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: 267 km S of Mumbai 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
STD code: 02355
Rail: Chiplun Station
Road: Turn right onto NH17 after Panvel, carry on past Vadkhal Naka, Kolad, Indapur, Mangaon and Mahad straight to Chiplun
The Konkan town of Chiplun is off a bend, halfway down the green-banked Bombay-Goa highway. This quaint, laid-back place sits in the pocket between these two high ends, a place to put your feet up when you want out from the rat race. 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.
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 signboards.
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 cobbled-stoned street village that makes a quiet living from tourists who come to the namesake temple and buy knick-knacks from the surrounding shops.
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 especially in the evening and no permits are needed for fishing. Be cautious, however; reportedly, crocodiles are occasionally spotted in the river.
Where to stay
There are well-equipped hotels on the highway itself, all backed by rolling green hills. Do keep in mind that restaurants are called hotels in this region and hotels are called lodgings. The Riverview Resort (Tel: 02355-259081-83; Tariff: INR 8,900-9,900; www.chiplunhotels.com) is spread over 9 acres on a hilltop and unfolds down to Vashishti river.
Hotel Shalom International (Tel: 256467-68; Tariff: INR 1,400-2,200; shalomresort.com) 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: INR 800-1,000) is also located off the highway near Bahadur Sheikh Naka. It has 11 rooms, a restaurant and a bar.
Government Rest House (Tel: 252793; Tariff: INR 400-800; ratnagiri.nic.in), also called Sarvajanik Bangaon Vibhag Bungalow, near RT Camp, is another option with 8 rooms with attached baths. For reservations, 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 pao, is available on order and the sol kadi 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 cafes 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.