(Please Note: I undertook this trip in Mid-November 2015. This article was written soon after, although it is being published now.) Two...

Nashik Beyond Basics: 5 Offbeat Things To Do

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(Please Note: I undertook this trip in Mid-November 2015. This article was written soon after, although it is being published now.)

Two weeks back, when I looked at the calendar, I couldn't be mad enough at myself. One whole month of holidays had slipped like sand through my hands, with merely a weekend left before having to plunge back into the whole ho-hum, and, I did not do that one single thing which I desperately needed to; travel! 

After being completely worn out by endless deadlines, stifling weather and maddening crowd, I was hoping to travel to the serene Himalayas. But as luck would have it, I was utterly broke, with barely a dime to spare for a rejuvenating trip to the mighty mountains.

Precisely then, the Universe decided to show some mercy on me and magically a friend messaged me with the same cry, hoping I would accompany her on a broke-women's camping trip to Bhandardara Lake that very weekend. Undoubtedly, I agreed. However, the day before the weekend trip (that is, Friday), there was a change of plans and we were heading to Nashik.

Nashik, for me, before the trip meant 'Kumbh Mela' and 'Sula Vineyards'; both of which contradicts the other! A quick Google search later, I began contemplating my option of dropping out of the plan, because, in my head, I kept chanting; "There is nothing to do in Nashik, except spending time at the Vineyard!". Looking back now, I cannot fathom how wrong I was, and I am sure that my list of To-dos in Nashik will prove exactly that.

1. Drive To Sinnar Windmill Farm

Windmills, for me, were equivalent to Vikings; I had read about them, but could never legitimize their existence. So, imagine my awe when I was informed that Nashik would finally give me the chance to see windmills from up close! You read it right, Nashik is surrounded by Windmill farms, the drive to which is amazingly scenic. Also, the view from the top of the hill makes coming to Nashik, even if merely for it, so worth it.


The view from the windmill farm

2. Camp On The Shores Of Gangapur Dam Backwaters

As I already harped; the original plan was basically a camping trip to Bhandardara Lake. Hence, we were in a delightful surprise when we discovered that we could camping beside a Lake, right there in Nashik! Gangapur Dam Backwaters is a brilliant location, surrounded by mighty peaks of Sahyadri Ranges in all the directions. Besides, given the fact that this is the very water-body responsible for Nashik's water supply, the lake is pretty clean.

Camping on the shore of Gangapur Dam Backwaters

3. Enjoy A Leisurely Evening At a Vineyard

Nashik happens to be the wine capital of India. There are several vineyards and wineries concentrated in this little town. The ones we visited were of all scales; the boutique winery Soma, the upcoming York, and the superstar Sula. Vineyards are best enjoyed in the evenings, as they go amazingly with splendid sunsets. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to enjoy that bottle of wine, sprawled in the vineyard's garden. Definitely a highlight of a Nashik trip.

The Grape Orchards at Soma Vine Village, a less crowded counterpart of Sula Vineyards

4. Explore The Serene Villages Near The Vineyards

There exist numerous settlement of farmers around the high-profile Vineyards; the rustic charm of which is easily overshadowed by the glamour of the wine district. Get off that car of yours and wander around these quaint little hamlets. I am sure a casual walk around the block will ignite that sense of connect with lush nature and peacefulness in you; something which it surely did in me.

Exploring nature, somewhere in the villages nearby the Vineyards

5. Get A Taste Of Authentic Nashik Misal Pav

On our drive to Sinnar Windmill Farm, the dreaded hunger pang engulfed us. Sighting of a quaint dhabba was, literally, God-sent. There was no menu, but we were informed that Misal Pav is available at this early hour of the day, and we went with it. Yes, Misal Pav is easily available in Mumbai too, but what sets Nashik's Misal Pav apart is the fact that they are served with fried papad and mango pickle! Quite unusual? Yes. Tasty? Absolutely.


Notice the fried papad and pickle? Yes, that's the Nashik touch

There are certain destinations which are completely overlooked when planning a trip; Nashik has to be one of those highly underrated destinations. And my escapade to this land clearly illustrates that the underdogs never disappoint. 

Have you been to Nashik? Feel free to drop in some suggestion in the comments below.


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4 comments:

  1. Interesting to read about the windmill farms and camping. Does one need to take permission for camping at Gangapur? Any details?

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  2. No permission is required for camping, as of now. Let me know if you have any more queries. :)

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  3. The windmill farms are nice, but I guess they are a protected area. We had visited the ones near Ahmedabad but that was for some work and we had permissions.

    As for Gangapur, I feel sad because it used to have one of our most flourishing bio-diverse regions, now completely and recklessly taken over by the vineyards. It was once home to the Great Indian Bustard and many such species.

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  4. The ones around Nashik have certain areas open for public. We saw several goat-herders grazing their goats on the windmill site!

    Wow, I never knew that fact about Gangapur! It is indeed sad. It is a further proof to show that development always comes at a cost.

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