Maharashtra 2018

TOURS AND TREKS REPORT: MAHARASHTRA, GRADE VIII

Day 1, October 03, 2018
The students of Grade VIII, Sarala Birla Academy, assembled at the school campus at 12:30 am on October 03, 2019, to proceed on our Annual Tours and Treks programme to the state of Maharashtra.

Accompanied by our teachers, we reached the Kempegowda International airport, Bangalore, at 2:50 am, checked in our luggage, boarded the flight, and departed at 5:00 am for Mumbai. We landed at Mumbai airport at 7:00 am and checked into our hotel VITS, where we had our breakfast.

Soon after, we proceeded to visit the Prince Charles Museum, now renamed as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay, and acquired a lot of knowledge about various endangered species of birds and animals. By the time we finished with the museum, it was lunch time and we enjoyed a sumptuous lunch at a McDonalds outlet. After lunch, we visited the Gateway of India where we learnt about its historical background and architecture. The monument was built by the British to commemorate the visit of British ruler, King George V and his wife, Queen Mary, to India, in March 1911. We then paid our respects to the people who were killed during the terrorist attack in Mumbai in 2008.

Having visited the Gateway of India, we boarded a ferry to visit the Elephanta caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site housing a collection of cave temples predominantly dedicated to Lord Shiva. We had to climb up a long flight of steps to reach the caves and once there, we witnessed the awe-inspiring sight of caves hewn from solid basalt rock. There are numerous Lord Shiva carvings and statues here. Sans a few exceptions, most of the art work is defaced and damaged. We were informed of the historical background of the caves which enlightened us of the syncretism of Hindu and Buddhist ideas as well as iconography.

We then returned back to shore and took some photographs in front of the Gateway of India. The light was fading by the time we reached the hotel. At the hotel, a pleasant surprise awaited us as some of the former students of our school arrived to meet us. It was nostalgic for them to meet the new pall bearers and listen to current happenings at the school. Together, we had a joyful time and dinner, and then retired after a long and ecstatic day.

Day 2, October 04, 2018
Beginning the day with an early breakfast, we checked out and left for Alibaug where we reached after a long drive. We checked in our hotel, Fern Silvanus and took a while to freshen up. After a sumptuous lunch, we proceeded towards the Alibaug beach. All of us had a great time frolicking in the water until sunset. Some of us even rode on horse-drawn carriages around the beach. We then returned to the hotel and indulged in aqua sports in the hotel swimming pool till dinner time.

Day 3, October 05, 2018
On this day, we had early breakfast and left for Kolaba Fort, an old military fortification in Marathwada. Since the fort is situated in the middle of the sea, at a distance of 2 km from the shore; we travelled by boat to reach it. The fort is a popular tourist destination and a protected monument. After visiting the fort and marvelling at the process of its construction, we returned to the shore and proceeded to Lonavala.

We reached Lonavala and checked into Zara’s resort late in the afternoon, famished and tired. After refreshing and replenishing our food-starved stomachs, we had some fun splashing in the pool. Little after the sun set, we had dinner and retired for the day, completely exhausted with the exhilaration we had during the day.

Day 4, October 05, 2018
We were looking forward to spending the day at Adlabs Imagica, the most famous amusement park in Maharashtra. Having reached our destination, we took some photographs outside the park and then went inside. To begin with, we explored the dry rides and then went to the snow park. We had our lunch within the park and then continued to have fun throughout the day. The most sought after and feared ride was India’s fastest roller coaster ride called ’Nitro’. We collected some joyous memories, returned to the resort, had our dinner and then called it a day.

Day 5, October 06, 2018
This was the day we were scheduled to travel the longest distance, from Lonavala to Panchgani — from one hill station to another — on the Western Ghats. We had our breakfast early and left, reaching the Blue Country Resort, Panchgani, by lunch time. Quickly, we had our lunch and left for Sydney point, the vantage point from where we could clearly see the lovely valleys and picturesque nature down below. From Sydney Point, we went to Table Land, a plateau, atop the mountain. From the Table Top, we witnessed the most awe-inspiring sunset. We never knew that the setting sun could paint the sky so beautifully in colours. Awe-struck, we returned to the hotel and retired for the day, the setting sun still dazzling our sleep-laden eyes.

Day 6, October 07, 2018
Having had our breakfast, we checked out of the hotel and visited the Parsi point, another famous location to view the natural beauty of the hill station. It provided us yet another opportunity to witness natural beauty at its pristine best. After that, we went to Mapro Garden, which seemed more of a shopping centre than a garden. We bought some knick-knacks as gifts for our near and dear ones. We then commenced our journey to Pune and reached the city at around 7:15 pm. Soon after, we had our dinner and retired for the day.

Day 7, October 08, 2018
This was the final day of our sojourn. We had our breakfast and went to Shaniwar Peth, a shopping area in Pune. While some of us went shopping, others just moved around, grasping the scenario of a busy market place. We returned to our hotel for lunch and then checked out to visit the Aga Khan Palace which now houses the Gandhi Memorial museum. The palace serves as the headquarters of the Gandhi National Memorial Society. We had a vivid glimpse of India’s struggle for freedom and the role Mahatma Gandhi played to attain independence from the British rule. Having visited the Aga Khan Palace, we proceeded to the Pune airport from where a flight flew us back to Bangalore. We finally reached our school past midnight, having had our dinner on our way back.

Tours and Treks offer a great opportunity to visit our vast country and learn about its diversity. We were an enlightened group post our sojourn to Maharashtra.