A family trip to a hill station in the vacations after the exams is too mainstream…how about visiting a hill station just before them? My parents redefined spontaneity by planning a trip barely a couple of days before my final internal assessments in college. The best part – I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would.
Handing me the confirmation vouchers for the rooms at Club Mahindra Tungi Resort near Lonavala, my parents took me by complete surprise. I was left even more so when they assigned me the responsibility of planning and executing the remainder of the trip. Here I was, strategizing about a weeklong session of Vivas, Quizzes and Lab Tests that lay ahead, now with another bunch of responsibilities altogether on my shoulders.
Part 1: Prati Balaji Temple.
At 7.30am on the bright Sunday morning of 19th April, we were welcomed by the Innova waiting for us. We had a total of 500km for 2 days, exceeding which we would have to pay extra. As the resort is only about 125km away from Mumbai, we were left with about 250km of distance to spare. I had spent quite some time thinking about the possible attractions we could cover. As most of the attractions in the area are forts or temples on hills, they aren’t ideal for my grandparents. My friends had advised me against visiting the wax museum near Lonavala, as they weren’t really impressed. Keeping in mind that the check-in time at the resort was 2pm, I pondered about our next step over a plate of steaming hot idlis at the Food Court near Pune.
By the time we finished our breakfast and resumed our journey, it was around 11am. Contemplating and debating, we finally agreed to visit Prati Balaji Temple near Narayanpur a visit. We reached the temple around 1pm. The temple is essentially a mini version of the Tirupati Balaji Temple in Andhra Pradesh. I found it rather astonishing to see the differences in the temperature inside and outside the temple premises. While the weather was blistering hot outside, with hardly any clouds to mellow out the heat of the blazing sun, the inside of the temple was pleasantly cool.
The temple was really a visual treat. Visiting it was the wise choice, as there wasn’t much of a crowd even though it was a Sunday. Besides, it was a delight to see such a huge temple maintained so well. The best part of all was the prasadam – it tasted just heavenly. Although lunch coupons were being distributed, we decided against staying due to time constraints. Walking out alongside my mom (who was carrying 5 small paper bowls of prasadam), I found something I never expected – entrepreneurship! There was a small child – barely 5 years old. He walks up to people carrying multiple bowls of prasadam, offering them bags to keep it in. And when mom want to pay him, he says “If you want to give me, give me how much ever you feel the bag is worth!” A simple kid, with a simple reply – left the two of us dumbstruck. Taking in the plethora of experiences, including a newfound sense of peace, joy and amazement, we proceeded to the Tungi Resort.
For anybody planning to visit the temple in the near future, here is a tip. The temple is a sight that can be enjoyed only by the eyes, as electronic gadgets are not allowed inside the premises. Frisking is pretty strict. Another point, the senior citizens get VIP entry and don’t need to walk much. That being said, only one person is permitted to accompany the senior citizen inside.
For the next part, here is the link – https://nehaslife.wordpress.com/2015/05/03/a-welcome-break-2/
For the third and the last part, here is the link – https://nehaslife.wordpress.com/2015/05/05/a-welcome-break-3/