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Dapoli

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My first visit to Dapoli was about 6 years after my marriage. It so happens that my wife’s native place is near Dapoli, due to which our visits started. Dapoli is in Ratnagiri district which lies in Kokan area of Maharashtra. As most of you are aware, the Kokan is one of the most picturesque places in Maharashtra, blessed as it is, with miles of beaches, greenery of the top order, and an undulating landscape. Dapoli is known as the Mahabaleshwar of the Kokan, since it is blessed with a mild climate and situated at a height. It was very popular with the British, who had their army camp here. Let’s go on a tour of Dapoli and the surrounding towns and places of interest. Join me!

 

Let’s go in the same order as I visited them. The first town is the beach facing, Murud. Please note that this Murud is different from Murud-Janjira. We had stayed in one of the beach facing resorts where the waves almost lap at your legs. If you want to spend your holidays lazing at the beach, hanging on a hammock tied between two coconut trees, this is the place you want to be in. If this is not heaven, I don’t know what is. For the adventurous, the nearby beach of Karde village is the answer. There is a huge choice of the best water sports ranging from the common, speed boat pulled parachutes (parasailing), where you will be flying and feeling the sea wind against your face, to the sea-sofa. This is an unique experience, where, literally a air-filled sofa is attached to a speedboat, and you are supposed to catch hold of a few straps attached to the sofa and hold on, as the speedboat drags the sofa, with you hanging on for dear life. Believe me, it’s a thrilling and adrenaline pumping experience. And safe too, since you don’t enter the sea waters without a life jacket. And all the other water sports are available too. For those, not inclined to enter the water themselves, but would rather enjoy other species doing it, you can always go dolphin watching, early in the morning. This will certainly act as great stress buster. For the foodie minded, are sure to enjoy the wide variety of fish platters on offer. And these fish dishes can be had, fried or with curry, sitting on the beach, enjoying the hot afternoon sun. For those with devotional mindset, Murud has a beautiful medieval temple dedicated to Durga Devi. Nearby, is a memorial to the great social reformer, Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve.

 

Murud is also known as Murud-Harnai. Harnai, a neighbouring village known for the fish auction taking place at Harnai bunder and also for the sea fort, Suvarnadurg, situated a mile away from the mainland. Nearby, is the village of Anjarle and the Anjarle beach. But Anjarle is more famous for the Ganpati mandir, situated on a hilltop overlooking the beach, hence also known as ‘kadyavarcha Ganpati’. The Mandir is, of course beautiful and peaceful, and when you drive from Dapoli to the Mandir, you pass through winding roads, and climb small hills overlooking magnificent vistas of the Arabian Sea. The panoramic view of the beaches and sea, seen from the vantage point of the hill, will stay with you forever.
Asud is one village, which should not be missed, when you are anywhere near Dapoli, and with good reason too. Situated at a distance of just 8 km. from Dapoli, on the road to Murud, it is famous for the ancient temples of Keshavraj and Shree Vyagreshwar. Once you park your car on the road side, and enter the village, you are transported to a different world, where work related or any other stress, just evaporates, as you start walking down the hill, on a winding path, covered by a canopy of coconut, betel and jackfruit trees, planted so densely together, that the rays of the Sun, cannot penetrate, even during the main summer months. The coolness of the place is enhanced by softly running streams of water, which have been channeled through rocks, an ingenious piece of aquatic engineering. Once you reach the bottom of the hill, you cross the main stream and then again start climbing the ancient steps, ushering you to the temple built on top of another hill. Once you reach the top, the ancient temple embraces you into its structure and provides you with cool water trickling down the Gomukh, for your parched throat. The silence of the serene surroundings is broken only by the chirping of the birds. Shree Vyaghreshwar mandir is situated on the riverbank and houses the Swayambhu Shivling. Asud village is certainly a must-visit.

 

Jump on a vehicle on the way to Dabhol, and reach the Chandikadevi Mandir, just before you enter the town of Dabhol. This temple, dedicated to goddess Chandika, is underground inside a natural cave. You are not supposed to carry any light inside, and the only an oil lamp allows you to take darshan. It’s a real experience when you enter the temple for the very first time. Once you enter, the darkness envelopes you, as you feel your way inside. You proceed like this for sometime , and then the dim oil lamp near the main idol guides you, suddenly you are in her presence. This temple is known to be very ancient.
Finally Dapoli! Dapoli has one of the biggest Krishi Vidyapeeth or Agricultural University in India. There are many nurseries too, Amrute Nursery and Koparkar nursery, to name a few. Blessed with a good climate and fertile land, the nurseries of Dapoli offer a wide variety of flowering and decorative plants. The Amrute nursery also has staying arrangements, though not on a large scale. Don’t miss having lunch or dinner at Amrute nursery, whether veg or non-veg. I had the tastiest foods here and you should too, though advance intimation needs to be given.

 

The ST stand is just on the exit road going out of Dapoli and is flanked by a huge ground. The roads are tree lined and offer shaded roads. There is a lots on offer in Dapoli and the surrounding villages. So friends, Chalo Dapoli!
Yatindra Tawde

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In the God’s Own Country With Friends

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Well, in August my friends and I decided to take a long break from work and the busy city for a span of Eight days. We were a group of 4 who were looking forward for a leisure, adventure and reviving vacation. We were looking for the right place during this season to fit the right budget and to enjoy food and experience something new together.

So, our choice was Kerala!!

Yup, we had an amazing time relaxing, travelling, grabbing healthy meals (most of the time) with a whole lot of adventure for a Duration of 08 days under a budget of 10,000/- only per person.

 

places to visit in Kerala

The Train Journey

Day 1 & 2:

Well we decided to take a train to Ernakulam with a 3 tier a/c reservation from Mumbai via Garib Rath Express

Travel Duration: 26-28 hours

Cost: 1100/-

Food: best to pack snack and dinner for the train journey

 

 

places to visit in Kerala

At The train station before Departing

The seats are small in length and breadth but overall fine. We arrived at Ernakulam and took a transfer to Fort Cochin via Ola Cabs

Accommodation: Tantra

Cost per day: 700/- (per Room)

places to visit in Kerala

Facility: basic rooms with attached bathroom, amazing common sit-out on the roof with lots of art, music and travelers influenced place. Has a common well equipped kitchen and the owners are really helpful and an amazing company.

Day 3 & 4:

You can explore Fort Cochin, Ernakulam, Visit Lulu Mall, and Marine Drive. There are also plenty of Church, temples and museum in fort Cochin as it is a completely mixed culture zone where shopping for spices and visiting authentic cafes is something no-one should miss. You could enjoy another day to catch-up with Fort Cochin

 

places to visit in Kerala

Lunch At Aavi – Ernakulam

Day 5:

We Booked a cab to Munnar for a 3 day trip to Munnar Hills. You’ll have to leave early in the morning and have breakfast on the way. But 1pm you should reach your destination and enjoy lunch. I and my friends had decide to have an adventures stay in Munnar where we booked the tent accommodation.

 

places to visit in Kerala

Drive to Munnar

 

Cost: 2000/- (per day for two person a tent)

The cost  included 3 meals (veg/ non-veg), stay with basic facility of bathroom and a spectacular view of nature and the Western Ghats and also a lucky chance to spot wild elephants.

You could relax the day and enjoy tea and bhajis from the local town in the evening.

places to visit in Kerala

Camp Site View

 

Day 6:

We opted for a trek day around the place which was tiring but a breath taking view after the climb. It will consume the whole day so don’t plan for anything but shopping for Tea, Chocolate, spices and etc.

Trek and Guide Charges 250 per head

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Mid-Trek Scene

 

Day 7:

Pack and Leave camp early to enjoy a day at the tea factory where you can see the process of tea making and plantation. Also you could visit a spice garden to enable you to understand more about Spice. This two tours will be done by afternoon and after lunch we could depart Ernakulam Station to catch a train back to Mumbai which we

reached the next day.

places to visit in Kerala

Tea plantation

 

 

So here’s the conclusion:

Duration: 8 days

Cost: 10,000/- INR (Approx.)

Gang of Friends: 04 members

Cost Includes: Travel via train and car, accommodation and food. Well food cost may vary as per your choice. And also Trek guide charges.

Cost Excludes: Tea and Spice tour entry free (differs as per season) Liquor, Tips if any) and Cochin and Ernakulam cab Charges (varies as per distance and Ola/ Uber)

Well the extras were that, we did make a lot of memories and learnt a ton of new things.

 

places to visit in Kerala

And anyone of you who is looking forward to take a trip with your friends and need some help and ideas you could drop me a mail on contact.hippies@gmail.com

places to visit in Kerala places to visit in Kerala

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My first experience with Mumbai local train peak hours

New experiences can teach a lesson to the person facing it, with no doubt. Sharing that lesson with someone may save them from the same consequence.

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Every one faces a new phase in life. Recently I got an opportunity to explore a new instance in my life, I got an experience of travelling in a local train during peak hours(“You see I din’t have an option..office hours changed and I was forced..” *sighs*). I was shifted off to general shift in work, so I had to be in office by 9:00 am on a Monday morning. Initially I was  looking forward to the whole idea of having fun travelling in a rush train.

I stay very far off from my office, so I decided to leave at least by 7:45 am, so I woke up at 6:45 am(“You know right, makeup takes time..” *duh*). My train was at 8:15 and that would get me to the destination station(Thane) by 8:56 and then I would take my bus and reach somewhat by 9:20 I had thought. So I had this perfect plan in my head.

So my perfectly planned day started. I woke up at 6:45 am as I planned, I instantly started getting ready(“nah, I am kidding..lol..me the lazy one.. I sat and slept off again and woke up at 7:00 after my mom said her famous dialogue “If you want to go to office get ready! Else you sleep I won’t wake you up.”, but I said perfect day..haha..!”). Then I had my breakfast and left on time.

I got an auto in time, reached station by 7:55 am. I was expecting a large queue in the ticketing counter(“That was because I wasn’t smart enough to think people running at that time daily would clearly buy a monthly pass than stand in a queue and get late”). There were not too many people. I happily brought a double trip ticket and got to the platform.

Now in so many years of being in Mumbai, people always told me the least crowded line of trains is the harbour line. And since that was the most common thing I heard I trusted it. I expected peak hours would a little crowded than the normal time I used to travel at. And seeing my platform a little less crowded than at that time I assumed maybe what people told me may not be true at all.

Until 8:15 when the train started being visible at the far end, there were not many people around me(” competing”) to get in the train with me. So I was happy. But as soon as train began to come to a standstill, I suddenly noticed I was standing between a crowd(“I still have no idea how that happened”). Then the train stopped, there was a nice “who pushes whom the best game” and we all got into the train.

Now the train hardly had any space for me or anyone, we all crumbled in and fitted in. It was like I had to be there were I was, else people would get irritated with me(“Yeah for hitting them with my bag or my hand or such falling on them”). As stations approached I anticipated a dip in the amount of people getting in, but there was a rise instead. With every station, I froze bitterly. The best way to explain what amount of space issue we had is by comparing two instances. When in normal hours, people would be like “I will take your seat when you get up”, here in peak hours I heard a few women say, “When you leave the place you are standing, I will stand”.

Now in some way or other, by the time the second last stop approached, I got a seat(“Yaayie, window seat”). I was enjoying the view and my travel without realizing the disaster to come. I noticed people getting up 10 minutes before the station was to come(“Yeah I was thinking, these fools..!”). But then as the train was slowing down at the station I began to notice the crowd that was waiting there(“Oh crap..!).

I got up from my seat. Tried fitting into there queue to get down but what happened was they were not letting me get into the crowd. So I thought to myself I will get down at the end(“Big mistake..!”). I somehow got at the end. I saw the crowd that was waiting to get inside the train. They waited like a pack of wolf waiting to feast on an innocent sheep.

Since I was one of the last people to get down and even otherwise, while I tried getting out, the mob of women standing at both sides of the door just pushed me into the train. My bag got stuck in the crowd. It was the most horrible experience. The crowd had zero patience. It was something I had already seen(“The patience part”), but never this. Then finally I pushed my way through then. Luckily I had my bag with me too.

Then I looked up at the stairs to the walkway up. I had only seen a crowd on TV so huge in some big temples in the country, but I was in the middle of one such crowds. There again I dint have to walk, a fleet of 15-20 steps, people made sure they took me with them up(*sighs*).

Moral of the story: If you want to survive in trains like the people who daily use it do, just push people without any reason and stay ahead.

Oh and about my perfect plan.. I reached office at 10:30 am.

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The solution to most of our problems are mostly one decision away!

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