Travelogue: Jal Srushti Island Resort

After almost an year’s break from any travels, to allow my daughter to fully concentrate on her class X, we finally decided to get out of the routine and go spend a few days at some resort. Since the decision was taken at a time when summer vacations of kids had already started, getting a booking at any place, on the weekend, at a short notice was impossible. Also, given the summer heat and lack of water at our home, due to water cut by the society, we wanted to go to a place with enough water. So, we narrowed on Jal Srushti Island Resort and booked for a 2-night package on weekdays.

I had heard good things about the resort and a very good trip advisor rating convinced us to try this place out. We were a bit skeptical of how much water will be there, given that it was peak summer and rains had not yet graced the city, but our doubts were ill placed.

Well, to start with, the booking for the place is typically managed via their own site and you need to typically pay about 50% advance (can do online transfer to their account), after which they confirm the booking. The resort has 6 Jalaka cottages, which are smaller in size and are pond facing and 8 Jalpushpa (JP) cottages, which are bigger and are river facing. Jalaka cottages are good for a couple but if you are a family of 3 or 4 it would be better to try to get JP cottage (especially if the slightly higher rate is not an issue). The good part is while booking, you can put in a request for specific cottage as well. I will share later in this blog, which cottage would be good to have.

The check-in timing is 1 pm and you start off with a buffet lunch for that day and check-out is by 11 am next day, after the breakfast. Since the google maps showed that the place is about 35 km from my place, we left our home at around 11.30 am. A leisurely drive should get us to the resort in about 1 hour and we would be a bit early, to easily manage the check-in, dump our luggage in the room, freshen up a bit and proceed for the lunch, was the thought. The resort is about 7 km from Paud bus stop, towards Mulshi dam, and like a few other resorts I have been to, surprisingly, has almost no signage enroute. We did see one sign a few kms after Paud bus stop that read – Jal srushti island resort 5 km before Mulshi lake. It left us wondering if the idea was to go all the way to the lake and then return 5 kms 😊.

With full trust on google maps, we continued to drive. However, when the map said destination is about 200 meters, I started worrying because I could not see any water around anywhere and if we were to take some side road, then even that didn’t seem happening. Just as it was 100 meters, we came around a turn and there in front, we could see a big board of the resort. We got off the main road on to a side dirt road, and about 200 meters we reached the resort’s parking. The security doesn’t allow anyone inside without reservation. We parked under a tree and a person came to take our luggage. He showed us a path we had to take to the reception. The place already looked pretty green and we could feel a dip of 2-3 deg in the temperature already over the city temperature.

We started walking on the path towards the reception and there were big jack fruit trees on the both sides. We crossed a big stone wall with a wooden gate in it, which gave a feeling of entering some old fort like structure. As we walked, we could see water in front of us, but no building of any kind in site. We landed on the edge of the water and the path ended there. We then realized that, the resort was on the island in front of us and we had to take a boat to reach the resort. Interestingly though, the boat was in form a small sitting deck with tent like roof. 

Soon the person with our luggage came and another person in the boat, which was on the other side, started pulling on a rope and the boat came on our side. We got onto it and were ferried across. Again, a short 50 meter or so walk and we reached the reception. 

The check-in was fast and smooth and the person at the counter was pretty friendly. Remember to carry IDs for everyone. While he asked only for mine and my wife's, but I guess it is better to carry everyone's ID. In another trip earlier, we were asked for everyone's ID. We were served a welcome drink. During booking I had asked for JP 4 and fortunately that’s what was allotted to us.

The place is very nicely setup. Being surrounded with water on all side, there is abundance of wide variety of trees and plantations. The place is also decorated with lot of ethnic and earthen sculptures. There were 5-6 ducks roaming around, quacking and splashing in small water bodies created for them. A small wooden bridge took us across this small water body where the path split into two. In the center, in the front was a big pond, with the 6 Jalaka cottages around it. The 8 JP cottages are on the sides, with 4 on each side, facing the river. These cottages start with 1 to 4 on one side with 1 being closest and 4 being farthest and then 5 to 8 on the other side with 5 being farthest and 8 being closest. Probably due to the way the trees have grown in the place, JP cottages 2 and 3 are very close to each other. If you are booking two cottages, this could be good option, but if you are booking a single cottage then JP 4 and 5 will give you maximum privacy.

We reached our cottage and noticed that these cottages are all built on small pillars, so they are at a height from the ground. The back stretches all the way over the water and additional interesting aspect is that in JP cottages there is a back-patio kind of structure (though inside the cottage itself), which has a Jhoola, a place to sit and small portion of glass floor, which allows you to look at the water flowing below the room. Needless to say, immediately after monsoon, the water would be at the highest level. The entire cottage is made of wood, giving a very vintage like look, and so if the furnishing inside. We did feel that with strong winds, the cottage did sway a bit. The thing that I additionally liked about the place was that we were 3 people in the room. This is the first hotel where extra water bottle and extra bedding was already there in the room when we reached there. They did seem to have missed the extra towel, but that’s OK. At least this much was done. I always find it strange as to why is it difficult for the hotel to manage this ahead of time, when they know how many people will be staying in the room or is it just a way for them to try and save, in case the visitor forgets to ask!!

The cottage is also surrounded by trees with their branches growing all over and on top as well. The trees around our cottage were having lot of big berries which made lot of noise when they fell on the roof. The bathroom, is separated from the main room by a wooden cupboard in between. The bathroom has glass wall on one side and the roof is also of glass. However, being covered with trees all around, it isn’t something that will expose you 😊. The cottage, overall, gives a very cozy feeling and you can get very good relaxation. We wanted a holiday with just relaxation and this place is ideal for it, as there isn’t much to see around the place anyway. 

Having freshened up, we went to have the lunch which was at their restaurant, near the reception. A sumptuous veg / non-veg buffet and it was great food. We enjoyed everything we ate. The taste was very nice. The staff, again, very friendly and ready to service all our requests. The cold butter milk was a life savior in the summer heat. Something went wrong with their planning that day and they ran out of ice cream but the other desserts made up for it.

Walk back to our cottage, and after a short nap, it was soon time for the evening tea. To make the most of the place and the trip enjoyable for the visitors, they have picked up a different location for each meal. For the high tea, there is this small setup created about half a km at the back of the resort. You can walk down to this place or ride a horse or a bullock cart or can even cycle. We walked, since we wanted to digest the lunch buffet before getting on with the high tea. The high tea included two varieties of pakoras, which they were frying there itself, another live counter for chat, bread butter, biscuits and tea or coffee. This setup is next to the river and on the other side is their plantation, which seems to be not so well maintained.

As we walked back, we took the other pathway in the resort to look at other facilities as well. There is provision for TT, Carom, Chess and snooker. There is a swimming pool as well, but due to various plantations, keeping it clean did seem like a challenge, due to constantly falling leaves, flowers and flower buds. We tried our hands at TT, and then carom. Then came out and played badminton for a while (we had carried our own racket and shuttles, though the resort has them available as well). There is enough open space with lush green grass to general wonder around, or sit and relax or play any games you may like.

Towards the front of the resort, from where we had came onto the island and the reception was, there is a machaan like structure created (not really on trees but between them) and standing on top of it reminded me or the scene where the hero and heroine stood on the front edge of Titanic. 

The physical exercise did us good and it helped digest all we had eaten and we were soon ready for dinner. Dinner is served outside the restaurant, in open area (candle light like environment) and has live music to go along. Of the two singers, the lady singer sang much better but the male singer would hardly let her sing. After all his songs, he almost requested the audience to clap if they liked and some of us clapped to humor him. Anyway, dinner was good. The food in general was good all along the trip. By the time we were on to the dinner on the second day, we had been overloaded with paneer, both in starters and main course. The small regular pizzas in starters and kadhi in main course was a welcome break.

The two days, we spent totally with the nature. The temperature as I had stated earlier was lower than in Pune and though it was sunny it wasn’t that hot. Nights saw further dip in the temperature and we were comfortable without the AC, with just the fan. Overall the stay was very good at the resort and very invigorating. If you are looking for a short break, around Pune, you should definitely keep this as an option.

On the third day, we checked out a little after 11.30 am. Like the welcome drink on check-in, there was a surprise gift awaiting us on check-out. A quick 1 hour drive and we were back home and thus ended this very pleasant, short trip. 


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