About 190 kilometres from the hustle and bustle of Pune, and about 40 kilometres from the calm-land of Konkan, Koyna is one of the Western Ghats’ best kept secrets, thanks to its virgin lure. Finding accommodation in Koyna is reasonably easy; it’s a quick pick from among a handful, with the best bet being the sprawling half-an-acre Wind Chalet Resort. Designed along the lines of the wooden chalets in the Swiss Alps, the property is a nature lover’s green-dream come true. More intimate and reserved in its character, the property offers only four suites, perfectly equipped to fit the bill of the ‘nothingness’ aficionados. What else? Open the French windows, and you have a bulk of photo-ops calling out to you, offering a spectacular view of the turquoise waters of the Koyna dam that seem to add rhythmic ripples to the lush green backdrop of the flora and the sturdy mountains.
Adventure, leisure and more
Sufi poet Wasif Ali Wasif rightly said that “the world is ancient, but it has not lost its newness.” So, whether it is to celebrate the history, or with an eye of an explorer, Koyna’s platter is full of options. For every adventurer eager to set out, a hike to the region’s Bhairavgad fort sounds like an ideal morning stint. The journey to the summit, reportedly, is no mean job, but once atop, the panoramic views of the Sahyadris and the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary, only add to the serotonin. Dotted with historical gems, the fort is home to numerous caves and temples, which make the trek a resourceful experience for heritage buffs.
Come mealtimes, and the choicest of the local fare awaits you, with specialties like the freshwater snakehead (murrel) fish curry, black and red crabs, and a variety of infusions made with freshly plucked jackfruits, karvanda (black berries ), and kokum (garcinia indica), to get a taste of Koyna’s culinary delights. And after all the gastronomic indulgence, there’s that spellbinding languor that commands you to claim your share of the lazy, afternoon siesta. But if you choose not to give in to that, and you actually manage to gird up your loins, you definitely wouldn’t regret. Drive down to the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a guided jungle ride would equip you with all the intel on the region’s flora and fauna, with a special focus on the Royal Bengal tigers, King Cobras, gaurs, and the honey harvesting seasons.
All things serene
Go back to George Orwell’s Animal Farm, and think about the windmill, an allegory of industrialisation and the controversy surrounding it. Koyna seems to tell a similar tale, nonetheless, the experience of standing under a majestic rotating turbine and hearing the ‘swishing’ sound, is quite enthralling. Our two cents: don’t think twice to go an extra mile, literally and figuratively, to ensure you make it to the bottom of one of the 215 windmills that stand tall in the sanctuary. Dodge the aerodynamics; go for the ‘feel.’
Koyna may not be about too many adrenaline pumping anecdotes. But you’ll definitely get food for soul. Ultimately, all we need is love; however, a pint of beer to go with doesn’t hurt at all. Particularly if, you dedicate your evenings to your suite’s private backyard garden, watching the sun go down, setting the retro play-list on a repeat mode, and simultaneously wondering how the happy forever is only a sum of such delightful nows.