She was just a week old in our family and we both – the missus and I – were dying to get to know her better. Yes, the car. Besides, we – the Assamese people – get overtly joyous around mid April, even though we are not in Assam; thanks to the Bohag Bihu aka Rongali Bihu (rongali = joyous). We can’t help it, it’s in our blood. Incidentally, my birthday is around the same time as well. Until two years ago, it was a great occasion to tank up and be hung over the entire day. But the time has changed, and so have the priorities (from parties to diapers). So a weekend trip some place this time was what the missus opined. Cool.
Now, April is not particularly a great month to enjoy in Maharashtra. Unless you really enjoy sizzling at 40+ degree C. But hey, the resorts have ACs – pointed out the missus, while looking up Dapoli in TripAdvisor. Though I had presented some more elaborate plans, of going to Alibaug, crossing over to Gateway of India, roaming around in Colaba, she refuted all by reminding me of our 1.5 year old daughter, Hiya, who will accompany us. Fair enough.
On Friday morning, I called up the second resort that came up in TripAdvisor search. It had a suite available that fulfilled all our requirements – AC, balcony, couch, TV, clean bathrooms, and food – at a relatively cheaper rate. Additionally, it even had a mini refrigerator and a little pantry area. Booked.
On Saturday morning, I quickly glanced at the route in Google map, made some notes in my mind, and we started pretty much in time. I opted for the Tamhini ghat route as I knew the route all the way till Mangao ST bus stand. (*ST= State Transport)
Chandni Chowk -> Paud -> Tamhini Ghat -> MIDC Road -> Mangaon ST bus stand (Mumbai – Goa road) -> Tol Phata -> Dapoli
Total distance was about 220 KMs that we covered in 5 hours (of which, we took 1 hour just to cover 20 KMs in Pune until we reached Chandni Chowk.)
The road was mostly good, with a little rough patches here and there. But we really didn’t feel any bump. If you haven’t been on that route before, FYI – it’s quite a scenic route with good roads (as of April 11, 2016). The catch is to know when to take a left turn onto the MIDC Road. Till then, it is a pretty straight forward route. After the MIDC road, take left and go all the way to Mangao ST Stand on Mumbai-Goa highway. Take the highway for another couple of kilometers until you get Tol Phata (Not TOLL phata, there’s no toll booth. Instead you’ll see some “7-seater” autos) on your right. From there, I used GPS, but you’ll get signs after every kilometer.
How can I miss that! It was a pleasant, smooth, planted drive throughout.
I exposed the car for the first time to all sorts of conditions – city, village, good roads, bad roads, highway, hilly road, narrow road, beach sand, everything! And to my delight, she was more than happy to take that all. She was only about 250 KMs old when we started, but she behaved like an old friend throughout that 500 KMs that we traveled in that trip. It was like an instant bond; and a man spent some really enjoyable hours with his machine.
Apparently, the missus enjoyed it pretty much, too. “Wow! I like the rear seat.” was her first (and only) feedback.
Well well well… it was a good place to say the least. Better than expected, in fact. When we reached there, we were not sure whether to stay for one night or two nights; but after doing a quick survey of the room, I affirmed that we’ll extend our stay to two nights.
To my delight, the room/suite had two ACs, and a comfortable sofa cum bed (that acts as a recliner too) in the seating area that was directly under an AC. So my plans for day 2 (Sunday) was made – I’ll fill the refrigerator with beer cans and drink all that the entire day seating on the recliner under the AC, munching on Surmai fry. Life was good again.
The resort is clean and the people are good. However, room service takes hours. And, well, avoid bread toasts. We hadn’t eaten a more burnt toast before. If you are not very picky, this is not a bad place. The Konkan region is not known for great hospitality anyway. This place served us some rather tasty Surmai fry, chicken curry, neer dosa, rice etc. The food was a little costly though.
All that is OK, but how is Dapoli?
Yeah, I am coming to that. If you are going there just to get out of home, drive
and chill out, like we did, it is a good place. That is true for most of Konkani places I believe. Our resort was right at the middle of the small Dapoli town, behind ST bus stand. The beach was around 14 KMs from there. The road to the beach was initially not bad, but after a while it gets really narrow. Like, really really narrow. And buses run on that road. Good luck if you are driving and you get a bus in one of those narrow turns. And apart from the beach, we did not see anything interesting in Dapoli. There are some water sports facility available in the beach. We did not spot any eatery around. There was another beach nearby, but we decided to give it a miss.
The (Karde) beach is good to catch some breeze. Personally, I won’t swim there, thanks to the sands. The beach was pretty empty, and was like that of Diveagar. Hiya was enthralled to experience the sea for the first time.
Tip: If you are a pothead unlike me, it’ll be heavenly at the beach to say adios to such a hot day while looking at the sunset and feeling the breeze.