27 January 2013

Our children enjoyed an educational, fun, and tastey excursion to Mahabaleshwar region where they visited an ancient historical site, followed by a lunch of local specialties and a visit to a chocolate factory and strawberry farm.


Located about 120km south of Pune is Mahabaleshwar region, sitting atop a high, rugged plateau.  It is a scenic region, contains numerous important historical sites, and is a popular holiday destination.  The region is also famous for its strawberries, which were in season for our visit!
We chartered a bus, which picked us all up just outside of our Janata Vasahat neighborhood at 6:00am.  We journeyed two hours south of Pune on the expressway, and then another two hours of slow, winding roads into scenic mountainous landscape.  We passed the time singing and eating breakfast before finally succumbing to motion sickness on the final winding road...

Pratapgad Fort

Alas, at the far end of our long journey was Pratapgad Fort.  Built in 1656, in 1659 this was the site of the Battle of Pratapgad, where the Maratha King Shivaji Maharaj defeated the superiour force of Afzal Khan, signaling the birth of the Maratha Empire.
Our children have learned about Pratapgad in their history books, so it was enlightening for them to visit the site.  And after the long bus ride they enjoyed the climb to the fort and the scenic views from the walls well.

Panchgani - Lunch and Mapro Strawberry Farm

Hot, exhausted, and hungry, we had a cool and restful ride back down the mountain to lovely Panchgani village, an hour away.  There in the center of the village we had lunch of local specialties at a small thali restaurant.  After lunch we visited Mapro strawberry farm where we saw a chocolate factory, enjoyed very large strawberry ice-cream cones, and left with all the strawberries we could carry!  This gave us enough energy to dance and sing all the way back to Pune, where we arrived about 9:00pm.


Our trip is due to the fund-raising efforts of Lynette Lamb, who is also OSI Program Site Sponsor for OSI-Pune and provides for many other needs of our girls as well.  We are also pleased that Lynette could accompany us on our excursion and grateful for her spending a week with us in Pune!  Thanks Lynette!  Thanks also to visiting OSI sponsors Ann Mavity and Mariel Klaverkamp for accompanying us and providing so much attention and happiness to the girls!  They were incredibly proud to have you along!
Finally, thanks to Mukta, Madhavi, and Shardha, ASHA's incredible staff members, for their remarkable efforts in coordinating our trip and their equally-remarkable endurance.  You are so selfless in your efforts for these girls, -you are truly an inspiration...
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