Dapoli via the picturesque Varandha Ghat…
(Posted by - Alok Nagpurkar, 20th Feb 2007 )

The month of December is one of the most pleasant times to visit Konkan. An ideal alternative for those of you wanting to spend your Christmas holidays away from the noisy crowds and humdrum! A perfect way to recharge your batteries and energize yourself! My friend Atul (he is the one who has taken all those lovely photographs you see on hails from Dapoli and was our guide. We decided on a three-day trip planning to cover Dapoli and Murud in Rahul’s car.

Packing our bags, we set out on a Monday morning in Rahul’s car. We decided to take the Varandha Ghat route via Bhor. It was around 8:00 – 8:30 when we reached the Katraj Ghat via the Pune – Bangalore highway. After crossing it, we stopped at Shirwal for a breakfast of spicy, tasty “Wada Pav” and “Misal”. After reaching Khed Shivapur, we turned right at ‘Bhor Phata’ and proceeded towards Varandha Ghat. It was a pleasant drive amongst the Sahyadri mountain ranges and trees and greenery. The high and undulating mountains on one side and the picturesque valleys on the other truly make the drive a memorable experience.

After about two to three hours drive, we reached the middle of Varandha ghat where we took our second break. Just driving through the mountains had made us hungry again!! We enjoyed hot tea along with “I Love You” Wada Pavs (there is a small shop famous for “I Love You” wada pavs here. Well…the person here was marketing his wada pavs by remixing Bollywood songs containing the lyrics ‘I Love You’ to describe his Wada Pavs!!! This guy was creative to the core…never before I had heard some famous Bollywood numbers remixed in such an innovative fashion…and this guy was singing and dancing with them too!!!)

After crossing the Varandha ghat, we crossed NH17 at Hotel Sagar just outside Mahad and proceeded towards Dapoli via Latwan. It was around 2 o’ clock in the afternoon when we reached Dapoli and we were absolutely famished. Atul took us to a quaint little hotel where we had delicious fresh seafood (Pomfret and Surmai). We proceeded to Kisan Bhavan and just hit our beds and slept like logs till late evening.

After a refreshing cup of tea, we set out towards Murud beach. This beach has a special place in my heart. Maybe because, it is the first beach I visited in Konkan. It is clean and safe for swimming. Or you can just take a long walk on moonlit nights…the only sound you can hear is of the waves! It is about 10 - 15 minutes drive from Dapoli and it was late evening when we reached there. Nestled amongst the coconut plantations beside the beach, there are many resorts that serve fresh seafood (Pomfret, Surmai, Prawns). No need to be disappointed if you are a veggie…some of the houses near the beach serve traditional home made vegetarian meals. You just have to inform them in advance. (Maybe if you are spending a day at the beach, you can inform them in the afternoon.)

We just sat there gazing at the sea, enjoying the beautiful, breathtaking sunset! After that, we had a long walk bare feet letting our feet sink in the soft sand, the waves lapping at our feet. In one of the resorts, one of the groups had created a campfire and was singing and dancing around it. We had food at one of the resorts and left for Dapoli.

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