Green Sunday – Watermelon Festival By Divya Toprani !!
I’m not an avid fruit lover and perhaps Watermelon on the list of my favorite fruits would appear much below; But, that was Yesterday!
After several discussions with Karishma (Ecotours Division Head, Mumbai Travellers, and a close friend); I decided to go against my lazy self and spend Sunday at “Maharashtra’s first ever Watermelon Festival” organized by “Shivar Agro Tourism“ in association with “Mumbai Travellers“.
We were approaching the destination by bus. The journey started early morning and I was the last one to be picked up. Once, all on board, our peppy and ever smiling team leaders – Karishma & Nikita introduced themselves and explained how our day would look like. We still had an hour before we reach so we were given a quick nap time (of course to catch up on our remaining Sunday morning sleep).
Wide awake and fresh now, we reached Shivar Agro around 10:30 am. We were straight headed to the breakfast session where we had some yummy poha and hot tea (and the sleepiness was wiped off from the eyes). Post breakfast we gathered in a circle and started introducing ourselves to each other (an Icebreaker!). Now that we knew each other better, Mr. Rahul (from Shivar Agro) took over the talking and explained us the Do’s and Don’t’s while visiting the farms. Noting all of it in mind, we grabbed our sunglasses, water bottles, and scarfs and headed towards the sights for the day.
Our first stop was an area where different saplings of Lemon, Custard Apple, Papaya, Watermelon etc were being grown. We were told that once they are matured enough these saplings would be taken to the farm and be planted. This assures that they grow well!
Next was the Watermelon Farms! I had never seen a watermelon growing before. The ones in initial stage looked so tiny and were covered in a protective shield (which protected them from pests).
We were then taken to another orchard where they grew banana’s, chickoos and more. It was a 2 Km drive from where we were so we all jumped into our bus and proceeded.
Once we reached there, we were greeted with yummy watermelon juice (Thanks, MT Team for arranging this – was much needed). Post relishing the cool drink, we headed to explore chickoo, banana, papaya and jackfruit farms. All of it was under the guidance of Mr. Gautam (owner of the farm and a seasoned farmer himself) who was more than happy to answer our curious questions.
After an hour long survey, we were back to the main site to savor a yummy lunch. Oh, what a relief it was! But a bonus waiting for us was furthermore overwhelming – Freshly prepared Watermelon Ice Cream!
Now was the time for an informational session about the star of the day – Watermelon. We were explained various benefits, compositions, types, growing techniques and much more about the fruit through an engaging and informative presentation.
Post this session, now, it was Watermelon tasting time! We were asked to have as many as we can. The juicy and sweet melons were the best bet to beat the heat.
Enjoying rustic life is incomplete without experiencing their local traditions. Hence, the TARPA. A group of enthusiastic villagers was there to perform their folk dance for us! The spirit was so infectious that we all joined to move our feets along (though couldn’t really match them).
After a refreshing tea and vada time, we all gathered around our charismatic leader Karishma to honor her closure speech but she had all of us by surprise when she handed over the cutest giveaways (very thoughtful – Kudos!).
We all posed for a group picture before we boarded the bus and ended our eventful day though the fun continued as we played dumb charades in the bus!
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and Watermelon now has definitely moved up my list (I have a 3 Kg watermelon which I am going to relish now)!
Also, credits to Mumbai Travelers team for coming up with tours which are socially uplifting. Looking forward to more!