An Evening with a Million Fireflies in Purushwadi, Maharashtra

5 Jun

“Imagine walking along a meandering path with very many twinkling fairy lights moving all around you in pitch darkness. Inspiring an innocent wonder, adding a bit of magic to the air and bringing out the child in you in trying chase these lights.” – To sum it up in a few words this was my experience at my first sight of thousands of fireflies at the recent Fireflies Festival in Purushwadi with Grassroutes.  

Festival of Million Fireflies at Purushwadi. Pic courtesy Sunny Lamba

The “Festival of a million Fireflies” or the “Fireflies Festival” is an annual event organized by Grassroutes between May – July in Purushwadi, a small village roughly 4.5 hours’ drive from Mumbai. Grassroutes is a social eco-tourism enterprise working to promote rural tourism and to create livelihood opportunities for rural communities. I had read about this festival a couple of years ago and had wanted to attend ever since, but somehow my plans just never materialized. Partly reason being that this phenomena happens only for a limited period i.e. for 4-6 weeks around the time of the first rains. Firefly ‘flashes’ are part of a complex system of mating where male fireflies use distinctive patterns of flashing light and flying to attract females of their species. And they need a fair amount of rain to start flitting around and flirting with their female counterparts. However when it starts raining heavily, they can’t take the weight of the raindrops and die, thereby ending the season.

Enroute Purushwadi, Maharashtra

Enroute Purushwadi, Maharashtra

Luckily things worked out this year and one fine day I found myself on the road to Purushwadi ready to experience this wonder in-person. The drive was comfortable and the roads were quite good. On arriving in the Grassroutes camp, I was welcomed and assigned my own tent and a dedicated guide. The afternoon was incredibly hot so I couldn’t do much and decided to explore the village, have lunch at a local host’s home and enjoy the slow village life.

A sumptuous meal at Purushwadi, Maharashtra

Purushwadi is a tribal village inhabited by Mahadeo Kolis with agriculture as their main means of livelihood. I walked through the village to the host’s home and saw fresh groundnut and harde fruit drying all around. The meal was in the hosts’ modest home with a thatched roof, mud floor and an actual chulha (Indian equivalent to a stove / cooking gas which is fired by wood or cow dung).The food was simple, organic and tasty. With a satisfied stomach, and to avoid doing anything in the afternoon heat, I decided to enjoy a nice afternoon siesta in my tent followed by the sunset trek. However late afternoon brought with it the first rain of the season so I just sat inside the common tent and enjoyed the spectacle while making new friends (with the other visitors), playing games and discussing the effects of this rain on the fireflies 🙂

Walking around Purushwadi, Maharashtra

Purushwadi, Maharashtra

The rains continued for a while which resulted in cancellation of the sunset trek. However once the rains stopped we all stepped out for a walk through the village to the dam nearby. I saw the village temple, fields, houses, the village school and the local variety of mango trees. The rains had dropped a lot of mangoes from the trees on the ground too and a few village children were happily collecting them. The area around the dam was really scenic and the rains had added a nice touch of green to the surrounding countryside. As I walked back, I saw the sun setting behind the surrounding hills infusing a beautiful orange-red color to the sky.

The surrounding countryside, Purushwadi, Maharashtra

Sunset hues at Purushwadi, Maharashtra

But as nightfall approached, everyone’s excitement started building up and all we could think or speak about were fireflies. And just like that all of a sudden we saw one burst of light here and another there and in a matter of just a few minutes we could see these beautiful bursts of lights, like twinkling stars. all around us.

Our camp at twilight, Purushwadi, Maharashtra

Before heading to Purushwadi, I had read numerous articles about this phenomena but nothing had prepared me for the actual sight. There were literally thousands of fireflies all around me and I felt as if I had been transported to a magical land with a sprinkle of twinkling fairy dust all around me. I and my guide walked along a meandering path from the camp to the village for dinner and all along we were accompanied by these beautiful bursts of light as far as we could see. It was like walking through a pathway lit up with Diwali celebratory lights. The fireflies also moved in a certain rhythm creating different patterns and formations and making the trees and the surrounding forest glow.

Millions of fireflies, Purushwadi, Maharashtra. Pic courtesy Sunny Lamba

I then walked down towards a dry river and saw the highlight of the trip – there was a huge harde tree every inch of which was covered with fireflies and at a regular interval, of a few seconds, the entire tree lit up like a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. This sight was surreal and one has to actually see it to truly understand the beauty of this moment. No photograph can ever do it justice. Also times like these always make me realize how diverse nature can be and how it never stops surprising me. After what seemed like a long time of wordlessly staring at the tree, I returned to the camp and enjoyed the fireflies’ show from my tent before finally calling it a night.

The next morning I woke up to the beautiful sound of birds all around me and decided to walk around the camp and enjoy the early morning solitude. There is an option of a sunrise walk but unfortunately I had slept through that one!

Apart from the fireflies there are loads of village activities like rice husking, pounding, wood chopping, mango plucking, tree climbing, river swimming but I had to return to Mumbai for some work and left post breakfast. All in all I loved this experience and it is definitely one of my unique travel nature-experiences. This is something I totally recommend to everyone.

In case you would like to visit Purushwadi too for this festival, please use the following discount code ‘Snigdha5’ to get a 5% discount on your payment.

Tips for the trip –

  1. This year the Festival dates are from 26th May to 30 June and to avoid crowds, I suggest you try and visit on a weekday.
  2. You can either choose to drive or take public transport to reach Purushwadi. Google maps shows the correct location to the camp.
  3. Purushwadi is a village and Grassroutes has tried to maintain as authentic a village experience as possible. So please be prepared for a very rustic but comfortable stay with no fans, no ACs, no electric sockets, no refrigerators, or bottled water etc. And please be prepared to eat a lot of fresh fruits, food and spend time with nature’s creatures.
  4. There are options to stay either in tents or homestays i.e. in local houses. I chose a tent as I haven’t stayed in one before. It was compact and comfortable with common washroom facilities.
  5. There is no mobile or data network here so do be prepared to be cut off from your everyday life for the duration of your stay.
  6. Fireflies cannot be captured on camera by normal or phone camera. You need a DSLR with long exposure setting and a tripod.

My stay and the Fireflies experience was sponsored by Grassroutes but the views expressed above are my own.

Advertisements

13 Responses to “An Evening with a Million Fireflies in Purushwadi, Maharashtra”

  1. Sachin Baikar June 5, 2018 at 22:59 #

    Nice write-up with beautiful pictures 👍
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Like

  2. Marie Rogers June 6, 2018 at 06:45 #

    I imagine that is an incredible experience. The countryside looks beautiful.

    Like

    • getsetandgo June 6, 2018 at 14:42 #

      Thanks Marie. It was an amazing experience and I hope to be able to see it again sometime.

      Like

  3. vietnamtravelandculture June 6, 2018 at 07:17 #

    Reblogged this on Vietnam Travel & Trade Portal .

    Like

  4. parwatisingari June 9, 2018 at 18:38 #

    lovely and tempting.

    Like

  5. Nomadosauras June 29, 2018 at 20:19 #

    Beautiful pictures and excellent tips for capturing the elusive fireflies! I have been trekking regularly for the past 5 years now but somehow plans always fall apart during the first showers of the monsoon! But I’ll make it a point to witness this wonderful sight next year 😀
    Cheers!

    Like

    • getsetandgo December 6, 2018 at 10:41 #

      Hey, thanks for your message. It is a stunning sight and I hope your plans work out this year :)…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. snaptravelandpop July 5, 2018 at 13:10 #

    Wow – so many fireflies! They are really beautiful – never seen that many in one place before!

    Like

    • getsetandgo December 6, 2018 at 10:42 #

      Yah.. I was quite spellbound…Its not like anything I had ever seen before 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. riyakesari October 24, 2018 at 17:36 #

    Nice post. This was really helpful post, thanks!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: