A Euphoric Military Adventure Amidst the Woods

BW Hotelier coursed its way from Mumbai to experience DATA by Della – India’s first and only Military-themed Glamping Resort through the totally-worth-it off-roading rut!

IT IS quite evident these days that the modern-day travellers both domestic and international, strive nothing but experience-driven travel. The millennial-minded spirit of both living and capturing experiences during their travel is now traversing as a course across patron of all ages. ‘Adventure’ in this digital era has taken over most reputed topics of conversation amongst people from the world over. And, to substantiate it, the popular picture sharing application as well sees millions of posts pouring under the ‘hash-tag’ culture. #Adventure has diverse experiences and definition for each and everyone or may also draw some sort of similarities between certain groups. But, to me adventure means a completely different ball-game now that I have visited DATA by Della – India’s first and only Military-themed Glamping Resort located remotely amidst the Western Ghats. BW Hotelier coursed its way from Mumbai to experience this one-of-its-kind Resort through the totally-worth-it off-roading rut!

Mumbai Enroute DATA by Della

A thud of the car’s door closing and setting my way through the smooth roads of Mumbai, I quickly had my phone to key in “DATA by Della, or DATA – Della Adventure Training Academy” in the search section with curiosity to know more about this Military-themed Resort, to which, I was on my way for an experiential stay. Probably that’s the first thing that millennials as well as millennial-minded people do. I too being a millennial, I first visited TripAdvisor to soak the transparent views of patrons who have already visited the property. Seeing 4 and above stars with flooding words of appreciation, my eyes and fingers couldn’t hold it back from fidgeting to click on the ‘Photos’ section, where the stirring hues of the Resort in the night-time, the picturesque scenery around the property and of course the stills captured during people going through the various activities and knowledge sessions at the Resort, had the adrenaline gushing throughout my body. I quickly thought of putting this 5-inch screen to rest and rather not being fed to the rich experience with presumed spoilers. And this decision followed only memorable experiences throughout my stay at the property. Period!

Serene Woods and Military Theme laced with Seamless Best-In-Class Hospitality

On reaching Della Resort at Lonavla after a 2-hour drive, I checked in there and waited for a car to arrive that would escort me to a point at the Shirota Lake, from where a makeshift boat would take me to DATA through the dramatically silent lake. Yes, the description itself elicits the excitement. The car arrived and that is where the experience already set in motion. What was mentioned as a ‘car’ was a full-sized camouflage shaded SUV with DATA inked on its bonnet. Hopping on to the high seat, the staff driver dressed in military uniform welcomed me with ‘Jai Hind’ and soon versed these words on the walkie-talkie – ‘Guest picked up, arriving at the drop point in a while’ which resounded ‘Roger’. A completely new experience for a city-dweller who is surrounded by all the technology at their palms. We soon set our way on the off-road rut through the woods, where the body-roll sets one to experience the military adventure already. Reaching the spot, the makeshift boat too had the staff dressed in military uniforms who welcomed me aboard with synchronous ‘Jai Hind’.

Passing through the lake, I quickly set my camera reeling to fetch some scenic views of this expansive water body. On spotting that the Resort was nearing, I could see Para Commando Ramakant Chaudhari (Retd), who then guided me to Colonel Vikram Pande (Retd), Group

Commander at DATA. The grand military-themed welcome by the staff with resonating Jai Hind chanted throughout the walkthrough, potentially enlivens patriotism from within.

I was then immediately handed over the uniform and the keycard to one of the 25 luxurious villas, which is designed to accommodate four pax at one time. The in-room design and amenities are stacked with comfort, luxury and the best-in-class amenities including a mini-bar with popular labels. The big cosy beds allow one to sink in really well.

Being afternoon already, I headed for lunch at Salaam Manekshaw – the all-day diner at the Resort, which is made by converting Shipping Containers put in series and then retrofitted with all the titbits of an upscale restaurant, and props including the camouflage-shaded war-bike lookalike, Guns and Grenade lookalikes, etc. There, I was joined by Pande and Lt Colonel Milind Patwardhan (Retd), Deputy Group Commander at the Resort, where I learned about some experience countered by them as military personnel, even description of which ran shivers down my spine. The lunch was indeed filling and with all that hospitality with an array of palatable rich delicacies, I felt the need for some activities to burn out the calories. Both the ex-servicemen hence suggested some of the activities to be experienced which included training and knowledge about actions and precautions to be followed and maintained during emergency situations like Grenade Attack, Mass Shooting, Calamities such as floods, trapped in a fire-gutted building, etc. To substantiate this, the trainers here are the real heroes of our country who have served for over 2-3 decades in the military, which integrally, amounts to about 200 years of vivid experiences as military personnel, with each one having a detailed tale to tell about.

The evening followed to me experiencing the ‘Hell Night’ excursion where I was escorted by Chaudhari throughout the trek of the hills around the Resort when the sun had just set and it was pitch dark within a few minutes. During this Hell Night trek, Chaudhari said that the intent behind this activity is to drive away the fear of darkness and loneliness of being caught in the woods. He then mentioned the various tactics like igniting the fire with just the help of Flint; natural navigating with reference to stars, the Sun, leaves of plants and trees, etc.; recognising edible fruits and vegetables in the wild and also giving distress signals with the help of a torch, smoke, etc. Following this encyclopaedic trek, the dinner at Salaam Manekshaw filled me enough to get a sound sleep on one of the two big beds in the villa.

The next morning started at sharp 7.30 am with the flag hoisting ritual at the entrance of the Resort, which then followed by the ‘Mental Conditioning’ activity assisted by Chaudhari again. A name given to the otherwise generally known Obstacle Course, Pande said that they intend to condition the patrons’ mind that they can make it through each and every hurdle that is there before them in this course, hence the name Mental Conditioning is given to this course. Completing this course, I felt my muscles a bit tired, for which the in-room Jacuzzi bathtub with warm water and therapeutic massage points, relieved the stressed muscles almost instantaneously.

Furthermore, the Resort also boasts of a lot of other recreational offerings like Yoga, Swimming pool, Spa, Meetings & Banquet Space, etc., hence making the stay a really unforgettable one.

On my way back, all I had with me were the rich experiences lived by the ex-servicemen; and memories of the experience of trying to live like one of those, while also being pampered with seamless world-class hospitality. DATA by Della is truly a one-of-its-kind adventure meant for all the experiential travellers, be it FITs, Family & Friends or Big Groups of Corporates.

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