The Machan Gallery Vol 3

The Machan resort in Lonavala is an exclusive eco-resort with unique tree houses rising 45 feet above the forest, offering complete serenity to those looking to escape into nature. In the heart of the Western Ghats, The Machan endorses the principles of sustainability, conservation, preservation, and community. 

What is The Machan Gallery?

One of the most important pillars of a community is its artists. As such, The Machan promotes the creation and appreciation of all art forms on its property. ‘The Machan Gallery’ initiative was launched in line with this thought to appreciate the art of photography. Resorts near Pune are a visual treat to the eyes, both real and artificial; but capturing their true beauty and the memories made there requires patience, creativity, and appreciation for the same- all three values that we hold dear to our heart. 

Under ‘The Machan Gallery’ initiative, 10 best captured moments are nominated for public vote on our social media handles. The winners are awarded gifts and vouchers by The Machan. 

What can you capture at The Machan?

The Machan is a haven for anyone interested in photography. Right from simple moments with your significant other or friends relaxing by the pool or in a hammock to stunning sunsets, wildlife, and the pitter-patter of the rains during the monsoon season, capture whatever intrigues you the most. From wide angle shots on a professional camera to pictures taken simply on your phone, we encourage and appreciate all forms of photography, for each photograph is a wonderful memory specially curated by you. 

The Machan is an ideal weekend getaway from Mumbai and Pune for a digital detox and an art indulgence. Plan your next holiday at The Machan and don’t forget to pack your cameras!

Interested in The Machan Gallery? Click here to see the previous nominations. 

The Elegant Partnership of Figs and Fig Wasps

It is widely believed that figs were actually the fruit in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, not apples. The early Olympic athletes used figs as a training food. Figs were also presented as laurels to the winners, becoming the first Olympic ‘medal.’ Chances are that you may be familiar with the common fig or ‘anjeer’ that has found its way from ancient art, to the early Olympics, to gourmet cuisine, and now also to our palettes. 

Fig trees do not flower

It is one of the 750 known species of ficus, and the Machan, one of the finest resorts in Lonavala is home to several of them. If you have seen a fig tree before, you must have noticed that unlike other fruit trees, fig trees do not flower. What is this mystery of the missing flower? This secret is hidden inside the garden that figs themselves make, and the special relationship that they have with fig wasps. 

The relationship between figs and fig wasps

Over 18 millions years ago, fig trees formed an elegant partnership with some tiny, stingless wasps. Fig trees produce a secret garden of tiny flowers, enclosed within a thick wall- this arrangement looks like a fruit. You may say that the flowers are inside the fruit. Each fig species depends on a particular type of wasp to pollinate its flowers. The female wasp enters the fruit through a small opening below it and deposits her eggs in a cavity. In this process, she may lose some parts of her wings and antennae. Along with the eggs, she also deposits the pollen collected from the original host fig. This allows the female flowers inside the fruit to pollinate and mature. After this, the female wasps die.

The female is born pregnant

After the fig develops, wasp eggs develop into larvae. After the pupal stage, the mature male’s first act is to mate with a female- even before she hatches. As such, the female will emerge pregnant. The male digs a tunnel through the fruit for the female to come out of it. The wingless male wasps cannot survive outside the fig for much longer. The females come out of the tunnel, picking up pollen on their way. They then fly to another tree of the same species for the cycle to continue. The pollinator females are fragile and only live for a day or two. However, they can travel upto 160 kilometers to find figs for pollination. 

Keystone species

The now ripened and wasp-free figs emit a fruity odor in the air that attracts squirrels, maynas, barbets, fruit bats, parakeets, macaws, and even the nocturnal loris and civets. Thus, figs are a keystone species as they sustain a variety of wildlife creatures. Scientists are now using figs for this power to kickstart rainforest regeneration in areas that have been locked. 

The Machan is dedicated towards the preservation of all the species in its ecosystem. If you think these creatures are interesting, you should explore our naturalist series and find out interesting facts about more commonly seen insects like termites and spiders to name a few. Our nature paradise near Mumbai is open for you to take a trail and explore every species from frogs and squirrels to thrushes and monkeys. 

Responsible Tourism Society of India to onboards Machan Resorts to Promote Sustainable Tourism Practices in the Western Ghats

The machan and RTSOI

The Machan is pleased to announce that it is now a member of the Responsible Tourism Society of India (RTSOI). This membership will aid in minimizing any negative social, economic, and environmental impact that tourism may have on the ecosystems of the Western Ghats and preserve its communities. 

Who is RTSOI ?

The Responsible Tourism Society of India (RTSOI) is a non-profit organization, established with the aim to promote and ensure environmentally responsible and sustainable practices in the tourism industry. The founding body of RTSOI comprises 13 widely experienced professionals from relevant fields. They are:

  • Mr. Rakesh Mathur- Former CEO, Bass (IHG) Hotels, South and West Asia; Former President, ITC Welcomheritage Hotels
  • Mr. Steve Borgia- MD, Indeco Hotels, Chennai
  • Mr. Mandip Singh Soin, FRGS- Founder & Managing Director, Ibex Expeditions Pvt. Ltd.
  • Mr. Jose Dominic- MD, CGH Earth Hotels
  • Mr. P.D. Rai- Former Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
  • Dr. Venu V, IAS- Revenue Secretary, Government of Kerala
  • Mr. Ravi Singh- CEO, WWF India
  • Mr. Toby Sinclair- Wildlife Film Maker; Director Indian Safaris
  • Mr. Avay Shukla- Additional Chief Secretary (Retired); Government of Himachal Pradesh
  • Mr. Krishna Kumar Singh- Former MLA and Environmentalist 
  • Mr. Sudhir Sahi- Consultant, UNDP
  • Mr. Niranjan Kharti- Founder, iSambhav; Former GM Environment, ITC Welcome Group Hotels 
  • Mr. Mr. Sarath C.R.- Chief Naturalist, Taj Safaris; Associate Director Evolve Back Resorts

“While we talk about the benefits of tourism, it is also important to acknowledge and take actions against the substantial negative impacts this industry has on a destination’s environment, culture, and locals. The Machan promotes eco-friendly tourism practices and is one of the few resorts that implement plans to be as sustainable as possible and minimize any damage to the Western Ghats,” Machan’s spokesperson. 

The Machan’s strategies for sustainability

  • Use of only LED lighting throughout the property
  • Provide pure mountain water for consumptions in glass bottles from the property’s 300 foot deep bore well
  • Recycle 80% of all greywater and use it to water plants on the property
  • To reduce dependency on fossil fuels, the Machan uses parabolic solar cookers to cook a portion of meals
  • All energy is generated off-grid from renewable resources 

The Machan shares RTSOI’s vision of sustainable tourism and the synergy between the two organizations aims at benefitting the Western Ghats by making positive contributions to the conservation of the biodiversity of the area and generating economic benefits for the local communities. 

The joined resources and efforts of RTSOI and the Machan will result in:

  • Formulating and implementing plans for long-term sustainability efforts
  • Working with relevant bodies of power to establish sustainable tourism practices which will not only include conservation of nature and wildlife but also allow local communities to benefit from tourism
  • Better support for eco-based research
  • Promotion of efficient energy saving practices like water harvesting, use of solar and other natural energy sources, and reducing overall carbon footprint
  • Organize training and other activities for guests, staff and locals to create awareness on ecotourism and sustainable tourism

Additionally, RTSOI will help The Machan network with sustainability experts and offer solutions to problems relating to sustainability, and inspire other resorts in Lonavala . As a member, the Machan will have a medium to share its best practices with other member organizations and promote its vision.

The Naturalist Diaries: Termite Mounds, Soldiers and the Queen.

The Machan is an eco-friendly resort in Lonavala set in a recovering forest ecosystem in the hills of the Western Ghats. Its forests are home to one of nature’s best builders that are often only looked at as domestic nuisances. When you think of termites, probably the only thing that comes to your mind is that they’re wood eaters. However, termites or white ants are fairly interesting creatures with more than 2,000 known species in the world, and there is a lot one can learn about them. 

Termites are blind

Termites are small ant-like insects that live in mounds or nests on the ground. An interesting fact about them is that most worker and soldier termites are blind by virtue of not having eyes at all! They have sense organs located on the base of their antennae and tibiae that allow them to sense vibrations. Scientists have observed that some species choose which food sources to infest by sensing vibroacoustic signals emitted by various pieces of wood. They also use vibrations to communicate with one another. 

Termites versus Ants

Although their social structure resembles that of ants, termites are the descendants of cockroaches while ants are the descendants of wasps. Unlike ants, termites are strictly vegetarian and feed on dead wood, moss, and lichens. Ants are in fact the number one enemies for termites. Occasionally, termite and ant colonies that are near each other will go to war over territory and access to food.

Termite mounds

The construction of a mound begins from under the ground and has the same height below ground as it has above. The worker termites are responsible for building these mounds by mixing soil and their saliva. Due to its architecture, the mound is essentially air conditioned and remains seven degrees cooler than the temperature outside. Each nest or mound easily houses millions of termites in hundreds of chambers. 

The queen and mother of all termites

The inner sanctum or the queen’s chamber is the most guarded chamber of the mound. The queen is the mother of these millions of termites. A healthy female can lay more than 30,000 eggs in a day. She is attended by the worker termites responsible for feeding her, grooming her, and carrying her eggs into another chamber for hatching. Out of these eggs, nymphs are born that grow up to be workers. Termite queens have the longest lifespan of any insect in the world. Some termite queens may live between 30 and 50 years, reproducing annually and founding numerous colonies.

Ecosystem engineers

The height of the tallest termite mound recorded is 42 feet. It is found in the Republic of Congo. Although they are considered pests in houses, they play the role of ecosystem engineers in a forest. This is because they decompose all dead material from the forest floor. 

The Machan is dedicated towards the preservation of all the species in its ecosystem. If you think these creatures are interesting, you should explore our naturalist series and find out interesting facts about more commonly seen insects like butterflies and spiders to name a few. Our nature paradise near Mumbai is open for you to take a trail and explore every species from frogs and squirrels to thrushes and monkeys. 

Have you watched our previous video on the love story of frogs? Click Here

The Calls and Life Cycles of Frogs

Learn about the lifecycle of a frog from our naturalist neha!

Come monsoon and we begin sighting our favorite jumpy amphibians with bulging eyes, croaking sound, and slimy skin- frogs. Found all over the world, they are among the most diverse animals in the world, with more than 6,000 species. Luckily, the Machan, an eco-centric getaway in Lonavala, is home to some of them. As such, our dedicated team of naturalists have conducted research to study their needs and behavior. We see and hear frogs croaking in and around our houses every year, but how much do we know about them? Read this ‘ribbiting’ blog to learn interesting facts about frogs’ calls and lifecycle. 

Only male frogs croak to attract the females for reproduction

As mentioned, frogs are amphibians. Thus, they need both land and water to complete their life cycles. Frogs need to be around areas with a water source to reproduce, but other than that, they are found on every continent except Antarctica and in almost every environment. But a lesser known fact about them is that it is only the male frogs that croak, chirp, ribbit, or hoot. These calls, known as advertisement calls, are to attract female frogs for reproduction. Male frogs advertise themselves as potential partners, hoping to attract a female frog. Since every species has a distinct surrounding call, they can be identified by their calls. 

What is amplexus?

Since the purpose of these calls is reproduction, they mostly take place near wetlands, dams, streams, and other water bodies where eggs can be laid and tadpoles develop. When ready to mate, the male and female frogs form what is called an amplexus i.e., a type of mating behavior that shows external fertilization. The female forms a foam and lays her eggs in it. These are fertilized by the male. 

From tadpoles to adulthood

Once the eggs are fertilized, a frog’s life cycle begins as a tadpole. Tadpoles look like tiny fish and have gills to help them breathe underwater. They feed on small plants and algae in the water and later start to develop two front and back legs. Their tail starts getting shorter as they use the nutrients stored in it as food for development. Once this tail is completely lost, the frog becomes an adult.

Diet and lifespan

With a diet ranging from bugs and spiders to larvae and even small fish, the lifespan of most frogs in the wild ranges from three to six years and varies from species to species. Frogs are social creatures that live in groups. A group of frogs is called an army, colony or a knot. Groups of young frogs will even swim together in schools, much like fish.

The Machan is dedicated towards the conservation and protection of all the species in its ecosystem. If you think these creatures are interesting, you should explore our naturalist series and find out interesting facts about more commonly seen insects like termites and spiders to name a few. Our comfortable nature paradise near Mumbai is open for you to take a trail and explore every species from frogs and butterflies to thrushes and monkeys. 

Wildlife in the Western Ghats in Lonavala

The Machan -an eco-centric luxury resort in lonavala– proudly stands on forest land that has been recovering from slashing and burning for nearly thirty years now. Away from the hustles of the concrete lifestyle, the property stands at the heart of a unique system where flora, fauna, and humans can coexist without harming the others’ existence. 

In the process of repairing and building this jungle paradise, our team of naturalists have researched the species found in our primary and secondary forests. The Machan is home to a variety of animals and insects like butterflies, frogs, the Malabar whistling thrush, the funnel web spider, etc. Nature is vastly unexplored and there is something new to learn from and in it everyday. 

Malabar Whistling Thrush

Did you know that the Malabar whistling thrush is an omnivorous species with a dietary range from earthworms and berries to frogs and even crabs? Found in the Western Ghats and the associated hills of peninsular India (including central India and parts of the Eastern Ghats), this big thrush is blackish in color with shiny blue patches on its forehead and shoulders that are visible only in oblique lighting. Belonging to the muscicapidae family, they are also called the whistling schoolboy for their human-like whistles. You can find them nesting comfortably in a cavity by a stream or sometimes in a nearby building. 

Termites or White Ants

Also found in this ecosystem are termites or white ants. Termites are the descendents of wood eating cockroaches; they resemble ants due to their castism. A termite colony has a queen, workers, and soldiers. An interesting fact about them is that most worker and soldier termites are blind by virtue of not having eyes at all! The former is responsible for foraging, food storage, and nest or mound maintenance. Termites consume dead plants at any level of decomposition, hence they are detritivores. Due to this fact, they play a vital role in the ecosystem by recycling waste materials such as dead wood, faeces, and plants. 

Malabar Giant Squirrel 

Another thriving species found here is the Malabar giant squirrel. These members of the sciuridae family can live upto twenty years with a diet of fruits, flowers, nuts, birds’ eggs, and insects. Generally solitary, they are shy creatures with a deep red to brown coloured body with white patches on the belly and cream colored forelimbs. Their powerful and long tail is light brown with a creamy white tip. They are usually active early in the day and in the evening. During the day, they rest in their large, globe-like nests made of twigs and leaves. Each squirrel has about two to five nests- one for nursing their young ones and the others for sleeping. 

Purple Sunbird

The purple sunbird of the nectariniidae family is a glorious jewel in our ecosystem. These ferocious birds can live for nearly twenty-two years in captivity and will call to mob owls and other predators. They prefer lightly wooded country and gardenscapes and mainly feed on nectar. They have a short, downwards curving bill and a dark, short, and square ended tail ending in a white tip. 

Funnel Web Spider

Did you know there are more local spider species than just your house spider? For example, the funnel web spider of the agelenidae family. Per their name, they build funnel shaped webs to trap their prey. This funnel leads to a silk burrow that acts like a protective hiding place for quickly grabbing their prey. Males are less successful at this task than females, but all members of this family are very fast runners, especially on their webs.

If you think these creatures are interesting, you should explore our naturalist series and find out interesting facts about more commonly seen insects like frogs and butterflies to name a few. Do you know why frogs call at night? Hint: there’s romance involved! There’s a lot to look out for at our getaway near mumbai. 

Celebrate the art of freezing moments this World Photography Day

A moment lived is cherished for eternity via photographs. Digital, printed or polaroids, whatever the form, a single photo is often a collection of myriad memories that brought together people for that one instant.
This World Photography Day, create such beautiful moments and memories at the Machan Resorts in Lonavala. A beautiful tree house resort near Mumbai, the property boasts of lush green forests and views of lofty hills for the discerning traveler.

Why celebrate this day at a Resort near Pune?

World Photography Day is observed to celebrate the magic of cameras, and the photos they bestow upon us. The art of creation is ardently appreciated at The Machan, a Lonavala resort complete with various vantage points to give you that picture-perfect shot.

What all can you capture at The Machan?

Right from simple moments of your significant other or friends relaxing by the pool or in a hammock to stunning sunsets and the pitter-patter of the rains during monsoon season, the resort in its entirety is a haven for photographers. Practice your art with numerous wide-angle shots or simply sit in your private deck and capture the shimmering night sky. You can also carry your camera around the resort to click pictures of different birds and nature trails. At this beautiful resort in Lonavala, there is no dearth of excellent shots.

An ideal weekend getaway from Mumbai and Pune, the resort is a sight to behold in monsoon. Complete with tree house, cottages and villas, the resort is perfect for every kind of traveler. A wooded and serene paradise, this place is replete with nature’s magical vistas and moments of bliss punctuated with solitude. All of which are worth capturing when it comes to the spectrum of human emotions.
Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words and this cannot be truer when it comes to the art of photography, best realized at The Machan. So bring out your cameras and all the tricks to create art with the click of a shutter. We have the ultimate canvas for your next big photoshoot worthy of Instagram and Pinterest.

The Heritage Machan

Experience the quintessential treehouse charm in our ravishing Heritage Machan. There’s a touch of history to it too, as it is the first of all Machans that we built. As the name suggests, it has a unique, inherited sense of identity that clearly reflects our beliefs. The Heritage Machan is one of our most spacious offerings, as it celebrates friend circles that cherish their bond and families who build shared experiences.

The Heritage Machan is a luxury tree house experience for families looking for a great resort near Mumbai, where nature meets grandeur, and you can relish every bit of it when its sights and sounds percolate through the glass windows. It’s built around a wild fig tree, in the heart of the jungle, 45 feet above the forest floor. As the sumptuous shelter stands steadily among the branches, it captures the beautiful forest in all its glory. You wake up in the morning to enchanting sunlight and feast your eyes on the twinkling stars at night.

Rooms in our Heritage Machan are impeccably designed, to balance the earthy allure and the chic elegance. They are devoid of the standard brick and concrete walls, so you can soak in the beautiful scenery while enjoying all the modern amenities. The Heritage Machan is one of the few luxury experiences in a resort near pune and mumbai, as it easily accommodates six adults so you can bring your family or come with a group of friends. Finding resorts in mumbai that provides a disconnect from the city, and a total digital disconnect is impossible to find. Hence, the heritage machan is perfect for larger groups, looking to experience togetherness and joy, in the midst of nature.

It has three distinct sleeping areas, from which you watch the sun rising in the morning or setting back into the valley, all while being nicely tucked in your bed. The main deck extends to a dining area that contains a table for six. There are two full bathrooms where you rinse off your city worries and the rain shower lets you immerse in nature’s downpour. A short staircase will lead to the loft, which promises peace and privacy while you gather your thoughts. The seductive shades of wood tempt you to submit yourself to nature. You also have the private deck, all to yourself, where you reminisce about life with your loved ones in this resort in Lonavala for family.

The piece de resistance is the Crow’s nest, which is an elevated platform that provides an unrestricted view of the forest. You’ll feel aloft as the boundaries eliminate, and be at one with nature. When the crisp air clears out your clouded mind, you’ll be calm and content. At night, you sit out and relax under the blanket of stars, watching nature unveil its best features.

The Heritage Machan embodies the values that we propagate and provides an unparalleled experience to our guests. It is truly, a must-stay.

The Canopy Machan

You become what you behold. Architecture affects your psyche in the most profound manner. Spacious halls, high ceilings, and glass walls open up your mind to introspection where you connect with your inner self. When you shift to wide landscapes and forests, you start to incorporate the surroundings into your thoughts and connect with nature. You take queues from the environment to actually orient this meditative journey. At the Canopy Machan, you take that inward journey by disconnecting from the city life and indulging in our intelligently designed spaces where you can freely absorb nature’s beauty.

The Canopy Machan is a romantic place in Pune which is situated at the edge of a cliff overlooking mountains and a lush green valley. It’s a sight that instantly uplifts your spirit and transforms your mind into a haven of cognition. An amalgamation of wooden work and large glass panels engender contemplation and inspire you to submit yourself to the unending verdure. It is a beacon of tranquillity as the atmosphere relaxes your ever-roaming mind and grounds your senses.

A staircase leads up to the Canopy Machan and you enter the spacious and sumptuous room. This Machan is structured thoughtfully to provide you an open space rather than a series of small rooms. We refrained from partitioning so that our guests enjoy ample space and behold the beautiful forest wherever they gaze from. The Canopy Machan is one of our earliest offerings in this romantic place in Pune which is designed to provide our guests utmost privacy. It constitutes a master bedroom, private deck, and bathroom. It’s perfect for couples with its romantic ambiance and enamored setting.

 The Machan lights up with vibrant sun rays in the morning and stays the same for most of the day so you benefit from all the natural light. The sun goes down in the evening and paints the sky red. Witness this mesmerizing phenomenon as you lay back in the hammock on your private deck. The evening is spent drowsing amidst the cool breeze on the hammock or sipping on drinks while reminiscing old memories and simultaneously creating new ones. Just across the hammock is the open sky bathtub where you plunge in the water and rinse off all the fatigue and worries.

@thefablesmith

Take a breather from city life and spend some time in this haven of luxury where rejuvenate in the lap of nature.

The Sunset Machan

Sunset is the moment when we actually witness the transition, the juxtaposition of the ending day and beginning night. Imagine sitting in your private deck at the Machan, at dusk, sipping drinks, feet stretched in relaxation, and all of a sudden, the sky changes colors. You witness a magnificent sight at this weekend getaway in Pune as the sky paints itself in multiple shades of red, yellow, and orange. You’re awestruck as the spectrum of colors hits your iris and penetrates straight to your soul. As the sun sinks in the valley of the Western Ghats, it melts the trivialities of the outside world and fills your heart with bursting bubbles of happiness.

The Sunset Machan is a floating loft-suite build amid the dense forest. It not only constitutes all the luxuries of a 5-star suite but also adds in the Machan charm. It is perfect for couples as well as families of four with its four posture kind sized bed and an upper loft that offers an additional bed and attached bath. Recycled old ship lamps and antique brass fittings complement the eclectic décor. Immaculate, glossy wooden ambiance gives it a rustic charm.  This weekend getaway near Pune is surrounded by diverse flora to accompany you through the large glass panels that make up for a sublime experience.

Sunsets have been a source of inspiration for poets, writers, and romantics alike. At the Machan, you can channel this inspiration into your life and use it to organize your thoughts as you disconnect from the chaos of city life. This weekend getaway near Pune is all about combining natural therapy with sheer extravagance. Here, you can soak in the beauty at dusk while being soaked in the open sky bathtub that bejewels your private deck. Your privacy is carefully ensured at the Machan and you can candidly enjoy your personal space.

The intangible sunset has a transcendent spiritual element that can have a positive, healing, creative and restorative effect on the minds of anyone that witness it. Visit the Machan to make the most of it.