Swaroop C H

blog books about contact subscribe

Holiday at The Machan

26 Aug 2012

My wife and myself recently had a great time at The Machan in Lonavala, Maharashtra, India. It's perfect for nature lovers who want a weekend (or in our case, weekday) getaway and be amidst greenery and silence. It is certainly not the place if you're looking for "activities to do in a resort".

The word "machan" means "a platform erected in a tree, used originally for hunting large animals and now for watching animals in wildlife reserves."

To reach the place, you need to first book online. Couples and small families go into the Canopy Machan, big families or groups can go into the Heritage Machan. Then, you follow their directions or use their location in Google Maps, because you won't find any signage anywhere. In fact, even after reaching the place, their name is not mentioned anywhere. They really want to be as natural as possible, I guess.
The Machan is a little less than 90 km from Pune, so we had a pleasant drive and reached in under two hours. As soon as we entered, we were greeted by this beautiful wooden reception area. It reminded me of the woodhouse in Gharshana movie.
Machan reception

Machan reception

Machan reception

Machan reception

Machan view of pond and reception

Machan view of pond and reception

The Machan claim they are completely "off grid" because they depend on solar and wind power for their electricity. I found that claim a little disingenuous because they have LPG cylinders for heating the water in each machan. But in the larger picture, they are as eco friendly as possible.

Machan solar power

Machan solar power

We were eager to see our machan for the day and were enthralled by it.

Climbing the stairs to our stay, "canopy" machan

Climbing the stairs to our stay, "canopy" machan

View from Machan Canopy

View from Machan Canopy

Machan view down from canopy deck

Machan view down from canopy deck

Machan Canopy bathroom

You could say that the bathroom was luxurious. You could.

We were equally fascinated by the furniture and the british era style interiors.

Old-style switches

Old-style switches

Deck chair

Deck chair

Collapsible hanger

Collapsible hanger

After we were done admiring the place and the view, we had a scrumptious simple lunch served by the courteous and helpful staff in the open dining area.

Machan dining area

Machan dining area

A negative at first is that there is no phone connectivity but it quickly turns into a positive because you end up reading a book or enjoying the calmness.

Machan place to read a book

Machan place to read a book

We met another nice family and had a great time chatting with them. It is one of those chance encounters that leaves a lasting positive impression in your mind.

Immediately after lunch, we set out to explore the estate.

One of the first things we saw near the machans is that there is an upcoming "conference hall" which devastated my image of the place and I was glad that we came to see the estate now before it becomes fully commercial, say, next year.

We had picked up a "trail map" on the desk in the machan room and religiously followed it and were well rewarded.

Crossing the stream with carefully laid stones

Crossing the stream with carefully laid stones

Bench in the jungle

Bench in the jungle

Out of the trees, into the field

Out of the trees, into the field

The trail is visible for any experienced trekker. I realized it's not so visible for others.

The trail is visible for any experienced trekker. I realized it's not so visible for others.

View of our canopy machan, from the bench by the water - observe the top of the photo closely

View of our canopy machan, from the bench by the water - observe the top of the photo closely

Bench by the water

Bench by the water

Once we played around in the water and relaxed a bit at the "bench by the water", we set out on the rest of the trail, and suddenly found ourselves back at the bench by the water. We had ended up in a loop which happened to be a different trail than the one we were pursuing. The wrong turn we took was because there was a brook on the left side and we went right. We checked it out again and realized there is a trail after we jump across the water. And we kept walking until we came at this beautiful "sunset point". The lovely breeze, silence, privacy, and sprinkles of drizzle made us linger here for a long time.

Machan sunset point

Machan sunset point

The sunset point is close the entrance of the Machan estate, so we walked outside for nearly a kilometre towards the main road so that we get phone connectivity. Every girl wants to talk to her mom once a day.

We walked back to the room, ordered for masala tea which was perfect after a trek and perfect for the weather.

We started reading a book and a magazine respectively, listening to the birds in the trees below us and around us.

Once it got dark, we fell into a deep conversation about life, dreams, and everything.

After dinner in the lit-up dining area, we slept warmly in the cold weather and woke up to see the mist in the hills.

Early morning

Early morning

After omelettes and poha for breakfast, we relaxed by the pond. We didn't get to see rain on the day we were there even though they told us it has been pouring for a while.

Then, we jumped into the car and headed back towards the concrete jungle.

View of valley before Machan entrance

View of valley before Machan entrance

P.S. Special thanks to BG for telling me about this place.

Comments

@pocha says:

Noted for the next outing RT @swaroopch: New Blog Post : Holiday at The Machan http://t.co/CAObIcTl #fb

Anonymous Howard says:

Dei Machan, Super da :-D

Onkar says:

Sounds (and looks) fantastic place. Will definitely try and recommend to other friends as well.

Karthik says:

Looks like an amazing place, need to keep it on the list then :)

Feedback

There's no comment box, but please do email me or tweet me your thoughts and criticisms, and I will publish the relevant ones here.