Travel Blog – Phaltantastic Diwali – Day 1

Travel Blog – Phaltantastic Diwali – Day 1
Diwali
is that festive period of the year when we start planning the smallest of
details well ahead of time. However, almost every year I do not make any plans
for Diwali simply to skip over crowded places. I prefer to spend time at home
with Mom and enjoy a quiet dinner afforded by the courtesy of some very
effective ear plugs.
Like
most Diwali seasons of the past, I was preparing to spend my time at home on my
snug lil couch, watching the tube while bingeing on the sweetest of treats. So
when I received an email to visit Jakson Inns, a 3 star hotel in Phaltan, over
the long weekend, I was a bit sceptical. The packed travel schedules and crowd
bustling tourist destinations are something that makes me wanna crawl into my
comfort zone until the smoke clears, more like a hibernation period.
However,
a quick google search revealed Phaltan to be a small agricultural village
approx. 100 kms from the main city of Satara and the thought of spending Diwali
in a quiet offbeat destination was too tempting to pass.
The
excitement of a weekend outing during Diwali had me all worked up. Twisting and
turning all night, my eyes were wide open before sunrise. A car picked me and
my friend from my door step and off we were on a near 6 hour drive outside city
limits.

Hey Guys up for Pics??
Marigold fields on the way to Phaltan
Jakson Inns, Phaltan


As
we edged closer to Phaltan, the road narrowed down into a bottleneck squeezed
in between little fields and small stretches of barren lands. Gleaming in the
sunshine against a backdrop of sugarcane fields and the blue sky, the Jakson
Inn was visible from a mile away. Skipping from the comfort of the air
conditioned car and into the hotel, we were greeted with the customary teeka
and pleasant smiling faces. In keeping with the local flavours, we were
welcomed with a glass of freshly squeezed sugarcane juice.
We stayed in one of the deluxe rooms; absolutely spacious, a beautiful view to wake up to every morning and well packed with fresh fruits, local snacks and a bottle of wine & chocolate. I was too excited to explore the place and so we quickly freshened up and hurried down to the dining hall for lunch. We were joined for lunch by Mr. Gaurav Banerjee, the General Manager of Jakson Inns. A pleasing, jolly personality and a reputed chef himself, Mr. Banerjee shared a few light hearted stories while we dined.
Our delicious lunch included fresh coriander mushroom soup, followed by chicken Malwani curry and Garlic Naan. The perfect Malwan flavors with medium spiced luscious curry and succulent ghavti chicken were celebrated with a Chocolate Mousse finale served in a tall martini glass. 
Sugar Cane Juice
Bhindi Kurkuri, Malwani Chicken and Garlic Naan

Chocolate Mousse
Snacks with Diwali wishes

Room with a View!
Post
lunch, we barely had just under an hour before sunset and wanted to make the
most of it and so we decided to wander around nearby. Fields spread as far as
one can see bordered by a traffic starved road surrounded the hotel. We made
our way through a weed stricken patch of land, around a hedge of maize crops
and into an onion field (no google map can give those directions J ). Being born and brought
up in the city, I had barely managed to visit any village before and the experience
and joy of plucking veggies and crops made me feel like a kid at heart.
Main ka karu Ram muje Butta mil gaya ๐Ÿ˜›

Red Onions

When you click a full frame pic
vs when you being clicked :/
Pomegranate anyone?
Pomegranate face

Don’t I look like a happy kid?
We
posed for pictures as we plucked onions out of the ground and filled our veggie
basket with maize and pomegranates; the only other time I had plucked veggies was
in the supermarket. Post our plucky adventures, we wandered over to the closest
cow farms. Now, why were we heading there? We wanted to try our hand at milking
cows (one more tick off the bucket list) but the loss of sunlight and some
really aggressive cows troubled at the sight of strangers put these plans on
the back burner.
Let’s call it a day?
Ready for Dinner

We
returned back to the hotel to quickly freshen up and head over to the open air
restaurant out on the hotel lawns for dinner. The chilly breeze and lights
glowing in the distance were part of the beautiful ambience.

Dinner
was a serving of the local cuisines and I was too excited for this one as the Menu was predominantly a plethora of Maharashtrian flavoursome food.
We
began our meal with Murgh Yakhni Shorba, a medium spicy Kashmiri styled chicken
broth. With itโ€™s richness of saffron, yogurt & mildly spiced flavors, it
was the perfect bowl of warmness on a chilly evening.
Next
on the table was the Chicken Sukha. You ask me my favourite Maharashtrian dish
and I will say Malwani Sukha chicken without a pause. Stir fry chicken in
malwani masala and coconut has delicious written all over and the coconut
flavors made this favourite dish at Phaltan.
For
the mains, we were served the local special thali; Bharli waangi (stuffed eggplant),
Pithala, veg Kolhapuri, Chulla Mutton, Waran, Masala Bhat and Shrikhand to top
off the sweet state on my plate.
Every
dish was a flavour bomb that burst into flavours in our mouths, had great depth of balanced textures and complemented each other well. This special meal got my palette doing the happy
feet dance.
Murgh Yakhni Shorba
Food coma
On that note we called it a day!
We headed back to our rooms looking forward to the next day…to
be continued…..
You can find more details
about Jakson Inns here.
Stay tuned for next part
of this Phaltantastic series,

Until then,
TheWickedSoul



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