Growing up, we all wanted to get away from our mundane homes on solid ground zero.
But where did we want to go?
Some of us wanted to fly on magic carpets like Aladdin, others wanted to live in the depths of the Atlantis like Little Mermaid, but I always wanted to live in a tree house; up in the rich foliage and quiet wisdom of the embracing trees’ arms.
I wanted to build a warm and cosy wooden tree house. With carefully diffused sunshine, freshly filtered breeze, fluffy cushions and lots of books! When you throw in balmy summers, and dollops of imagination — its a recipe for endless possibilities.
So you can imagine my surprise when Niks asked me to just pack my bags and get in the car for my big 30 without giving me a clue about where it was that we were headed. I was not unfamiliar with the roads away from Mumbai heading towards the city of Pune.
Along the sunny drive, quite nervous by this sudden plan, and the general direction in which we were headed, i kept up my guessing game and made my displeasure abundantly evident.
Mahabaleshwar? Lonavla? Amby Valley? Pune? I have been to all these places before. Please let’s not go to RandomA** places Niks!
Like i said, i was clearly unimpressed and grew quieter.
Until — we saw took a sharp turn off the highway into the town of Lonavala and then a narrow lane with the most inconspicuous sign-board of a langur sitting unassumingly. It seemed like Niks knew exactly what to look for and where we were headed.
And so we just kept on going deeper into the dense jungles of the Western Ghats. Now i was slightly intrigued.
I stopped guessing and just looked out the window.
We reached what clearly looked like private property and a gorgeous rustic reception.
We were at Machan, an exclusive eco-resort with unique tree houses rising 30 – 45 feet above the forest floor.
The Hindi word Machan, translates to a raised platform (usually a tree) used for observation in tiger hunting. But no one was hunting here.
Upon check-in, and your luggage being whisked away for you, windy stoned paths take you deeper into the jungle.
Where are the tree houses you wonder?
And then, nestled within the strong and mighty arms of the perennial tree trunks, you find your very own tree house.
The Jungle Machan.
You marvel at the stilt-style engineering, until you walk inside into your modern yet rustic tree house with all and any amenities you might need.
A cozy fire place. Fresh flowers grown organically on property.
A four poster bed right out of the colonial times with drapes peering out into the jungle green.
Your very own private watch tower sit out among the thick foliage.
And wait for it.
Your private bath-tub in the mystical outdoors. For some reason this is a thing. The very idea of performing ablutions in the middle of the jungle makes you feel like Tarzan & Jane (or Mowgli, closer home).
The tree-house incorporates sustainable materials, LED lights, and recycles most of the mountain water used.
In short, it allows nature to co-exist. Watch out for creepy crawlies though if thats not your thing.
With absolutely NO wifi or cell-service what so ever, there is nothing left to do but let the swaying trees, rustling leaves, chirping birds, and singing winds entertain you.
Or take long hikes into the ghats, and build up an appetite for simple yet healthy jungle meals. The resort cooks 50% of meals and 20% of guest meals on parabolic solar cookers and employs local staff to give back to the community it inhabits.
Walking into the jungle, to a tree house to eat breakfast overlooking the gorgeous views is the stuff real retreats are made of. Wild!
Every time we travel to popular destinations, it’s a double edged sword. On the one hand, it boosts local economies creating more tourism related jobs, but on the other it puts enormous strain on the environment of that place, its natural resources, displaces local habitats and drastically increases pollution.
Ever wondered why there is plastic even in the deepest oceans, or en-route the Everest base camp, or in the pristine Ganges river? It’s because we travel unsustainably. Trading convenience for long term well-being of a place.
Alternately, the ever-expanding realm of Eco-tourism involves visiting fragile, pristine, and relatively undisturbed natural areas, intended as a low-impact and often small scale alternative to standard commercial mass tourism.
Ever wondered why we feel so refreshed when we breathe in fresh air among the trees, turn pensive during sunrises/sunsets, feel alive with the wind in your hair on a summit, and turn calm to the sound of waves and water?
Why we suddenly realize that living in tall concrete buildings, air-conditioned offices, picking food from aisles of packaged foods, and constantly looking at our screens is actually very unnatural and unlike us?
Some experiences remind you that in fact in the arms of nature we are truly at home. And, we must make all efforts to conserve, grow, and return to it every chance we get and can.
One such joy is of course living in the jungle among the trees, the wind, and the animals. All you can do is hold onto your innocent childhood dreams, trust loved ones around you to forage for experiences that truly surprise and never let you grow up, even as you turn 30.
Thanks Niks! 🙂
Check out my previous blog on a Road-trip across Spain and the one coming up!
You can also follow me on Instagram. Find exotic videos of living in a tree house on my Insta-Story/IG-TV highlights.
Disclaimer: Not affiliated with or being sponsored by Machan in anyway what-so-ever! We just had the most amazing experience here and wanted to share it. For their cool origin story and to learn more about this sustainable eco-resort, you can click here.
Machan limits their accommodation to only a few tree houses, so that each guest can have around 1 acre of green space, thus reducing the stress on the forest while providing a private and serene experience. Apparently, they are often sold out, so plan ahead of time if you want to experience living on a tree in a jungle.