The present day lifestyles necessitate having many small breaks from the hectic schedules. And when it comes to a break, nothing matches a natural escapade. As rightly put by Lord Byron :-
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
I came across these lines and since then a feeling instilled in me to have a getaway from the fast and busy life of Mumbai somewhere close to the nature. My search for a weekend hideout in a quiet and warm place nearby led me to the picturesque and pictorial town of Chiplun.
The tropical city of Chiplun dwells on the Mumbai–Goa highway and is 320 km south of Mumbai. The city is well connected by rail and road, although a drive into the city is a delightful experience. Tucked in Ratnagiri district, it offers scenic views on the way. It is sandwiched between Western Ghats and Guaghar and is popularly known for the river Vaishishti that meanders through the city. Chiplun, literally means “Abode of lord Parushuram”, and needless to say is a very ancient city with rich culture and religious sentiments. Although the city is a relishing experience to visit anytime of the year but October to March is the best period to take a visit in the city.
A major tourist attraction of the place is the Vaishishti river, on the banks of which nestles the artistic town. Originating from the Western Ghats, the river snakes through and falls into the Arabian Sea. In between several tributaries fuse with the river and multiple riverine islands can also be found. Boating and fishing are popular sports here for tourists and occasionally crocodiles can also be spotted.
Konya Dam is situated in Konya Nagar and is one of the largest dams in Maharashtra .A magnificent view of the dam can be enjoyed from Nehru Smriti Udyan.
Legend has it that the foundation of the temple was laid down by Lord Parushuram in the honour of Lord Shiva. This temple is a cave temple with many scared grooves around it. Snakes are spotted here a lot but the case of any devotee being bit by one has never been reported, which has further intensified the faith of people. Dhareshwar waterfall near the temple is another breathtaking sight of the place.
Built some 300 years ago is the ancient temple of Parshuram, famous for the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The architectural style of the temple, combining both Hindu and Muslim styles artistically, makes it a must visit. Behind the temple is another temple of Goddess Renuka, the mother of Lord Parashuram.
Walavalkar Shivaji Museum
If you are an inquisitive person when it comes to biographies of great men, this museum will offer a relishing and fascinating experience by giving insight into the life of the great Maratha Shivaji. The museum takes you through the life of Shivaji with various exhibits and statues. Apart from the museum there is another dedication for the great warrior in the form of Gowalkot Fort.
Cuisines & Culture
A very special feature of the place is the mouth watering Malvani cuisine that has spate of options basically in fish and rice. Several hotels in the area provide the specialty. Apart from this, the place has a special drink to offer called Sol Kadi, which is a Konkani drink seasoned with coconut milk. The place is culturally very rich and the number of temples found here stand testimonial to this fact. The 8th century Karanjeshwari Temple & Vindhyavasini Temple are other notable temples that can be found here. A striking feature of the place was the reception that I got from the locals of the place. The denizens are very genial and helpful people, and are very welcoming to the tourists here.
Chiplun, is a perfect peaceful hideaway and the various activities such as trekking among the hills or boating and fishing in the river makes it quite an adventurous place as well. Owing to the attractions, several beautiful hotels have come up in the area with various river view resorts hosting awesome ambience. If you are looking for a short vacation spot near Mumbai, Chiplun is a paradise that cannot be missed. But even if you are on a long trip to nearby places like Mahabaleshwar or Goa, a stopover at Chiplun is a must. Close to the nature, with calm and quaint atmosphere and picturesque landscape Chiplun induces the much required refreshment one needs.
Image Source: [http://www.flickr.com/photos/ankurp/794643113/sizes/m/]