Away from the hustle bustle of Mumbai, a friend and I chose to head towards the vineyards of Nashik which is at a distance of 297 km. We planned a weekend trip in May and boarded an early morning bus to Nashik which took us four and half hours to reach.
We reached Nashik by 10:30 am. Unlike Mumbai, Nashik’s weather is pleasant with cool wind blowing even in summers when the sun is burning bright during the day. We had booked a stay for two at a MTDC approved lodge—Mohiniraj Guesthouse in Gangapur which was another 20 minutes away from the main city from where we had got down (Mumbai Naka). After bargaining a little, we hired an auto for Rs 120 to reach our stay. Mohiniraj Guesthouse is a simple bungalow-turned-hotel near Motiwala College in Nashik and is ideal for family and big groups of tourists to stay. MTDC is safe, clean and well maintained.
The owner, Prashant Mohole, is a humble 30-something-man who stays nearby and was generous enough to help us plan our two day trip upon our arrival. In fact he keeps printed maps for tourists with him to that helps them find their way in and around his lodge. Coming back to Mohiniraj, well ours was a decent non-AC room attached to the veranda with triple accommodation facility, tariff for which was just Rs 950 including taxes!What more, the vineyards (Sula and York) and the Gangapur Dam are just four kilometers away from the guesthouse.
An hour after our arrival we quickly freshened up and were ready for our countryside vineyard tour. Meanwhile Prashant arranged an auto for us that would drop us to Sula and later picked us up too on being called. It took us some 15 minutes to reach Sula from Mohiniraj and the entire stretch, though beautiful, was devoid of people. Probably this is one reason that visitors prefer coming in their own cars to Sula.
We had checked both Sula and York’s websites and were keen to visit both of them but York never answered our calls seeking guidance and hence we thought of skipping it. Instead, dressed in our light summer wears, we decided to head to Sula and spend our day amidst good food and aromatic wines for company. Upon reaching Sula, we were greeted by a vast expanse of scenic vineyards!
Scenic Vineyards At Sula
At the time of our visit, Sula’s Vinoteca was under renovation and so we headed for an all-day buffet at Little Italy (Rs 600 per guest). This open restaurant, set under the trees is situated near the amphitheatre, facing the picturesque lush green expanse of vineyards, plain lands and the Gangapur Dam seen in the background. The chic white tables enticed us to Little Italy where we were welcomed by a pleasant host. Apart from the Italian meals (of which we loved the cheese balls, penne pasta in white sauce and chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream) we also opted for a bottle of chilled sparkling wine ‘Sula Seco’ (from a range of sparkling, red, white and rose Sula wines), the company of which would relax any gourmand’s soul. After spending a peaceful day at Sula we decided to find our way towards Gangapur Dam.
Freshly Plucked Grapes At The Vineyard
We asked the locals for directions and finally after a 30 mins walk ahead of Sula reached an untouched piece of land where one could go near the water body. A vast expanse of lush green farms, a handful of villagers busy toiling, the sparkling clean blue water and the cool wind blowing through our tresses… the sight was surreal! We spent some time in tranquillity, seeing the sun set at the horizon where the land, sky and water meet. By the time we left, we were at complete peace. We headed back to Sula, called for our auto and meanwhile purchased some wines from Sula (the rates were lower than the MRP) before ending our day.
Sula’s Wine Collection
As planned we woke up by 7 am, changed and headed for a walk to the Godavari river and water fall which was 1km away from our place. Considering that it’s summer time, the waterfall is dried up and so we spent some time at the river bank. Though calm and peaceful it wasn’t as pretty and clean as the Gangapur Dam.
An hour later we walked back to our room, checked out and headed toward Panchavati in an auto that costed Rs 150. The main city at Panchavati has plenty of eating options; we headed to Manas Restaurant at Panchavati Karanja and it was a complete value-for-money eatery. This pure-vegetarian joint has a long list of options to choose from. What caught our eyeballs was the huge paper dosas which was available for Rs 80! As for the other items which we tried, they were perfectly made but nothing exceptional. We later walked towards Panchvati River bank and spent our day dipping our tired feet in the cool waters of Godavari, while others were busy taking a dip in the river.Panchavati has a significant religious significance for Hindus with a temple complex on the bend of the Godavari River; it is said to be the place where Rama built his home along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman during their period of exile in the wilderness.
In the evening, we reached the nearest bus stand at Panchavati Karanja from where you get direct busses for the railway station, as we had booked a train for our return journey. Luckily we boarded the bus from it’s origine point and hence travelling was hassle free.
Two days are more than enough for a place like Nashik where the most attractive location is the vineyards and the Gangapur Dam at the outskirts of the city. Also, we would suggest that travelling in your own car is a better option, though you do get autos easily—the only thing being don’t forget to bargain for the fares!
Stay: Mohiniraj Guesthouse Plot No27, Sr No 89/B, Near Canal Road, Opp Motiwala College, Gangapur, Nasik. Contact: 0922 6869287