Tag Archives: Lavabahn

Beautiful Dawn in Lavasa

What can I say, everyday I greet you with a cool smile but you seldom notice. I am taken for granted by billions and only appreciated by a few. Every morning I look forward to greeting you looking my best but you never notice. Past generations greeted me with a smile and took the time to appreciate my beauty. In some cultures the first born was named in my honor. Those were much simpler times. Today you are in such a hurry that I feel I am a nuisance and not a blessing as you rinse the dew I left on your car. As I arrive every morning millions of animals greet me with song and playfulness but you, don’t even take the time to appreciate them. I guess it is true what you say time is money, but money can never buy what you miss every morning. A song has recently written about me and I hope it will help you understand what I have been trying to say.

The song goes like this: James Blunt – High Beautiful dawn – lights up the shore for me. There is nothing else in the world, I’d rather wake up and see (with you). Beautiful dawn – I’m just chasing time again. Thought I would die a lonely man, in endless night. But now I’m high; running wild among all the stars above. Sometimes it’s hard to believe you remember me. Beautiful dawn – melt with the stars again. Do you remember the day when my journey began? Will you remember the end (of time)? Beautiful dawn – You’re just blowing my mind again. Thought I was born to endless night, until you shine. High; running wild among all the stars above. Sometimes it’s hard to believe you remember me. Will you be my shoulder when I’m grey and older? Promise me tomorrow starts with you, Getting high; running wild among all the stars above. Sometimes it’s hard to believe you remember me..

Here I am trapped between these two concrete walls and plated glass. Forced to serve my time away from everything I love. I had promised my kids the vacation to Disney & Universal in California & am boarding the flight in a few minutes.  I will miss Lavasa for three weeks now! Anyways the last week in Mexico is dedicated to the “Sergio Bustamante” store at Lavasa due to open coming Diwali.

How often did I really think about nature?  Not often!  I had never really stopped or slowed down my life to think about the great and beautiful things nature has to offer.  That is until I started visiting Lavasa regularly.  It is now that I have come to realize the wonderful things nature in Lavasa has offered me and I have never, like they say….stopped to smell the roses!  I had always been too busy with my job and life itself that I had forgotten to take a moment to embrace nature; today I miss my Lavabahn cruising as I exit my country.

The water body beautifies the hill station and everything around it.  The trees make it so inviting and I remember thinking….I’m coming back here and just relax and enjoy the view.  Of course, I will now not have the chance to go back for 3 weeks!!!  Why don’t we appreciate nature and take advantage of what it provides us.  Natural beauty is found all around.  The trees seem to call out to us and invite us to take a break from our daily lives and just relax and read a book under them.  They provide the shade and protection that we so much need in hot sunny days, as well as in shady, cloudy ones.  Sitting on the green, crispy grass under my favorite tree near Ekaant makes me feel I can open my arms to the clear, blue sky.  I can actually breathe and slow down to really observe my surroundings.  The water makes the area so tranquil and soothing.  The sound of the water is music to my ears.  The sunlight on the Warasgaon Lake creates illusions of wonderful shapes in many different colors yet to be named.

I can see fish swimming slowly in the water and disappear in its depth.  I can hear the chirping of the birds and the sound of branches as they play happily on the trees.  It’s almost as watching children running joyfully.  I can smell the pureness of the air and fill my lungs with the ecstatic energy that only nature can provide.  Time seems to stand still as I sit here and enjoy the natural beauty of the environment.  I wish I did not have to leave this enchanted place.  I envy the ants that are free to come and go everywhere they want; the birds that fly all over the sky and yet always come back and the fish that live in the waterbody and know all its treasures and its most precious secrets.  Daily life struggles seem to fade away and I feel empowered to conquer anything…anything at all!  How wonderful is this feeling of peace, courage and happiness and to think that nature is found everywhere.  Only three hours from Mumbai!

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Lavasa Rules!

I was on my last egg-pickup procedure & it was already 2:00pm. The ribbon cutting ceremony was scheduled for 5:00pm. I left the clinic immediately after the patient was settled and got into a big traffic pile-up at Chembur! The express-way was empty at that time of the afternoon & I clocked just over 80 minutes to reach the end of the expressway. Once you turn right from the expressway, it is exactly 20 kms to the Chandni Chowk underpass which leads to the Pirangut-Paud tollgate. Taking the short-cut from just before Pirangut passing the Indai Lawns, I cruised onto the Lavabahn at 4 pm.It would have taken me just 30 minutes more to reach Lavasa, but I was hypnotized by the shades of green, rust & reds.dsc00520dsc00528 March was a different spectacle altogether from February! The Jowar crop had just been harvested & the dried fields were being converted to bundles of hay. I would have thought that the heat would have turned everything around into shades of brown, but I was surprised to see nascent green all around. The 30 minute jouney now took two hours & I fell in love with the wild flowers all over again. dsc00530These were a completely new set of species, which were not seen in the past six months. The majestic trees on both sides of the Lavabahn were swathed with a sheet of exotic red flowers. The helipad appeared around a curve in the road & seeing the helicopter, I realized how late I was. I reached the lobby bang in the middle of the Inaugural ceremony. Hugged my buddies & rushed up to freshen up. Another pleasant surprise – a WOW room!!! ITC has again excelled itself & have created a lovely hotel with ultramodern comforts. Rushed down, but the ceremony was over. Decided to visit Jimmy Shaw’s Waterfront Serviced Apartments. Fida & Jimmy took us for a sneak preview – “WOW-WOW”- this was a whopper surprise. Beautiful & spacious serviced apartments with every imaginable five star amenity in these 43 apartments! The future of Lavasa had arrived. We had time to kill & decided to “experience’ the LEC (LAVASA EXPERIENCE CENTER) next to the Fortune building. Another architectural masterpiece – Elegant straight lines, a airy majestic atrium & a superlative auditorium. This indeed is the showcase of modern India! dsc00540

Around me I hear my friends Deepak & Jimmy remarking on the several species of birds that have congregated on the broken limbs of what at one time must have been beautiful proud trees.  And that’s when it hits me.  This wasn’t always a dried up grove.  At some point this was probably a full and lush grove of trees.  They once claimed this space for themselves.  They lived here, providing a safe haven for countless generations of creatures.  Somehow over the course of time these trees became a casualty of the elements to which they were exposed. Slowly, they succumbed, one by one to the inevitable effects of being deprived of water.  The little collection of trees, that had managed to survive for years unattended, died.  Now only a few brave soldiers still stand tall and proud.  You can see them trying so hard to maintain their dignity as all around them life goes on. At first glance it’s easy to overlook them.  We tend to get so caught up on the hustle and bustle of the life we see all around them.  This bird or that one going about their daily life with the same nearsightedness from which we all suffer.  Each keeping to themselves, going about their day and following their own urgent agenda. It’s not so difficult to understand.  We are ourselves a reflection of the nature we came out here to be with.  At one point or another all of us have been exposed to loss and grief.  Though we might think we’ll never survive such losses; we inevitably do.  As is in the human spirit, we survive and overcome and manage to live day to day in spite of it all. dsc00576dsc00583dsc00596dsc00597These once magnificent trees are a testament to the frailty and beauty of life.  They have struggled through many changes and managed to remain standing through many seasons.  And though they stand here before me; I know they are dying.  Life is no longer theirs to have.  They are destined to keep struggling everyday for that last shred of sunlight to touch their trunks before finally giving in to the red caked earth below. They have so much they would like to tell us.  But it’s hard to hear them over the squawking migratory white birds nearby.  It’s only when we stop and find some stillness that we can hear their tale.
All of us had congregated at Lavasa to witness the grand opening of the ITC Fortune select Dasve Hotel.dsc00609 Our honorable MP Sou Supriya Suleji had inaugurated the hotel & the celebratory party was a few hours down the evening. A group of us friends decided to take a walk around the lake & that is where we discovered this dead patch of trees. The most visionary project taken up by Team Lavasa is the re-forestation of barren slopes & the re-greening of the hillsides which have been cut to make way for the Lavabahn that is the connecting artery to the outside world. This is such a serene world by the lakeside. A beautiful blend of nature & its eco-friendly environment. We walked ahead from this barren area towards the dam and on towards the Portofino street. Jimmy had also inaugurated his out-of-the-world American Diner (A replica of the successful restaurant from India Habitat Center, New Delhi)  that afternoon. We were in for a pleasant surprise… our first onion rings & peanut butter smoothies in Lavasa. We were joined by Dr & Mrs Suri who had also come in from Mumbai for the Fortune launch.dsc00532
The Fortune Select Dasve looked resplendant & bedecked in shimmering lights like a newly wed bride. The glitter of the sparkling lights reflected off the serene waters of the lake. We walked across the “venetian” bridge & joined the party on the lawns of this magnificient building.

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Lavasa Is Red

Red Translations

red in Afrikaans is rood
red in Dutch is rood, blozend
red in Finnish is punainen
red in French is rouge
red in German is rot
red in Italian is vermiglio, rosso
red in Latin is rutilus, puniceus, rufus
red in Portuguese is vermelho
red in Spanish is tinto, rojo

dsc00587dsc00591dsc00626dsc00633Color is an intense experience on its own.
-Jim Hodges

Lavasa is gorgeous. The sunshine in Lavasa is gorgeous red in March. Red is any of a number of similar colors evoked by light consisting predominantly of the longest wavelengths of light discernible by the human eye. In human color psychology, red is associated with heat, energy and blood, and emotions that “stir the blood”, including anger, passion, and love! Lavasa in March is the season of Love. The word red comes from the Old English rēad. Further back, the word can be traced to the Proto-Germanic rauthaz and the Proto-Indo European root reudh. This is the only color word which has been traced to an Indo-European root. In Sanskrit, the word rudra means red. In the English language, the word red is associated with the color of blood, certain flowers (e.g. roses), and ripe fruits (e.g. apples, cherries). Fire is also strongly connected, as is the sun and the sky at sunset. Red is frequently used as a symbol of guilt, sin and anger, often as connected with blood or sex. A biblical example is found in Isaiah: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” The association with love and beauty is possibly related to the use of red roses as a love symbol. Both the Greeks and the Hebrews considered red a symbol of love, as well as sacrifice.

Red is the ultimate cure for sadness.
-Bill Blass

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I was having my “missing-Lavasa” pangs & drove down Friday afternoon to my destination of dreams. Had my usual addictive “batata-wada-pao” on the express-way & zoomed onto the Lavabahn, which was as inviting and pristine as ever. The “short-cut” from just before Pirangut towards Lavarde has been tarred & widened for 3/4ths of its length. The Beamer slipped over the top of the Lavabahn like “makkhan”! On the ascent, I noticed the forest covered in red!! The color red is associated with lust, passion, love, and beauty as well. These 4 words describe Lavasa as well. The trees were swathed with red flowers (genus unknown!).The usual drive from the beginning of the Lavabahn takes just 30 minutes, but this time I took all of 75 minutes to reach the Lavasa Dwaar; making many short halts on the way admiring & photographing nature in its full glory. The red flowers on the trees were mesmerizing. The flowers were glowing in the radiant sunlight like fireflies around a bright flame! This was in stark contrast to the jowar fields which were enveloped in rust-brown shades with a little green of dried grass peeking through. This was hay-making time & the villagers along the route were making bundles of hay. The jowar pods reminded me of how life begins from earth & ends there too. The wild shrubs by the sides of the Lavabahn were also sprouting flowers in shades of purple. Nature seemed to be smiling in March.
I got out of my car and decided to take a walk on the wild side.  As I walked and thought about what to spot that resembled nature, I would notice trees with palm-like fronds, flowers, grass, and birds of assorted kinds.  Some of these trees were as high as a third floor building. Nature is amazing no matter how it is created.These huge trees with the red flowers were the predominant feature of my tryst with Lavasa this time.

And then I passed through the Lavasa Dwaar. The landscape here was well organized.  I mean if nature had done it by itself, I know it would not look the same.  Since man organized it, it was different.  It was different in a pretty way though.  The different plants organized in such a manner.  One kind of flowers was in a row and another kind was in a row in back.  The way they placed vines to spread in a certain manner around the plants made it more colorful.  All this was close to the helipad and not a forest, yet it was nature. The sun shone however, it seemed that its rays never quite made it to the deep nature trail created by the Ekaant team which leads to the Dwaar.  Nonetheless, my surroundings seemed to have no complaints at all.  The wild bush, medicinal plants and trees, and flowering shrubs danced merrily to the tune of the wind.  It was then that I realized that even though it was Indian summer time, the area was filled with a colorful scenery.  Adding to the hues of nature were some birds who hung out nonchalantly waiting for a bite to eat.  As I stood there feeling the  wind against my cheeks, I couldn’t help but admire nature’s unique way of taking care of its creatures. I think what impressed me the most was the number of different species that shared the same abode without threatening each other’s territory.

I now spend my days at Lavasa fleeting from flower to flower, photographing these miracles of nature and I’ve discovered that I am not alone. There are hundreds of butterflies out there, in all the hues of nature. For now, it is enough that I have become what I was meant to be and the flowers seem equally happy.

The true color of life is the color of the body, the color of the covered red, the implicit and not explicit red of the living heart and the pulses. It is the modest color of the unpublished blood.
-Alice Meynell

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Sleepless in Lavasa

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.  ~Kahlil Gibran
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I’m in love with the kingdom of Lavasa. For those of you who are Face-booking, please do join our group- “In Love with Lavasa”. My Dad & I drove down this bright sunny winter day , past Urvade, Lavarde to Lavasa. As usual, we had a breakfast break on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway – they serve the best Vada-Paos in the district! After this pit-stop, it was an hours drive straight up to Lavasa. I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is boundless. Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars… and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful.  Everything is simply happy.  Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance.  Look at the flowers – for no reason.  It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are.

As I drove up the Lavabahn, I was dreaming of starting an Art Gallery for the township. Art would blend in beautifully with the environment, the ambience, the stylish landscaping, the royal promenade, the manicured lawns, the eco-friendly slopes of the villas & the people who have made Lavasa their home. And then we cruised past the Lavasa Dwaar & we were in another world. Art gallery?  Who needs it?  Look up at the swirling silver-lined clouds in the magnificent blue sky or at the silently blazing stars at midnight.  How could indoor art be any more masterfully created than God’s museum of nature?  George Wherry’s words resonated in my mind: “Truly it may be said that the outside of a mountain is good for the inside of a man.”  ~George Wherry, Alpine Notes and the Climbing Foot, 1896
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The mountain slopes, the hill-sides, the grazing meadows were changing colors. Although we don’t have a “Fall” in this part of the world, the colors typically reminded me of the east coast of North America bathed in its majestic colors of the Fall. Rust colored bushes with fields of yellow ochre shrubs skirted with lush green vegetation at the periphery was the scenery that a landscape artist dreams of. This time around we decided to hit the Nature trail sculpted out of the Sahyadris by the landscape team. The trail begins right outside the driveway of Ekaant and meanders through the forest going upwards for a 1000 yards & then follows the butterfly route. You could take the long route and walk for three hours exploring the natural habitat of the butterflies, or for the not so fit, the trail can be shortened to just an hour.

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.
~Irish Blessing

He’s lived 13 years of his prime youth in Ireland & still loves the Guinness and his grateful for the Irish Blessings! My dad was hesitant initially to go up the rough trail (hes 79!); I convinced him to come with me for the short nature-walk & he thoroughly enjoyed the wild flowers, the wind in his hair, the smell of wild grass & the skyful of butterflies. The flowers change every couple of months. Im not a botanist; cannot identify the genus, but December had an amazing display of wild flowers and the landscape team’s babies! Look at the photos & I’m sure you will fall in love with Lavasa too!!dscf9781dscf9807dscf9801

The flower is the poetry of reproduction.  It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.  ~Jean Giraudoux

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Lavasa Beckons In November

Where flowers bloom so does hope.
– Lady Bird Johnson, Public Roads: Where Flowers Bloom
Something about flowers delights and stirs the soul of man. Since the beginning of literature and poetry, flowers have represented beauty, nature and tranquility, and love. According to the Bible, Not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of [the lilies of the field].”picture-2picture-41
I took my kids for a drive to Paud for the Lavasa property registration & was welcomed with a sea of yellow flowers beckoning us to Lavasa. I think they are some type of wild yellow daisies. I’m not sure about the genus, but for sure this sea of yellow is soothing to the eyes. People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us. Yellow is a lovely color – and simple too! There are always flowers for those who want to see them. picture-3picture-11
A movie may have a cast of dozens of supporting actors, with hundreds of crew members working behind the scenes to bring the story to the silver screen. In the end, though, all eyes are on the star. It’s the glamorous diva or the handsome stranger who gets all of the attention. But, I’m sure in November, even if the diva is Lavasa, it is these supporting actors who are going to hog the limelight. A bright flower can be the star of public roads. You’ll be automatically drawn to a bloom that looks dramatically different from its surroundings. This is why perennial flowers in shades of yellow and orange can have such a strong impact on the environs. Whether they are part of a natural garden of wildflowers, or a carefully-chosen component in a formal display, the boldness and brightness of yellow to orange perennial flowers always makes a strong statement. We waded through this sea of yellow fromn Chandni Chowk to Paud & hoped that these remain in bloom for a few months more!
Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.
-Luther Burbank

They say that happiness is elusive; a slippery thing, not easily held. And yet the stuff of happiness is everywhere. It is all around you in each moment, in each person in your life, and in every step you take on this holy ground. Happiness is yours to choose to see. Stop for a moment. Breathe. Open your eyes to what is around you. Breathe the beauty of nature and melt into it, and allow it to melt into you. If you want to know happiness; if you want to find it, take a walk. Smell the grasses and trees. Look down at your feet. See the small but powerful beauty of the wild flowers pushing up between rocks. Why do you think you feel their beauty? It is natural isn’t it? But why? A wild flower is just one example of nature’s gift, and its message to you: that beauty and happiness are at your feet; that it is your choice to either see them or walk on by, and that seemingly delicate beauty, possesses great strength. You will find happiness in your connection to this natural world — including your own nature. You will find happiness in curiosity. You will unearth it when you indulge your sense of awe and excitement.We live in a rich universe of unimaginable abundance, power, and mystery. Is it that difficult to accept the simple happiness embodied in the pure and beautiful? You can still be tough and street-smart. You can still go toe-to-toe with the best of them. But do take time to look down at your feet now and then to notice where you are. And especially, take a moment to see the small beauty that grows in the hard places of your life. Feel just how powerful that beauty is, and be happy for it.

Happiness can be a yellow flower – if you so choose.

Look at the picture of the pillon rider on the motor-bike on the Lavabahn. The Saffron turban, the white kurta & the greens that he is carting off for maybe fodder. What does it remind you of? It reminded me of our tricolor & of National pride. It reminded me of how Lavasa is making the country proud. It reminds me of the small team with vision to procreate a hill-station that will be an envy to the world; a place where we will earn the most carbon credits in this vast nation. A place where we will show-case the best India has to offer the world. Coming back to the sea of yellow, I returned late evening & these wild yellow flowers seemed to have changed color to orange. Maybe I was hallucinating, maybe not!

“I love to smell flowers in the dark,” she said. “You get hold of their soul then.” 
-Lucy Maud Montgomery in Anne’s House of Dreams

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Life, Lust & LaVaSa

The sea is only beautiful if there’s a shore. Life is like the sea. There’ll be a direction to follow even if you sail more than one day or one life… the promise of a new land is your guide, because you know that the sea is a huge world that’s beautiful only if there’s a shore.
Patricky Field, as quoted in Beautiful if there’s a shore (2008) song by Patricky Field

I’m in love with Lavasa. My wife & kids say they have never seen me in love with anyone like I love Lavasa. It was love at first sight. Now, the staff there agrees too! Almost every weekend, they look at me with wide eyes, treat me with kid-gloves and wonder what does doctor see in the Construction Sites? Ekaant is my base & I love exploring the nooks & corners of the growing city.

Lavasa is India’s first hill station since Independence. It is being developed by HCC India near Pune. It is spread over 12,500 acres (51 km2) of land and is scheduled to be completed by 2021. The first phase (Dasave) is scheduled to become operational by June 2009. It will be a self-equipped city developed on the principles of New Urbanism.The city is planned to strike a balance between urban living and preservation of the environment. The master plan by HOK envisages a township in harmony with nature where nature begins at the doorstep. This master plan won both the Award for Excellence 2005, given by the Congress for the New Urbanism (USA) and the American Society of Landscape Architects Award—2005. The concept of a hill town dates from British colonial times and describes locations where British administrators went during the Indian tropical summer, prominent examples being Shimla, Kulu, and Ooty. It is just 210 minutes from home in Mumbai & this drive takes you to another world. The monsoons in Western India are the best time to visit the Sahyadris & with the Lavabahn (the equivalent of the German Autobahn) rolled out three years ago by HCC from Pirangut to Lavasa, driving in the rains on the Lavabahn is pure Lust!

Lust is any intense desire or craving for gratification and excitement. Lust can mean strictly sexual lust, although it is also common to speak of a “lust for men”, “lust for blood” (bloodlust), or a “lust for power” (or other goals), and to “lust for love” – Wikipedia

The Greek word which translates as lust is epithymia (επιθυμια), which is also translated into English as “to covet”. The word ‘lust’ originally had no negative connotation, but it has developed a connotation of sexual sin. We must add “Lust For Lavasa” to the Wikipedia annals. A few weekends ago, I decided to add to my solitude at Ekaant & introduce my Dad to Lavasa. My Dad convinced my daughter to accompany us. It was a beautiful weekend with Monsoon madness interrupted by the changing colors of the sky over the Mose valley. The clouds as I had promised them walked into our rooms & wafted into our nostrils. If you have never tasted a water-rich cloud, take in the fragrance at Ekaant on the upper level rooms. You open the 8 feet glass doors & the clouds come dancing in. The rains had scrubbed the place clean. This time the staff had some ugly tarpaulin & plastic curtains strapped down obliterating the view to the Warasgaon lake. Their argument was the rain lashes into the bedrooms if we leave them open. I convinced the FOM, Subashis Dutta that he was cutting off my Oxygen with the strapped down curtains. I spent most of Saturday evening walking around in the open – getting wet like I was having an anatabuse reaction! Early next morning, his staff got the curtains off & I got a new lease of life on this Wet Sunday. 

I invited my Dad for a personal recce of the Valley city and told him how the lake was not yet full, but would be overflowing by our Independence day if the rains keep coming down like this. We decided not to go back on Sunday evening – Akanksha (my daughter) vetoed going back on Sunday evening. I was the happiest man at Ekaant! We decided to checkout at 5am on Monday so we could all be at our places of work by 9am Monday. 

I am convinced that this will be the most beautiful amalgam of man & nature that India has ever seen in half a decade. as Indians, we should be proud of our brethren who had the vision.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
-Unknown 

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The Way To Lavasa – Land of Zeus & Poseidon

September 6, 2008, Saturday. My wife Swati’s birthday & what better way to celebrate it than taking her to the Land of Zeus & Poseidon:) In Greek mythology, Poseidon (Greek: Ποσειδῶν; Latin: Neptūnus) was the god of the sea. Poseidon was given a trident during the war of the Titans and the gods, in which he fought alongside his siblings. The war lasted ten years, after which the gods divided the earth among themselves by drawing lots. Zeus took the sky, Poseidon the sea and Hades the underworld. I have christened Lavasa as the Land of Zeus & Poseidon- a blessed waterbody in the skies. We left at 7am from our residence in Central Mumbai. We reached the Lavabahn(the road from Pirangut to Lavasa) in about three hours after a Wada-Pao break near the Kamshet toll-point on the Express-way. The road was enveloped by verdant green all through the 37 Kms to Lavasa. We met the Maharashtrian Cowboy (Dinkar Bhau on his pony Suraj)(see picture). We also met Ramdas the cattle-grazer & Subhash the Sahyadri Fodder-Delivery Executive (see pictures). We had Masala-Chai in Dagdu Mama’s village about 9 Kms from Lavasa. Dagdu Mama posed for pictures with his Ox Krishnaa (see picture).
We saw Buffalos bathing in roadside ponds & cows grazing in lush green meadows. I was fascinated by the shades of Green all along the Lavabahn.The word green is closely related to the old English verb growan, “to grow”. It is used to describe plants or the ocean. The most common associations, however, are found in its ties to nature. For example, Islam venerates the color, as it expects paradise to be full of lush greenery. Green is also associated with regeneration, fertility and rebirth for its connections to nature. See the accompanying pictures of my Journey to Lavasa. Nineteen out of 20 pictures have thirteen shades of green.
Shocking pink (also called neon pink) is bold and intense. It takes its name from the shade used on the box of the perfume called Shocking, designed by Leonor Fini for the Surrealist fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli in 1937. This in turn was inspired by the Tête de Belier (Ram’s Head), a 17.27ct pink diamond from Cartier owned by heiress Daisy Fellowes, who was one of Schiaparelli’s best clients. Shocking pink kept its name in British English, whereas in North America “This intense magenta was called shocking pink in the 1930s, hot pink in the 1950s, and kinky pink in the 1960s…[it] has appeared in the vanguard of more than one youth revolution…to some it sings, to others it screams” . On its way into the German language, shocking pink lost the “shocking” and is called only “Pink”, while the English color “pink” is referred to as “Rosa”. Meanwhile in Portuguese one of its nomenclatures arrived intact becoming “cor-de-rosa choque” (“shocking pink”) used more frequently in Brazil. It’s also called “çingene pembesi” (Gypsy pink) in Turkish. Enjoy the pink Saree of Yashoda Padwal working the green paddy fields- Don’t miss out the pink wild flowers in the foreground. Pink shades continue in Master Waghmare’s smart pink T-shirt. Pink was the predominant color standing out in the journey other than Green.
Before we hit the first dam on Warasgaon lake, we barged into the early morning board meeting of the Dasve goats right in the middle of the road! Taking a minor detour we crossed the first of six dams on the 22 Km lake and crossed over to the top of the dam. The lake is now overflowing through the controlled sluice gates and feeding the Mutha river which flows down towards Pune. See the accompanying aerial pictures of the beginnings of the Mutha river from the top of this dam. The Mutha arises in the western ghats and flows eastward until in merges with the Mula River in the city of Pune. It has been dammed twice, firstly at the Panshet Dam, used as a resource of HydroElectricity. The water released here is dammed again at Khadakwasla and is an important source of drinking water for Pune. One more dam has been built later on the Mutha river at Temghar. After merging with the River Mula in Pune it flows as the Mula-Mutha to join the river Bhima.


Finally, we were there! The Warasgaon lake brimming with happiness was the ideal home for Poseidon. The lake in Zeus’ skies – at 3000 feet above sea level. The friendly staff at Ekaant welcomed us with Iced Tea – after a short walk through the freshly laid out nature trail, we savoured Chef Sandeep’s creations (including my favorite Pokchoy leaf + Cottage cheese salad!). I enjoyed the chilled Fosters pints. The birthday party at night organized by the F & B team was a nice private dinner in the patio outside our ground level room – again, with the clouds walking into our room.

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