Unlike Bombay, Nasik is a small town of only 1.5 million people. The traffic is less crazy, the motorcycles are more prevalent, the streets are cleaner. The barriers in the middle of the road read “Green Nasik, Clean Nasik”, and cows are more free to wander about. A weekend outside of Mumbai has helped to reshape my sense of India, and my desire to explore this incredibly vast country.
Our initial goal in going to Nasik was to visit the vineyards and wineries, by no means like those I’ve been to in South Africa or Israel, but an interesting experience nonetheless. The Indian wine industry is very young. Sula, the main domestic producer of wine, was only set-up in 1998. The visitors to the winery, 30 minutes by rickshaw outside of Nasik, 5 hours from Mumbai by Neeta bus, were mostly Indians, entire families from toddlers to grandmothers. They came for the short tour, and the four glass tasting, and milled around the grounds. The wine is decent, nothing to write home about, but the important part is that it is Indian.
Outside of the confines of the winery, there were no other tourists to be seen. Nasik is not only known as the Napa Valley of India (or so Wikipedia says), but it is also apparently one of the holiest cities in Hinduism.
We spent our two days in Nasik within a five block radius, except for the winery adventure, venturing from our hotel to several xerox shops, to the Manas restaurant, to the river, temples and market that set this city apart.
Nasik is incredibly different than Mumbai in more ways than just its size. By most standards, Nasik would be considered loud and chaotic, but compared to the last two weeks in Mumbai, it seemed almost peaceful.