When I look back on my stay at Tooth Mountain Farms and Nursery, the one thing that really stands out is the space. Be it the large and uncrowded cottages, the endless nursery full of exotic flowers and potted plants or the sweeping lap pool facing the lakeside foliage, Tooth Mountain Farms at Karjat is all about art-inspired interiors and refreshing spaciousness.
We checked in late on Monday night and it was a surreal experience, starting with taking a shared taxi from Karjat station to the farm in absolute darkness. The absence of city lights and clamour was our first sign that we had crossed into relative wilderness. It helped that Tooth Mountain Farms is located right next to the well-known N.D. Studios, which serves as the location for the Bigg Boss series and period films like Jodhaa Akbar and BajiraoMastani.
The caretaker was a friendly little man named Konduram and he showed us to Ashmantak (Purple), our enormous room housed in a cottage that was a stone’s throw away from the swimming pool and the private lake.The room came with a large bedroom, a glass-encased tree in the middle, antique wardrobe, old-style bathroom, an entrance area with an extra bed and library and an out sized sit-out and private dining zone.
I was greeted by a curtain of mist gently swaying through the entire farm when I awoke early the next morning. The lake was as still as glass, the lush leaves were weighed down by dew and a becoming coolness pervaded the fragrant air. As the morning advanced, the birdsong rose in volume and egrets swooped over the lake with an unmatched grace. A breakfast of idli,vada and sambhar in the outdoor dining table with the birds and the trees surrounding us was supremely relaxing and I was glad PlushEscapes had brought me to this haven.
If the rooms are soothingly minimalist, the 3500 square feet master bungalow with the common dining area is choc-a-bloc with colourful and quirky artefacts. One can spend hours admiring the Andy Warhol-style painting of Dimple Kapadia, the circular Nataraja statuette, tasteful lamps and chandeliers and a tall Ganesha sculpture.Post breakfast, we took a tour of the vast nursery and stumbled upon some locals hard at work outside their thatched hutment.
After a shower, we decided to venture into the inviting pool surrounded by a gazebo and what appeared to be a bar-in-progress. The caretaker switched on the little waterfall at one end and we had a gala time swimming, splashing, playing with the football and enjoying drinks by the poolside. But the highlight of our two-member pool party was learning to row a red and yellow kayak. Kayaking can be done in the lake as well but the pool is a safer bet for those who are prone to falling off!
Lunches and dinners are not provided at the farm but you can order from a nearby restaurant and have them delivered. Instead, we decided to go in search of lunch and chanced upon a little dhaba style eatery called Nisarg Snacks Corner, which is famed for its delicious food and this one definitely lived up to its reputation. We sampled Karjat’s famed vada pavs and freshly prepared poha in the typical Maharashtrian style – strewn with groundnuts and onions and topped with coriander.While returning, a little Adivasi girl spied me taking photographs and did a moon walk that would have made Michael Jackson proud! I should remember to take lessons from her if I ever return.
Once the afternoon heat gave way to the temperate evening, we emerged from our cottage and played an entertaining game of badminton in the grassy court adjoining the master bungalow.Soon, the imminent dusk bathed the horizon in a golden glow and I abandoned the game to watch the spectacular sunset over the lake.Resembling a flaming globe of fire, the sun snaked below the skies and vegetation and temporarily illuminated the lotus pond and ripples in the lake. Making the most of the departing day, we took a last stroll around the garden with its little tree house, bonfire set-up and interesting lion figurines.
It is the quality of wooded hideouts such as this, that in the velvety darkness of night, you feel ready to return to your life and routine. But when a magical new day unfurls with all its dewy splendour, you feel that you need just one more day to soak in all the beauty and tranquillity. Thanks PlushEscapes, for reacquainting me with that bittersweet feeling.
Things to keep in mind
- Tooth Mountain Farms is an ideal weekend getaway for families and large groups of friends. The property is both child and pet-friendly.
- It is accessible from Karjat station by share taxis and is a two hour drive by road from Mumbai.
- The swimming pool and private lake are the best features of the property. You can go kayaking on either and also play a variety of games on the lawns.
- Tooth Mountain Farms is most inviting in the winter months but it might be a good idea to visit during the monsoons as well to see it at its greenest best.
- The rooms are spacious and can accommodate three to four people easily. There is no television in the rooms but there is one in the common area.
- Meals are not provided at the property but breakfast is included in the room rate and there is a restaurant nearby for ordering food
- It is best to drive down if you plan to go sight-seeing as all the attractions are a few kilometres away.
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