Shifting from the remote quarters of the army cantonment led towns of North India had proved to be quite a task. There we were, me and my daughter, suddenly thrown into the urban scheme of things. While figuring things out created quite a stir in our ho hum lives, we came to love the big town living and settled well into our life in Pune. But nostalgia for quiet hamlets and quieter experiences soon reared its head, and at an opportune moment, Facebook soul searching led me to the agenda for the Karvi Festival in nearby Panchigani. In no time at all, we were hooked and booked!
Arriving at the sleepy hill town was quite a task (remember to ask your travel agent or tour company for a bus that drops you in Panchgani). We were dropped off on the highway as the volvo zoomed off towards Goa, and a short walk with our rucksacks and two buses later (one to Wai and another from Wai to Panchgani), took us to our destination.
What followed was three days of magic – art, music, the jungle – the works. Day one was filled with art and story telling for the children, which my daughter thoroughly enjoyed. We were especially taken by the workshop on Dhokra art as well as the Circle of Life session about bees and their contribution to nature. Later in the evening, we witnessed a wonderful show on tigers, Ayurvedic plants and much more as we were told about the 8 year long wait for the blossoming of the Karvi flower.
The next morning, we were taken on a trek through the cloud forests of Mahabaleshwar. Heavy rains did nothing to dampen the spirits of the crowd. Some people had travelled all the way from Kolkata for the experience. The trek finished in record time, and I have come back happily with my battle scar – a leech bite! Later, we were given a tour of a honey making factory with plenty of honey tasting and a demonstration by a bee keeper. Needless to say, the crowd was riveted by the information that was given here.
The highlight of the trip came post lunch. At the Table Land cave, we found ourselves looking at pretty white lamps and a beautiful glass etched with the name of the festival. Here, a musical evening waited for us. First up was the mesmerizing performance by Prasheen Lodhia – a musical genius who played a rare and new disc like instrument known as the Hang drum. Now, this instrument can be created only by 16 individuals the world over. This Swiss instrument means “hands” and created quite a symphony of sounds when played. Our verdict? Very well played indeed! The next performance was a rock meets folk one by the Ink of Bard. After that, the rousing performance by Prana had everyone screaming for more. Finally, it took Ishtavan Sky and his deeply hypnotic sounds to calm us all down and provide a fitting end to the evening.
The next day, we were off to Devrai Art Village, owned by the Mathurs who had organized this brilliant festival. A botanical walk about and a visit to the hill side studios showed us the range of craftsmanship and sheer artistic brilliance that went into creating each piece of Dhokra Art. Later, we had a sumptuous rustic lunch in the courtyard of the beautiful Riverview Retreat. And before we knew it, we were at the end of our trip with a visit to the eco friendly and soothing Redstone Resort – a truly amazing space where the elements meet and greet without any electricity or needless urban energy buzzing around.
Heading back to city, my daughter and I decided that the trip had been a much needed one with so much to learn and apply in our daily lives. Art and music had come to meet us in nature’s form – what more could we have asked for!