Travel: Head to Lonavala for a rustic camping trip, djembe drum sessions

Camping and a djembe drum circle at Tikona in Lonavala might be the perfect way to spend this weekend

When the mention of Lonavala springs up, most Mumbaikars have the been-there-done-that feeling. But what if it’s not the typical holiday home? A rustic camping experience along with a de-stressing one-hour session of the djembe drums is what caught our attention.

From top) The Djembe circle; the campsite at Tikona; an aerial view of Fort Tikona. PIC COURTESY/DHANANJAY KULKARNI
(From top) The Djembe circle; the campsite at Tikona; an aerial view of Fort Tikona. Pic Courtesy/Dhananjay Kulkarni

City-based travel company Let’s Get Lost is organising its debut camp with the idea of getting away from the city chaos to find new connections through nature and music. “I believe that you have to get lost first to be able to find yourself. The idea of the camp came about because we wanted to create a spiritual experience in a djembe drum circle with fellow campers, at a hilltop campsite overlooking the Pavana Lake on one side, and the Tikona fort on the other,” says founder Aparna Mohan. “When nothing works out, I pick up my bags and travel. I am passionate about it. I have been to Tikona before, and loved it. The high point of the place is its discovery. A small dirt track leads to the site, and when you finally reach the destination post losing your way, you just stand and stare,” shares Mohan, who quit a corporate job and now works as a brand consultant, which gives her flexible time to organise such camps.

Drumming for Tikona
Tikona is conveniently located from both Mumbai (120 kms) and Pune (60 kms). “It makes for a perfect weekend getaway for all age groups. Tikona fort is a popular trekking destination of easy-medium grade, and offers close access to the Tikona fort and ample opportunities for other adventure activities. It is well-equipped, offering basic electricity as well as clean toilet and washing up facilities,” says Mohan.

The djembe drum, a skin-covered hand instrument from western Africa has long been used as a form of communication. The drum circle will be conducted by Akshata Parekh of Pune-based Taal Inc, who is a trained drum therapist and dancer. “The concept of music therapy is that you break away from monotonous life with a hobby. It can help you deal with stress, anxiety, improve memory and even interpersonal skills, where a group is guided by a trained professional, explains Janak Vadgama, founder, Taal Inc. “Drum Circles are not meant to be serious and stressful music making events. It might sound crazy that something as loud as a drum can be equated with something as silent as meditation but it works. It stimulates and relaxes your senses. You’d find yourself tapping your foot or playing the drums on a table even if you didn’t know how to play. Everybody can play a drum and whatever you do with your drum is correct. Everyone is at the same level at the circle. We usually encourage amateurs because we don’t want it to get technical,” he adds.

The itinerary allows participants to arrive in the evening and catch the backdrop of a sky painted orange by the setting sun; this is because arriving by afternoon might get unbearably hot. The bonfire will be lit at midnight. The camp also lets you to roast your own barbecue for dinner and features a sunrise trek to the serene Tikona Fort and a lazy dip in the Pavana Lake.
Post this, you can indulge in outdoor games like cricket, volleyball, badminton, archery or catching some sun on the charpoys. Accommodation will be in camping tents, with bedding and lamps provided.

Who can go?
The camp hopes to host an eclectic mix of guests including singles, couples and families. The space is kid-friendly and pet-friendly. Security at the site is well taken care of, with first-aid readily available.

On: April 30 to May 1
Time: Try to arrive at the campsite between 5 pm to 5.30 pm
The drum circle begins at 6.45 pm
Call: 9930744668
Cost: Rs 3,300 per person (all inclusive), Rs 1,850 (children between 5 to 12 years) Note: Car pool can be organised

Campsite toolkit

>> Light sweater/jacket if it gets chilly. Might drop to 15-16 degrees at night.
>> Torch
>> Comfortable shoes / flip-flops for walking
>> Medicines, sun-screen, toiletries, mosquito repellent.
>> Carry your own bedding.
>> Extra pair of clothes if you wish to take a dip in the Pavana Lake.

Where to head for a camping adventure

Kiddie’s day out

Let your kids experience an outdoor camping experience with a night trail, learning how to pitch their own tent, jeep safari, a scavenger hunt, personality development classes, art and craft workshops, lessons on how to survive in the wild, farming and DIY  barbecue dinners
From: May 6 to 8
Age: 8 to 14 years
At: The Big Red Tent, Vasind (Pick and drop from Dadar)
Call: 9930952278
Cost: Rs 6,000 per child

Himalayan escape

Head to pristine Nagasti in Sangla, the last civilian outpost on the Indo-Tibetan border. Pump up the adrenaline by indulging in various adventure activities at Kinner Camps. Enjoy a glacier walk and experience the pahadi lifestyle at Rakchham. Witness the sunrise wash the Kinner Kailash peaks.
From: May 28 to June 5
Llog on to:
Cost: Rs 40,000 per person

Go glamping

Explore the wilderness of Ladakh mobile luxury camps. Choose from two camps at Chamba Thiksey and Chamba Diskit. Visit fabled monasteries and raft down the River Indus. You can also watch a game of Polo, picnic in picturesque spots, take a walk or cycle tour local villages and listen to Ladakhi folklore.
From: May 15
Call: 8010902222
Log on to:

Self help in Nashik

A power-packed adventure camp for kids at Belgaon Dhaga in Nashik includes adventure, art, music, hands on projects, strategic thinking, introspection, working individually and in teams, overcoming fear and under- standing our own and other’s behaviour patterns from May 2 to May 8
Log on to:
Cost: Rs 8,500 per person

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