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Off the beaten path: From Lonavla to Mumbai

Discovery in itself has no end. The day was drawing to a close but not the discovery. I spent some time writing in my travel journal about so many things – from moments that made me to recollections that marked me. A hot cup of tea stood loyally by my side. I then took a walk in the compound of the hotel where I was staying. The temperature outside was in the double digits – roughly 26 degrees. For a Mauritian traveler, this is not surprising. After hours of travelling and discovery, I slept like a baby; knowing that the next day would be filled of adventures and as such, this would require a high level of energy.

I chose to have breakfast at the hotel as I knew I would have hours of road trips and I would be eating on the streets. I was hence keen to taste the contrast in the hotel’s foods and the street foods.

For breakfast, I had the most popular dish of Lonavla – the Misal Pav. The Misal is a spicy curry made of beans and the Pav is the bread roll.  The dish is usually topped with onions, coriander and other ingredients. Along with the Misal Pav, I ordered an uttapam (a thick pancake made of several ingredients and toppings) and a glass of fresh juice. The food was delicious and the service was impeccable. I even made a small video of an interview that I conducted with the staffs; where they briefly explained the recipe of the Misal Pav and how to consume the dish.

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Soon after the breakfast, I embarked on another fulfilling road trip to Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport – to catch the plane for Jaipur. But, I could not leave without taking a picture with some of the cheerful staffs of the hotel.

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The destination is nothing without the journey but the journey without the destination can still be everything. I came across a huge herd of sheep on the road of Lonavla. This can be a nuisance to drivers who are used to high speed but it remains a feast to the eyes of travelers. I stopped and captured the moment through my lens.

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The way back to Mumbai is as enriching as treading the way to Lonavla. The roads do not cease to teach. I stopped at Khandala for a small cup of tea and had the opportunity to interact with the locals.

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At the early hours of the morning, the countryside seems to be under the magic spell of the pristine light coming all the way from the sky.

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I stopped by a roadside restaurant (commonly known as Dhaba) to buy the popular sweets of Lonavla – Chikki. The Dhaba is so beautifully tucked away from civilization.

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I purchased the Chikki from this good lady who did not hesitate to pose for a quick picture.

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To my surprise, I even found a little temple next to the Dhaba. The temple is guarded by a priest. I crawled inside the small cave to reach the other extreme.

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As usual, I spent time interacting with the people because that is the best way to absorb the culture of the place.

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The road trip continued. The curvy roads and dark tunnels soon began to fade. Mumbai then appeared in the frame.

I boarded the plane after some hours and flew for Jaipur; carrying memories from Lonavla in my heart.

 

 

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