The mini-Mahabaleshwar of Maharashtra
Andrea Gogri describes the attractions of this must-see weekend destination.
Along the west coast of Maharashtra in the district of Ratnagiri lies Dapoli, a beautiful town nestled 800 feet above sea level. Cool and pleasant Dapoli has charms that have won the heart of many a traveller and earned it the nickname of Mini-Mahabaleshwar.
The first thing that you will notice about this wonderful little settlement is its delightful cool weather. No wonder, it was once a military camp for British soldiers.
As you breeze through Dapoli, you’ll be struck by its natural beauty. Seemingly white beaches, hills, forests, migratory birds and abundant plantations will spoil you for choices. And it may interest you to know that in the recent past, Jalgaon, a village in Dapoli received an award from the Maharashtra Government for being the cleanest village in the state.
Dapoli also has forts, numerous temples, natural hot springs and caves, and the second largest agricultural university in Asia, the Krishi Vidyapeeth. Dapoli is also famous for its Konkani style cuisine and Alphonso mangoes.
Spotting a dolphin is one of the most exciting things to do at Dapoli’s Palande beach, which is being promoted as an adventure destination. For a spiritually uplifting experience, do visit the Ganesh temple which is located on a hill overlooking the scenic, white sand Anjarle beach. Legend has it that footprints on the stone outside the temple, belong to that of Lord Ganesha.
If history interests you, you will be intrigued to know that this little town has given India several legends like Lokmanya Tilak, Sane Guruji and Annasaheb Karve. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar too pursued a part of his education in this town. Then there is a land and sea fort that you can visit known as the Kanakdurga land fort and Suvarnadurga sea fort. In the past, the land fort and the sea fort used to be connected by a tunnel.
Interesting spots nearby
The scenic Panhalekaji Caves around 20 kms south east of Dapoli are worth a visit. The caves are situated on the banks of the river Kotjai in a pleasant forest area and offer a glimpse into ancient architecture and culture.
Close to these Panhalekaji Caves are the Unhavare natural hot springs, known for their medicinal properties. In the Panhalekaji area, you can also visit the ancestral house of Lokmanya Tilak, which is now a memorial and school.
When to go:
The best time to visit Dapoli is from mid-October to mid-March. It would be a good summer holiday vacation spot too.
By bus or car Dapoli is around 240kms from Mumbai and under 200kms from Pune. The nearest train station is Khed, 40 kms away.