Tuesday March 19, 2019
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Monsoon Road Trips from Mumbai

The hills are alive this monsoon. The best way to feel the cool winds and witness the mountain storms is to do it on one’s own terms – behind the wheel

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Here are some top recommendations for your next best road trip in this season of Monsoon. Pixabay

The floods in Mumbai have been in the news lately, an annual chaos that seems to have become part and parcel of life in the country’s financial capital. However, the monsoons are not a season to dread and just outside the city, as the curious traveller ventures higher into the Western Ghats, there are some picture-perfect destinations for the season. Here are some top recommendations.

Lonavala
Lonavala would be on top of the monsoon destination list for most Mumbaikars. Wrapped in fog, this historic region gains a completely new avatar in the rains as the forested mountain slopes regenerate and the waterfalls come to life. One of these is Kune Falls, which roars amidst a pristine verdant scenery.

The Lohagad Fort has always been one of the most captivating sites on this route and the monsoon mist gives it an allure straight of a medieval-theme video game or movie. A trek to Liones Point is recommended – the season would require special precautions like monsoon-ready footwear and waterproof clothing. While in Lonavala town, a visit to the lake is not a bad idea.

Khandala
Just next to Lonavala, one can reach the quaint hill town of Khandala, perched at close to 2000 feet above sea level. The mild monsoon temperatures and dramatic scenery make this place an ideal weekend getaway from the bustling metro, not to mention the splendorous drive on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Some of the popular viewpoints here are the Tiger’s Leap and the Amrutanjan Point. Other attractions here include the Buddhist cave temples at Karla and the calm and placid Bhushi Lake.

khandala
The mild monsoon temperatures and dramatic scenery make Khandala an ideal weekend getaway from the bustling metro.

Mahabaleshwar
A jewel tucked in the lap of the mighty Sahyadari Mountains; Mahabaleshwar offers visitors a curious mix of colonial heritage and striking Indian history. Built by Shivaji, Pratapgad Fort has an enigmatic presence in the landscape here, a site of many important events.

Those looking to enjoy some of the high elevations will love a trek to the summit of Wilson Point, famous for its panoramic views of the valley below. The Needle Hole Point is another famous place to catch a glimpse of the scenic landscapes. Venna Lake is another centrepiece attraction at Mahabaleshwar while the hilltop Krishnabai Temple is famous for its architecture and Krishna statue.

More and more travellers are choosing a car rental over public transport. Rates are increasingly affordable and self drive gives total control over the pace of the journey. One can make impromptu stops and detours and there is complete privacy.

Finding a car rental in Mumbai is as simple as a few taps on an app. With platforms like Zoomcar, registered users can book a vehicle in a matter of minutes. One can choose from a wide range of cars – maybe a hatchback or sedan for the family getaway – or maybe a large SUV for the boisterous group road trip. 24/7 on-road support is one of the assurances that self drive rentals offer.

The hills are alive this monsoon. The best way to feel the cool winds and witness the mountain storms is to do it on one’s own terms – behind the wheel.

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The Craft of Distilling Is Ancient, Different Story Behind Every Bottle

The craft of distilling is very ancient and recipes have been handed down generations. To me, food and spirits are very culture-centric and each dish or drink is an experience of this culture and have a lot of story to it.

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The aim is for the curated audience to meet curated brands and learn about their stories. We consciously wanted to create a small, well-curated festival that encourages such conversations amongst the visitors," Prakash elaborated. Pixabay

Every bottle of alcohol has a tale to tell and to celebrate this, over 20 international masters, distillers, mixologists and story tellers will gather in Mumbai over the weekend on a platform that celebrates the craft of distillers and distilleries. It will also be a rite of passage for the new consumer who is open to experiencing luxury beverages that are a product of passion and commitment and are produced in small batches, without any compromise on quality.

“Every bottle has a tale, waiting to be shared – of its founder, of the distiller, of the wood in which it lay, of the people who built the spirit, of the mixologist who decided to `play’ with it and more. Listen, learn and celebrate the people behind the spirits,” Keshav Prakash, who began his career as an advertising filmmaker and then travelled the world to discover the world of fine spirts, told IANS of The Vault Biennale at the Mahalakshmi Race Course.

“The craft of distilling is very ancient and recipes have been handed down generations. To me, food and spirits are very culture-centric and each dish or drink is an experience of this culture and have a lot of story to it.

“For example, making whiskey is a tradition native to Scotland, much like rum to the Caribbean, Mezcal to the Mexico and so on. These are parts of their values and teachings handed over from generation to generation, with much love and celebration, making it an intrinsic part of a living culture,” Prakash explained.

bottle
will also be a rite of passage for the new consumer who is open to experiencing luxury beverages that are a product of passion and commitment and are produced in small batches, without any compromise on quality. Pixabay

The event is open to only 400 aficionados each day.

“We envision two kinds of visitors at the Biennale – one who are newly immersing themselves in fine spirits and others who know their single malt, gin, whiskey etc. The aim is for the curated audience to meet curated brands and learn about their stories. We consciously wanted to create a small, well-curated festival that encourages such conversations amongst the visitors,” Prakash elaborated.

Also Read: The Unconventional Way of Learning: Textbooks Come Alive in Gujarat’s Schools
What will be on offer?

Over 50 handpicked fine beverage brands like Kilchoman Machir Bay, Rémy Martin, Cotswolds Gin, and Amrut Peated Port Pipe. Leading the audience will be mixologists from World’s 50 Best Bars, among them Hiroyasu Kayama of Tokyo, Alex Simonidis & Georgia Georgakopoulou of Athens and Jose Luis Leon of Mexico City. (IANS)