Because we all need a break from this monotonous 9-5 and nothing beats spending quality time with friends away from the maddening crowd. It’s been a week since we came back but I can still feel the amber rising from the coal. I wish to be enveloped once more in the cool breeze and bathed in the blue light of a full moon night. Poetic? Well Bhandardara on a perfect night can do that to you.
We left for Bhandrdara post lunch on 6 March, 2015; Yes, we skipped the holi party and all the hullabaloo that accompanies it. The Eastern Freeway made our lives easier and before we knew it, we had exited the wide city lanes and entered two lane roads. We reached Bhandardara around 1600hrs while the sun had not started to set.
No sooner than you reach Bhandardara, do locals come rushing to you for fixing your tents, meals, morning chai etc. We luckily spotted the guy who was recommended to us by a friend and we got him to put up 2 tents for us. Did I mention that we carried 1 tent of our own along with a barbecue set, marinated meat, a vessel to make tea, milk etc. We pitched our tent and sat together at the edge admiring the golden sun and planning the barbecue.
Bhandaradara is not as isolated as I thought it to be. We saw couples, families, probably the one’s staying in nearby resorts come out for a walk. Apart from us, there was another group that had pitched their tent and two campers who had pitched there tent in the best location, right next to the lake. It’s recommended to pitch your tents away from others as it gives you more privacy and freedom to do what you want without disturbing other campers.
Sipping hot tea surrounded by quirky friends and watching the sun set was the highlight of this trip for me. Infact, each one of us (we were 6) would have a special moment for that beautiful evening.
We started heating the coal post sunset, lit a campfire and waited with bated breath for the full moon to grace us. Well, it made us wait till 8pm. While the juicy pieces of chicken were being smoked on the barbecue grill, the campfire kept us warm. Some of us were simply lying down on the mat (provided by locals) gazing at the sky full of stars when we felt it illuminate the entire campsite with its blue light. The moon was visible and how!
The night passed in gobbling batches of barbecued chicken, making maggie, sufi music and ofcourse some madira. It was past 0300 hrs when we conked off into our tents and woke upto a bright angry sun right on our head at 9am. The local boy got us tasty cups of hot tea which we coupled with thepla (a friend got it packed from home). The water was perfect for a dip and dip we did! After a quick swim, we changed, packed our bags and left Bhandardara with memories of a holi like never before.
There are lots of dhabas and restaurants on the highway so you needn’t worry about food. The locals get you tea, water, plastic cups, dinner (which is okish), mats, tents so you needn’t fret. A sincere suggestion, visit Bhandardara on a full moon night. Nobody like a city dweller to appreciate some calm moments under the starry sky and bright blue moonlight. Bliss.