It was Raghav’s Bday on the 7th & as a Birthday treat he took us [Anuj, Hemant, Anshu & Me] to Choki Dhani [the pune one]. I don’t know why it took us so long to figure out, but now we realise that instead of going to some swanky/hip eatout [where we end up eating the same stuff anyway that costs a ridiculous amount & tastes even more ridiculous! ] it’s much better to head off somewhere, sightsee & have fun. So for Heman & my treat we went to Matheran, & now to Choki Dhani.
How To get there: Get on Bund Garden Rd[Le Meridian], keep on it till you come to the T-junction after the Pune Central. Take a left, go over the bridge & at the end of the bridge turn right [follow the signs leading to the Airport]. This is highway kind stretch, & a quite long one. Keep heading straight for about 10 kms, then there is a right turn onto a dirt road, inclining down. Follow it to reach CD. Its 25 Kms max from Kothrud to CD, the whole trip was about 45 kms.
The entry is worth Rs. 300, which includes dinner, pass to various folk dances/activites, & 5 coupons per person to use for paid activities [games like bulls eye, rides etc.]
Random notes on visit:
-You are welcomed with a cheery “Ram Ram Sa!” & a tika is put on your head
-As we entered, we saw stalls of Kachori chat, Chana , Pakodis, Jaleera. Sampled all, Mouth watering…*slurp* 🙂
– A large gong was hung to one side…we all took shots at it… GONG !!
-There was a jyotishi [fortune-teller], tried our luck there….Anshu’s was the most promising. Chinta mat karo Anshu bhai, nazreein mil jayengi 😉
-Right above him was a lady making “Bajre ki roti”. There was a huge que so we deemed it important enough to taste. They were fresh from the choolah & was served with some lahsun ki chutney [Garlic chutney] & sprinkled with gudh[jaggery]. They were heavenly!! The gudh made them indescribable…
-The others tried a head massage…it was all in the entry fee! I had a look around…spotted various animals pulling carts/bagghis. Saw a camel & it was promptly added on the to-do list!
-Played bull’e eye using teer-dhanush [bow & arrow], only Hemant hit it!
-Saw some stunning performances…a dancing flame spitter, a daredevil tightrope walker.
-Drank some sugarcane juice…wanted to eat some icegola, but saved that for dessert.
-Dinner for our group was at 9:15. Reached there to see a looong line.
-Got to sit in a nice cosy place….away from the entrance.
-Food was served in Pattals [leaf plates]
-Some meal it was…this is what is a meal fit for kings.
-We were given padis, which made us feel like Kings 😀
-Salads, various pickels/chutneys. Dal, Kadhi, Methi ki Subzi, Gatte Ki Subzi. Makke ki roti, daal baati, choorma, khichdi with ghee shakkar, rice,jalebi, papad. All unlimited!
-The servers were complete fun. They joked with us, made fun cnversation & treated us like their own. At the end of the meal, each of them personally fed us 2 jalebis each! Loved their hospitality.You guys made of visit even more special 🙂
-Next up was the camel ride…we all took a ride. I rode solo…mere saath koi aur chalta toh ooth bhi tension mein aa jata! Itna khane ke baad wazan toh air bhi badh gaya tha 😉
–The camel was named “Babloo” & was 30 yrs old. Riding on him was fun…way more comfortable than riding ponies [Matheran trip]!!
-Tried our hands at pottery…was really nice. Loved watching the mud turn into vessels!
-Got Tattooed…not really. They were painted on….all except anshu got them..Looks cool!
By now it was 11pm. It might seem as if we did not do much, but in 4 hrs we covered everything. And very leisurely…there were many chaarpais etc. so we lay down, took dozens of photos & had a blast. It was like a mela with the right amount off ppl so you don’t feel stifled. This is definitely one place everyone in pune should go to, atleast once.
An amazing experience.