Into the woods: Discover forest cabins for a nature-filled escape from Mumbai

29 November,2023 06:20 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  Ainie Rizvi

Forest living not only offers a chance to immerse oneself in ecotherapy but also provides a canvas for mindful travelling, inviting travellers to rediscover the art of slow living

These cabins serve as easily accessible weekend getaways, urging you to take a well-deserved break from the demands of work. Photo Courtesy: Moonstone Hammock

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The clamour of urban life often leaves one yearning for nature's retreat. With a growing inclination towards mindful travel, the desire to seek solace in pristine surroundings has emerged as a hope for travellers gearing up for this holiday season. Amidst the quest for holistic well-being, a burgeoning trend is taking root and it's known as - forest living.

The idea is simple yet profound: immerse oneself in the serenity of wooded landscapes, unplug from the frenetic pace of daily life and discover a profound connection with nature. For Mumbaikars, the deal is solid. Tucked away in the verdant corners of its vicinity are hidden gems that offer a perfect blend of tranquility and mindful exploration.

From lush green canopies to the rhythmic symphony of waves, these destinations invite weary urban settlers to unwind via forest living. Seeking nature's bounty, has scoured the landscape to curate a list of five getaways that promise a respite from the daily grind.

Cabins straight out of a classic novel
Snuggled in the foothills of Matheran, Moonstone Hammock is an enchanting escape offering a trifecta of experiences - camping, glamping and a self-sustainable forest cabin retreat. Immerse yourself in the charm of this campsite surrounded by chikoo trees, where forest cabins evoke a nostalgic charm straight from the likes of classic novels. Characterised by a sloped roof and expansive windows framing picturesque views, these cabins redefine the essence of a woodland escape.

Designed for an intimate experience, each cabin accommodates two individuals. The ground floor, adorned in vibrant blue hues, features a snug sofa, tables and a bathroom. Ascend the ladder to discover a queen-sized bed nestled in the attic. Beyond aesthetics, these forest cabins boast modern comforts such as air conditioning, a private washroom and a secluded porch overlooking the river.

Moonstone Hammock is not just a serene accommodation; it's a hub of entertainment. From bonfires and karaoke nights to under-the-stars movie screenings and live bands on Saturdays, the campsite fosters a vibrant atmosphere for socialising with your companions. Water enthusiasts can make a splash in the in-house swimming pool, while adventure seekers can partake in zip-lining, rifle shooting, kayaking and a variety of outdoor games including cricket, badminton and volleyball.

A siesta in the hammock
Nestled in the picturesque Handewadi Village near Kolad, Deep Forest Farms offers a getaway that is reminiscent of a cabin in the woods. Approximately three hours away from Mumbai, this serene 13-acre homestay is strategically positioned 14 kilometers from Kolad, accessible via the Imagica route.

True to its name, the farm stay is sheltered within a dense forest where the soothing waves of the Kundalika River break on the shore nearby. If your idea of relaxation involves immersing yourself in nature's embrace, this destination is tailor-made for you. Offering two accommodation options, the farmhouse boasts two rooms that can accommodate up to eight people, featuring a river room and a tent in the woods.

Enhancing the natural experience, the property provides hammocks in the yard, inviting guests to indulge in various activities such as trekking, nature trails, photography, cycling and even fishing. With Kolad in proximity, adventure enthusiasts can also opt for thrilling river rafting experiences.

Travellers have the flexibility of booking extended stays, ideal for remote work or a peaceful disconnect from the outside world. The accommodation ensures comfort, and for those without a personal vehicle, the facility offers pick-up services. A noteworthy aspect is its pet-friendly policy, allowing furry companions to revel in the natural surroundings.

Immerse yourself in the Sahyadris
Located just a few hours' drive from Pune and Mumbai, Project Karjat provides an ideal escape for those seeking a weekend retreat from the bustling city life. Nestled on the edge of a forest, this charming woodland cabin offers a harmonious blend of splendid cliff and lake views.

Both cabins, surrounded by the majestic Sahyadri ranges, boast amenities such as en-suite baths, plunge pools and private gardens. Crafted with sustainable materials, the eco-friendly property seamlessly integrates natural elements and earthy tones into its decor, creating an inviting ambiance for relaxation. Breathe in the crisp mountain air, accompanied by chirping birds, as you savour your morning tea or coffee on the balcony.

Alternatively, unwind with a contemplative lake view, providing a serene backdrop for leisurely conversations with friends and family. Additionally, the property offers a variety of entertainment options.

Indulge in the jacuzzi or take a refreshing dip in the private pool to beat the heat or embark on a lakeside stroll for a rejuvenating swim. Families with children can enjoy multiple board games provided for entertainment. Moreover, the property is pet-friendly, so feel free to bring along your furry companions. For those seeking adventure, a morning trek through the adjacent forest reveals captivating bird sightings and panoramic views, adding to the overall charm of this nature retreat.

Camp inside a treehouse
As kids, we have always wanted to stay in a treehouse after reading Enid Blyton's stories. Now, this dream can be lived at the treehouse located in Dapoli.

Situated in Maharashtra's Ratnagiri district, this treehouse resort is a haven of activities, ensuring your stay is full of thrill. From a 3-hour farm tour and interactive planting sessions for kids to harvesting fruits and vegetables alongside engaging in local farming activities, the options are diverse. Embark on a bird-watching excursion or indulge in archery and rifle shooting, all while being in close proximity to the historic Panhale Kaji caves.

The unique aspect of this resort lies in a treehouse delicately balanced on a banyan tree, elevating you 25 feet above the ground. If the thrill of this elevated house isn't enough, the resort boasts an organic farm cultivating an array of fruits and vegetables, including mangoes, cashews, coconuts, kokam, jackfruit, bananas, chikoos and pineapples. Additionally, the farm yields an assortment of spices such as cinnamon, bay leaves and nutmeg.

For those seeking a peaceful escape, follow the Mumbai-Goa Highway (NH 17) and turn right at Lonere phata, passing Mandangad to reach Dapoli, where this enchanting treehouse resort awaits, promising not just a stay, but an immersive experience in nature's embrace.

Go all the way up with this forest house
Placed within an exclusive eco-resort, The Machan harbours treehouses soaring 30-45 feet above the forest floor, providing a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in nature and relish the outdoors. Offering a diverse range of activities such as trekking, bird-watching, stargazing, cycling and visits to nearby historical sites, there's no shortage of ways to enjoy your time. Whether engaging in board games, lounging on hammocks or practicing yoga, the options for relaxation are equally enticing.

The standout feature: A grand three-bedroom, four-level treehouse adorned with multiple elevated machans, positioned 30 to 45 feet above the ground. This private vacation home, ensconced in 25 acres of lush forest, dangles on the edge of a precipice, treating guests to a breathtaking view of the valley - an experience truly beyond compare.

Getting there is a breeze as it is a mere two and a half hours' drive from Mumbai (and just one and a half hours from Pune), The Machan beckons as an easily accessible weekend getaway, urging you to take a well-deserved break from work.

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