Lavasa – Poseidon’s Playground

اَگر فِردؤس بر رُو-ائے زمین اَست،
ہمین اَست-او ہمین اَست-او ہمین اَست۔

Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast,
Hameen ast-o hameen ast-o hameen ast.

If there is paradise on face of the earth,
It is this, it is this, it is this (Lavasa)

-Amir Khusro

The immortal verse of Amir Khusro was used to describe Kashmir. I am convinced that the same verse today can describe another paradise on earth – Lavasa. The Kingdom of Zeus is also Poseidon’s playground. The township has come out of water – the Warasgaon lake – a 22km long stretch of clean, untouched water. Look at what the visionaries from India have done to this waterbody in the skies – an ethereal township has been laid out all around the lake (see pictures). If there was no water , there would be no Lavasa. The name Lavasa was coined after the village Lavarde in the Mose valley & Asopus – river God in Greek mythology, and father to river nymph Aegina! This was a brilliant branding success by the marketing team. India has taken to the name Lavasa, like a fish to water!

Water is considered a purifier in most religions. Major faiths that incorporate ritual washing (ablution) include Christianity, Hinduism, Rastafarianism, Islam, Shinto, Taoism, and Judaism. Immersion (or aspersion or affusion) of a person in water is a central sacrament of Christianity (where it is called baptism); it is also a part of the practice of other religions, including Judaism (mikvah) and Sikhism (Amrit Sanskar). In addition, a ritual bath in pure water is performed for the dead in many religions including Judaism and Islam. In Islam, the five daily prayers can be done in most cases after completing washing certain parts of the body using clean water (wudu). In Shinto, water is used in almost all rituals to cleanse a person or an area (e.g., in the ritual of misogi). Water is mentioned in the Bible 442 times in the New International Version and 363 times in the King James Version: 2 Peter 3:5(b) states, “The earth was formed out of water and by water” (NIV).

Some faiths use water especially prepared for religious purposes (holy water in some Christian denominations, Amrita in Sikhism and Hinduism). Many religions also consider particular sources or bodies of water to be sacred or at least auspicious; examples include Lourdes in Roman Catholicism, the Jordan River (at least symbolically) in some Christian churches, the Zamzam Well in Islam and the River Ganges (among many others) in Hinduism.

Water is often believed to have spiritual powers. In Celtic mythology, Sulis is the local goddess of thermal springs; in Hinduism, the Ganges is also personified as a goddess, while Saraswati have been referred to as goddess in Vedas. Also water is one of the “panch-tatva”s (basic 5 elements, others including fire, earth, space, air). Alternatively, gods can be patrons of particular springs, rivers, or lakes: for example in Greek and Roman mythology, Peneus was a river god, one of the three thousand Oceanids. In Islam, not only does water give life, but every life is itself made of water: “We made from water every living thing”.

The Ancient Greek philosopher Empedocles held that water is one of the four classical elements along with fire, earth and air, and was regarded as the ylem, or basic substance of the universe. Water was considered cold and moist. In the theory of the four bodily humors, water was associated with phlegm. Water was also one of the five elements in traditional Chinese philosophy, along with earth, fire, wood, and metal. Water also plays an important role in literature as a symbol of purification. 

The Greek word, glaukos, means the “gleaming” effect of silvery, greenish-grey, or greenish-blue colors. So, at least at the level of etymology, sea-god Glaucos reflects the sea in her elusive beauty of ever-changing hues. According to Robert Graves (The Greek Myths, 90.j,7), Glaucos was the son of Poseidon [Roman, Neptune] and an unnamed mortal woman. He grew up as a fisherman who loved the sea. By accident, he happened to find a grassy patch of herbs left over from the Golden Age — this mysterious Herb of Immortality had originally been sown by Cronus [Roman, Saturn], an ancient sickle-carrying grain god who was later associated with time and death. Glaucos discovered that if he laid dead fish in this patch of herbs, they were restored to life. Curious, he tasted the herb for himself and became immortal (I assume it was this herb which also opened oracular realms to him since nothing else in the story accounts for this gift). Loving the sea as he did, he leaped into it, preferring to make his home within its depths instead of remaining on land. Like his father Poseidon, he had many love affairs, the most famous of which was with Scylla.

Poseidon’s playground is getting ready (see pictures). the piers are getting cleaned, the boats are getting serviced. We are waiting for the rains to go away before the children come out to play on the lakes. This time, l walked around the circumference (2.4 Kms) of the main (developed) lake and was amazed by the differences in the color of water in different areas. The workers told me that certain areas of the lake have had silt-dredging done because the Sahyadri monsoons carry down a lot of silt from the mountains, and hence the variations in the color of water. I wonder if fishing will be allowed in designated areas of the lakes. Locals told me that they have caught fresh water heavies weighing almost 20 Kgs from the Lakes. At the end of the sun-break, the skies opened up again & i went rushing back to Ekaant on the top of the mountain ridge. What better way to end the evening – a bottle of Asti – Dezzani – Innocently light … this glorious discovery comes from the hills of Piedmont. It has oceans of fruit flavour and a little bit of everything else that’s delicious – sparkle sweetness crispness … and the featherlight touch of just 5% alcohol. Moscato d’Asti is not to be confused with simple Asti – this has much greater depth of flavour and finesse. And family-made authentic gems like Dezzani Morelli seldom leave Italy – but look what happens when it does! Gold at the International Wine Challenge … Plus a successful showing at the Vintage Festival and glowing recommendations in The Guardian and The Telegraph. This is a pride and joy speciality of the Dezzani family. And as one leading writer puts it: “The amount of work going into producing Moscato d’Asti makes a mockery of the price.” This is a genuine bargain … you simply must try it! “Straw yellow colour with emerald glints. Very aromatic – apples pears and floral notes – gently honeyed white fruit flavours and a crisp subtle sparkle. Perfect on its own or with fruit tarts.” Sublime in the Kingdom of Zeus & the favored one in Poseidon’s playground.

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