On a tree top

By Swetha Amit | 18 Dec 2007


When is the last time you climbed a tree and relaxed on its broad branches? As adults, we tend to move further and further away from the simple joys of childhood. Our stressful lives in crowded, dusty metropolises do not help either. Experts vouch for the rejuvenating benefits of short breaks from the predictable routines of our everyday life.

Yet, our quest for a retreat is filled with contradictions. We yearn wistfully for the serenity of nature, but find it impossible to live without the conveniences of modern life. We want it to be easily accessible, yet shy away from the obvious tourist centres. It is almost impossible to find a place where you can relax in relative peace.

Sajan Nature ClubIt is such a quest that led us to the Sajan Nature Club, a quiet retreat situated on the Mumbai - Ahmedabad highway, about three hours from Mumbai. Thatched roof houses, haystacks in fields, the farmers toiling in the fields – as we make our way to the resort, they all pass by in a kaleidoscope of images, increasing our sense of anticipation.

The Sajan Nature Club spreads over twenty acres. There is a feeling of tranquillity about the place. We felt ourselves relax as we were escorted to our 'rooms'.  The friendly chirp of the birds and the gentle rustle of trees made us feel welcome instantly. A breathtaking view greeted us at the bottom of the garden.

It is the stuff dreams are made of, it is Enid Blyton's stories coming alive, or maybe even Tarzan – our abode for the next couple of days, were tree homes. Unlike Tarzan, however, we did not need to swing on vines to reach our homes; elongated ladders let us climb up in a more civilised manner. There is a certain freshness to these rooms, a change from the impersonal comfort of regular hotels. It is definitely a new experience to see squirrels peeping in curiously at the windows and to hear the friendly call of the crickets. An attached bathroom was a pleasant surprise, though. The rooms also had balconies overlooking the hammocks below. Wooden swings, next to the hammocks, brought back memories of a more innocent time.

We rested on the netted hammocks, swinging gently, as our weary muscles relaxed and we took in our surroundings. The warmth of the afternoon sun was tempered by the shade of the leafy branches above. Only the rustle of the leaves and the occasional movements of the little creatures who make these trees their home break the silence.

Slowly, almost unwillingly, we left the comfort of our hammocks to gear up for the activities arranged by the club. If you are interested, experts affiliated to the club conduct adventure sports. It costs Rs 500 per person to take part. Hearing them explain valley crossing, rappelling, mountain biking and kayaking made our adrenaline levels soar.

Gathering us in groups, the professionals explained the procedure for our first activity – Valley Crossing. Though amateurs are not taken across a real valley, we were given appropriate instructions and got a feel for the technique. A deft hand movement is needed to glide across the rope from one end to the other. A successful attempt left us with a feeling of confidence to attempt the next activity later that evening.

Mountain biking was the next on the list. Faced with the strain of climbing up slopes one minute and coasting down the next teaches you to deal with highs and lows, quite literally. Coasting down slopes had us gripping our handlebars for dear life, though it was an exhilarating feeling to feel the wind on your face.

The next day found us rappelling in the Mohokhurd Dam situated about two kilometres from the club. With ropes tied around out waists, we were instructed on the best way to walk down the steep wall of the dam. Nervousness and euphoria mingled as we accomplished this task. An instructor helped to untangle us from the ropes.

Kayaking was the next treat in store. It takes some time to learn how to steer the cumbersome boats, but the hour-long workout was as enjoying as it was tiring.

A quiet evening stroll at the resort enabled us to discover the various options available for a stay at the club. Tents were displayed a few yards away from the resort area. Comfortable cots were available inside, while the common restrooms were a bit further away. A little further away were little huts with all modern facilities.

Biking down the village road a little later gave us a chance to see the countryside. A few cows grazing on the fields, looked up disinterestedly as we cycled past. The resort staff also told us about local places of interest like the Tiger Caves and the Jawhar Palace, which were not too far away from the Club.

Sajan Nature ClubA sumptuous dinner at the resort was a treat after our rather tiring day, but there was more in store. The local villagers had arranged a dance programme. As they danced to their own musical compositions, their steps synchronised with the flute-like instrument played by their instructor. A sporting few allowed themselves to be lead into the dance, much to the amusement of the villagers.

Sajan Nature Club proved to be a wonderful weekend getaway. It is a refreshing experience, and will prove to be a great favourite with nature lovers. It is apt for group training and workshops conducted by corporates, a wonderful merging of nature with modern conveniences. 

How to get to Sajan
By road
: About 134 km from Mumbai, you could go on NH8 till Mastan Naka in Manor. Head towards Pali and take a left before the temple on the road leading to Jawhar. Driving further inside for about 12 kms brings you to Sajan nature club.

1. The best time to visit Sajan would be between October-February. Visit during the monsoons must be strictly avoided.

2. The cost of the tree top rooms for a couple is around Rs 3000; tiled huts cost Rs 2800. Tents are usually available only during peak season and cost Rs 2000 per couple. All which are inclusive of buffet vegetarian meals.

3. Booking needs to be done in well in advance to avoid disappointment of non-availability of the tree top rooms.

4. The use of mobile phones and other electronic devices is strictly forbidden. In case of emergency, landline facilities are available.

5. One is required to be well equipped with running shoes, track pants and t-shirts/ comfortable clothing to be able to take an active part with ease in the sports mentioned above.

6. Nearby attractions include the Tiger Caves situated about 16 km from Sajan and Jawhar Palace about 30 km away. Both are accessible by road.

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