The Konkan town of Chiplun is off a bend, halfway down the green-banked Bombay-Goa highway. This highway is to Mumbai what a tunnel is to a convict – its significance for the denizens of the metropolis reaches almost reverential levels. Mumbaikars have been taking this road for years, to do in Panjim all they would/ could not in their own city. But they have also been coming back with headaches and a sore realisation that there is such a concept as ‘too much of a good thing’.

This is exactly where the quaint, laid-back town of Chiplun comes in. It is located in the pocket between these two high ends, a place to put your feet up when you want out from the rat race as well as the beach frenzy. Chiplun is like a gracious host, undemanding of its guests but always solicitous. No dazzling attractions force themselves on your itinerary here but if you choose, there are always wide green vistas to gaze upon and beautiful viewpoints to drive to. Also, enough good food and odd purchases will interweave your interlude here.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO

You’ll need a car for sightseeing, so ask your hotel to book one if you have not driven down. You can also get autos. Most places are easy to find in Chiplun while driving, despite the fact that many of the roads do not have names and there are almost no sign boards.

Parshuram Temple and Village

The village of Pethe Parshuram near Chiplun has a dreamy air, which belies its uniqueness and significance. According to legend, Parshuram, a hot-tempered saint, gave up all his land to prove to his guru that he was a true sanyasi. It is said that he came to Pethe Parshuram, and in characteristic anger, threw his axe into the churning sea, which at that time came right up to Chiplun. The water receded up to the point where his axe fell and Parshuram claimed – or reclaimed – quite a bit of land.

Today, Pethe Parshuram is a clean, one cobble-stoned street village that makes a quiet living from tourists who come to the namesake temple and buy knick-knacks from the surrounding shops.

River Vashishti

There are many things to do by the river, which meanders along a wayward course in this region. Drive down to the jetty, which is 20 minutes from the highway. Boating here is very pleasant (300–400/ 1 hr) especially in the evening and no permits are needed for fishing. Be cautious; reportedly, crocodiles are occasionally spotted in the river.

WHERE TO STAY

It would be a wise decision to not take that bend off NH17 and into the heart of Chiplun if you’re looking for accommodation.

There are well-equipped hotels on the highway itself, all backed by rolling green hills.

TIP Do keep in mind that restaurants are called hotels in this region and hotels are called lodgings

Punit Paranjpe
The Parshuram Temple

The Riverview Resort (Tel: 02355- 259081-83; Tariff: 7,000–10,500) is spread over nine acres on a hilltop and unfolds down to the Vashishti river. All 37 rooms come with great views. Located on top of a hill, Dongarmatha (Cell: 09820189761; Tariff: 3,000) is an ecoresort with great views. Hotel Shalom International (Tel: 256467-68; Tariff: 1,500–2,600) is right on the highway opposite DBJ College. It offers 20 rooms and a kids’ play area besides a restaurant and a bar. Motel Vanashri (Cell: 09422433588; Tariff: 800– 1,000) is also located off the highway near Bahadur Sheikh Naka. It has 12 rooms, a restaurant and a bar.

Government Rest House (Tel: 252793; Tariff: 400–800), also called Sarvajanik Bangaon Vibhag Bungalow, near RT Camp, is another option with eight rooms with attached baths. For reser vations, contact PWD Office in Chiplun (Tel: 02355-252806).

WHERE TO EAT

The Riverview Resort’s restaurant The Riverview is a good place to try Konkani cuisine. The regional speciality, vada pav, is available on order and the sol kadi that is served here is excellent.

An interesting eating-out experience (with advance notice) can be had at Parshuram Temple, which serves lunch and dinner daily. All the cafés outside offer thalis. Do try the nachni papad at Pethe Vishranti Graha. The centrally located Royal Palace does good soups, surmai fry and fish curry and also has a bar.

FAST FACTS

When to go Between June and September. Chiplun is most beautiful in the monsoons. The first half of September is ideal. Winters are also a pleasant time to visit

Tourist Office

MTDC Mumbai
Tel: 022-22044040, 22845678
W maharashtratourism.gov.in
STD code 02355

Region Konkan

Location Chiplun lies along the banks of the Vashishti river, just shy of the Konkan Coast, almost halfway to Goa from Mumbai and 45 km from Guhagar

Distance 245 km S of Mumbai

GETTING THERE

Air Nearest Airport: Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport, Mumbai (245 km/ 6.5 hrs). Taxi costs 5,500–6,500

Rail Chiplun Station

Road Turn right onto NH17 after Panvel, carry on past Vadkhal Naka, Kolad, Indapur, Mangaon and Mahad straight to Chiplun.

Bus Lots of buses leave from Mumbai Central Stand throughout the day