Mumbai to Dapoli – If you are looking for a tranquil escape far from the hustle and bustle of city life and you wish to travel somewhere different from the usual run-of-the-mill places then one of the offbeat destinations, close to Mumbai is Dapoli.
Endowed with long stretches of pristine beaches, fabulous sunsets, and the absence of crowds, the place is perfect to unwind, relax and just laze about. At the same time, for those who just can’t sit still, there are a number of things to do and places to visit in Dapoli.
BEST TIME TO VISIT DAPOLI
The best period to visit the place is between the end of October to mid of February. This is the time when the weather is cool and pleasant. However, if you want to savor the goodness of Alphonso mangoes then the period between April and May is the best time to pay a visit to the place.
However, the weather can be a bit humid around this period. We had braved the humid weather and traveled during the month of May several years ago but the rich haul of juicy mangoes obtained for very reasonable prices really made us forget the slight discomfort.
Dapoli is the place to be in even for those who wish to enjoy a monsoon weekend getaway. This is the period when you can witness nature in its full glory. You will never forget the breathtaking views of the lush vegetation and scenic landscapes that behold your eyes at these times.
MUMBAI TO DAPOLI
The best way to travel to Dapoli from Mumbai is to drive your own vehicle or hire a private cab. Our group comprised of extended family members numbering about 12 to 13 and we drove a fleet of three to four cars together.
By road, you need to take the Mumbai-Pune Expressway up to Khopoli and then follow Khopoli-Pali road in Chichawali. Remain on NH66 route and thereon move from MH SH 272 and SH 96 to reach Dapoli. A non-stop drive on this route will take you to your destination in around 5 hours or less. This route travels a distance of about 229 km.
You can also avail of the services of state transport buses that run from Borivali to Dapoli.
As far as the rail route is concerned, the nearest railway station from Dapoli is Khed which lies at a distance of 29 km. Khed is a point of stoppage on the Konkan Railway Line. Besides, many major trains travel through Khed and have it on their list of stoppage points. From Khed you can reach Dapoli via auto-rickshaws, local buses, shuttles, and so on.
The airfield closest to Dapoli is the Ratnagiri Domestic Airport which lies at a distance of 127 km from the place. Thereon you need to travel further by road to reach Dapoli.
DAPOLI- WHERE TO STAY?
There are a lot of stay options at Dapoli. A number of homestays offer clean and decent accommodation facilities in addition to delicious local cuisine. On the other end, you can also avail of any of the many resorts located in idyllic surroundings and offering the best of amenities.
We had booked our accommodation at the Whistling Palms resort which lies off Karde Beach. The sea-facing rooms adjacent to one another proved very convenient to our group. The location was perfect with the sea waters just a stone’s throw from our rooms. We had a great time soaking and splashing in the sea waters like small kids without a care in the world.
The food was good and we had no complaints in that context. There were a few indoor activities offered by the resort which was an entertaining diversion for the late evenings.
PLACES TO VISIT
There are several things to do and see in Dapoli depending upon the reason for your visit. If you want to just laze and relax then getting good accommodation close to the sea and with some tongue-tickling local cuisine on offer is your best bet.
If you have come with an intention to explore the place then there are several places you can visit.
A number of temples like the Parshuram Bhoomi, Kadyavarcha Ganpati, Keshavraj temple are located at Dapoli and each temple is a crowd puller in its own respect.
Parshuram Bhumi which lies at a distance of 11kms from Dapoli is truly a not-to-miss destination. An example of great architecture, the site holds a statue of Parshuram standing tall at a height of 21 feet over an earth sphere which is 40 feet in diameter. The earth sphere is called the meditation dome. From atop the hill, you obtain awesome views of the red-colored sea waters of Tamas Tirtha below. Truly a majestic sight!
Another popularly visited temple is the ‘Kadyavarcha Ganpati’ which is located in Anjarle village about 20 km from Dapoli. The temple’s origin dates back to the 12th century though it was repositioned and revived later on. The deity is supposed to be an alive deity and the idol of Lord Ganesh is endowed with a right-sided trunk. The area is serene and peaceful and attracts a lot of devotees throughout the year.
If you want to do some soul searching in the midst of tranquil surroundings then you must visit the Keshavraj Temple. The temple which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu is situated amidst dense coconut groves of Asudbaug about 6 km from the Dapoli-Harne road. Reaching the temple may necessitate you to walk uphill and climb about 200 steps or so but the effort is definitely worth it.
PRISTINE DAPOLI’S BEACHES
There are a number of beaches in Dapoli and each one of them is endowed with a beauty that is unique to them. The calmness and serenity that prevails soothe the mind and body of every visitor while the water sports offered at some beaches quenches the thirst of adventure seekers.
You can have your pick from among the Karde beach, Ladghar beach, Kolthare beach, Anjarle beach, Kelshi beach, and many more.
The beach where we had our fill of the sun, sand, and sea was the Karde beach. The beach is a four km long beach with white and black sand shimmering under the sun’s rays. The sea bed is very safe for a little distance into the waters enabled us to soak and have fun in the sea waters without any risk whatsoever.
You can also indulge in bird watching, swimming, dolphin watching, and photography here. You can view the dolphins swim past you as you go on a boat ride that leaves from the beach in the morning. Parasailing, jet skis, banana boat rides, camel rides can also be availed here.
Another beach most frequented for its beautiful landscape is Ladghar beach which is also known as Tamas Teertha. The seashore is a mix of red pebbles and sand and therefore takes on a reddish hue at the time of sunset. Sunset times are most mesmerizing here making this place a hotspot for romantic couples.
Kelshi beach which spans over three km is another beach that has rolling waves crashing against the shimmering, bleached sands on one end and lush green groves of coconut, Casuarina, and Cyprus on the other. This beach is the favorite haunt of nature enthusiasts who indulge in nature walks to view the varied flora.
If you are a trekker you can take part in treks organized along beaches or to forts or just follow the nature trails.
HOT WATER SPRING IN DAPOLI?
A visit to the Unhavare hot water spring is a must if you want to have a dip in hot natural waters. The soothing and energizing effect as you bathe in the clear and hot bubbly waters at Unhavare acts as a great mental refresher.
The location of the hot water spring is very picturesque nestled as it is on the banks of a beautiful river in the heart of a valley enclosed by lush green forests. The sulfur-laden waters are said to prove beneficial for individuals with skin ailments.
DAPOLI’S FORTS & CAVES
If ancient caves intrigue you then Panhalekaji caves are a not-to-miss site for you. Located on the Dapoli-Dabhil Pangari road, the caves which date many centuries back depict sculptures from the Buddhist, Ganpateya, Hinayana, Nath, and Vajrayana sect. Though today you can view only remnants of the 29 chain caves, the relics are still a source of interest to all history buffs. You can take a tour guide along with you to make your trip more interesting.
Suvarnadurg, Kanakdurg fort, and Goa fort are some of the forts that enable history lovers to connect with important incidents during the era of Maratha’s reign.
Suvarnadurg fort was one of the strategic sea forts during the Maratha reign and an important ship-building base for the Maratha sea fleet. Spread over an area of 8 acres the fort stands tall and strong encompassed as it does by the waters of the Arabian Sea. It takes about half an hour to reach the fort from Harnai harbor in a boat.
Kanakdurga fort, a land fort that is a favorite haunt for trekkers and history lovers alike lies close to the Harnai port. Though the fort is majorly in ruins, there is nothing to mar the beauty of an old lighthouse that stands atop its highest point. You get fantastic views of the stunning sunset, fishing boats, and bustling fish auction at the Harnai port in addition to a great view of the Suvarnadurg fort.
WITNESS UNIQUE FISH’S AUCTION
What is so unique about the fish auction at Harnai port? Fish auction is just like any other but there is nothing to beat the feistiness and the flamboyance of this one. Millions of rupees exchange hands at this fish auction and the fish from this place goes to all parts of the country and outside.
Fish of varied kinds can be seen being sold at the auction and the teamwork that goes towards bringing the fish caught from the shallow waters of the shore to the place of the auction makes for an interesting sight.
ENJOY EXOTIC LOCAL DISHES
Your trip will remain incomplete if you fail to sample delicious Maharashtrian cuisine offered by certain local families in the area. These are the ones who leave no stone unturned in their hospitality. A notice of few hours has to be given and a tongue-tickling meal awaits you at their house. If you wish to sample some of the best of Maharashtrian delicacies then you can customize your meal but advance notice has to be given.
The house is like most of the houses in the Konkan region with sloping tiled roofs, one room leading into the next till the backyard that is filled with dense coconut trees and blackberry bushes. A small narrow path in the midst of this lush vegetation leads into the sea waters; there is nothing to beat the beauty and calmness of this place.
Oh! What would a city dweller give to lead a life in such idyllic surroundings! But wait, one part of me would get bored after living here for a while; a true city-bred person that I am but maybe after I retire this would be the place I would love to be. Till then, such places will always remain perfect weekend getaways that will refresh and rejuvenate my body and soul.
SOME DO’s & DON’T
- Be adequately rested before you embark on your drive to Dapoli
- Drive well during the day if you are not familiar with the roads as you can encounter bad patches along the way
- Adhere to the usual dos; like carrying your first aid kit, verifying the condition of your vehicle and fuel levels before you start
- Keep protein bars, nuts, or any other energizing snack to munch along the way
- You may not encounter clean washroom facilities while on your road trip to Dapoli so take advantage of any good restaurant to relieve yourself
- Locals sleep early; so do not wander on the beaches at night time; it is best to entertain yourself with the indoor entertainment options provided by the hotel
- Do not forget to carry playing cards, board games, etc. as this will offer some good moments of fun for the family
- Do not get frustrated by the poor phone reception. If possible you can have a mix of mobile service providers within your family group
- Do not forget to pack mini-meals with you from the hotel while sightseeing nearby areas
ON A CONCLUDING NOTE
If you are looking for an offbeat destination to enjoy a relaxing weekend then Dapoli is the best place to be. You can have your fill of the sun, sand, sea in addition to the delicious and tongue-tickling local cuisine.
All in all, Dapoli is truly a place that helps you to come back with your heart and mind fully geared to face the usual maddening routine of city life. You can also read out my pure experience on my Mumbai to Ganpatipule blog.
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