It often so happens that after having kids, travelling and exploring new places take a backseat. All your time is spent in raising the kids and planning your day-to-day schedule around theirs. Even if you plan a trip and decide to let your parents babysit your child, your heart stays back with the child and you are unable to enjoy the vacation wholeheartedly. It also so happens that if your friends who don’t have children plan an outing with you, your child gets bored because he has no one to play with on such a trip. Such is the dilemma of parenthood!
But when a bunch of family friends decided to go out camping along with the children, all of us parents got super excited! Planning a trip which involved 5 families, 4 children (including a 9 month old baby) and a couple of bachelors was no easy task! But, after referring to this guide for planning a perfect family vacation, we got the confidence to go ahead and plan an epic camping trip near Pune. And thus the 9th of April saw us on our way to Madhe Ghat which is located near Panshet.
Situated approximately 60 kilometres from Pune, Madhe Ghat is located amidst dense vegetation giving it a surreal atmosphere. Our plan was to drive down to the Ghat and reach in time to catch a stunning sunset. With a lot of lot of enthusiasm and last minute food shopping later, we all left from Pune at around 2 pm in 5 cars filled with camping, barbeque, stargazing and campfire equipments and 2 motorcycles.
Although we had packed enough barbeque food and snacks, we did not intend on cooking dinner there. This was because we knew that the villagers from the nearby village of Kelaad provided visitors with lip-smacking and finger licking good Maharashtrian food. On the way to Madhe Ghat, we made a pit stop at this village and placed our orders in advance thus giving the kind hosts enough time to work their magic in the kitchen.
Easily accessible via road, we did not have to trek to reach our destination (which frankly was a good thing because managing the kids would have been difficult!). As it was still early evening by the time we reached, we started setting up the tents because we did not want to waste time. By the time the campsite was ready, the sun had started its westward journey thus blessing us with splendid sights of the mountains engulfing the orange sun in their embrace.
The mesmerizing beauty of the area put us in a trance. It was only after we came out of that trance that we realized it had become pitch-black and cold. Luckily, we had already collected twigs and wood for a campfire and we quickly got a cosy fire roaring. While the kids got busy playing games, the adults got to the task of making delicious barbeque snacks. Amateur and passionate cooks Vipul and Priya Mehta were determined to feed us the best vegetarian barbeque items out there and I must say, they did a pretty good job of it. Snack time was followed by all of us dancing around the campfire to the beats of popular Hindi songs. Famished that we were after all the excitement, the men drove down to the village to collect our dinner.
By the time dinner was over, the children started to feel sleepy. But the grownups were hell-bent on catching a glimpse of the Milky Way which was forecasted to be seen at 3 am that day. While the mothers started putting their children to bed in the welcoming tents, the fathers got busy setting up their cameras to capture this phenomenon. Alas, the enthusiasm died as soon as the warm fire died! When the cold chilly air hit us, some of the parents snuck away to their comfy tents. Only a few daredevils like me and my husband stayed back to witness the sky light up in millions of stars.
The next morning, we woke to the sounds of birds chirping melodiously. We had packed and brought a lot of delicious Guajarati food items and we devoured them for breakfast. Our aim was to reach home before it got too sunny, so after packing up our sleeping bags and tents and after cleaning up the campsite (we are against littering), we left for our respective homes.
This camping trip turned out to be an experience of a lifetime for me and my husband. Since both of us have regular 9 to 5 jobs, finding quality time to spend with our child is tough as it is. To find time to go travel over the weekends is even tougher. After a week full of deadlines and meetings, all we feel like doing over weekends is rest! Yet we did go on a trip and came back with memories that we will cherish for a long time. The way my son enjoyed the trip and the way my husband and I could just sit back and relax, I can’t wait for the next outing now!
As told by avid traveller and cool mum Rupal Shah to Niyati Shinde.
All image credits and copyrights belong to Dhaval Shah, Vipul Mehta and Abhishek Shukla.