Life in a Village:
I started this year with a resolution to embark on new adventures, discover underrated places and to take the road less travelled. Guess what? It led me straight to Grassroutes, Purushwadi.
‘The soul of India lives in its villages.’– Mahatma Gandhi
Most of the time, we’re all so busy scuttering in our routine life, we forget to appreciate the simple pleasures of life. The village life is the perfect getaway from this humdrum. No network, no internet, no work calls, just nature, your loved ones and you! While so many villages inch closer to concretisation in the name of improvement, there is a hamlet in Maharashtra which is strongly & proudly connected to its roots – Purushwadi.
Honestly, before I started from Mumbai, I had my own apprehensions about the food and the stay but every concern was laid to rest when my friends and I were greeted by our host, Sachin Bhau, with a very warm ‘Ram Ram’. He welcomed us with a traditional tilak and flower immediately making us a part of his community, his village.
Walking on dusty village roads and passing by beautiful fields, we moved towards the house hosting us for lunch. Manda Tai’s house was in the middle of the village. Naturally, we came across a lot of locals who would have a huge smile on their face to make us feel at home. The children would shyly peak out of their house every now and then and would run back into their house as soon as we waved at them! It was a game we all enjoyed!
Manda Tai was hosting us for all our meals. We sat on bamboo mats laid on floor while she served us warm rotis from a traditional chula – which by the way, was used to cook food AND keep the house warm in the winter. The food was very simple but was packed with so much flavour that we couldn’t stop eating!
Later in the evening, Sachin Bhau took us on a small scenic hike to the top of a mountain where we watched the sky turn into a spectacular work of art. I’m just gonna let the pictures talk! Let’s just say all the huffing and puffing was worth it!
While I thought this day couldn’t have gotten any better, I was proven wrong. Right outside the village temple, a group of villagers eagerly waited to showcase their traditional dance – Lezim! The rhythm from the Dhol Tasha got us so energised that we picked up the lezims ourselves and started dancing with the performers!
After a delicious dinner comprising of Puran Poli and Varan Bhat, Datta Bhau enthusiastically took us star gazing. He had us marvelling at the universe in no time. After locating different constellations (which I hadn’t done since a camp in school!), we sat around a small campfire and heard the villagers animatedly talk about their lives. They narrated stories about hunting and how their ancestors survived. I couldn’t help but appreciate how all of them made the best of whatever they had! I didn’t hear a single complaint about life in Purushwadi!
A great day in this beautiful little hamlet had come to end. I was so exhausted that I dozed off and started snoring the minute my head hit the pillow!
I woke up to a perfect winter morning the next day. Fog had descended overnight and had enveloped the entire campsite. I couldn’t really see anything beyond a few metres, but the way the fog filtered the sun rays was a sight to behold. What a start to the day!
Sachin Bhau decided to take us to a small dam after a wholesome breakfast of Kanda Poha. As we walked towards the dam, we met so many smiling villagers again who enquired if we’d eaten properly and slept well, if we were enjoying our stay there. The dam as expected was nothing extraordinary, but was extremely serene and peaceful! We stayed there for a couple of minutes tossing stones into the water and enjoyed a small competition of our own to see who tossed the stone the farthest.
It was now time to get involved in the village activities. We helped Manda Tai’s family in chopping wood, in de-husking food grains and in grinding the food grains on a chakki to make flour! She also taught us to make rotis on the chula! We were so happy when she told us that she had used the same food grains we helped her sort out to cook our lunch! The food tasted even better after that!
Time just flew in this beautiful hamlet. Before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye. With a heavy heart, we bid farewell to one of the best experiences of our lives. We had spent less than 48 hours in this village, but it felt like we’d known the people of Purushwadi forever.
Stay in Purushwadi:
Grassroutes offers a number of options for your stay. While my friends and I stayed in a canvas tent perched on a cement platform, you could opt to stay in a Coleman tent. Another offbeat option is a homestay where you will be offered a room in a rustic village house. In my opinion, all these stay options are comfortable and have just the basic necessities – bed, blanket and a light, which was quite sufficient since most of our time was spent outdoors! Toilets have been constructed on the campsite itself.
The whole experience:
A day in Purushwadi taught me so much more than I had expected! I was a complete stranger, but the villagers treated me like one of their own. They stay like one big family! I think these are the kind of relations that I crave in cities. We are so busy just rushing from one place to another, accomplishing tasks that we forget to forge such relationships with people who stay around us. In Purushwadi, I experienced a sense of belonging among all villagers. They were proud of their culture, their community, their village and what they had managed to accomplish together with Grassroutes.
Even though Purushwadi is profoundly famous for the firefly festival, it’s so much more than that! My friends and I didn’t go there during the firefly season and yet had such a great time! And I’m pretty sure we will go there to witness the magical fireflies again in June.
Till then, Ram Ram!
To book a trip with Grassroutes, please visit grassroutes.co.in
Feel free to call/WhatsApp +918879477437 to know more!