As I settled down on a chair by the river, I wonder how many people knew about this treasure in our backyard. After a short tractor ride through the fields I was all set for a farm fresh breakfast. Fresh fruits and juices, aloo parathas with dollops of butter, pickles, eggs as per one’s choice, masala chai, cheese sandwiches and some freshly baked muffins and cake with their appetizing aromas were waiting for us.
I am at a farm in a place called Phaltan in Maharashtra. A couple of weeks earlier if you had asked me about Phaltan, I would have said “Never heard of it”. In fact that’s what I said when someone did ask us that. Now of course, I am wiser.
The farmer, Vithal Krishnaji Nalawade, who owns this land, spoke about various vegetables and fruits that he cultivates there. Coriander, tomatoes, spinach, eggplants and of course sugarcane. Phaltan is the largest producer of Sugarcane in Maharashtra. After sumptuous breakfast with cool breeze giving us company, we took a round of the fields and tried to understand the nuisance of farming from him. At places we saw drip irrigation system watering the plants. This system was brought to India from Israel.
So many tomatoes !!
His young daughters and niece played around and giggled observing us from the corner of their eyes.
When we tried our hands (and teeth) on sugarcane, these two young girls taught the correct way to do it. Later we visited his house and had another round of tea. He is a law graduate and started farming in 1990 since there was no one to take care of the ancestral property.
How we wished the beautiful morning to stay forever! But alas, like everything good, it had to end and soon it was time to leave.
Phaltan is just 350 odd kilometres south of Mumbai beyond Pune. On the way, I was dreaming of things that hitherto unheard of place would have for me. It turned out to be a pleasant surprise.
Among all the things that impressed me most was when we went to see something in the evening. It was another type of farm … a windmill farm. 😀 I cannot yet forget the beautiful sunset on the hills, some distance from the town. Hills full of wind turbines, called by many as windmills. Have you ever sipped a wine, munching cheese sandwiches while watching sunset? I am sure you have, many times. How about doing while sitting under one of these giant fans, so to say?
The swishing sounds of the blades when it reaches its lowest makes you look up and the sight is awe-inspiring. It looked like if I stretched out my hand a bit more, I could catch hold of it for a free ride! The atmosphere was absolutely incredible. There was no way I could get my ride. 🙁
By the way, each blade is about 50 metres in length. Tower itself stands at around 80M or so. We were told that each of the turbines could generate 1.5MW electricity and there were hundreds of them! The electricity produced is supplied to neighbouring villages. It takes 4-5 days to fix the three blades on one such turbine aka windmill once the tower is erected.
Another incredible fact is that the engineers from Denmark are constantly monitoring the performance of these mega fans.
Time sneaked away steadily, the golden sun bade us bye and soon it was time to return to our hotel for an authentic Maharashtrian Thali that was waiting for us at dinner.
Hotel Jakson Inns is a three star property but services can hold up to any five star services and at a much lower cost.
We savoured a variety of cuisines during our two night stay. Green Bean, the multi-cuisine restaurant can be treated as a hangout point for many of us. The high speed wi-fi adds to the lure.
The variety of cuisines it offers is irresistible. This being mango season, once we were presented with mango cuisine. Whether vegetarian or non vegetarian, every dish from soup to dessert had a share of mango ! Raw or ripened. I would recommend the a la-carte menu so that you can pick and choose dishes as per your taste. And yes, don’t forget to have a glass of spiced water! 😀
The hotel & restaurant staff were courteous and always on their toes. The service went beyond just helping with our bags.
All in all, a ‘power’ packed sojourn to the interiors of Maharashtra.
Disclaimer: We were invited by Hotel Jakson Inns for a weekend stay. All opinions are based on our personal experience.
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