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Take a rain trek

Get going This season, skip the regular monsoon treks and dance with peacocks, breakfast with bugs or party under a waterfall instead. While you're at it, you can also learn about the flora and fauna in your neighbourhood. Radhika Raj gets you the details.

mumbai Updated: Jun 23, 2012 00:41 IST
Radhika Raj
Radhika Raj
Hindustan Times

Dancing in the rain
Chincholi Morachi or 'the village of dancing peacocks', a hamlet about 25 km from Pune, is a great place to have breakfast with peacocks. Locals say that the Peshwas who ruled the village a century ago, planted tamarind trees to attract the bird. As a result, today, more than 2,000 peacocks co-habit the area. On a rainy day, you can spot up to 50 peacocks strutting their feathers in a six-foot-wide arc. "During the monsoon, the peacock performs an elaborate courtship dance, fanning out his tail and preening his feathers to attract the peahen," says Jogi Prajapati, co-founder of Mumbai Travellers. "The plumage is rich and the brightest during the mating season. It is the best dance performance you can hope for." During the overnight stay in the village, locals serve homemade food and narrate folk tales, passed down over generations, about the bird.
Organised by Mumbai Travellers
When: July 7 and 8
Cost: Rs. 3,050 includes meals, transport and services of a bird-watching expert.
Call: 86920 22777 /86920 33777 /86920 55777

Nature's water park
If you must wade through knee-deep waters, let it be so while crossing an overflowing river. Valwanda, a small village in Thane district, about two hours from Mumbai, falls in a region that receives the highest rainfall in Maharashtra. A few showers into the monsoon, the mountains turn lush green, streams and rivulets criss-cross narrow, muddy paths. A calm lake and a five-feet tall check dam with rice fields and mountains one either sides is great place for a swim. Hills with steep ridges, surrounding the lake, offer enough adventure for the adrenalin junkie. During the day-long trip, local food cooked by the villagers is served for lunch.
Organised by Grassroutes
When: Day trips throughout July and August. Call for specific dates.
Cost: Rs. 1,700, includes meals and transport Call: 88794 77437

Kiss the clouds
If you want to get drenched in a steep valley, these are the groups to join
The Mumbai Travellers is organising a waterfall-rappelling session in Bhivpuri, a town near Karjat, about 50 kms from Mumbai.
Difficulty level: Medium
When: July 22 Cost: Rs. 450
Call: 86920 22777

The Bombay Natural History Society is organising a nature trail to Tungareshwar. It will be led by naturalists from the non-profit organisation.
Difficulty level: Easy When: June 24
Cost: Rs. 50 for children, Rs. 100 for adults
Call: 95949 29107

Picture perfect
Learn how to shoot in the rains under the guidance of a professional. Editorial photographer Girish Menon will be conducting a monsoon photography workshop in villages around Maharashtra where participants will be taught all the basics. "Villages offer a lot of subjects for photography, such as lush green paddy fields that make for great photographs or portraits of villagers getting ready for the harvest," says Menon. The overnight trip will also include other activities such as bird watching, farming, swimming in the river, cooking over firewood and star gazing.
Organised by Grassroutes
When: Two-day workshops will be held on July 7-8; July 21-22; August 4-5; and August 18-19
Cost: Rs. 2,900 for students and Rs. 3,900 for others
Call: 88794 77437

The story of rice
Rice features in our folk tales and songs and is the staple diet of the Konkan belt. On a trip to Dehena and Purushwadi you learn the process of growing this grain, right from how the fields are ploughed to how it is sown. You also eat homegrown rice, live with the villagers and learn some of their traditional recipes. "I belong to the third generation after my family migrated from our native village. I had no idea how farming was done. When I went on this journey, stories my grandparents told me came alive," says Tejaswi Damaraju, architect.
Organised by Grassroutes
When: On from July 2 to July 31
Cost: Rs. 1,900 for weekdays and Rs. 2,100 for weekends, including meals and activities
Call: 88794 77437

Catch the bug
The jungle goes through a steady transformation once the first showers hit the forest floor. Grasshoppers change colour from brown to bright green, mushrooms rise up from the earth, little crabs scuttle between streams and rivulets. "Since the forest is full of puddles the frogs come out to mate. A variety of snakes surface to feed on these frogs," says Adesh Shivkar, naturalist and co-founder of eco-travel group Nature India. This rainy season, instead of a monsoon picnic, go on an exploration through the forest.

The Amboli forest comes alive with reptile action. It is a great place to spot tree frogs, water snakes and bugs. Nature India organises three-day tours led by naturalists and herpetofauna experts to Amboli that sensitise and educate participants about the bio-diversity of the area.
Organised by Nature India
When: August 3, 4 and 5
Cost: Rs. 7,900, excluding travel costs
Call: 98204 55713 / 99675 18665

Don't want to travel? spot bugs in film city
V Shubhalaxmi, a feisty entomologist, conducts insect trails in the forests near Film City, Goregaon. Join her to spot the praying mantis, jewel beetle or signature spider and a variety of mushrooms that sprout during this season.
WHAT: Day trip on June 24
Cost: Rs.250
Call: 95949 29107 / 95949 53425

First Published: Jun 23, 2012 00:39 IST