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A Random Dayout in Dahanu

Detour April 26, 2017

Even though I’m somewhat acquainted with Dahanu since my childhood, I know very little about the city. Many  commute daily here from Virar and the two cities depend a lot on each other economically. Popular for  best quality chikoos, Dahanu has international market selling them making a brand of the city. Nowadays, the Maharashtra tourism industry is keenly promoting Neera, a natural health drink, which has its base distributors in Dahanu. In Virar, you see many Neera carts that get their supplies from Dahanu.

We were curious to know more about the drink. So I and my friend Dipali set out to visit the Neera Kendra just like that and explore Dahanu all we can in a day.

We took a shuttle train from Virar to Vapi and got down at Dahanu. It took approximately 1 hour 20 minutes to reach here. There was this Neera Centre right where we got down. Neera is an oyster white natural drink extracted from specific Palm trees growing in and around Dahanu. If you are acquainted with ice-apples, its the same tree.   In the noon hours of scorching heat, we couldn’t be more thankful for a pouch of Neera. We inquired about the base center and learned about Khadi Gramodyog at Parnaka in Dahanu. A share auto would drop us there…

 

But wait..Had to halt to admire these beauties first. The walls of Dahanu Railway Station are probably recently decorated with Warli Paintings. The forest regions of Dahanu and South of Gujarat are inhabited by Warli, a tribe who are reckoned internationally for their peculiar  mural paintings that they draw using  rice paste. This is a wonderful idea whoever has thought of it -a brilliant way to promote tourism industry as well as have a pleasant railway station.

Renovated Dahanu Station with Warli Paintings.

It is from here that the Neera is distributed throughout the Palghar district.

At the Khadi Gramodyog we were little disheartened that the head of the Neera department wasn’t available. Though we plan to visit again for it. It was here that we learned about Save Nursery, something not be missed when in Dahanu and so our rest of the day was saved and we finally had some fun place to go.

Save Nursery farm is situated on road from Dahanu to Gholvad. You get a shared auto from Dahanu for Rs. 20 a seat. The rikshaw seats are slightly broader that our usual 3 seater but certainly not for 4 people which is what the drivers expect to carry to make a productive trip to & fro. Not to mention the two passengers seating either side on the drivers seat which makes it an uncomfortable yet funny driving scenario to watch. You have to pay up for the extra person or pay for a fare without sharing. It is advisable to come here with a private vehicle.

 

 

We actually came here  looking  for range of chikoo products but discovered Save Nursery is more than that.

It is a farm- nursery with stay options for tourists. Unlike resorts, Save Farm-Nursery has a purpose; to acquaint tourists with rural life here. There are beautiful cottages to stay, well-furnished and air-conditioned. Your stay is planned with various activities designed for you to familiarize you with the local living here. This whole concept is very popular today known as  Agro-tourism. Roughly charges for the stay here are Rs. 2700 per person per day and inclusive of food charges. You can know more here http://savefarm.in/. Must say we quite enjoyed roaming around.

Machaan – Ye sidhi nichese upar jaati aur upar se niche bhi aati hai 🙂

Good Times

 

We were lucky to meet Mr. Prabhakar Save, the founder of  Save Farm & Nursery and who is actively leading the promoting of Agro tourism of Dahanu not limiting to his place alone. He told us about the yearly chikoo festivals held in Bordi and how it is now not limited to an yearly fair. You can plan it anytime of the year and visit local shops selling chikoo products, warli paintings, handicrafts, a tour arranged taking you through the tribal area of warlis, enjoy the Tarpa dance etc.

 

Awards & Accolades of Mr Save and the Agro project

Eco T-shirts and more

Delicious organic Chikoo

 

We did not leave before buying some chikoo products and organic chikoos. The chikoos were really good. While returning back we realized the farm is in proximity to Gholwad railway station than Dahanu. What we missed is a good eatery place here. We will be back in Dahanu for more. So please do write in the comment section if you have suggestions for places to visit in Dahanu along with good food places. 🙂

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Jharas – The Exotic Leafy Green of Winters

Detour, Khaugalli February 18, 2017

Jharas is Winter green found only in the region of Vasai-Virar. Most of the vegetable vendors especially those who are not native and sometimes even natives like ‘maushis’ in  eastern market of Virar haven’t  heard of this leafy green. It just grows like that, probably like in the mushy areas around wells. The veggie is bitter in taste, slightly bitter than methi, so the proportion with other ingredients needs to be balanced while cooking. It is supposed to have medicinal value and therefore preserved by sun drying and stocked for the whole year. If you like methi, you will like Jharas.

After a lot of search (been on lookout for nearly 2-3 years) found this greens in the small market of Umbargothan- a pretty scenic village situated in between the road to Nalasopara starting from Agashi. Had to travel far but I’m not complaining because the evening travel by Dumdum (big rikshaw) was pleasantly beautiful with reddish-golden sun setting on the horizon and the road surrounded by luscious green fields. Hope the greenery never vanishes.

Below  is the recipe for Jharas Vaal bhaaji in the video. The recipe is given by Ms. Bhagyashree Pandit. There are other ways to cook jharas like using in thalipeeth.

Hurry now before the season is gone!

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A Beautiful Evening Spot -Karwale Dam in Saphala

Detour January 24, 2013

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We came across this very soothing evening spot last weekend, the Karwale dam. This one is located in Saphala, a train station that falls in between Virar-Palghar route.  Karwale dam is approximately  6 years old, you can say a moderately recent construction. Since then, it has been a great water source to the nearby villages. Other than that as you see the pictures, it is a quaint evening spot for residents there. We imagined that during monsoon this dam and the surroundings must look stunningly green and therefore a great idea to plan a picnic during the season.

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You can board passenger trains or Virar-Dahanu local trains that halt at Saphala Railway station. Roughly, the dam  is  3-4 kilometers  from eastern section of the village, an east-west division made by the railway line there. Hire a rikshaw, dumdum or catch a bus to get to the Karwale Stop on the route to a small village, Pargaon.

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By road,  Karwale dam is on Saphale road, a deviation from Mumbai -Ahmedabad expressway on National Highway8 .

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