As we made ourselves cozy inside the homestay in a small village surrounded by the Sahyadris and sipped tea along with authentic Maharashtrian snacks, it rained and thundered outside. Dusk was falling and refreshing breeze was blowing , with camera in hand and the windcheater, we started our walk around the village. Frequent lightning and thundering, with gradually reducing intensity of rain, we maneuvered our way towards the small temple in the village .We sat there and watched as darkness started looming over the village and anticipation increasing our pulse as it was getting darker. The sound of crickets started getting louder as we discuss about the fireflies and about the strange name of the village.
Credits-Mumbai Travellers. This image has been captured in Bandardhara-a place near Purushwadi village
Look! “There’s a firefly” Shouted a friend pointing towards the tree beside the temple. Look!there’s another over there. Yes! the fireflies had started glowing. In no time, the same tree was covered with hundreds of this magical beings.
We stood up and started walking around and I was taken aback by the magic that these fireflies had created. It was a view so were millions of them and the trees besides the road were laden with these natural lights. I had never seen something like this. Entire village was load-shedded due to the heavy rainfall in the evening. It seemed as if the lights has been switched off intentionally and hundreds of Christmas trees decorated with lights are put up everywhere.
I took out my camera and tried to capture the magic. Unfortunately,no matter how long the exposure is, without a stable support it was not possible to capture these beautiful beings. May be because beautiful things in life are only to be experienced and no picture how perfectly taken can do justice to the beauty of this out of the world view.
We returned to the Home-stay for dinner and after a sumptuous meal, we headed towards the observed a strange thing as we were treading the fireflies within the same tree or among the adjacent trees would glow in a synchronized fashion as if they have been programmed to do so. One after another, fireflies in group would glow on each tree and with higher intensity than the other as if they are in a race.
With sounds of crickets, insects and the glowing fireflies all around us, it was as if a dream like the ones in the fairy tales. We were the sole spectator of this magic when the clock ticked 1 in the morning.
And I thought to myself that there will be many more places around the country with secret treasures like this and those things would be just a common thing for them but it will be once in a lifetime experience for us. Before my visit here, I had not even seen a single firefly and getting awe-struck by millions of them shimmering all around you is not anything less than magic.
Next morning we started our journey back to Mumbai crossing the beautiful Sahyadris and as we neared the city, I could feel all the difference. From noise of the crickets to the honking of cars, from the sweet fragrance of countryside soil to the smoke, and from small thatched roofs to the sky scrapers, it seemed like two completely different worlds. But yes, both of these have their own share of struggle and I couldn’t help but wish these gems of the rural world prosper and their people do not have to have to migrate to the big cities. And hoped that I could visit the ambassadors on a mission to show the wonders of nature to the world in future too.
Where is this place?
This village called Purushwadi is 200 kms from Mumbai and around 80 kms from Igatpuri. A rural tourism and experiential travel company called Grassroutes promoting rural tourism and providing employment to the people in the you want to have rustic village experience and witness the festival of a million fireflies, Purushwadi is the place. All thanks to Grassroutes for identifying this gem.
Our trip was planned by Mumbai Travellers and this was their first fireflies festival to left no stone unturned to make this a unique and wonderful experience.
What is the perfect time to visit this place ?
After the first pre-monsoon shower, these fireflies begin to glow and last week of May to June end before the heavy monsoon shower begin is the perfect time to visit this place.
Why and when do they glow?
Fireflies are actually beetles which shows bio-luminescence and the male fireflies are the ones that radiates the light to attract the female fireflies. It sounds weird but it’s the rear end of the fireflies that glows at night. And the time after the pre-monsoon shower is their mating season. And it is said that the fireflies on adjacent trees compete to attract the female fireflies which leads to the different pattern of their radiance.
Where else can we find the fireflies?
The fireflies are usually found in woods and forests, along lakes and streams and unruly meadows and miles away from light pollution. There are many places in Western Ghats of Maharashtra like Bandardhara, Rajmachi, Prabalmachi, Wanjulshet etc where fireflies can be found in this season.
All things good are wild and free and people often search for them in the expensive cafes, pubs and Tolstoy once said “One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken.”