Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pune's Peacock Village

Fifty kilometers from Pune lies a tiny village surrounded by tamarind groves and fields of barley, corn and brightly colored sunflowers. But what makes this little village special from others are the hundreds of peacocks that have made this place their home.

Morachi Chincholi. Located deep inside rural Maharashtra yet close enough for a day trip from Pune. The drive down Nagar Road on the Pune-Admednagar Highway SH27 for the first 30 kilometers was smooth. We went past the many factories - Bharat Forge, John Deere, etc. - and warehouses that are located here just past the Pune city limits. We then turned into Kanhur Mesai Phata right after crossing the Velu River in Shikarpur.



Now the road was getting narrower with a few bumpy streches. There were long distances filled with swaying stalks of grains, vegetables and orchards. The only sign of modern civilization were the electricity lines along our road. Amazingly, my cellphone still worked and I wondered where the towers were located - I couldn't see any.

After crossing the small villages of Hiware and Dhumal Pimple we finally reached Morachi Chincholi. We stopped in front of a farmer's house and made arrangements for lunch. It was already noon and there were no peacocks in sight. However, the green and yellow fields made for a lovely sight in the distance. We learnt that the peacocks are best viewed at dawn and when the sun begins to set. During the daytime they usually take shelter from the hot sun by hiding in the orchards and forests.



We spent the next hour walking through the fields and taking pictures before going back for lunch. Lunch was a simple affair: we sat cross-legged in traditional Indian fashion in the open verandah of the farmer's house as he and his wife served us with freshly made bakri - a flatbread made of millet, pithle - a dish made by boiling chickpeas flour with water until thick and tempered with mustard seeds and chopped green chillies. They also served raw onion and radish, lime pickles and eggplant in a hot and spicy peanut gravy. A typical Maharashtrian farmer's daily fare.

We then moved into the Chincholi village, the road to which is adorned by a rather large arch. We stopped at Mayur Baug - a rustic resort that has a lot of interesting attraction to keep kids busy while the grown-ups wait until it is time for the peacocks to appear.




Mayur Baug has a kids park, a magic show, a puppet show and a farm full of geese, turkeys, horses, camels and other livestock. While the magic show and puppet show were fun - especially since they were in the middle of rustic surroundings, the livestock were in a sorry state of neglect. There are even bullock-cart rides and tractor rides for those who book a package in advance.

As the sun began to set at 5 PM, the first peacocks began to make an appearance. They slowly appeared from the forests into the surrounding fields. Mayur Baug has a very nice viewing gallery which was by now full of tourists excited to see the birds - with their shiny, velvety green necks and long tails.



Peacocks - the male of the species - are the ones with the flashy tails. The female and young males do not have the tail feathers but still make for a beautiful sight. the female lays eggs in the ground, but interestingly keeps a few 'decoy' eggs away from the ones she is laying to keep away predators. They usually sleep in the night on trees.

A ticket to Mayur Baug includes a complimentary chai with kanda bhajis. They were worth the wait - and after wolfing them down we began our drive back home. All in all, a fun day.

Incidentally, another place near Pune we had run into peacocks was on the way to Mauli Hills.

PS: During the evening, you can buy fresh greens and vegetables at very low prices directly from the farmers near the entrance of Mayur Baug.

To make bookings at Mayur Baug: Ph 2545 0095 in Pune, or 2284 5678 in Mumbai. Email: info@morachichincholi.com

20 comments:

Sagar Sonker said...

Splendid!

Lakshmi said...

simple are the pleasures of rustic tourism...i am very fond of sunflower fields...would love to get there sometime

Ravi Ranjan said...

Thanks for sharing, looks excellent day trip place, specially with kids. We recently had Pitle Bakri at a dhaba on nagar road and it tasted awesome.

Sank said...

Wonderful pictures Shantanu. Your daughter is growing up..

Funny story, years ago I was in California, one a fishing expeidition. I was in the Sacramento River delta near Stockton walking sitting on the bank when behind me there was some commontion in the brush. I was totally shocked to see a peacock come strutting out of the bushes. It was male, not the perfect beautiful specimens you see in the zoo, this one was wild, tail feathers were missing, but it was what it was.
Over the course of an hour a couple hens came along adding to my surprise.
Later, in a local resturant I asked about the peacocks, sure enough wild peacocks have established themselves in California, they were escaped pets from some of the orchards and adpated quite well to the climate in the Sacramento delta.

Anand said...

This is really beautiful.

I was planning a short trip and was not finding a suitable venue.
You have just given it to me.

Aathira said...

Wonderful... passed the link onto a friend in Pune.

HAREKRISHNAJI said...

Now I regret for not visiting MArachi Chincholi before.

Terrific photographs.

Anonymous said...
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indicaspecies said...

As Lakshmi pointed out, rustic tourism indeed. Did you enjoy the meal served by the Maharashtrian farmers, or was it just satisfactory?

Shantanu said...

@Sagar: Welcome here. Glad you liked it.

@Lakshmi: Indeed.

@Ravi Ranjan: Let us know here about your experience if you do visit.

@Sank: That certainly was interesting! The only other place I have seen zoo animals escape and make their home in the wilderness are in those end-of-the-world movies. :)

@Anand: Thanks for leaving a comment...

@Aathira: Long time!

@Harekrishnaji: Let me know how you find it if you visit.

@indicaspecies: Good to see you back here. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi,
Really nice photography.. I've also visited Morachi Chincholi. I got detailed information from www.chincholimorachi.com & route map also.

Sanjay

Shantanu said...

@Sanjay: Thank you for pointing us to the website. There is indeed a detailed map with directions for both Mumbai and Pune travellers.

Bhooshan Kulkarni said...

Awesome! In fact; a couple of weeks back, I was talking to one of my friends that where can we get to see peacocks nearby Pune and I got the answer from your post :). Also the pics are wonderful. The color and clarity looks like they are shot with a pro camera. I hope you must have shot these with your new Canon camera.

Shantanu said...

@Bhooshan: You are correct! I am the proud owner of a Canon S90, probably the best one compact csmera one can buy. :)

Karthik Sankar said...

Nice place, and a wonderful read.I am so drawn by the mirage of peacocks, the lunch, the chai and bajjis that I want to put up a rope bed between the trees and sleep some lazy slumber. But what to do I have deadlines to keep and miles to go before I sleep :)

Karthik Sankar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unny & Bindhu said...

Hi
Nice photos.
Is this the same place as Mayureshwar Wild life sanctuary?
We went there once after a long drive through villages to find the place.
happy travelling

Unny/bindhu

HAREKRISHNAJI said...

Yesterday my wife suggested that we should go to Morachi Chincholi, but I insisted on going to Jadhavgadh at Saswad, lovely place, Jadhavgadhi, once the fort of maratha warrior Pilajirao Jadhav now turned to Jadhavgadh by Vithal Kamath. We went in the afternoon for food, then I felt we should have gone there in the evening . They have nice open air restaurant "Payatha " the base of gadi.

I opt for buffet But I think the food was missing the "Delicacy " . May be I should not have compared it with "Orchid " in Mumbai. Anyway it was real unique experience.

Shantanu said...

@Karthik: Life will only get busier as time passes...until you are too old to travel. So, you have to make the time! :)

@Unny/Bindhu: I don't think Mayureshwar is the same as this place.

@Harekrishnaji: I have been wanted to visit Jadhavgarh too.

ram said...

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Thanks You.



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Chief Marketing Officer