Sunday saw a team of nine intrepid student adventurers and three accompanying staff make an early start to visit Thanale Caves, on the way out towards Pali. The Caves - ancient Buddhist meditation caves were hewn from the rock of a cliff face with spectacular views across the coastal plains of Maharashtra. They are a relaxed and serene location now used for yoga retreats and one of the bonuses of the day was that we were the only party walking there. We set off at a brisk pace climbing up through the woodlands, enjoying the shade offered by the canopy of trees on a hot sunny morning. Everywhere we were surrounded by nature. We successfully searched among the rocks and trees for lizards, crabs and also found huge great frogs languishing in the streams, as well as others clinging to the trees. Together we enjoyed the sight of large Blue Mormon butterflies flying through forest glades and listening to Malabar Whistling thrushes serenade us.
The heat of the climb was broken with a fun dip in the plunge pool of a waterfall, which provided an invigorating massage as we cooled down in the waters.
Once we had explored the caves, studying the carvings and trying out the resonance of the monks' cells we returned to the stream below for lunch. A family from Thanale village had carried up chicken curry, rice, dahl, veg, and chapati, so we enjoyed a picnic of delicious home cooking in the beautiful surroundings by the river. A truly beautiful experience. A fun and enthusiastic team of students made a swift descent down the hills to the village and everyone arrived safe and exhausted after a long and truly enjoyable day. Thanks to all the students for making it such an enjoyable day out, and to Jungle Lore for once again organising a trek with a little something extra.