If you have been planning to indulge in some adventure activities and longing to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, Sterling Holidays’ Durshet Forest Lodge — A Nature Trails Resort is a perfect destination. Nestled in the majestic Sahyadris and located along the banks of Amba River, Durshet is a scenic location enveloped by picturesque hills, innumerable waterfalls, and lush greenery. Located in Khopoli, Maharashtra, Durshet Forest Lodge is a two-hour drive from Mumbai / Pune making it a perfect destination for a weekend getaway or a day’s outing.
At the Durshet Forest Lodge, you can choose from an array of accommodation options — cocoon rooms, cottage rooms, dormitories and deluxe tents. The property is surrounded by a natural forest with extensive teak trees, flame of the forest trees and an occasional silver oak, making it a paradise for nature and wildlife enthusiasts.
The 35-acre private teak and silver oak forests are ideal for quiet rejuvenating strolls with the picturesque views of the magnificent Sahyadri Range all around.
Fed by Amba River, the Durshet Forest Lodge is also a sanctuary for trekkers and birdwatchers. Apart from treks and nature walks, the resort offers a host of adventure activities including rappelling, ziplining, laddering, Tarzan Swing and Burma Bridge.
Nature Trails provides an opportunity to go white water rafting on Kundalika River, which is one of the most exciting and enticing adventure activities that visitors can explore. One can also scout the Umbarkhind Battlefield where Chhatrapati Shivaji defeated Kartalab Khan. One can even explore Pali and Mahad Ashtavinayak Ganapati Temples, the majestic and mysterious Thanala Rock Cut Caves and hot water springs.
Peshwa Acharya, chief marketing officer, Sterling Holiday Resorts, informed us that apart from Durshet Forest Lodge, Nature Trails has three other resorts in Maharashtra, namely Sajan Nature Club, Kundalika Rafting Camp and Dabhosa Waterfall Resort. “While Sajan Nature Club and Dabhosa Waterfall Resort offer exciting adventure options such as kayaking, valley crossing, ziplining, rappelling and laddering, Kundalika Rafting Camp is the only place in the country that offers white water rafting year round. While all our properties are unique and mesmerising, the Durshet Forest Lodge is all about ‘experience’,” he said.
We started our adventure activity with Tarzan Swing which was no cakewalk — it became all the more difficult because of rains. Burma Bridge — a hanging bridge, took real test of our ability to balance ourselves at a great height. The 100 metre zipline — a pulley suspended on a cable, was the highlight of the day as this fun-filled activity further uplifted our spirits.
River rafting at Kundalika
Since 2006, Mercury Himalayan Explorations (MHE), an adventure outfit that conducts activities across India, has been running the operations of white water rafting (an activity which uses an inflatable raft to navigate a river or other water body. This is often done on white water or different degrees of rough water) at Kolad on Kundalika River. Kundalika, Maharashtra’s only white water rafting site, is open year round since it is a dam-fed river.
Since the waters are released from the Bhira Dam at around 8.30 am every day, we needed to be there before water levels started receding. The 14 km stretch had many grade II and grade III rapids that transform into grade IV (the advanced level) during the monsoon. A few rafts had already been launched as we geared up and practised our commands.
The rapids have ingenious names. The river starts with a prayer, ‘Good Morning Buddha’. Thereafter, our raft went over Hilton and Pumphouse to Fisherman, which gets its name from a fishing spot. At Butterfly, the waves lashed the raft, before swooping into a wicked eddy called Crow’s Nest.
The next series of rapids came fast and furious, forming the highlight of the Kundalika. Key Wave comprised a series of waves, Bush on the Bend glided us into a tree growing in water, and, before we could recover, we were in the thick of Morning Headache. Our instructor Dharamveer gave us the right commands and we tried our best to follow him. After Morning Headache, the most ferocious rapid John Kerry whacked us before hurling the raft drunkenly into Johnny Walker.
River rafting on Kundalika is a popular adventure activity not just among Indians but foreigners too. Samuel Barron and Bethany Stacey from the UK thoroughly enjoyed white water rafting on Kundalika and looking forward to coming back for more.