Two hours northwest of Mumbai lies a hidden gem, The Hidden Village in Sakrohli Village. The district is Shahapur, the train stop Atgaon, the setting serene. Most Mumbai locals don’t even know the train stop let alone this special place. I was lucky enough to have it recommended by a friend of a friend for the last leg of our anniversary trip.
The local train was a real treat, first class only consisting of padded seats and less crowds, but jump on and meet the locals! The best is hanging out by the open doors and being camera ready for any short stops along the way.
Upon arrival, cross the tracks into “town” and wait for your ride from the resort. Being some of the few foreigners (who come here about every 6-8 months) to have ever stayed here, we felt very lucky and local. Hidden Village’s owner, Tony D’Souza, is an extremely gracious host and has a great thing going. Check out his vision at: http://www.hiddenvillage.in/
The area used to be a barren area struggling to be a farm in the little village area. Tony bought the land and employed the previous owner, his family, and locals. He began planting and now it is turning into the jungle it once was. He has used the natural spring water to create a natural pool and has reintroduced local animals. The setting is very cool.
What’s even cooler is how Tony has built each cabin to have deluxe interiors. We reserved one of the honeymoon suites and were happily impressed! I recommend spending a mid-week visit there, the weekends can get quite busy, but you can meet great people from the city.
Tony took us out on a tour around the area where we were able to see one of the four dams that supply Mumbai. While being guests to this military protected area, the local “sheriff” invited us into his small home for tea. I love the hospitality of the Asians!
The food was of course scrumptious and local. Extra requests can be made for anything different, but I recommend to just go with it. You definitely won’t go hungry with the proportions and afternoon snacks with tea time, yum!
The outdoor bliss came to an end when we had to return to Mumbai. We wandered a market area where I drooled over fabrics. We tried to find our way to Cuffe Parade, but ended up at our hotel sooner than expected. The heat and energy of Mumbai wears you down quickly. Though of course we were able to enjoy a last beer before the airport and back to Western civilization, where democracy works much better.