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Raksha Bandhan Special: Weekend Lonavala Trip

August is a month of celebrations in my home. At least a couple of weeks belong to the holy Shravan month in the Marwari calendar, both I and A Jr have our birthdays and, although not every time, Raksha Bandhan falls in the same month too. Often, we spread out our grand plans to include something fun for every occasion. There’s an array of awesome homemade and fasting food, several trips to the mall for gifts, and a contagious excitement in the air.

However, for the second year in a row, our festivities have been muted. I and A aren’t fully vaccinated yet so certain restrictions are still in place. The kids had reached their limit with being homebound for too long though and deserved a break from screens, classes, and lockdown life in general. Thankfully, A agreed to a weekend getaway to Lonavala, and off we went! Birthday or Raksha Bandhan gift, whichever we chose to pick.

Lonavala is a popular hill station nestled in the hills between Mumbai and Pune. Tourist attractions like Karla and Bhaja caves, proximity to Visapur and Lohagad forts, Bhaja waterfalls, Bhushi and Paawna dams, etc, make it a preferred weekend destination. It has beautiful weather, especially in monsoons. Also, one can never get enough of the famous Lonavala chikkis. Is it surprising then that we chose to spend some time in the lap of nature with good food?

Raksha Bandhan Special Weekend Lonavala Trip_avibrantpalette

Since we wanted some tranquil, relaxed time we chose to park ourselves in the MTDC Karla resort which is far away from the city’s hustle and bustle. Spread over a vast area, it offers a comfortable stay without any extra trimmings. There’s lush greenery all around with nature’s sounds (lake, birds, insects, etc) that feed your soul with a strange calmness. The restaurant food is tasty but offers limited vegetarian options. Additionally, there’s a water park and boating facility but both were closed due to Covid protocols.

While Angel was busy counting butterflies and chasing squirrels, A and A Jr explored the property on foot. Our cottage was located far inside and necessitated a 5-10 minutes walk to the restaurant every time for refreshments. No room service was a blessing, apparently. I had an Independence Day morning run in the woods listening to patriotic songs. We took loads of pictures, videos and I saved some morning bird sounds on my phone too. What more could we ask for?

Oh yes, food! Feasting on Dhaba food after so many months satiated our foodie family big time. We also spotted a Kathiyawadi restaurant in the city and gorged on some lip-smacking spicy delicacies. A Jr had counted some 60+ chikki stores on our way. Obviously, we had to buy a variety of sweets for memories and well, our sweet tooth.

kathiyawadi food_avibrantpalette
Baingan Bharta, Achar platter, Ratmali sev with spring onions

All in all, a lovely weekend that will stay with us and keep us indoors for a while. We are home for our Raksha Bandhan puja too. Can any other celebration be better than this?

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