Skip to main content

A River Flows Through It

Chiplun isn’t your typical middle of nowhere. In fact, it is the exact midpoint on the drive from Mumbai to Goa, a fact that comes up within the first minute of you mentioning the tiny town to anyone living in these two cities.

I had a different reason to visit Chiplun though. I’d heard many years ago of a resort, tucked right at the edge of the town, with fabulous views of a river. My research showed that the Riverview Resort was originally built by the Taj Group but now had different owners. The views still looked glorious which is why I headed towards Chiplun one long weekend.

Getting There

Chiplun is a picturesque 6-7 hour drive from Mumbai. I’ve driven through the Konkan a few times before so to mix things up a bit, I booked myself a train ticket that gets you to Chiplun around 1 pm. There are several of these convenient trains that get you in and out of Chiplun. At the station, you can request the resort to send a car for pickup or get yourself an autorickshaw for the 20 minute journey. The autowallahs may not know the resort name but asking for ‘Parsuram’ – a temple near the property, or the old Taj hotel will get you there.

Where to Stay

The Riverview Resort has regular rooms facing the gardens or superior rooms looking onto the magnificent view of the Vashishti river. I could spend all day looking at the beautiful valley, but the sunsets are particularly glorious. The rooms themselves are huge with two double beds and a balcony to sit out at. It’s an old property, sure, but as far as old properties go, this is a well maintained one.


What to Do

Apart from walking around the garden and the tiny village nearby, you could go to the Parsuram temple if you are so inclined. We visited when the sun was much too hot but if you go to Chiplun during monsoons or the colder weather, you could go boating in the river. It’s about 10 kms away and you could drive to the river bank but the resort also offers hiking trips.

For the restless sorts who want to ‘do something’, the Guhagar beach is about an hour’s drive away. And if you have an extra day, you could even make the 2.5 hours drive to Ganapatiphule.

Do not forget to cool off at the resort’s pool, set at the edge of the valley. It’s shallow enough that you can just sit in there and sip on a cold, icy drink.

What to Eat

The resort only has one restaurant but has a menu spanning multiple cuisines. They do Konkani food surprisingly well, and I will particularly recommend the potato curry and the varan dal from the Konkan section of the menu. North Indian curries and breads are executed equally well. Then, when you are tired of curry on your third day there, ask for Chinese or chilli cheese toast with pasta. Breakfast has a rather limited choice but they cook everything reasonably well and the warm service and their eagerness to customise dishes to your requirements more than makes up for anything you miss.

What struck me most at the restaurant and at the resort everywhere was the friendliness of the staff. There are some old timers from the Taj times and most of the staff is local. Everyone I met there was super helpful and intent on making sure we had a good time. Special mention to the guy who got us the off-menu jalebi because it was being cooked at the wedding reception they were hosting that evening.

All in all, Chiplun is that perfect getaway for 3 days. In a year that’s full of long weekends, this just might be the holiday you are looking for.

A version of this story was also posted on Whats Hot Mumbai.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Fruits of the Forest

I know there hasn't been a new recipe on these pages for a while. But worry not, I'm back with a real zinger. Earthy, creamy, crunchy - this is an appetizer that ticks all the right boxes. And if you happen to be a mushroom lover like me, this is the best way to eat mushrooms I've found so far. I present to you, for all your year end parties and appetizer cravings - creamy mushroom pate on toast.

Its mushroom pate two way - just on its own and panko-crumbed and fried. Both go on a crisp garlic baguette with watercress and some kewpie mayonnaise. Here's the recipe.

Ingredients
Crunchy garlic butter toasts (I buy them as is, but you can also slice and toast baguettes)
200 grams button mushrooms
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp cream cheese
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
kewpie mayonnaise (or regular mayonnaise)
watercress or micro herbs
salt and black pepper to taste
oil for deep frying

First, make mushroom pate. Y…

A Bowlful of Comfort

I have a friend who is quite the globetrotter. Lunches at her place, often right after her trips, are a treasure trove of global flavours. But the last time we met, she was just back from Tamil Nadu and out she brought a bowl of curd rice. I love curd rice and have eaten a lot of it over the years but my friend's version was so full of flavours and textures, it was a revelation. Obviously, I asked for the recipe.

The genius of this curd rice lies in adding the tempering or the tadka twice, once to mix in the rice so it absorbs all the flavours. Then you make a second batch to top the rice with just before you serve, so it adds crunch to the usually mushy dish. The recipe also has a few other elements added in for texture, freshness and flavour.

I over-ate at lunch at my friend's and I over-ate again when I made this for myself for lunch. Plus, all the ingredients you need are likely in your kitchen already so you may as well go make it now.

Ingredients
1/2 cup rice
1 cup plain…

Farm to Fork in Chail

Back in 19th century, when Shimla was the summer capital of India, the Maharaja of Patiala got the British rulers riled over his dalliances and got banned from entering the city. Not the one to be put down so easily, he found a tiny little town about an hour from Shimla and made Chail his very own summer capital. Today, Chail still has the impressive Palace that the Maharaja built and the highest cricket ground in the world. There really isn't much more to the city apart from a small local market and a couple of hotels that get spillover crowd from Shimla in the summers. It's a pleasant little diversion but that's not why I went to Chail. I stopped nine kilometers short of the town to make Ekam my home for a weekend.

Sumeet Singal built this house on a cliff as his own weekend home. Today, even when Ekam is open as a luxury boutique resort, the cosy homely feeling remains intact. I asked Sumeet what there was to do during my three day holiday at Ekam. He told me that ther…