What better way to de-stress yourself than a weekend getaway with your loved ones? So we decided to visit Saguna Baug, located in the village of Malegaon in Neral, which is about a 100km away from Mumbai city. When I first heard of this plan, I wasn’t really enthusiastic about it. What? An entire weekend on a “farm”? Duh. Of course, you can tell what came next. I was proven wrong (Or I wouldn’t be sharing this with you, right?). Saguna Baug is an independent world in itself and in no way a customary vacation spot, what with all its farming and leisure activities. They make this place a perfect spot for those who want to get away from all the clamor, pollution and hassle of the city and enjoy some fresh air and pastimes that at the end of the day get your eyes sparkling from exhaustion and mirth.
We checked into the spot one early morning of a Saturday in April and the change in the environment was immediately noticeable; the air much fresher and the atmosphere so much calmer than our grimy downtowns. The entire place has a typical Indian village-y vibe. You can rent a dormitory, cottage (like we did), mud house, pond house or a bungalow. The day began with breakfast after which different groups of visitors are allotted tour-guides that take us around the place and tell us all about the place’s history and farming techniques. Saguna Baug was founded by an Indian freedom fighter that went by the name Harikaka Bhadsavle whose sole intention was to build up an independent and advanced farming unit in order to suffice the needs of his family and in the process inspire all those who were running away from the occupation of agriculture in that era. The running of the farm is now taken on by his son who returned to the country in 1976 after earning a degree in BSc. Agriculture from the US. The guide also parts knowledge about their experiments in modern agriculture and medicinal plants. This place is absolutely teeming with greenery (and colors, because there were a lot of flowers and fruit laden trees and shrubs).
After an hour or two of touring around the place, we had lunch and were then taken to be shown the process of fishing. This place has around 6 ponds, most of which have fish in abundance, both population and variety. We were shown some really huge fish that included the piranha, after which they were released back into the water. There’s a river you can swim in within prearranged boundaries. There was boating, fishing, archery and gardening too, all of which are optional and are spread through the day in the form of a really comfortable timetable. (Routine and comfort? Now that’s a first! Just kidding. Actually, no I’m not).
One of the best parts of this trip was that I got to cross out a certain something off my bucket list of adventure sports. I went zip lining (Wohooo!) Also, you can rent cycles and roam around the 55 acre farmland at your leisure. I took off for an hour or two (I’d lost track of time) and had a really great time exploring places that weren’t included in the tour. I have so many reasons why this place is such a great getaway that I cannot determine what the best part actually was. But this has to be it: the entire place, I repeat, the entire place, is full of hammocks! Each cottage has three of its own and there are so many more of them that are spread all over the place. How cool is that? You could walk or cycle to your heart’s content and then lie down on one of the most comfortable things ever invented by mankind (I kid you not). Thus, another happy memory has to be lying down on one of them with a book and getting happily lost for hours and hours together.
The conclusion of it all is that there’s always something you could keep doing at Saguna Baug. Be it simply sitting around the tables in the open dining area and chat all night long, sing songs, or stay busy with the endless activities the place has in store for you. I insist on trying out zip-lining if you haven’t already.
And that was all about my weekend getaway. If you have ever been to Saguna Baug, let me know what you thought of it in the comments below or via email. My business id is firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you. Also, if you have suggestions of some other places we could visit in Mumbai, don’t hesitate!