In Praise Of An Idyllic Weekend In Paradise

Location : Prospect Hotel, Panchgani Photo: JD

There is, on this little planet of ours, much to complain about…

And I, dear reader, will be the first to admit that I have done more than my share of bellyaching about a variety of topics – most of them to do with life in this fair metropolis of ours.

But every now and then, this column shakes off the drab and dreary themes of dullness and despair, and adopts a sunny (if temporary) disposition. Today’s column, it will delight you to know, is one such. For today, I sing praises of one of my favorite places on the planet.

Said place lies about a hundred and ten kilometers south west of Pune, more or less, in Panchgani. Panchgani used to be this forgotten little town en route to Mahabaleshwar.

Today, Panchgani is an ugly, congested and unbelievably crowded little town en route to Mahabaleshwar.

But in this u.,c and u.c.l town lies a little slice of heaven, which goes by the name of Hotel Prospect. Established in 1912, Hotel Prospect is to your soul as your charger is to your phone.

Its sole purpose, and this is no exaggeration, is to leave you feeling generous and charitable to everybody else when you leave their premises.

And it achieves said purpose by encouraging you to do nothing. Literally and truly: one goes to Hotel Prospect to do absolutely nothing at all. A short climb up left from the only road in Panchgani, the place is positively overflowing with trees, shrubs, bushes and other kinds of flora. In between all of this resplendent foliage lie little huts, cottages and cabanas, with a small swimming pool thrown in for good company.

The whole place is tended to by a small army of people, who work at keeping the place, and the rooms within, completely spic and span. Rustic, charming, quiet and sylvan – Hotel Prospect is just the place if what you want to do is commune with nature.

It is also the place to get gloriously, hopelessly, resplendently corpulent.

For the other thing you should know about Hotel Prospect is that they feed you. For breakfast, lunch and dinner, they parade an array of victuals in front of you, one after another, for as long as you stay with them.

I was there this weekend, from Saturday morning until Sunday lunch, and I partook of the following: Akuri,strawberry jam, upma, pancakes, sausages,fish fry, butter chicken, butter paneer, chili chicken, chicken sali, dal ghost, dal fry, kheema pav, mutton biryani, chicken curry and fish fingers.

Not to mention fresh strawberries and cream, strawberry rabdi and caramel pudding.

And lest I forget, endless cups of chai, biscuits and khari toast for all those hours that I wasn’t in their dining room.

Is it, I ask you, any wonder that I look upon my neighbours, my fellow citizens from Pune, and indeed the rest of humanity with a benevolent smile on my suddenly chubby visage? Why, I am even willing to think fondly of the Pune Municipal Corporation.

And if Hotel Prospect can manage that, well. Really. No further endorsement, I assure you, is necessary.

~~

#All views expressed in this column are those of the author and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to the same.

Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish is a confirmed Punekar, which guarantees eternal undying love for the city, but also mandates an incurable sense of cynicism about it.

He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime
Ashish Kulkarni

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