Konkan Summer in Harnai-Dapoli
We reached Dapoli in about six hours after halting at several places.It is about 250 km from Mumbai.Dapoli itself is away from the sea so we choose to stay at Karde Beach at the Sagar Saoli Resort.
Close to the resort were adventure sports such as parasailing,water scooters and beach biking.The Dolphin Safari also started there.
The hotel was comfortable and the service exceptionally good! Bathrooms were simple but equipped.Food was homely and quite a treat!
In the garden was a well and a huge mango tree full of unripe mangoes.
We had a view of the ocean from the rooms.There was lovely chai stall by the sea
In the garden was a sago palm.This is the source of sabudana which is made into khichdi and kheer on days of "fasting".High in calories.
For breakfast we had many options.The Thalipeeth was superb! Handpressed,this was well spiced and nutritious as it was multi grained.Way better than any I have had in Mumbai.This was served with a chutney.Poha was also light and flavorsome,again unmatched by any in Mumbai.There were Ambolis or fermented pancakes but I skipped that.
After the lovely breakfast,we set about to visit temples,each one as stunning as the other.The first one we visited was at Murud....the 300 year old Durga Temple and had a gigantic bell.We visited on Ram Navami day so we heard special music as well.
Murud (different from Murud Janjira) was home to Maharshi Karve and Lokmanya Tilak
After that we headed to Dapoli to see the Panchmukhi Hanuman temple.It has five faces as the name suggests and is rare.Here we had exceptionally sweet coconuts.You can see them hanging above in the picture.
Next we headed to Harnai and spotted the Harnai Bunder in the distance.We drove to Anjarle,which was a picturesque drive
Spotted a man picking cashewfruits.
The view of the Kadyavarcha Ganpati temple was breathtaking.On a cliff,you can spot the white temple in the picture above.Earlier people had to go via boat and then climb steps but now with new roads and a bridge,we reached uptil the temple easily
Built in 1150 AD,the trunk of the Ganpati idol faces to the right,a rarity.There was a Ganpati etched on a coconut and some stunning large crystals which someone had donated.
Outside were several shops with local produce.Met Mr Ranade and spotted Kokum Soda.There were all kinds of spices (like Methkut) and squares made of fruits like guava and green mango.Papads and Thechas.
Best of all were the scents made from local flowers like Surangi and Son Chapha
On the way back we stopped to pick up organic mangoes made by Dongri people (hill people).These were fragrant and delicious.Was pleasantly surprised to hear the kids say they would check my website to see their photo.How much communication and education has improved even in rural areas!
The last attraction for us was the Harnai Fish Auction.We went there in the evening but were told that catch was less as boats hadn't all gone out on account of Ram Navami.Other places to visit are the Panhalakaji Caves and Unhavare Hot Springs but we had no time for that
All the same we spotted lobster,crabs,eels,red snappers,surmai,pomfrets and prawns
The auction began and despite the haggling and crowd,I managed to get a few pictures.
Wonderstruck by the freshness of the seafood,I wished I could have this quality in Mumbai
Food here is lovely.Served with the appetizing Sol Kadi!
Next morning around 7.30am I went for the Dolphin Safari that costs Rs 150 per head.The ride was bumpy at first but oh so exciting.Waves,seagulls and tiny fish jumping out of the water! In a short while we spotted about fifty dolphins but were far too difficult to photograph because of their speed
We returned to Mumbai and on the way picked up some tender cashew nuts which we bought from tribals and made a lip smacking Olya Kajuchi Usal
Also stopped by Kshanbhar Vishranti and made Agri food:Lepata Chicken with Wades.
Truly a lovely offbeat holiday....one that I recommend strongly!