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.
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.