Sunday, May 26, 2013

Nashik and Sula Vineyards

We went to Nashik with the main aim of visiting the Trimbakeshwar Shiva temple and the Sula vineyards. And as usual, took our favourite way of travelling ... by road, in our own car.
A quaint city in Maharashtra, Nashik is around 4 hours by road from Pune.
Like we always make sure to, we left very early in the morning.  The condition of the roads is not at all good. Extremely bumpy, pot holed ... very uncomfortable. So make sure you have a couple of hours in hand other than those 4 hours.

 Around after 100 kms from Pune, near Ale Phata, there's the Vittal Kamat eatery. The break does you good, you can grab a bite there. The restrooms are clean too. We stretched our legs and were off again after a short break.

 The Godavari.
Do remember to visit Chitrakoot too ... where Lord Rama is said to have spent his time during vanvaas.
Unfortunately, it was evening and so I could not get any good snaps.
 On the way to Trimbakeshwar.

 Trimbakeshwar highway. The road is very good from Nashik to Trimbakeswar. We left Nashik early in the morning and were in time for the darshan. Unfortunately they don't allow photographs at the temple.
The place is infested with touts and guides. We usually avoid such people ... who usually rush you through the proceedings and worse, make up stories .... and had a good tour of the temple in peace.

Came back to Nashik, had lunch, and left for Sula vineyards.
We could not explore the food scene much in Nashik ... depended on McDonald's mostly. But there is a Rajdhani in one of the malls where we had dinner the first night there.
Not only is the food very good, they also serve with much warmth and feed you with proper Rajasthani hospitality ... something I've never come across in any other Rajdhani outlets in any other city.

Sula Vineyards is just about half and hour from main Nashik. We left late afternoon and reached in time for a tour and wine tasting. As evening set in, the place turned vibrant with many tourists ... both visiting and staying. The lounge is a wonderful place to spend the evening ... music, a good breeze, good snacks to go with the wine.
Yes, they have resorts where you can book in advance and stay for the weekend.

 The plantation.
Vastness and the quiet of the place is really soothing. They do have a resort to stay overnight or a weekend and it is beautiful. Do not forget to avail of the bicycles, if you are staying over,  to roam around and get a feel of nature.

 Baby grapes.
 Tour congregating.

 Inside the brewery.

 Being processed and packed.
 Ready to be shipped.

 Tipsy camera.

 The wine tasting bar.

 Display at the lounge.
 The lounge as evening sets in.
The crowd, the music ... everything takes a new face. But if you want some quiet, go sit on the lawns of Little Italy a little way away. Soothing.

 We had dinner at Little Italy on the vineyard grounds.
The lawn itself is a beautiful place to spend some quiet time in. The music here is softer than in the lounge .... isn't as jarring.
The food is great ... as usual.

A few pointers : 

The time when you leave Pune affects your trip quality ... i.e. make sure you leave very early in the morning to avoid traffic. Also, weekends are best avoided for the same reason ... unless, of course, necessary.
Also, the traffic is more when returning from Nashik to Pune ... especially in the evenings.
If possible, leave in the mornings.

The break at Kamat's is usually does good .... as there are no more facilities after that. The fare is usually South Indian, but they do have vada pao, pav bhaji,  etc. too. The AC part was closed .... so we had to deal with the heat .... it is barren all around and the highway radiated heat.

The restrooms are clean but the staff is rude. Extremely rude. And there is usually no manager around to look after matters. You will have to deal with the flies too. Also the food is not quite good ... maybe the heat spoils it.

 If possible, stock on bottled water ... it is usually exorbitant on the highway. And some biscuits or home made food. Even bread and jam is safe.

Petrol pumps are few and far between on this highway. So it will be a good idea to stock up your vehicle's fuel in the main cities before starting and departing .

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