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The lush green carpet is laid and ready to be trampled upon, taller grass break into waves with even a soft touch of wind, fluffy clouds hang low from the blue ceiling, cool breeze blows into our faces, orange hues of the evening melts into unforgettable memories and the hills in the backdrop invite you to try something new. It immediately occurs to you that having a home here would be like living in paradise. That is precisely what brings people out ‘Camping’ and we are here to do exactly that. Staying in a tent is always a part of our vivid imagination, but had never got to do it for want of all the comforts, security, necessities and knowledge.

The tents are brought out and opened into comfortable abodes, the gear put away into porches, we are now ready to move into the plains around the camp, free of any baggage. Walking bare-feet on the lawns is so soothing; we feel the smooth texture of the grass as hoppers scurry away, some crashing against your shin, tickling you; the dew wetting your feet fresh and the cool that relaxes your mind. The edge of the campsite could be a cliff that overlooks marvellous views of green country-scape with innumerable waterfalls or a calm lake that invites you to dip your feet or a gurgling river with tiny fish that are ready to give you a therapy or a grid-work of fields with freshly cut paddy or the smouldering smoke rising up to the sky blurring the sun rays. Turn back for a dekko at your campsite and you will see that you have added, yellow, blue and green dots to the already so beautiful Mother Nature. It is as if these small domes were always a part of the original design.

 After a quick picnic you explore beyond the plains, maybe chat with villager about their life or take a swim in the nearby river, or visit a nearby hamlet for some photo opportunities, sip black and sweet tea with the locals, or sit aimlessly on the rocks at the edge of the cliff - contemplate about life and watch the sun down itself in the explosion of colours. Twilight is an ideal time to sip a cup of hot tea with some cookies. After dark it is time to wear your wind cheater and get around the campsite to collect firewood for the night and prepare some hot meals.

With the limited resources, you will soon find vent for your creativity at culinary skills, making soup, khichdi (or pasta, or dal-rice or plain simple noodles) and other items. By now the air is cool and it’s time for the campfire around which you sit and enjoy the dinner. Late or not, tired or fresh, there is still time and energy for some singing, chatting, jokes as well as watching the tiny diamonds break loose from a the dark sky leaving a silver streak in your memory. The cold may be a little too much for some who retire early into the comforts of the tents, others may decide for a walk under the brightly lit moon and get their sleeping gear out and doze off counting twinkling littles.

Mornings are very pleasant as you are woken up to a soft call for tea or a big shout to experience the sunrise. The excitement mounts as the sun breaks its silence with a dramatic play of orange and golden, slowly warming your heart. The smoke still smoulders from the campfire, the birds are at their freshest best, far away you hear some residents of the forest chatter amongst themselves, maybe the moon still hangs around for some while watching you wake up to a new yourself.

Dreamy eyes, still sitting in your sleeping bag you wake up to the thought about how, you who always enjoyed the comfort of home or a star-rated hotel, could sleep under a star-studded ceiling – maybe only a thin sheet of nylon separating you and the air outside, on only a bed of thin mattress, sleeping bag and liner, torch at your bedside, in company of critters who you thought will annoy you no end? But then this is all it takes for a good night’s sleep – a relaxed mind and comforts of a Mother’s Lap.

Freshening up at a small stream or hand pump or a grotto is another experience. Breakfast is lazy and soon after you get back in a frenzy of packing. Sleeping bags, liners, mats, tents, kitchen, backpacks, all putting in takes a while and before the warming sun toasts your experience, you pack in and leave for a water body or nearby point with beautiful views of the surrounding. Having left early, the drive back is lazy and you stop at every beautiful location to take pictures, or corner shop sipping hot chai. You break at every location which you otherwise would have never, for want of time. Afternoon meals are full of local flavours and most often you opt for the home-cooked fare than the commercial cuisine. Now all you need for another good nights sleep is a hot shower and the soft linen of your home.
   
Camping around Mumbai is enjoyed best towards the end of rains until the end of winters.

Odati Adventures organises camping trips for small groups, families and corporate groups looking for a great and relaxed time with nature. We provide all the facilities, knowledge, equipment and guidance for the same.




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