Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Descending clouds signal nature lovers


PUNE: Several attractive nature excursions are on offer this monsoon to entice people out of their cosy homes on weekends. Enthusiasts can choose between planting rice saplings, trekking across rain-drenched hills or enjoying a view of cascading waterfalls.

City-based tour organiser Pugmarks is offering trips to Durshet, located about 80km from Pune, where participants can try their hands at paddy plantation. "The idea struck us when the principal of a school mentioned that urban students are not aware of how fields are ploughed and crops sowed. Initially, the trip was meant to be a school activity but now it has turned into a family outing. This not only ensures enjoyment but also spreads awareness about the conditions in which farmers grow crops," said Tanvi Thatte, chief executive officer of Pugmarks.

With the arrival of monsoon, most travel companies around the city are offering tours to exciting places. Waterfall treks are the most preferred this year. Almost every tour company has at least two or three such trips planned over the next few months. Pinakin Karve, owner of Trek'Di Tours said that they offer hill treks, waterfall treks and nature trails to enthusiasts. "People choose treks depending upon their stamina and interest. If someone wants to experience monsoon but does not want much physical exertion, then they choose nature trails. Adventure seekers, who desire something challenging, choose waterfall treks whereas those looking for a bit of adventure but not much physical exhaustion usually choose hill treks," he said

Karve added that most trips are budgeted at Rs. 400 to Rs.1,500, per person, depending upon the mode of transport and the level of expertise required. Bhushi Dam at Lonavla, a major tourist attraction during the monsoons, is already overflowing almost a week earlier as compared to last year, when the dam had started overflowing on July 5.

However, organisers are also keen on turning the focus towards responsible tourism. "Waterfalls should be admired from far away because they are beautiful but equally dangerous. People stand under waterfalls without realising that along with water there are also stones and pebbles that could cause serious injuries. They are so many cases of people slipping or being washed away in the strong current," shared Umesh Zirpe, president of Giripremi, a city-based organisation that arranges treks and tours.


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