February 2 and 3, 2019 – Karjat, Mumbai
Needing to get out of the beginning of the year funk, after the crazy December weekends, we decided we needed to get into nature again.
We found this pretty little homestay in Karjat, which a friend had also recommended, and where we had been wanting to go for a while, and decided to take off for a weekend.
Tooth Mountain Farms is about a 2 hour drive from Mumbai (on a good day), and we reached at about 11 o clock. There are 5 rooms/ bungalows in total across the entire property – 3 individual rooms/ houses, and 2 rooms attached to a common area (which is sort of a sitting and unwinding area stacked with a table tennis table, games, and warm comfy couches to curl up and relax) . Unfortunately, we only managed to get a room attached to the main room.
Tooth Mountain Farms is ensconced in greenery and you will barely notice the turn off or the sign to enter. An unpaved dirt road through the gate leads you to the parking area, and the wonderful dining kitchen area. It is like you have descended on your own quiet sanctuary in Maharashtra, where you can hear chattering of birds, the drip drip of the water running down the plants (after a watering), and the sound of footsteps on gravel.
We had some good chai and toast, before we set off to explore and relax in the property. The dining area has mismatched wooden furniture which makes you feel very “at home” and “comfortable, the walls are hand painted with figurines and flowers, and throughout the balcony of the dining area, little irrigating pipes spew water into the garden below.
The garden is a riot of color – the pink and white bougainvillea being the dominant theme. Comfortable arm chairs and hammocks dot the areas around the main villa with hammocks hanging between trees, and a lap pool in the middle. Energy aficionados that we are, we decided to explore the space around the farm. We walked around, but realized that the lake (which was advertised) was no longer around, as the larger lake supplying water to the lake was dammed up, and there was no water.
Art Village (which is also a homestay) is the adjoining connected property, and we decided to explore and walk through the pathway of thatched cottages, interspersed with greenery.
Our meals at Tooth Mountain Farms were a delight – delicious home cooked meals enjoyed in the lap of nature. This was one trip where we were not running around like headless chicken exploring and discovering that there was too little time to explore – we pretty much had decided to take this trip to unwind and relax, and do “nothing” for a change.
Armed with our books, we decided on curling up on our hammocks and armchairs and settling in – with no doorbells, no traffic, no people shouting in the background, but just the feel of nature. The property was pet friendly and we had for company, a friendly shy Labrador, Rio whose owners kept trying to teach him to swim, and every time he exited the pool, he would shake off his droplets of water, and literally drown me.
Dinner was early, and we sat looking at the inky darkness with the moon and the dim lights of the resort illuminating the path. We walked around after dinner (yes – no TV, no Netflix, no mobiles) (we had decided it would be “as far as possible”, an “electronics free weekend”), and it was positively delightful.
Again, too much inactivity does not work for us, and we decided that we would spend the next morning exploring running routes in Karjat, whilst watching the sun rise. We woke up and were out by 7 a.m. the next morning, hoping to get in some kms. We walked straight down a concrete road with monster trucks plying sandwiched between open spaces with brown green stalks till we came to a narrow path on the right side with not a soul.
Reminiscing on how this reminded us of Goa, we took the path and passed some beautifully tended properties, with huge gates, and beautiful palm trees. Occasionally, we could see one villager, or hear a barking dog from one of the huge bungalows – the path tapered to the beginning of a lake, and there was absolutely not a soul on the lake or even around the lake. This was at about 7.30 a.m. in the morning – and we were shocked that there was not a soul around. We took the path further, and passed by the most delightful passage way of bamboo trees enveloping a shaded path and making a natural shade – it was like we had descended into a whole new world. The path was an undulating path, falling and rising, with the sun barely piercing through, and past the bamboo tree path was the run off for the river, with the road diverging into two further paths.
We decided to run back to Tooth Mountain Farms, having forgone our usual Sunday morning runs, and it was absolutely delightful and a fantastic experience. After our hike and run, we ravenously devoured a breakfast of eggs, parathas, poha and steaming cups of tea. What was remaining of the morning we spent exploring the nursery, and picking out plants for our garden, and just taking in our last bits of peacefulness before we trudged back to the cacophony of noise and chaos (of our life).