Nature has a few magic tricks of its own, and the best ones cannot be described in words or captured in pictures. Watching countless fireflies glow in the dark, inches away from me was one such beautiful experience.
Tucked away in Maharashtra, Purushwadi is a small village that has no internet connectivity, limited electric supply, does not use dairy and has no street lights. It has narrow by lanes, and reaching here without getting lost is a challenge. Once the sun sets, fireflies are generously spotted in the forest surrounding it.
Millions of fireflies light up in the dark at the same time, for a fraction of a second, all night. We walked amongst them and a few of them sat on my hair!
(In picture: Fireflies at Purushwadi, picture taken by a fellow participant)
About Purushwadi Village
We started our journey late in the morning and made it to Purushwadi in the early evening. As soon as one makes it to the village, the local villagers welcome the guests with a teeka, Maharashtrian style cap, and smiling faces. One can opt for either homestay or tents. Our guide showed our homestay and the hosts offered us lemongrass-jaggery tea. After that, we were left to enjoy ourselves at the beautiful place. We were happy to while the evening away taking in the cattle grazing, green fields, gently swaying mango trees, and raindrops falling on the little lake.
As the darkness approached, trees in the village slowly lit up with glow from fireflies. Our guide took us for a walk in the forest, and we were mesmerized by this wonder of nature. Surrounded by twinkling fireflies, millions of them, filled our hearts with utmost happiness.
When we got back to our homestay later, we were humbled by our host’s hospitality. In a village with limited resources, they served us a delicious meal of puran-poli and aamti – the best I’ve ever had. They indeed opened their village, homes, and hearts to us.
(In pictures: Moments captured in the village)
About fireflies and fireflies spotting
Fireflies are light emitting insects found in humid regions. They exhibit bioluminescence, which means that they chemically produce yellow-green colored light in their lower abdomen, which is a mating call. Fireflies glow in patterns unique to each species. The male insects emit light to attract mates, and female insects glow back after having found one. The mating season is May-June, wherein they hatch out of eggs, mate and reproduce. They die when it rains heavily. The eggs then hatch next year in May.
The best time to experience them is in the month of May-June, just before it starts to rain.
Personal note: Most of the pictures of fireflies on the internet are edited and may be misleading. It is difficult to capture them on camera even with long exposure. Flash photography is worse, they scare the insects away. The best way to experience this is by losing the camera/mobile altogether and silently absorb the beautiful moment, in my opinion.
Taking a short break from the city life, and immersing myself in a place that is slow-paced, quiet and close to nature was a welcome change. The best memories are sitting by the lake and absorbing the sweet smell of petrichor, having a walk near paddy fields, and realizing that the villagers with few resources lived in absolute abundance!
Grassroutes Journeys is an organization that is into rural tourism. Purushwadi is one of the villages adopted by them, and their efforts have led to this otherwise small village being recognizable on the map. However, we did not use their services for our stay and travel to the village.
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(All pictures are taken by me unless mentioned)