DAPOLI – MINI MAHABALESHWAR OF RATNAGIRI

Dapolian unforgettable experience

“If you are not barefooted on a beach, then you are overdressed “

Dapoli is an ideal getaway for a laid back vacation on the konkan coastline. It is a small beach village in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra surrounded by untouched attractive beaches accentuated with endless palm fringed coastline , historic monuments, beautiful temples and archaeologically important sites retaining it’s rich biodiversity. A vacay trip to dapoli assures you of a fun filled trip inclusive of fort hopping, relaxation on calm beaches, dolphin spotting and indulging in water sport activities. Because of the cool climate all the year around, it is also known as “mini mahabaleshwar”.

Pic credit : Kadambari
Beaches in and around Dapoli
  • Anjarle beach– The major attraction of Dapoli is the unexplored, unspoilt pristine white sand beach of Anjarle village. Located just 20 kms from Dapoli, Anjarle beach is an ideal place to visit on a long weekend. Absence of fancy hotels or resorts and a dearth of homestays justify that the beach is far from commercialism. One can taste the local cuisines at the homestays and go for a stroll on the beach at any point of time.
  • Murud Beach  – It is a long scenic stretch of beach with soft sand, swaying palms and crystal clear waters.It is also known as Murud – Harnai. The murud beach is a crowd puller owing to its spectacular sunrise and sunset views, dolphin sightings and water sport activities. Kids can have gala time making sand castles and going for a ride in the horse carts.
  • Ladghar Beach– Ladghar is a lovely village near Dapoli and is very popular for its clean beach and spectacular coastline. On visiting Ladghar beach one can notice some part of the sea to appear red in colour. Therefore the beach is also known as ‘Tamas Teertha’. This beach has religious value and the bathing here is a big attraction. One can indulge in beach rock collection as the beach is covered with colourful pebbles and rocks. The beach offers thrilling adventures like the Banana ride, water scooters and powerboat. There is a beach resort nearby offering cottages stay with simple amenities amidst beautiful landscapes.It houses some really good resorts famous for serving fresh fish in local cuisine. On the south side of the beach is a small fishing village called Burondi. The fishing boats with their twinkling lights make the Burondi harbor a fascinating sight to watch in the evenings
  • Kelshi Beach and Karde Beach – Individuals or couples who are peace lovers and are in search of calm tranquil beaches can head to Kelshi and Karde beaches as they are less crowded and far from hustle bustle.
Anjarle beach Pic credit : Kadambari
Murud beach Pic credit : Darshan Bafna
Port and Fort
  • Harnai Port – Situated 17 kms from dapoli, Harnai port is one of the biggest suppliers of fish in India. Hundreds of fishing boats packed with fresh fishes participate in local fish auctions twice a day.The port of Harnai consists of two forts, near Dapoli, Swarnadurga(sea fort) and Kanakadurg (land fort).
  • Suvarnadurg Fort – Suvarnadurg Fort known to be “ feather in the cap of Marathas is an island fortress located in the Arabian Sea, near Harnai port. The fort was built by Adilshahi dynasty and captured by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the year 1660.It is spread over an area of 8 acres. But the majestic fort is in ruins now. It has two entrances or gates, land facing “Mahadarwaja” (big gate) on the east and sea facing “Chor Darwaja” on the west. At the main entry, Lord Hanumanji is carved on the wall.There is a defunct secret tunnel that connects the land fort and the sea fort.  The sea-gate depicts carved figures of a tiger, eagle and elephants. The fort is fortified with many bastions having small built-in rooms. The central part of the fort has two granaries and a decrepit building.The fort is accessible by boat from Harnai port.
View of the Suvarnadurg fort at sunset Pic credit : Darshan Bafna
Fish auction @harnai port
Lord hanuman carved on walls of fort
Archaeological Site

Panhalekaji – Dapoli has one of the archaeological wonders in the form of Buddhist rock-cut man made caves situated on the bank of the river Kotjai. The 1000 yr old caves are best examples of architecture of the ancient days. The cave carvings depict scenes from Mahabharata and Ramayana creating a historical atmosphere. Dabhol has been marked even in maps of Ptolemy.

Panhalekaji Caves
Carvings on the cave walls
Natural hot water spring

Unhavare – It is a small village on the banks of a picturesque river surrounded by hills and forest. It is famous for its natural hot water springs and is located at 35 km from Dapoli. The boiling spring water bubbles up from deep inside the earth and cascades down into a series of three rock pools and gets cooled by a breeze coming from the river. The sulphur content in the pool water is known to have medicinal properties.There are separate shelters available for men and women for bathing. On the right side of river is a dense mangrove forest. These mangroves have a threefold advantage – they provide shelter for young fish, stabilize land and form a buffer zone to absorb floodwaters. It is a must visit for those who believe in supernatural powers of natural hot springs.

Hot water natural springs
Temples in and around Dapoli
  • Kadyavarcha Ganapati It is the famous temple of Dapoli built in 150 A.D. The temple is built on a cliff and so the name ‘Kadyavarcha.’ The temple has wooden pillars.The most striking feature of this temple is the idol which differs from most other idols as the trunk curves right and not the usual left. This is known as as Ujwya Sondecha Ganpati (Marathi: right-trunked Ganpati). During January – February, a festival of Ganapati is celebrated at Kadyavarcha Ganapati temple.
  • Parashuram Bhumi – ‘Kon’ meaning corner and ‘Kan’ meaning piece. The fable goes– Lord Parashuram shot his arrow and commanded the God of seas to retreat the water upto to the point of the arrow’s landing, creating a corner piece of land – beautiful Konkan!  Therefore Ganu family from Pune built this place dedicated to lord Parshuram, sixth avatar of lord Vishnu. It is located at 3-4 kms from Ladghar beach.There is a giant statue of Parshuram standing on the globe.There is a meditation room inside the dome and is known for its utmost silence , a perfect place for introspection. Viewing the sunset from here is a breathtaking experience as the beach, sea and the horizon get bathed in numerous shades of red colour. On the way back you will be able to see Red colour sea water of Tamas Tirtha and can get excellent shots of sunset in hues of red.
  • Chandika devi Temple – This temple of Chandika Devi is situated in an underground cave and is believed that it dates back to the time of Pandavas. Within 1 km from Dapoli-Dabhol main road and about 3-4 km from Dabhol port, the idol in Chandika devi Mandir (temple) is “swayambhu “. This idol is 3 feet tall and is coated with Shendur ( a traditional vermilion red or orange-red colored cosmetic powder in India). Visitors need to pass through a dark passage to reach the deity and carring any kind of light torch, flashlight, etc. is prohibited. Only oil lamps lit near the idol enlighten the dark interiors of the cave. It is said that the temple was frequently visited by Shivaji Maharaj.
  • Keshavraj temple – The temple is located in Asud at a distance of 8 kms from Dapoli and is a rare temple dedicated to lord Vishnu. The trail to the temple takes you through coconut farms and spice plants. There is a fresh water natural spring in the temple premises.

A trip to the konkan cuisine –
One can taste the best seafood recipes in Dapoli along with a wide variety of other local dishes. Kombdi Vade, fish fry, Solkadhi (refreshing spicy and tangy drink made from coconut milk and kokam), Kaju curry, jackfruit fritters, Bhakari (rotis made from rice flour ) are some of the famous food varieties here. Dapoli is famous for it’s alphonso mangoes, fresh Kokam syrup, Jackfruit chips, Ambapoli and Phanas Poli (made from alphonso mangoes and jack fruit).

Fish thali @dapoli
How to Reach

By Air – Ratnagiri airport 100 kms away By Train- Khed or Mahad railway station , 40 km away from dapoli By road- There are regular MSRTC buses directly form Mumbai to Dapoli. Can be reached by traveling on NH-17. Starting from Mumabi head towards Panvel – Pen – Nagothane – Kolad – Mangaon – Mahad- Dapoli Beach.

Travelling Tips
  • You can plan a trip to Dapoli all throughout the year but the best time to visit dapoli is october to march.
  • Try and reach before the evening as the windy roads are less illuminated in the village area and the villagers sleep comparatively very early. Instruct homestays well in advance to prepare your food.
  • Prefer travelling by private vehicles or hire local auto rickshaws for the whole day sight seeing.
  • It is difficult to find late night hotels and restaurants.
  • Prefer eating at the homestays for better dining experience.
  • Carry water bottles as you may not get stalls at all the tourist spots.
  • Go early in the morning to the murud beach for dolphin sightings.
  • Avoid water sport activities during unstable weather conditions.
  • Buy food items as souvenirs from the localites. #Vocal for local

Published by sujata pawnikar

Avid reader n blogger and a traveller by soul

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