Tag Archives: Lavarde

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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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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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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The Portofino at Lavasa

Happiness is like the common cold — it’s catching!
-Anonymous

 

Portofino (Ligurian: Portofin) is a small Italian fishing village, comune and tourist resort located in the province of Genoa on the Italian Riviera. The town crowded round its small harbour is considered to be among the most beautiful Mediterranean ports. The residents of Portofin would never in their wildest dreams imagine a sister-town in this part of the world and what -a-sister!!! Lavasa is located at an altitude of 2000-3000 feet above sea level, with state-of-the-art roads, robust infrastructure and a salubrious climate all year round. It is the largest Hill Station to be planned and developed using the Geographical Information System (GIS).Through GIS, accurate information will be provided to its facility managers anywhere in the world regarding the status of the Hill Station. At Lavasa, utmost care is taken to provide world-class amenities for its citizens. A well laid out Hill Station with facilities on par with the world, Lavasa uses the best of technology to preserve the ecosystem, yet having all the modern amenities. State-of-the-art roads, Convention Center, health and wellness center, international standard golf course coupled with landscaped gardens and parks are just some of the amenities which we will enjoy at Lavasa. Based on the principles of New Urbanism, Lavasa is free India’s largest Hill Station. Lakeside promenade with open air cafés, town hall for cultural activities, world-class educational institutions which will cater to all communities etc are well planned out according to its award winning Master Plan. A far escape from the noise and chaos of the big cities, Lavasa is a complete world in itself. The lakeside homes enveloped inside the natural surroundings of the mountains are replete with all the modern amenities. Workplace cocooned in the pristine valley, yet connected globally gives people an opportunity to explore a whole new work culture. A hub for world-class educational institutions, hospitality and training centers, it’s an arena for the mind where learning is a way of life. A refreshing climate with vast open spaces provides innumerable recreation and leisure activities like golf, trekking, rappelling…to satiate the adventurer in you. Nature trails have been mapped with GPS and points of interest are described. A significant contribution has been made towards trail guides highlighting the rich diversity of flora and fauna at Lavasa.The canvas is huge; the picture is detailed to perfection. Nestled comfortably in the heart of Mose valley, homes at Lavasa are inspired by the water confluence. The unique topography of the valley with its serene lake is one of the most influencing factors in the design of homes at Dasve. The Master Plan of Dasve has won an international award for its design and adaptability. Lakeside apartments and spacious villas embracing the valley are influenced by the Goan and Mediterranean architecture. The lakeside promenade is dotted with elegant cafés and restaurants where residents of Lavasa can enjoy urban lifestyle close to nature. Already the first couple of stores on the promenade are functional & a multicuisine fusion restaurant should be functional before Diwali. I seem to be possesed by this state of happiness when I get past the Lavasa Dwaar or the town gate. I thought it was only me, but I have taken enough blind tests of friends and family and let me assure you that happiness at Lavasa is contagious. 

Today, let me not talk about my feelings. This blog will be on the technical stuff I picked up at the Lavasa introductory lecture & their brochure stuff! The pictures are exclusively mine, though! The Portofino area in the first phase(Dasve phase) of the HCC master plan should be completely ready and populated by late 2010. Setting new benchmarks in construction, planning and service delivery Lavasa offers its residents a level of town infrastructure hitherto, unknown in India. The high quality roads to Lavasa would provide total connectivity to its residents and visitors. Lavasa is approached by various routes. World-class road from the Chandni Chowk (Pune) to Lavasa makes traveling speedy and comfortable. At Lavasa, water is supplied from the lake to a Water Treatment Plant which is designed to meet all the current international health standards. This ultra modern Water Treatment Plant is built in Dasve to cater the need of potable water. The water supply system that meets the European health standards, provides world-class quality and purity of water. An advanced Sewage Treatment System has been setup at Lavasa. The Central Sewage Treatment Plant is based on extended aeration process with tertiary treatment so as to achieve the best quality of treated water. Building on the network of fibre optic cables, infrastructure exists today to provide the highest levels of bandwidth across voice, data and or video requirements. Coupled with the citywide GIS system, the system is designed to maintain Lavasa’s technology leadership position, while providing the wow factor to technophiles and techno-phobic alike. Ensuring continued harmony with nature, numerous technologies including biomethanation, pyrolysis, controlled aerobic composting, sanitary landfills and pellatisation have been employed to mitigate the impact on the environment. The entire area of Dasve is covered by a natural drainage network of shallow and deep-water streams and channels. The natural runoff from the hills has been enhanced with a well-developed storm water system. To retain the flow of natural water, culverts of adequate sizes are provided at every crossing of road and stream so that the natural drainage of the area is unchanged.

The Dasve Lake which is designed to provide sporting and recreational facilities is enhanced by a 2.4 kms promenade which once completed, will form part of the retail and entertainment hub at Lavasa. With arbours, pedestrian bridges, shopping enclaves and dining areas, this will be the heart of Dasve. Imagine a home nestled in a picturesque valley, where the tranquil old world blends seamlessly with the cosmopolitan way of life. Lavasa offers a vibrant, self-contained world which is part of 25,000 hectares of land declared as Hill Station with an extensive Master Plan covering one third that area. The rest of the region is left untouched to preserve the natural beauty. Envisioned as a complete Hill Station offering a balanced life in harmony with nature, Lavasa is an aspirational destination for lifestyle seekers. Based on the principles of New Urbanism, the Master Plan of Lavasa has been developed by internationally renowned design consultant HOK, USA.

The philosophy behind housing at Lavasa is to create comfortable homes for people using the best of technology, for an elegant lifestyle. Lavasa is the sure-fire recipe for happiness- this coming from a doctor-believe me!

How simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. . ….All that is required to feel that here and now is happiness is a simple, frugal heart.
– Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

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