Unveiling the Starlight Machan experience

The journey towards disconnect, revival, inner peace, and enlightenment requires a safe space. Space where you can be free from having to manage external concerns so that you can be free enough to take a journey inward. Your mind shifts from survival-based orientation to a more poetic, whimsical, and creative state of being that soak in the beauty and ignores outwardly muddle. That’s why at the Machan, we have thoughtfully designed these spaces for you so you can fully immerse in nature’s goodness.

The Starlight Machans strikes a perfect balance between natural bliss and modern comfort. The ideal, translucent roofs of these Starlight Machans, let you soak in the distinctive beauty of the forest and the night sky. The elegant space provides you comfort, peace, and privacy along with all the contemporary amenities.

The forest takes on a distinct life of its own under the influence of the night sky. You will indulge in that immersive experience in our luxury resort near Mumbai. Each of our five Starlight Machans offer a unique and captivating ambiance, that’s perfect for a romantic stay.

The Starlight Machans have duplex bedrooms, with separate bathrooms, so they easily accommodate a family of four. The charming settings to dine and unwind, including a four-poster bed, and an antique writing table. To top it all off, there’s a pool underneath the guest bedroom for you to just laze or revel in.

The large glass walls of the Machans, including the ceiling section above the bed, offer an unrestricted view of the surroundings. At night, the sky reveals all its glory, providing a rare opportunity for urban dwellers to immerse themselves in its sensational beauty. In monsoons, rain pours through the glass and strikes the ceiling, creating the most beautiful orchestra. It makes you forget all those ear-splitting traffic horns.

The private deck in front of the master bedroom contains a bathtub and an open shower so you can soak in the beautiful sunset while dousing in the plunge bath. At Machan, we are very cautious about your privacy. It is ensured by dense trees, bordering all the Machans, which hide them from one another. The resort is beautifully planned without disturbing the natural foliage in the area.

The Starlight Machans provide an escape from city noise and blinding lights. The sight of starry nights is a rarity in most metro cities, as the sky is curtained by pollution. Here, at our luxury resort near Mumbai, you witness what nature has to offer. You gaze upon the distant yet mesmerizing constellations such as Orion, Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Ursa Major/Minor, Sirius, Venus, Mars, etc. October through May is the best time to visit our luxury resort near Mumbai if you’re particularly interested in watching constellations. Our naturalists accentuate your star-gazing experience with facts, myths, and stories.

The most sensual thing one can experience is mysterious. While stargazing, it’s hard to be self-centered as you submerge into the enormity of the universe. The stars are calling, from our luxury resort near Mumbai, and you must visit.

The Machan Architecture

The machan Lonavala

” Our thoughts shape our spaces, but our spaces return the favor. .”

Steven Jonhson

We shape our environment and our environment shapes us back, we are a product of our surroundings. A way to mediate our interiority, aside from mindful self-inquiry and meditation, is through harnessing the power of the built environment, which is Architecture. It is a revolutionary concept that we can architect the mind by architecting the space around us.

Why do form and function matter?

The design, shapes, shadows, and forms have a great impact on human subjectivity. Holy spaces, Cathedrals are monumental in nature, and witnessing majestically beautiful designs and spaces transcends us to a state of aesthetic arrest. The open corridors, spacious halls, high ceilings, and floating treehouses in the midst of the forest are a few of the things that inspire awe.

The Machan started with a vision of creating an accommodation that reflects the idea of, “designing with nature”. It is built to portray that construction doesn’t mean the demolition of the surroundings. Our purpose is to dissever our guests from the city life. Our guests are not contained or limited to a small view from a window. Rather, they are exposed to an unrestricted view of the vast, endless, and majestic forest that leaves them spellbound.

The location was a mountain slope and the area was limited. So, we decided to make the house around a wild fig tree. On the one side we had a ramp that connects it to the falttish part and the tree becomes a coutyard where the house is built.

Shabbir Unwala, the architect

Every single Machan is a universal space. We refrained from putting walls between the living and the dining area so that the guests can enjoy a big open space. Bedrooms are concealed by wooden partitions. We are meticulous about the privacy of our guests that’s why all the Machans are intelligently placed where they are curtained by dense trees. It strikes the perfect balance between life and luxury. Nature’s therapy can be enjoyed while being nicely tucked in the comfort of your machans.

One of the greatest challenge is building the machan was to keep the modernity and the automated comfort intact while blending in the natural elements. We ensure this convenience in our Stargazing Machans with the retractable roof, that unveils the mesmerizing night sky with a single click. The architecture of the Machan is crafted to give you a completely immersive experience of the surroundings.

Every Machan is unique in itself. As they have a personality of their own, guests find it easier to choose one as it matches their requirements and their desired aura. This leads to a more personalized experience. Below are the highlights from each of our Machans:

  • The Heritage Machan incorporates a hanging room that makes you feel aloft while you savor the scenery. A Loft is also built 40 feet above this Machan, which provides a complete 360-degree view of Jambulne and the surroundings.
Heritage Machan
  • The Starlight Machan is your doorway to the stars as it lets you sleep under the night sky bejeweled with stars. The experience in bewitching. It also allows you to witness several constellations through the telescope that we provide.
Starlight Machan
  • The Canopy Machan is made from 100% recycled hardwood that contributed to the master bedroom, a bathroom, and a private deck. It has only glass walls so guests can have uninterrupted views of the surroundings.
Canopy Machan
  • The Jungle Machan truly brings out the jungle experience as real trees, sprouting from the floor are fully stretched through the roof. The goal of living in harmony with nature is completely realized in the Jungle Machan.
Jungle Machan
  • The Forest Machan is truly fascinating as it floats 45-55 feet above the ground. This Machan is perfect for a family getaway as it is children-friendly and offers spacious rooms where you can spend time with your family.
Forest Machan
  • The Sunset Machan is designed as a loft suite that has four distinct sections. It is known for its spectacular sunrise and sunset views. It is perfectly placed for guests to soak in the morning sun and watch the sky showcase brilliant shades of red and yellow when the sun goes down the valley.
Sunset Machan
  • The Cabin: The Machan also offers a secluded cabin for those who love their time away from the noise. It is built on the ground so it has a different look to it. It resembles those ancient samurai houses in Japan with its sliding rood that bends on the edges and the open porch with a water feature.
The Cabin
  • Woods Machan: Our Woods Machan is designed to be cozy and snug, with its fireplace, to keep you warm in the chilly nights. Sunlight filters through the tall trees and reveals seductive shades of solid brass in the Wood Machan. It’s both couples and eco-friendly.
wood machan

The architecture of the Machan is planned to mirror our main purpose, which is, being at one with nature. It is uplifting to see our vision coming to life.

Carbon Neutrality at the Machan

As we idly sit by locked up in our homes and waiting on the world to change, we must realize that it is up to us to change it. This year let’s focus on reimagining and recreating the future by restoring the environment. We are capable of great deeds but often lack the emotion to execute them. Let’s find it in our hearts to be gentle to the future generation by increasing biological diversity, eliminating waste, and reducing our carbon footprint.

The Hospitality Industry and its Carbon Footprint

The hotel industry is currently responsible for 21% of the global carbon footprint and is projected to increase up to 25% by 2035. An average hotel uses its energy on space heating (31%), water heating (22%), refrigeration (31%), cooking (12%), and lighting (3%). This seems to be a very heavy price to pay for luxurious living. Can’t we find a balance between life and luxury?

Carbon Neutrality

Carbon neutrality refers to achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emissions. This can be done by balancing emissions of carbon dioxide with its removal or by eliminating emissions from society. As of today, the world generates 36 billion tons of carbon each year, while in India, one person is estimated to generate 1.91 tons each year. India as a country produces 2.5 billion tons of CO2 every year, which is 6.8% of the total global emissions. We all must do our part to decrease our carbon footprint, and achieve carbon neutrality for a sustainable future.

Carbon Neutrality at the Machan

At the Machan, we follow the sustainability model of people planet, and profit. This reflects in our philosophy of preservation, conservation, and community. The Machan is targeting to achieve carbon neutrality by 2023. We hope we can inspire other resorts worldwide to start their journey on becoming carbon neutral.

The journey towards Carbon Neutrality

Carbon neutrality can be achieved in the hotel industry through the following ways.

  • Using Solar and wind energy: We are primarily powered by solar and wind energy and built sustainably for the future.
  • Barren Land Adoption and Tree Plantation: Over a thousand new trees are planted every year, which has been a 25-year long effort of converting barren land into lush greenery.
  • Protecting Biological Diversity: We protect 100 acres around the Machan from hunting, overgrazing, and tree cutting.
  • Greywater Recycling: We recycle all grey water and utilize it to water the plants.

World Bicycle Day: Finding the balance

We all remember that sense of accomplishment when we rode a bicycle successfully for the first time. Constantly worried about falling down, but as we grew up, we realized that riding a bicycle is just like riding through life. We are always trying to perfectly balance ourselves on those slim wheels of life, without plummeting on either side…

Those nostalgic bicycle rides with our childhood friends used to be our daily dose of happiness and joy, but the pollution of modern-day city life seem to have clouded those memories. This world bicycle day, we at the Machan try to revive and relive that same experience in the midst of nature, and hope to find the right balance between nature and luxury.

Why World Bicycle Day is celebrated?

We celebrate the uniqueness and longevity of the bicycle to reimagine, recreate and restore the future. In a study conducted by the Institute of Transportation and Development Policy, it was found that in the present scenario, bikes and e-bikes make up 6% of total miles traveled in world cities. If by 2050, bikes and e-bikes make up 14% of travel, there would be an overall 11% reduction in carbon emissions.

World Bicycle Day 2021

2021 is the era of eco-awakening. It draws attention towards a futuristic and sustainable transportation system that promotes economic growth, reduces inequality while supporting the fight against climate change. In many progressive and eco-centric countries, people are making this switch from cars to bicycles whenever they can.

Bicycles are simple, affordable, and environmentally sustainable means of transportation. It is an amazing sight when a group of bikers in their pointy little helmets and gears, pass you by in whoosh. You instantly get motivated to ride a bicycle yourself!

Cycling along the Western Ghats at the Machan

Riding a bicycle among lush greenery amplifies its physical and psychological benefits. The Machan is the only resort in Lonavala that lets you explore a biological hotspot in the Western Ghats within the protected paths of the Machan. Hop on to one of our bicycles and take it for a spin anytime you want!

Benefits of cycling to the environment

Riding a bicycle reduces greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of air pollutants like methane, carbon dioxide, and chlorofluorocarbons. The largest car factory is 70 million square feet, making 3,800 cars a day, which is 13,87,000 cars in a year, which is an additional 63,80,200 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year. Doesn’t that number shock you? Be a part of something greater than yourself to save valuable green spaces from deforestation by adopting the habit of riding a bicycle. The global average carbon footprint per person is 4 tons, which needs to drop to 2 tons by 2050 to ensure a sustainable future. Won’t you like to be a part of this revolutionary journey?

The Eco- Awakening Movement

We often forget the fact that over a million species on this planet are prone to extinction! The millennial generation has been declared as the most charitable, environmentally sound and caring generation in history. The global search percentage for terms related to biodiversity have increased over 65% globally, since 2016. It’s heart-warming to witness this wave of change that has the potential to rinse the old and detrimental human practices that harm nature. Rising concerns over the destruction of biodiversity are being reflected upon social media, as people show a great level of interest. We are currently a part of the eco-awakening movement that’s escalating quickly throughout the globe.

What is Eco-Awakening?

Eco-Awakening means that we as human beings are being increasingly mindful of the disruption that we cause towards nature and its gifts. We’re moving towards more sustainable ways of living and conducting business that is harmonious with the environment’s well-being. This provides humanity a golden chance to fix its relationship with nature and re-establish a stronger positive one.

Frequent protests are being conducted against government deals that deteriorate forests and wildlife. The youth is raising questions and demanding solutions for the problems created by generations before them.

Since today is National Endangered Species Day, we would like to raise awareness regarding a few majestic species that are prone to endangerment in the Western Ghats.

  • Pangolin: Pangolins are often hunted as they are a source of protein and have unfounded medicinal benefits. They are traded in the international market, particularly in China and Vietnam for their meat and scales. According to the Seizure reports, around 3,000 Pangolins were hunted from 2009 to 2013. During the same period, 5,000 kg of Pangolin scales were also confiscated in 25 seizures. IUCN has declared these creatures as critically endangered.
Pangolin

  • Nilgiri Wood Pigeon: These beautiful native Indian birds are found in the Western Ghats and are distributed in the states of west Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, and Maharashtra. They occur in altitudes from 50 to 2,250 meters.  Nilgiri Wood Pigeons require dense forests to survive, and they feed on wild fruits, berries, flowers, and leaves. According to IUCN, they are vulnerable to extinction.
Nilgiri Wood Pigeon:
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  • Nilgiri Pipit: The habitat of this little bird, which is the grassland, is gradually being converted to plantations of tea, eucalyptus, and silver wattle. It’s common to find the Nilgiri Pipit at heights of 2,000 metres but it sometimes descends as low as 1,000 meters. Its typical diet includes creeping grass in the valley. It builds a nest in marshy grasslands with slightly taller grasses and sedges, particularly near streams. It has also been declared vulnerable to extinction by IUCN.
Nilgiri Pipit
  • Kondana Soft Furred Rat: This furry rat is only found in Sinhgarh, a small plateau of about one square km at altitude of 1,270 meters in south-western India. It’s a tad bit larger than common rats. It lives in tropical and subtropical dry deciduous forests, and scrubs. It’s losing its habitat to overgrazing and increased disturbance due to unfretted tourism. It also falls under the category of critically endangered species.
Kondana Soft Furred Rat
  • Red Sand Boa: It’s a non-venomous snake found in India, Pakistan, and Iran. It’s also identified as the two-headed snake for its round tail that looks like a head. Its reddish-brown thick body with small keeled scales looks glossy. It can grow up to 2-3 feet on average. It feeds on rodents and other little snakes. Its IUCN status stands at Near Threatened.
Red Sand Boa

At the Machan, we believe in the principles of preservation, conservation, and community. Hence, we heavily patrol the 25 acres at The Machan and 50 acres around us to prevent deforestation, hunting, and over-grazing. We are devoted to doing our part, it’s time you join us too.

Activities at the Machan

Has your life been a little monotonous lately?

The award-winning luxury retreat is here to your rescue! The Machan provides an array of soothing activities that will help you unwind and elevate your spirits.

Bid adieu to the stressful city life and indulge yourself in The Machan experience. All this while protecting the wild treasures of nature.

At the Machan, you can find privacy and freedom in the lap of nature. We believe in the concept of preservation and conservation, while enhancing the community. A place to calm your soul amidst the forest; to recharge and rejuvenate.

A set of activities at the Machan for you to connect with nature:

Trekking

At the Machan, you can enjoy a 2.54 km long trek, with panoramic 360 views of the Western Ghats, on our private protected path. Where you can be intimate with nature and challenge yourself to higher peaks.

In this resort in Lonavala, guests are delighted by the serenity, an experience they cannot get enough of. The morning zephyr whispers the song of energy and adventure and is worth getting up in the morning to watch the sunrise.

Yoga

Yoga can recharge and revive your mind, body, and soul. Our trained yoga instructors know how to calm your senses through various asanas and transcend you to the river of reality.

Yoga at the Machan helps you appreciate in little things in life.

Spa

The sybaritic Aranya Spa is a hymn to nature, intriguing to the senses yet calming to the mind. The slow sound of the falling water, the fine incense of ouzo and anise, and a variety of treatments offering different experiences designed to awaken your senses.

The Aaranya Spa at the Machan is crafted specially for full body massages by expert therapists specialized in Ayurvedic therapies.

Shinrin-Yoku

Experience the ancient Japanese art of Shinrin-Yoku at the Machan. The Japanese embraced this art and used it as an Eco–therapy. The purpose of Shinrin-Yoku was twofold. Firstly, they to offer an eco-antidote to the everyday technological fatigue, and also to inspire residents to reconnect and protect the forests. The sound of leaves and the scent of wood provides us a sense of comfort. In our protected forests, amid the chirping of birds, you’ll connect with the forest. You will be at one with nature, and nature will be at one with you.

Star Gazing

Gaze into the open cluster of the celestial hunter, Orion in our private stargazing session. The clear sky above our luminous forests is home to millions of stars that puts city lights to shame. You can rejoice under the twinkling stars or gape deeper into the universe through our high-end telescopes.  After that, you’ll have the best good night’s sleep ever.

Private Bonfire

Watch the embers reflect upon your loved one’s eyes at our private bonfire. Wander and decorate your memories with love and epic adventures. Collect stories people won’t believe and memories that’ll keep you warm in your twilight years. These are just a few things that you can do at the Machan. Nature has a lot more, waiting for you. All you need to do it find it.

Interview: Sustainable travel

We anonymously asked around travellers and influencers what they think about sustainability through two simple questions.

Q: What changes will you make to your travel plans for 2021?

A: Travelling always makes me delighted, hence I have started planning more solo trips, or only a few friends. We usually go trekking, and camping in remote areas, which keeps us socially distant from the rest.

A: Travelling has always been a hobby of mine, it soothes me, and calms me down. The 2020 restraints have now made me more conscious, and I take many socially distant measures while travelling.

A: We would love to visit The Machan again, especially during these times. It is the only resort near Mumbai, that is socially distant by design.

Q: As a traveller how do you show your responsibility towards the environment?

A: We carry our water bottles and refill them whenever we can, using mineral water bottles is something we should stop completely. They are single-use and are often littered all over the mountains.

A: The pandemic should be taken as a lesson by everyone to be more apprehensive and concerned about the environment.

A: As a traveller after the Covid-19 situation, I travel with all the safety precautions, and try not to cause any harm to the destination.

A: Travelling reignites the fire in a drowsy soul, and every traveller should fulfil their obligation and support eco-friendly resorts. The hospitality industry takes up a lot of resources and rarely gives anything back to the environment. It is time for a change in this industry. Eco-resorts are the future of travel!

Workation: Finding the best office view.

The Travel Bug

The lockdown and the social distancing norms have disrupted livelihoods and changed behaviour. Many industries are currently facing existential challenges. However, the silver lining is that it has allowed many people to aim for a better work-life balance. As office blocks remain partially open for the foreseeable future, many have embraced the opportunity to combine work and travel. What is a workation, and how do you take one? What are the things you should carry, and what are the best destinations for a workation? This issue of the travel bug will guide you through your workation planning.

Workcation at the starlight machan
Workcation at the starlight machan

What is a workation?

‘Workation’ as the word spells, means to combine work and vacation. It is a trip to a location of your choice combined with working remotely. Have your virtual business meetings under palm trees, and inspire your colleagues to explore. It is an opportunity to clear your head and enjoy a change of scenery without falling behind on your work. Utilize the time to relax, and explore. Workations can help you find a healthier work-life balance and has numerous other benefits.

What to carry for a workation?

There are a few additional requirements that you need to pack while going on a workation as compared to a regular holiday.

You need to think about the clothes and accessories you need for your leisure time, but also the requirements for your working setup. A basic workation setup is:

  • A good lightweight laptop.
  • Headphones with mic.
  • Wi-Fi dongle.
  • Personal planner.
  • Travel lock.

5 reasons why Workations are a great idea

  • You save your office vacation days.
  • Your workflow proceeds seamlessly
  • You are more productive
  • You find time to think of the bigger picture
  • You are excited to return to work

How to have fun and be productive?

The first rule of having fun in a workation is balance, hence make it clear to yourself and your friends. It is very easy to create a trap for yourself by either working too many hours to prove that you are still being productive or not working enough and just having an amazing time.

Hence, it must be clear that you are still working, and be firm about when you will stop working. Take periodic breaks to enjoy yourself, and try finishing a big chunk of your daily work in the first half, by getting up early. Be sure to change locations frequently. Nothing feels worse than sitting inside your hotel room in front of your computer. Hence, switch it up! Work by the pool or in the balcony, or by inside a treehouse in Lonavala amidst the wilderness. Find a new favourite coffee shop and explore the local cuisine.

Best Locations for a workation

Alleppey

Hire a houseboat for a day or two and sip some soul-refreshing filter coffee while making your presentation and explore what God’s own country has to offer.

Mussoorie

Mussoorie, Queen of the Hills, located some 290 km north of New Delhi, is among the most popular hill stations of the country. It is a captivating paradise for leisure travellers and honeymooners.

Uttarkashi

Uttarkashi that literally suggests ‘Kashi of the North’ is also nicknamed as ‘Somya Kashi’ and ‘Shivnagri’. Like Kasi, the town of Uttarkashi also houses the sacred Vishwanath temple. This holy shrine features a copper trident, having a circumference of 1 meter.

Lonavala

This quaint hill station near Mumbai is the perfect getaway from the hustle-bustle of the city and to enjoy the purest, freshest air possible.

Shillong

The northeast is a tranquil, untouched, pure region in itself. Shillong has the most gorgeous surroundings and lots of greenery to relax and rejuvenate and to lose yourself in.