1st October 2017, 6a.m. – So finally here I am, 3 months after my knee surgery. I’ve been advised to walk as much as I can, so what better place to walk than in the woods!
I preferred to come here since it didn’t require climbing. Walking through the jungles and crossing streams felt easy. I and my friend had started from Lonavala last night and reached here in the wee hours of the morning after walking for approx.15kms.
I thought this place was commercialized but there is no human in sight. Maybe, GPS was not accurate enough and we reached at the other side of the lake. Anyways, we had seen a small settlement on our way which may prove to be helpful. It was time to rest and hence we pitched our tent by the lakeside. We have apples and bread to satiate our hunger in case we don’t get food. There is enough time to figure out the rest. The dark skies were fading into lighter shades of blue as we prepared to sleep. My friend immediately fell asleep but I couldn’t and was imagining every possible combination of colors in the sky with the sunrise. It’s around 6 a.m as I open my tent only to realize that the views have surpassed all my imagination.
The open sky and the wilderness around give me an exhilarating feeling of freedom! The cotton-like clouds are spread across the sky and as the sun gradually rises from behind the mountains, it gives the orange tinge to the sky. The sun, the sky, hills, plants, and flowers are clearly reflected in still waters of the lake. The occasional cool breeze creates a gentle ripple in the waters blurring the reflection and bringing me back to reality.
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I feel like jumping, shouting and running like a child. But there’s no one around to accompany me in the madness. So I sit by the lakeside, calm and composed, letting my expressions flow through the pen. How I wish people could witness the same magic! But at the same time, I want to believe that such moments draw me silently towards them to see the intricacies of nature in my own way, turning my dreams into a reality. Moments like this is no less than a meditation and have everlasting effects on me giving a clear picture in my life, making me more confident and healing me in wondrous ways.
I can sacrifice thousands of sleep for this view and I feel stronger than ever!
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Shirota Lake is in Lonavala and is on the way to Rajmachi. Reach Tungarli Dam from Lonavala. As you walk 8kms from Tungarli Dam on the way to Rajmachi, you’ll arrive at the ‘Y’ junction. Take right for Shirota Lake from this point. The left one leads to Rajmachi. Follow the GPS religiously to reach this point.
Best time to visit?
Post-monsoon (October for greenery) and winters (November to February) for star gazing.
Is traveling by vehicle possible?
I have seen all kinds of the vehicle on this route (even gearless scooters). But personally, I wouldn’t recommend traveling from any kind of vehicle. (The roads are not even suitable for SUVs). However, there are travel agencies and other companies that provide the facility for traveling in Sumo.
The GPS will lead you to the point which is close to the Udhewadi village( not to be confused with the base village of Rajmachi). This place is not yet commercialized and there are no facilities for stay and food. So, one has to carry his own tent, food, and water. However, the place is worth for camping and star gazing.
If you’re looking for accommodation and food and want to have a taste of local life, then you should go to Valvand village which is also situated on the bank of Shirota Lake. Locals will be happy to invite you to their house for stay and food. They may charge Rs.100-150 per person for a night stay and will provide home cooked food with Veg. plate costing Rs.150-200.
How to reach Valvand?
To reach Valvand village, follow the same route as shown in GPS till the ‘Y’ junction. Now, as you take right from here as shown in GPS, after walking for approx. 500m, you will notice one of the roads leading uphill and then another going straight. The GPS leads to the road uphill,i.e, to Udhewadi village. But, if you keep walking on the straight road without climbing the hill and walk for approx. 2kms, you will reach Valvand village.