got to know, spread across an area of 35 Acres including the forest area where they conduct the adventure sports. We refreshed ourselves inside our deluxe tents which were beautiful just to look at from outside.
There were 10 tents spread across a huge area with a swimming pool nearby and a mesmerizing view of the mountains of the areas.
A little later we were taking a look at the whole property, the deluxe tents, the dormitories, the playground, cafeteria, and everything. We had our lavish breakfast which was Misal Pav and Poha with tea. By this time we knew a lot about the resort than before because the staff was very polite and they were happy to answer all our questions about the place. They mentioned that this was a good stopover for the River Rafting Camp and that we made a good decision coming here first. They told us about the activities that we were gonna do after this and all about the different stories of the places nearby.
We were soon off for our activities which started off with trekking. Nature trails has a whole forest area under them where they conduct all these activities. We trekked through the forest and upward slope of the hill. It was a long walk which our tour guide was guiding us through. At the end of our walk was the Burma Bridge.
The Burma Bridge was an elevated structure between two tall trees and we had to walk in between it. It was so fun because each time we kept our foot on the bridge it would shake.
The bridge was made up of ropes and it was swinging so badly. The fun part was when it started to rain and everybody was running on the bridge to get cover!!
The second activity of the day was even better than before. We trekked a little to reach a cliff in the forest area. This was Zipline and I had never done it before. We had to strictly listen to the instructions before we did it ourselves. The endpoint was at quite a bit of a distance which freaked me out initially.
We had to hold the rope, get into a vest kind of which was attached to the ropes and a pulley. Among my friends I volunteered first, I put on the vest, held the rope as tightly as possible and zoooom it went down. I also turned around in the middle of my zipline and almost came down in reverse. I enjoyed it thoroughly and laughed at my friends as they came down the cliff.
All the activities were spread across the forest at different points. So we trekked a lot before reaching our third activity – Rappelling. There was a huge rock in front of us, and because it was monsoon, the waterfall was in its full might. Some people had already reached and started the activity before us.
They were tied by ropes around their waist and they had to climb down a steep descent of almost 90 degrees. The rocks were a little slippery and there was almost nothing to put feet on.
We put on our safety vests and climbed to the rock from the easier side. Then we were attached to all the ropes and vests while I and my other friend started taking one step at a time down the descent. It was awesome going blind and trekking down, keeping each foot with precaution. We recorded everything in our GoPRos as we reached the bottom of the huge rock. Amazing Experience!
The last experience was a Tarzan Jump. It was in the middle of nowhere in the forest. Obviously, I couldn’t do it and I fell down on the pond below.
We went back, had our lunch at the resort. It was a buffet spread with lots of delicacies. After the late heavy lunch, everyone was back at their tent, tired and sleepy.
We woke up to our evening tea and snacks and then we were just around in a circle talking to new people and making friends. As soon as we saw that the pool was emptier than before, all of us jumped into it.
It turned into a beautiful pool night, swimming under the moonlight with the cool breeze all around us. The view from the swimming pool with the moon and our tents looked surreal. We wouldn’t come out at all from the pool till the dinner time. We were talking, swimming, playing all over.
After our dinners, we hung out for a while talking about each other’s adventure and looking forward to the adventure the next day. We were super excited for Rafting.
We woke up early in the morning and packed our bags. This was a bright and chirpy morning maybe because of all the excitement within us.
Our trip was a long one, even this one too. But this was an even better journey with better views of the hills and the forests. We travelled for almost an hour, sleeping most of the time and clicking pictures.
At around 9 we reached the Kundalika River. The river was not at all how I expected. It had a feeble stream and we could cross it any instant. The view was perfect all around but the water was not appropriate for Rafting. Then our guide explained it that the waters for rafting come from the Mulshi Dam. The companies who manage rafting wait for the dam to release their waters and then rafting commences.
Our instructions started with lots of puns by the instructor. He showed us around the rowing equipment on the boat, how to follow instructions, how to move forward and backwards and how to not drown in the river. It was a lot to take in. We waited with our instructors near the boats waiting for the water to come. And it did in a few minutes, in the form of waves at us. The narrow feeble river was gaining momentum. It gained a lot of water than we expected, in a while, it almost came up near where we were standing. Now the river which could have been easily crossed was huge, deep and very fast flowing.
We got into our boats and started following our instructor blindly. We rowed forward and backwards, made a whole round around the steady part of the river. Once our guide was satisfied with our rowing skills, he made us enter the currents.
The rowing was difficult but oh so fun. Our boat was moving furiously in the currents, splashing water on us, and going all haywire. Sometimes we would just make a complete 360-degree circle in the stream. It was out of control but we all were shouting and screaming at the joy of it. The best part was my position on the boat, I was at the front and the waves would come crashing at me. It also started to drizzle a bit making it bit more adventurous.
We rowed a great length, going through waves and water coming at us at full speed. We were hard at work, rowing forward into the river. There were plenty of green trees for the entire stretch. It was so beautiful.
We also tried taking dips inside the river, standing up, singing songs and even jumping on the raft. Almost fell down when we all jumped on the raft. I left my position to sit at the front of the raft and took a dip down in the river. The definition of fun was taken to the next level.
There was a silent stretch now, where the current was a little weak and the water was deep. It was time now! Our guide told us to jump in the river. Some of us got scared, what really! We had to do this. But eventually, almost all of us jumped in the river. Well, of course, we were wearing our life jackets and for the next 40 minutes, we just had to relax in the water. The weak current glided us through this stretch. We went crazy making funny videos, swimming and floating across. Sometimes we would take the help of our boats to help us move around.
At one point during the stretch, the boats were all left behind and there were just people, it also started to rain during this time. We were drenched in the rain and all wet in the river. It was so worth it. After almost 45 minutes of swimming in the river, we were picked up by our boats and then started rowing again. After a few minutes, the river widened and we were now at the biggest stretch of it. From here I could see just water to miles and miles. It was raining heavily and it was picture perfect.
We reached the banks of the river where our rafting was supposed to end. Nobody wanted to get out of the boats. We were having the time of our lives, but every good thing has to come to an end. We got off from the boat and with team effort pulled the boat up the banks.
We were greeted with steamy Vada Pavs which we devoured. It was a long walk now after our snack time, from the river to the camp. We had to climb up the hill, all drenched in rains. It was fun trekking, we were joking around and reliving the fantastic moment.
In about half an hour, we saw the Kundalika rafting camp and it was such a relief. The camp was a life saviour. It was a beautiful place, with small cottages all around the forest. We went to our rooms changed and went in for lunch. Nobody could stop talking about the experience. It was so fantastic. We had our lavish lunch at the resort with a very tasty buttermilk. One last time we took our tour of the resort with a beautiful view of the Kundalika River.
Within an hour we were on our way back home.
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How to Reach
Take the Mumbai-Pune Expressway up to Khalapur Toll Plaza. After paying the toll for Khopoli go for ~ 1 km and take the Khopoli exit on your left. After exiting the expressway, take the flyover to your right, immediately after flyover, take a left turn on Pali road and drive for 12 km till you reach Durshet. 8 km after Adlabs Imagica.
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This post was written by Snehanshu Shome. He calls himself a Rahagir. A voyager in its true sense. He has packed his bags and is ready to take you on his escapades, which he narrates through his blogs and photos.