Tag Archives: Pirangut

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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Tuk-Tuk to Lavasa

dscf98683We must get beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths… and tell the world the glories of our journey. -John Hope Franklindscf00062dscf00652

An auto rickshaw or tuk tuk (auto, rick, autorick or rickshaw in popular parlance) is a motor vehicle that is one of the chief modes of transport across many parts of South and East Asia, especially as a vehicle for hire. It is a motorized version of the traditional rickshaw ordscf99672 velotaxi, a small three-wheeled cart driven by a person, and is related to the cabin cycle. Auto rickshaws are particularly popular where traffic congestion is a problem and is most preferred by the cost-conscious developing economies. They are common in many Asian cities like Bangkok, Pune, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad , and Bangalore, and some can be seen on the streets of China Town in London. Auto rickshaws are often portrayed in Indian films (Auto Shankar, Basha, Aye Auto, Oram Po) dscf00742dscf00992as well as some Hollywood and foreign productions such as the James Bond film Octopussy and the Canada-India film Amal. Auto rickshaws are also prominent in the fuel-poor London of 2027 A.D. depicted in Children of Men. A memorable tuk-tuk chase features in the Thai film Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior, climaxing with many of them driving off the edge of an unfinished elevated expressway. James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) rides in a tuk-tuk in a Visa Card commercial seen here! And why am I talking about autorickshaws today? Because I just discovered a new land-route to Lavasa via our humble autorickshaw(see photos).I chased the autorickshaw for almost a Km and realized that it was ascending the ghats with a 8-pax load effortlessly. Eureka – another way to reach the Land of Zeus! If you reach Pirangut at the foothills of the Sahyadridscf01002dscf01052(which is amply connected to Pune), you could take an autorickshaw to Lavasa:)))

A few days ago I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves with each step I made. The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed, are as crisp as autumn air. -Eric Sloane

The colors of Lavasa change every month. The township is growing day &; night. There are over 12,000 workers giving it all they have 7 x 24! The predominant color now is rust, which goes very well with the red earth color of the terrain. The Warasgaon lake is shrinking at a rapid pace throwing up swathes of red earth giving dramatic pictures.The shrubbery is dry &; literally crackles under your feet. The very much remembered Eric Sloanes lines as above withdscf98202 every step I took. The lake is like a picture post-card now, with migratory birds in droves sitting on the branches of an inaccessible part of the outer boundaries of the Dasave lake. The multicolored flowers complement dscf98292the rusty dried bush all around. It is as if a life cycle of Nature is in active motion all around… new life blooming and old life getting recycled into the red earth.”Ashes to ashes, dust to dust” — A phrase from the English burial service, used sometimes to denote total finality. It is based on scriptural texts such as ‘Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return’ (Genesis 3:19), and ‘I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee’ (Ezekiel 27:18). Physically, we are made of chemicals – a carbon based life-form, so we come from the earth and when we die, we re-enter the carbon cycle. For our lifetimes we have a consciousness and many would say a spirit/soul as well as the use of atoms from planet earth – on death, our mortal remains naturally return our chemicals to the earth/system. The Bible and the burial service both reflect the transient state of human life in those words….I think the same goes for the Nature around us.. ditto for the flowers & the shrubs &; the trees of Lavasa…. Let me now tell you about the first love of my life – the seas…..dscf98322dscf98642dscf98682

“Many’s the night I spent with Minnie the Mermaid, Down at the bottom of the sea. There among the corals, That’s where I lost my morals, Gee but she was good to me, oh, oh, oh, Ashes to ashes and dust to dust, Two twin beds and only one of them mussed … It goes on from there for a bit. -Anonymous

At Lavasa, it is the huge expanses of sweet-water that are the love-of-my-life. And then I glided on the waters of both the lakes – The Dasave Lake on a Pontoon Boat &; the Warasgaon Lake on an Inflatable search-and-rescue dingy with a fast Mercury outboard motor! We darted over the waves at around 60 kms/hour, skimmed the water in chilling curves and zoomed into the rising sun at 6:30am! They have the water “scooters”, the sea “Vespas”. No licence is required and it is so easy to ride them that not even a course is necessary. In case of fall, nothing to fear: a device turns off the engine and the vehicle remains standing in order to enable its passenger to climb up and start again.Cedwyn &; his team have started the marina activities only on December 01, 2008 &; have already kicked up the expectations sky-high! For the more athletic ones you can try water skiing; those who do not have a weak heart can experience the thrill of paraflying, that is flying with a paraglider following a motorboat; those who only want to have fun in groups can try the pontoon boats or the crazy-squirty-bumper-boats. A pontoon is a flat-bottomed boat simply constructed from closed cylinders such as pipes or barrels creating a raft (See video). Pontoon boats generally are low cost and less expensive to insure than a normal boat, even when equipped with engines of over 200hp. They are also almost foolproof to operate and cannot be sunk. Their shallow draft also reduces damage from submerge collisions and being run aground. Pontoon boats are also used asdscf98713dscf98832 small vehicle ferries to cross rivers and lakes in many parts of the world, especially in Africa. Pontoon ferries may be motorised, such as the Kazungula Ferry across the Zambezi River, or powered by another boat, or pulled by cables. A type of ferry known as the cable ferry (called ‘punts’ in Australia and New Zealand) pull themselves across a river using a motor or human power applied to the cable, which also guides the pontoon. In the rural town of Richmond, MN, a farmer called Ambrose Weeres had an idea that if you put a wooden deck on top of two columns of steel barrels welded together end to end, you would have a sturdy deck that would be more stable on a lake than a conventional boat. This proved to be right. dscf99342dscf99622Being in the land of 10,000 lakes, Ambrose thought this idea might have some potential to be marketed. He started out building a few boats and sold them with the help of select dealers. He needed a name for his first pontoon and he couldn’t think of a better name than “The Empress”, because of what it started. He never knew how popular these boats would be. Some time later, Ambrose was labeled “Mr. Pontoon” for his invention of the pontoon boat and was elected to the Minnesota Marina Hall of Fame for his accomplishments.India has imported its first Pontoon Boat for the Dasave Lake Family Cruises. You can hardly hear the silent petrol engine that takes the Pontoons effortlessly across the lake. You could have cocktail dinners on the Pontoons & would not spill a drop from a full glass of your favorite cocktail. Cheers!!!!

We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment. ~Hilaire Belloc

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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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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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