The Strawberry Village: Parthawadi, Maharashtra
Located at an altitude of about 2,130 feet above sea level is the strawberry farm village of Parthawadi. This village of Parthawadi is located at a distance of 27 km from the town of Wai, in the state of Maharashtra. The village is located on the banks of the River Krishna, which flows along the village.
The best and also most economical way of getting to the village of Parthawadi is to board a bus to Wai and from there board any of the local state transport or ST buses plying in that direction. There are buses after an interval of 30 minute from the Wai bus station. The bus ride from Wai bus station to village takes about 35 minutes.
The other option available is to hop onto one of the share seat private jeeps that ferry people at a faster pace but at a higher cost. These jeeps can be found lined up on the road opposite the State Transport (ST) bus stand. The jeep service operates from 6 am to 8 pm. These jeeps reach Parthawadi village in about 20 minutes.
The people residing in Parthawadi village speak a dialect of the regional language Marathi, but are also well versed in Hindi, since most of them have worked and lived a few years in the city of Mumbai. The villagers in Parthawadi are farmers by profession and grow a variety of crops from wheat to sugarcane.
During the winter months from November to January the village farms are used for the cultivation of strawberries. This is the only village in the Wai belt where strawberries are grown. The gentle slopes and plenty of water for irrigation from the River Krishna aid the growth of the strawberry fruit.
The houses in the village of Parthawadi are made of dung walls and tiled roofing. Just before sundown the villagers bring their cattle home and tie them in their living room. This is done to prevent them from getting stolen.
In Parthawadi there are no provisions for accommodation and hence the only option a traveller has is to either camp on the banks of the River Krishna or to opt for a home stay. Choosing a home stay is a better option for those in search of the culture of the place since it is the best way to get a feel of the place by staying with one of the families.
Another option available is to spend a night in the make shift huts near the strawberry fields, this is a unique and for many a once in a life time opportunity to spend the night in a strawberry farm. These huts are made by the farmers to keep a watch on their fruit by night to avoid people from stealing and spoiling the crop.
There are no restaurants in the village and for food one can request a family to cook some food for which most of the village people do not even charge. A meal in Parthwadi village consists of dal, rice, chappati, vegetable, boiled eggs and is completes with strawberries for dessert.
The best time to visit Parthawadi is during the months of November to end of February since the weather is perfect for wilderness backpacking. It is strongly recommended to carry a sleeping bag along since the temperatures in the night drop well below 7°C.
The village of Parthawadi is a place meant more for the traveller and less for the tourist as this village does not have any sights to offer. It is an ideal village for a backpacker since it has all the requirements for wilderness backpacking with all the elements of well and truly living away from the civilised world as one knows it.
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