Summer is here and so does the vacation! Every one of you must be planning for a trip or a tour with family and friends. Weekends is what we look for to have perfect and peaceful time from a hectic schedule. Once we are all set to take a leave, we take help of our best friend, Google! We start searching for best places to visit in summer, best places to visit near Mumbai or Pune or your city. You might get suggestions as Matheran, Mahabaleshwar, Lonavala, Alibaug, Khandala, Lavasa and many more. Most of these places you must have already visited. You might plan for Goa too, but as history says Goa plans rarely happens 😉 especially with friends, don’t you agree with me?
Here I am to tell you about a beautiful place where you can get complete peace and perfect getaway, called ‘Dapoli’. Google or Wikipedia says, it’s mini ‘Mahabaleshwar’, yes it is! People know Dapoli for beaches, fun and party, but I see it beyond that. It’s a place with immense history and culture. Dapoli is 215 km from the Mumbai. Dapoli is also known as Camp Dapoli as British set their camps there in 1818.
If you want to go back in history, there are places which will give you reasons to dig it out. It has temples, caves, forts, churches which are ancient. Their structures, information will give you evidence of rich Indian history. So here are some historical places to visit in Dapoli –
The church in the middle of the camp Dapoli is the oldest architectural structures built by the British in the history of Camp Dapoli. This is one of the old churches in Dapoli. This church was built for praying for the English officers and their families settled in Dapoli during 1818-1857. This church was built in a gothic style and its structure is eye-catching. There was a 6 foot tall bell on the tall high tower of the church, no one knows where it is now. The church of such a structure is near the fort of Purandar in Pune district
Approximately 7 km away from Dapoli is a village named Aasud. This village is blessed with abundance of natural beauty. If we set off on the Dapoli – Harnai roadway, after 6 km we will come across a beautiful place called Aasud Baug. Turn right from here and after a 15 – 20 walk, you will come across this extremely beautiful place called Keshavraj Mandir (Vishnu temple). While walking towards the temple, you will come across a small bridge. This is the very bridge that gained immortality by being mentioned in one of the most famous Marathi novels, ‘Garambicha Baapu’ by S. N. Pendse. Across the river bridge, lies a small road that ascends to the Keshavraj Temple. This temple surely makes Dapoli Tourism interesting.
Hot water springs can be all around the Konkan region, in the districts of Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri, etc. Many tourists crowd these places often for spiritual or leisure purposes. At Dapoli, this hot natural water spring is at a village named Unhavare. This village is based at 35 Kms away from the city of Dapoli. Because this pool is perennial, there is hot water here all round the year. The water level remains constant during winters and monsoon as well. Even the temperature of the water never changes. These waters contain a mixture of Sulphur and Carbon dioxide. As the amount of Sulphur is higher, these waters can cure skin diseases and are a perfect solution for stress. Dapoli – Unhavare natural hot springs comes with medicinal value.
In the 16th century, two mosques were mentioned in history, one of them is the Hasaba Masjid and another is the Shahi Masjid, Dabhol. This Masjid (Mosque) is also known as ‘Anda Masjid’ or ‘Masaheba Masjid’.This is the only mosque from Adilshah’s era that is in good condition on the coast of Konkan. This is the best example of Mughal architecture. One should surely visit Shahi Masjid and witness the interesting architecture. This is the interesting place to visit in Dapoli. This should come in your list of Top 10 BEST Places to Visit in Dapoli.
Panhalekaji is a small village near the banks of the river ‘thorli-dhakti kotjai’, in taluka Dapoli of Ratnagiri district. This village not only is rich in natural beauty, but also a rich ancient inheritance. Relics of ancient Indian heritage have been found in this village. These relics are ancient caves found on a mountain north facing the river thorli-dhakti kotjai. There are 28 compartments in these cave chains and 29 in another cave chain at a place called Bag vadi. You can find mendicant quarters, dome shaped shrines, assembly hall, statues and other such structures in these cave chains. This is the oldest cave and one of the best places to visit in Dapoli.
Suvarnadurg fort was built in the 16th century during the rule of emperor Adilshah. In 1660, Shivaji maharaj defeated Adilshah the second and added this fort to the Maratha empire. In the year1688, after the death of Shivaji Maharaj, Maharaj Rajaram appointed Sarkhel Kanhoji Aangre as the authority over this fort. This fort was a headquarter to the great soldier Kanhoji Aangre who was known as the Shivaji of the sea. From Kanhoji to Tulaji, this fort remained under the command and control of the Aangre family. In the year 1755, this fort came under the rule of the Peshwas and later, under the British in the year 1818. This fort continued to be under the British until Independence. Suvarnadurg fort at Harnai, is the oldest forts in Dapoli and one should definitely visit it.
This is ‘Yakub Baba’s Dargah which is famous in Kelshi village in Dapoli. This dargah is on a hill near Kalshi coast. It is said that this Dargah is built by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Some people say that Shivaji Maharaj started the dargah and then Sambhaji Raje completed it. ‘Yakub Baba’ was the teacher of Shivaji Maharaj. During invasion in Dabhol, Shivaji Maharaj came to know about Yakub Baba and he met him. Maharaja received blessings and guidance from him. Dabhol invasion was successful done. It is told that Yakub Baba had come from Sindh province to Kelshi via Bankot. He had a son with him named Sohail Khan, who was ten years old, who later was known as Himmat Khan. Himmat Khan’s Dargah is next to Yakub Baba’s Dargah.
During the 14th – 15th century, a seer came from Saurashtra (Vishalnagar). He established a settlement which comprised of people from all castes and sects. The village was formed by intellectuals and hardworking classes. The village flourished as the villagers lived in harmony. During this era of prosperity, there rised a need for a religious place and hence the Durga Devi mandir was built during this very era. There is no other temple in this region that can compare with the beauty of the Durga temple.
‘Murud’ village from the taluka of Dapoli is the very village where Maharshri Dhondo Keshav Karve spent his entire childhood. If one deeply studied the history of Murud, one would find that, an important part of it traces to a Brahman (Hindu priest) who migrated here from the northern parts of India. Along with his four disciples, he came to Aasud & Jaalgaon and from there he established 3 villages. Today these villages are known by the names Murud, Dive Aagar and Guhagar. This mysterious Brahman from the north attained Samadhi (meditative trance); this shrine can still be found at a place in Murud called Bhairicha Konda near the newly built well. This holy shrine was built many decades ago but there is no record of exactly who built this structure.
To explore more places and hotels in Dapoli, visit – www.talukadapoli.com/travel
So this summer, plan something different. Travel to Dapoli and explore history and culture. Do not forget to share your experience with us!