We visited the coastal town of Murud last weekend. The town is famous for the sea fort of Janjira, but there is definitely more to the place than just that!
It was 8:30 AM when we started our drive. After breakfast at the Kamaths' at Karnala, we took the Alibag route towards Murud. We took a detour near Alibag to check out Tropican Resort. We were not impressed by the place to pay the high rates they were charging, and moved on. We reached Murud at 1 PM after a leisurely drive. The place is not more than 3 hours by road from Mumbai. After checking in at the Golden Swan Beach Resort, we headed for lunch to the famous Patil Khanaval. Tables are setp up on the sandy grounds beneath coconut palms. The setting is basic, but the food is delicious! Do try the fish here.
After lunch, we headed for the jetty to go to Janjira fort. The sailboat to Janjira was a new experience. Thankfully, it was not very hot, and we enjoyed the boat ride. Janjira fort is fascinating. It has a long history, beginning with Abyssinian rulers called Siddis, more than 800 years ago. These rulers continued ruling the fort till independence, never being conquered by the Marathas. The boatman doubled up as our guide, and did a good job of it!
Evenings and mornings were spent on Murud Beach. The beach is wide, gently sloping, but the tide timings were such that it was low tide at these times. Hence, the waterline was quite far off. But the water was very clear and clean.
The next day, we traveled inland from Murud, trying to find Kuda caves. We missed the turn off to lead to the caves, and had to take a wide detour. But this has unexpected benefits. We saw a flock of 18 vultures, the first time I am seeing vultures since my childhood. As you would know, vultures have dwindled significantly over the past decade or so, so the heart warmed at the sight of these birds. It was interesting to note that while one could observe these birds comfortably from the car, the moment one of us stepped out of the car, the birds would gracefully float away!
When we finally found the caves, the drive was worth it. The caves have a scenic location, on the side of a hill, overlooking the sea. Some of the caves were residences of the monks, while a few had stupas within. The main cave had some nice carvings. These caves are nearly 2,000 years old, one more reminder of the ancient history of India.
We started back for Mumbai on the third day, after 2 comfortable days at the resort. On the way back, we visited Nandgaon Ganapati temple, and the lighthouse and fort at Korlai. The fort is completely in ruins, but the views from the top are very atmospheric.
All in all, the trip was a fantastic reminder of the varied and ancient history of our magnificient country.