I thought I had planned my weekend well. Head to Jawhar. Find a spot in the jungle. Plant my camera on the tripod. And capture photos of thousands of fireflies as they glow their way to finding mates. We, the city-bred junta, had never witnessed such a show I was told. But then, that was just my plan.
What unfolded was a comedy of errors; of making it in time to the wrong bus stop, then chasing down the wrong bus; followed by getting on to the right bus albeit on the wrong route. And what for? For witnessing 100 odd fireflies that looked too tired to find mates. Where have all the fireflies gone you wonder? Well, that’s subject for another story.
This one is about what I did find instead – a glow of a different kind on my face when out of desperation I hitchhiked on a truck. No not the Bollywood staple truck full of dirt and unimaginable atrocities, but a multicoloured beauty of a thing with a kind-hearted driver, a cosy bed for two and a view like I had never witnessed before.
Read on for a few snapshots and snippets of a plan gone awry and the birth of this story.
The truck and my travel companion | My ride for the day was as good as any of the overpriced Volvo buses and had clean, freshly-washed seat covers and a smartly turned out driver.
I click therefore I am | I attempt the cliched DSLR shot in the rear-view mirror of the truck.
The monsoon scribbles in green, and people scribble in love | Taken on the second adventurous ride; in a local bus after we were done exploring the town of Jawhar.
Firing & shooting in the dark | I was told the fireflies would light up the trees like Christmas lights. Sadly, I witnessed no such sight. Maybe it wasn’t the right time of the season or maybe there was too much light pollution thanks to the half-moon.
Sitting inside our destination while it takes us places | Vinisha enjoying a view like no other.
That truck of a smile | Travel companion and friend, Anil gets off our fortunate find as I capture the sign of a good trip on his face.
Traveller Mindset Find: Jawhar and the truck!
Know more: Read more about the tiny hill station near Mumbai here and look for the trucks on the highway (where else?!)
Getting there: (Is more than half the fun) The ways include driving down the scenic NH48 from Mumbai for about 2hrs and 40 minutes (route map here), taking a local MSRTC / ST bus from Thane or Kalyan; or reaching Igatpuri via the railway (link here). And of course, hitchhiking (ping us @TheTrvlrMindset for tips)
Go there for: Certainly not for social media worthy pictures of fireflies. But the view is worth a weekend trip. Other than that, go for the calm and quiet, and for a local non-touristy experience. Take a couple of friends along if you prefer something not so quiet.
Stay options: We were put up at this quaint little place called The Leaf in Kashivali village, about 10 kms away from the main town of Jawhar. It is primarily a restaurant, but the owner was kind enough to accommodate us in his spacious home. Asking nicely helps 🙂