Shirota is a small secluded lakeside in Lonavala that is known for camping and a perfect weekend getaway. It is located 11kms away from Lonavala, surrounded by hills. It’s a short 7km trek up till the campsite and is absolutely worth it just to see the breathtaking site of the water body in the end.
We were a group of 17 that did a road trip from Mumbai to Lonavala organised by ‘Wandering Feet‘. After around 2hrs we reached our destination and walked along the rocky path to our campsite, greeted by young brown boys in their underpants rolling and sliding on the mushy mud by the lake, a few swimming in the lake. We set up our tents and ate our brunch that was prepared by the localites of Shirota. After changing into our swim wear we walked our way into the surprisingly cold water that felt so good in the February heat. The lake was filled with rocks making it very difficult for all of us to move around in the water. After an hour and a half we all were out drying our selves and changed into fresh pair of clothes and had lunch that was again prepared by the people living in Shirota (Bless them! the food was yum).
It was now about 5pm and we all spread out in the woods searching for dry wood that would be used for the bonfire at night. It being a first time experience for me I was very peppy about it. All of us after all the labour managed to find 2 small and 1 big pile of dry wood. The experts in the mean while set up three different spots for fire; 1st one for the bonfire, the other two for the veg and non veg barbecue. After the entire set up was done half the group took an hours nap and the rest of us who wanted to make the most out of this trip went around exploring the area.
At 7pm we all were up and full of beans about the night barbecue and bonfire. We all picked up our stones and placed it around the bonfire, brought our jackets/shawls and sat around the bonfire with soft music playing in the background. We chatted away warming ourselves under the cold starlit sky while the chefs prepared barbecue for us all. We had some great paneer tikka, tandoori chicken and boiled potatoes with semi burnt onions and capsicum and a little alcohol to add life to the night. We sat around the fire till 12 midnight, by this time a few were snoring in their tents while most of us went on a night trek around the place. We went up and down the rocks in pairs of two, we got lost and found our way back to the tent but still moved further away from the tent, this time walking along the shore and stopped to look at the constellations above us. It was around 2am when we came back and passed out inside our sleeping bags covering ourselves with as many layers as possible.
The rooster woke us all up at 5am, the majority still in their deep slumber. The feel of waking up inside a tent instead of a room was extraordinary! We lit the bonfire again warmed ourselves in the dewy morning and went to the rocks near the cave to get a clear view of the sunrise. Saw the silver lining and the first ray of the sun that passed through the clouds and reflected on the lake giving the water a golden colour, we watched the sun until it found its way to the Olympian Heights brightening all of our lives and making it one of our best mornings!
At 9am we finished eating our breakfast, cleaned the entire area and packed up our things. This time we trekked down the hill instead of taking the car. It was a sweaty 7km journey, surprisingly not very tiring and a lot of fun. This overnight weekend experience inside a tent, near a lake was thrilling!
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