Each summer in Bombay feels more wretched and scorching than the previous one, doesn’t it ? “Is baar garmi bahut zyada hai” is the common refrain on everyone’s lips in Bombay nowadays. The neverending spells of rain in monsoon seem so alluring right now! But they are still atleast 2 months away …
While we don’t have a solution for the heat, we do have a recommendation for a splendid weekend getaway . Our latest find is Jal Srushti Island Resort (www.jalsrushti.com), near Pune. It is one of the more plush resorts to have come up in the region, in the last couple of years. It is much closer to Pune actually (45 km), and if you are coming from Bombay, better to use Expressway till Pune and then go via Hinjewadi.
(Roads in Hinjewadi have some scary holes, but rest of the roads were great)
Jal Srushti is unique because of its riverine location. Situated on the Mula river (which goes onto form Mulshi Dam), the resort is on a natural island on a bend of the river. The island is fairly large and the resort occupies barely a fourth of it. The way to access it is rather cool – they have a floating raft like a trolley, secured by pulleys on both ends. To cross, hop on the raft and pull on the rope (of course they have an attendant to do that).
The resort has just 14 cottages – 8 cottages standing on stilts at the riverbank, and 6 cottages around an artificial pond in the centre. Now this is important – always ask for the river-facing rooms. All the rooms have a charming 4-poster bed and are finished in polished wood. But the best thing about the river cottages is the big verandah attached – which has a big swing and a large mattress with cushions at one end.
And a big glass trapdoor on the floor through which you can see the river beneath
Plus it has an open (glass ceiling) bathroom. While it may sound awkward, it was wonderful to have leaves- filtered-sunlight falling inside. Plus the clever positioning and stilt construction ensures there are no privacy concerns
(The pond facing room has a smaller open verandah overlooking the pond – no swings and regular bathrooms. And costs just Rs 1000 lesser)
The resort is nicely spread out, with lots of trees and greenery. There are hammocks at a few places and a nice swimming pool. Plus a pool table and a table tennis table. And a resident flock of swans and ducks
In the eating area, they have tables overlooking the river, but they very few and are the most in demand. Food quality as well as service was very acceptable, a few notches below luxury level. The evenings were still a bit chilly in March when we were there. So there is a campfire in the lawns and dinner tables are set around it. Couple of local performers perform hindi songs and guests are welcomed to do karaoke with them. And to top off a perfect evening, they serve chilled beer/wine and some basic liquors.
We spent a fantastic day at Jal Srushti and among the weekend resorts we have been to around Bombay, easily recommend it over the others. It has wide open areas for kids to run around. The cottages are very luxurious, and food is quite good. The swimming pool is well maintained and there are isolated corners and hammocks for you to relax and unwind. There are kingfishers and other water birds around the river – hunting the abundant small fish in the river. We even saw a small water snake fishing. And it costs Rs 9000 for a day, including food.
While this hot month of May might not be the optimum time for visiting, the surrounding ghats and trees ensure that the resort is much cooler than the heated city. Plus the resort closes down for monsoons as the waters rise in the river. So you might have to wait till October to try this resort out.
(Jal Srushti is by the same folks from the excellent Malhar Machi resort)