After a crazy week at work, the ‘cool kids’ from office were running out of steam and needed some rejuvenation! We always end up making plans that don’t materialize but this trip wasn’t one of those for sure. Our plan took not more than 5 mins to come off and then in a day, we were all set to load our knapsacks and take off to our destination for a relaxing weekend.
Sula Vineyards, here we come!
Quick tip: If you ever plan to visit the Sula fest which is anually organized in the month of Feb in Nashik, there’s one thing you need to know – the 1 day pass actually holds good only if you go there for half a day. If you plan to do a paisa vasool trip by sticking around for 12 hours, it might not be the best idea. It’s not that there isn’t much to do but it is scorching hot at noon.. so it’s just not worth it! Also, you don’t want to get exhausted by evening ‘coz that’s when the actual fun begins.
Our Saturday morning was off to a great start… no traffic… no road blocks, we reached Nashik from Bombay in about 4 hours. We arrived at our hotel at 2:00 pm and while our cool gang was up to a lot of not so cool shiz after the road trip, I decided to throw a tantrum (a hoax one of course!) to get them off their backs and get going to the fest which starts by noon.
At the vineyard:
We finally reached the fest at around 5 pm and stayed there till almost midnight making sure we missed out on nothing while we were there. That included grapes stomping, wine tour and tasting – they take you around the entire vineyard and also the winery explaining the step by step process of wine production right from harvesting and selection of grapes to the fermenting, blending, fining and bottling process. The tour ends with some wine tasting and a massive collection of crisp, earthy and flamboyant wines to shop from.
During the fest, the place is packed with stalls promoting intriguing products and services. So yeah, you end up shopping too! (If you do reach here by noon, you can eat, drink, shop and hang around at the lounge overlooking the vineyard where there’s good music, good food and a lot of wine of course!)
The Wine tour
The bands start performing here by 6 pm and they are absolutely spectacular. With international artists amping up the mood of the fest killing every speck of sanity around, every moment of these 3 hours of witnessing the bands perform was insane. Some of my favourites were DUB Inc, Lunacity Express and The Cat Empire. There was also a line up of some fab desi bands like Kailasa at the fest. This was one of the most fun music concerts I have been to with a fantastic mix of classic and contemporary rock, fusion, afrobeat and experimental music.
The music fest
If you ever visit Sula, don’t miss this cute little dim-lit restaurant right next to the vineyards called Soleil by La Plage. The ambience is lovely and the food – scrumptious! The menu isn’t too elaborate, which is a good thing ‘coz it has just the right amount of options for you to pick from. With sufficient portions and reasonable prices, the food here (mainly continental) is quite similar to what a high end café in Bombay would serve.
TOF totally recommends their Crème Brulee. You can’t stop at one, promise!
The Crème Brulee
By the end of it all it was 11 degrees, we were chilling (quite literally!) at the upper deck that oversees the luscious vineyards. The wine was clearly helping us put up with the chilly weather. The ambiance was so good and peaceful, nothing convinced us to move an inch off our backs until we really had to.
All in all, Sula fest definitely gets a thumbs up from us!
Now, for the detour!
Random pit-stop enroute Nashik to Igatpuri
If you’re traveling all the way to Nashik, make sure you stop over at Igatpuri on your way back. There is an absolutely gorgeous dam here called Bhavali dam. It is calm, serene and a must must visit. You scream, sing, dance, bounce pebbles off the water, hike or swim, there’s no one watching you! One of those very few place where you can just be! You can bring your own little tent and spend the night under a massive cluster of stars and the moon mirroring itself in the calm waters of the lake. That’s the kind of company a city dweller craves and at Bhavali dam, you get ample of it.
The breath taking Bhavali dam in Igatpuri
Don’t miss the mesmerizing sunset at the Bhavali dam
This place looks like Ladakh. Well, almost!
The Crack quotient:
Does the trip get you tripping?
Does the ambience get you tripping?
TOF says: Sula Fest gets a thumbs up! And Bhavali dam a double thumbs up! Go tripping!