Sunday, October 11, 2015

A mini-outing to Panshet MTDC resort with family

My family and I desired to take a break since I came back from KSA, but were unable to do so owing to many reasons. The two main reasons were the uncertainty of where I would be going to work next, and a knee injury my younger daughter Hannah sustained within days of my arrival to India. This grounded her for over a month. 

Once she recovered, the clamour to have a small holiday grew louder. I narrowed down on a place called Panshet. This is a small town about 185 km from Mumbai and about 50 km from Pune. It is part of the Sahyadri belt of the biodiversity hotspot, and boasts of two dams near each other. The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has a resort here, and until recently, also conducted water-sports activities on the reservoir that stood behind the main Panshet dam. We decided to hire a car, and to book rooms at the resort there. Accordingly, we left on the early morning of the 8th of October 2015 in a Suzuki Ertiga car driven by a young driver by the name of Mahesh.

Food at a mall on the way

With Mr. Fakira Walunj at the gate of the resort

En route to the Sinhagadh Fort

Hannah and Inas
We left on Thursday, 8th October, at about half past five in the morning, and reached the resort at about half past ten. The last 50 km took up a lot of time, as the roads were poorly maintained, and our driver, a green in experience, did not know the way. The resort itself was nicely tucked away inside Panshet. It has been renovated recently, and is a small but well-maintained property with just 39 rooms in three categories.  We had booked two A/C suites, which is the middle level of the available properties (with non-A/C rooms below us, and luxury A/C suites above. This is also seen in the design of the building that houses the rooms. There are three floors with the luxury suites on the top floor. There is a restaurant, a games room (with table tennis and carrom), a swimming pool (unfortunately under maintenance) and large walking areas throughout the property. 

The resort manager, one Mr. Fakira Walunj, was a very decent man who looked after us through both the days. He served us a complimentary breakfast on day 1, and also helped select the best rooms, helped get the pool refilled as fast as was possible (the pool was almost ready to use on day 2, but it wasn't clean as yet, thereby closing the option to swim inside it) and also took us beyond the police check point on to the Varasgaon dam over the Mose river, which joins the Mutha river later on (over which the main Panshet dam or the Tanajisagar dam is built) to show us the beautiful district and the sluice gates on the dam itself. 

The kitchen staff was extremely friendly, and was ever willing to make special dishes and adjustments for us. There was this middle-aged worker who was a Man Friday for us. He helped us wherever we needed him - his name, Tirupathi. He took food and tea orders, answered the reception, attended to our minor needs and troubles, and kept smiling through it all. The food was rather limited, as we were the only guests on the entire Thursday and up until 11 a.m. on Friday, after which guests started coming, mostly from the nearby city Pune, to spend the weekend. 

We left the resort at around half past four, reaching Mumbai via the Expressway, at about 11 p.m. On the way, we did stop at an eating point where we all had a great eating experience. In particular, Hannah had a filling "thaali". Nishrin and Inas shared a dish of dhansaak and rice; I had a chicken chilly+noodles+rice combo that was real value for money. (Just Rs. 120/-). I also parcelled an extra plate of dhansaak and rice, a few packets of Maganlal's chikki, a box of strawberry fudge and a few other things. 

All in all, a good holiday, albeit, very short!

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