The whole Karjat, Neral area is so lush green and totally enchanting this time. I just spent a weekend there. I’d gone to Dr. Modi’s Health Resort to attend the ISABS Umang Party and generally get in touch with the community, and then Raka and I took off to a friend’s bungalow in Neral.
Driving around the place, I realized how far it has come from the time I had begun trekking in this region. New resorts in Karjat seem to have sprung up every where and this area and Neral and Matheran seem to have become the most popular picnic spot near Mumbai. Crowds of tourists that look like friends, families and even corporate groups can be seen in the waterfalls around Karjat, generally having a great time.
Its a loooong way from how we guys were considered odd because we wanted to head out to this region in the monsoons. Of course, our world was mostly roughing it out, hikes, staying in caves….. Photography in particular used to be considered an expensive hobby. None of us had really thought of photographs beyond memories of our trip.
As “Mumbai picnic spots” go, it is a whole new world. Nature resorts near Mumbai are a growing trend, both in availability as well as demand. Quick, clean service, lovely ambiance and a whole new attitude of “back to nature” is a far cry from the rural mentality of pride in simplicity and basic accommodation with few facilities. While I miss the good old days and the charm of life in the mountains, I see this as an evolution in the mindsets of the Mumbai crowd, where pleasure in the outdoors is becoming more and more accessible, inviting and desired for the less adventurous.
Once more, it was Raka, me and our trusted bike, out in the mountains wandering to our hearts content, remembering the good old days and welcoming the change.