My views/experience about the destination
Visiting the beach-town of ?óÔé¼?ôMurud Janjira?óÔé¼?Ø is akin to embarking on a historical voyage of discovery down the sands of time. A distance of 150 kms (it takes a little over 5 hours) separates this beautiful beach town from the city of Mumbai. Enjoy the drive along the rustic trail as you pass old towns and sleepy villages, enroute. As you approach Murud along the winding road, the beautiful coastline becomes visible on one side while the imposing ghats flank the other side. The sight of the waves lashing the white sandy beaches enlivens the soul as the pre-arrival excitement reaches a crescendo.
The entrance to Murud town is heralded by a nondescript gate/post that announces the destination without any fanfare. The 2 kms long Murud beach is surprisingly clean and covered by white, firm sand interspersed with shades of black - remnants of silt left behind by the sea each time it recedes. While the sea is relatively calm here, the danger zone on one of its extreme ends is appropriately marked to warn the unwary tourist of the perils of the sea. There were no signs of any life-guard on the beach which only indicates that extra-caution needs to be exercised while frolicking in the sea. The water flaunts a dark hue possibly due to the colour of the silt that lies beneath. Don?óÔé¼Ôäót forget to feast your eyes on the sunset at the beach as dusk sets in stealthily. Sunset is beautiful and bathes the landscape in myriad hues of gold and orange.
My experience on food, shoping, sight seeing & things to do
The food at the resort was not only palatable; in fact it was a gourmet?óÔé¼Ôäós delight. We were pleasantly taken aback at the choice of dishes and more importantly, the veg/non-veg buffet meals served were consistently delicious throughout our stay, reinforcing our resolve to recommend this resort to all who would care to lend a ear. For those who enjoy sea-food, there are some mouth-watering treats awaiting you at the Golden Swan Resort. There is also plenty to choose from Indian Tandoori, Chinese and the spicy Konkani cuisine. There are other hotels in the vicinity that also (reportedly) serve great food but we were not tempted enough to sample their fare.
The AC deluxe cottage that we stayed in was very decent; in fact it was value for money. The spacious rooms and bathrooms were well-maintained and clean. There is a bunk-bed in one of the rooms which, contrary to our expectations, turned out to be a king-sized bed large enough to sleep all six of us.
The exclusive sit-out that this category of cottage offers doubles as your perch to soak in the beauty of the resort in addition to spending time together and enjoying snacks/beverages amidst natural settings. Additionally, there are a couple of independent/unreserved sit-outs within the resort for the guests occupying other accommodation types. While alcohol is not sold/served in the resort, one can enjoy a drink in the confines of the room or at the sitout.
There is a small park for children within the resort that is replete with swings, hammocks, sea-saw, slides, et al. Beach-chairs are positioned at the periphery of the resort facing the water-front for that relaxing siesta/?óÔé¼?£Classic?óÔé¼Ôäó-reading experience allowing the moist sea breeze to soothe the body, mind and soul. Ample parking space is provided within the resort premises for guest vehicles. As if symbolic to the resort?óÔé¼Ôäós name, swans frolic around the resort unperturbed by the human presence around. The resort provides direct access to the beach. Walk through the rear gate and down a flight of stairs to get to the beach.
One can hire bicycles at nominal rates from the resort itself for a quick ride through the sleepy town or for the simple joy of cycling on the beach mesmerized by the sound of the waves lashing the shore. An array of bicycles are on offer (though not all in mint condition) for hire ranging from geared to the ungeared and in sizes suitable for all age/gender groups. You can also experience horse-riding and parasailing on the beach offered by local operators, at your own risk.
Visit the 2 island forts in the vicinity - the Janjira and Kasa (Padmadurg) forts.
The impregnable, oval-shaped Janjira Fort that successfully warded off multiple attacks of the mighty Maratha and the English is nothing short of an engineering marvel. It was constructed towards the end of the 17th century by Malik Amber an Abssynian minister serving the Sultan of Ahmednagar. It is rumoured that Shivaji lanched more than a dozen futile expeditions to capture the fort. The fort is spread over 22 acres of land with a 40 feet high wall and 19 towers some of which still have cannons mounted on them. The fort still houses the ruins of a mosque, a palace, a bath and a sweet-water well. A visit to the fort is a historical indulgence like none other. One can reach the main entrance of the fort by taking a short boat ride from Rajpuri Jetty.
The Kasa fort was built by Sambhaji on a rock almost a mile into the sea, possibly as an attempt (vain though) to outdo the Janjira Fort. The fort lies sprawled across 8 ?é?¢ acres of land and offers visitors a brief glimpse of the fierce battles that ensued between the Siddis and the Marathas. The sight of the mighty canons still entrenched within the fort?óÔé¼Ôäós crumbling walls is indeed awe-inspiring. The fort is inaccessible for most of the year and the gates are opened only with prior permission from the Port Trust authorities.
Visit the isolated 2km long Nandgaon beach with its sea front lined with palms. The approach to this beach is flanked by betel nut plantation and is not easily visible. While the winding, muddy road leading to the beach is not particularly impressive, the beach springs a surprise by suddenly appearing out of nowhere. Visit the nearby Siddhi Vinayak Ganesh Temple that has reportedly been in existence since 1036 AD and is thronged by devotees and tourists alike. Myth has it that the ?óÔé¼?£panchang?óÔé¼Ôäó (Hindu calendar) is blessed by this particular Ganesha.
Ahmedganj Palace ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ This palace is the estate of the present Nawab of Murud but is out of bounds for unsolicited visitors. Spread across 45 acres, it reportedly has a mosque and the tombs of the previous rulers. One can however catch a glimpse of the architectural beauty of the palace from the outside.
4 kms from Murud is the 100 feet high Garambi Waterfalls ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ a popular picnic spot. The water from the scenic falls is supposedly pure enough to drink. Marvel at the falls, drench yourself to the skin and listen to the thunderous roar of the water gushing down in torrents. Nestled in the woods, this cascade is a delight to behold and one can spend hours watching the beauty of nature unfolding.
Situated at a distance of about 4 kms is Khokri, home to the 3 massive 500 year old stone tombs of the erstwhile rulers of Janjira ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ Surul Khan, Yakut Khan and Khairiyat Khan. These tombs built in the Indo-Saracenic style fall under the auspices of the Archeological Survey of India.
Sample the popular Murud sweets, coconut chikki and barfi readily available in the local markets. In case you happen to visit Murud during summer, don?óÔé¼Ôäót forget to buy a box of Alphonso mangoes grown within the resort, for a steal.
My advice to fellow travellers
A great place to hibernate when you desperately need that ?óÔé¼?£break?óÔé¼Ôäó from the rigours of daily life. It offers a blend of rich historical experiences and absolute tranquility by the shores of a not-so-tempestuous sea. Don?óÔé¼Ôäót forget to carry your own booze if you intend staying at the Golden Swan Resort else you may have to request the house-keeping staff to source them from the local market albeit at a premium.
Yes I would recommend this destination to fellow travellers