The biggest question troubling most Mumbaikars is the destination for their next weekend getaway. Having visited most of the popular getaways in & around Mumbai, we were raring to go to a place which was yet unexplored. The place we ended up zeroing in on was Murud – a place known for its historical significance, which is 4 hours away from Mumbai.
I researched online for the best hotels & deals. Tripadvisor threw up some excellent deals. The best deal was at MakeMytrip. The hotel we booked was Golden Swan Resort. I ended up paying INR 5400 for a day’s stay. As per the details mentioned, brekafast was complimentary & check in time was 12PM.
Post a heavy breakfast, we left our home at around 8.30AM (30 mins behind schedule) on Saturday. I was relying solely on Google maps for directions. The drive till the Expressway was pleasant. There was barely any traffic on the roads. Our smooth ride was disrupted post taking the Pen-Khopoli road besides the Expressway. While mother nature has been generous to Maharashtra by showering her with a beautiful landscape replete with scenic mountains & lush green patches , our politicians turned out to be the party poopers for the sad state of the roads leading to Murud. The road from Pen-Khopoli was bumpy & was good only in patches. While we were hoping to have a quick bite at a fast food joint post the toll at Khopoli, we were shocked to find out that there were no food courts or fast food chain restaurant on our way. It is advisable to pack a few snacks to be consumed on your way. Apart from the arduous journey thanks to the pot holes, the 5 hour journey added to our woes. The scenic rivers & foggy mountains were the only solace. Although google maps was of great help, there was this small patch which made our drive through small bylanes. Although we would recommend you to take your SUV for the trip owing the condition of the roads, the small patch of narrow roads makes us think otherwise. Our mobile phone network was weak. I would suggest you to download the map & use it in offline mode.
In spite of breaking only for a roadside cuppa tea, we reached our hotel by 1.30PM. The hotel entrance looked just as good as it looked in the pics on TripAdvisor. Post taking our contact details, we were informed by the hotel manager that we have booked a beach side villa – Villa B2, which was 2 mins away from the hotel. We did have the option of staying at the main part of the hotel. But post inspecting rooms in both the parts of the property, we chose to stay in one of the beach facing villas owing to its proximity to the sea. The room was spacious enough for a couple. The amenities were in line with the details mentioned on travel portals. Although the amenities weren’t top of the line, the bathroom & the main room was clean. We were informed by the staff that lunch would be served at the restaurant till 3PM.
Post keeping our bags in our hotel room, we headed to the restaurant. We were delighted to learn that, lunch & dinner were complimentary. This was a pleasant surprise, as hotels generally tend to charge you for lunch & dinner. A mouth watering spread was placed in front of us. I binged on the deep fried Surmai laced with Rawa & Chicken Hariyali. The dal fry & mixed vegetable was to die for. The rotis were tender. We helped ourselves to plate full of green salad topped with masala. We were served carrot halwa & ice cream for dessert. The restaurant manager was a very good host. It did help that we were famished post that long & bumpy ride. We were informed that the hotel generally serves a buffett, but due to low occupancy levels a buffet was not feasible.
Having eaten to our heart’s content, we retired to our villa for an afternoon siesta at around 3.30PM. Post waking at 5PM, it was a pleasant experience to read on my kindle whilst sipping hot tea ordered via room service in the balcony. We were informed by the friendly hotel staff that the nearby Datta Mandir offers great views of Murud & should not be missed. So without further ado, we left for Datta Mandir. True to its word, Datta mandir offers a panoramic view of Murud. The templea is atop a hill & is surrounded by greenery. We were lucky to be there in time to witness the sunset. We did spot a snake in the grass as well!
We then headed back to our hotel. On reaching the hotel, we were seduced by the sounds of the beach. We took a walk on the beach, which was right outside the property. I was amazed to know that, unlike most of the beaches i have been to, Murud beach has black sand & not white sand as is generally the case. Black sand does not stick to your feet. There were several requests for a horse ride, but the INR 200 price put us off. The beach was sparsely crowded unlike beaches in Mumbai. Post a romantic walk, we headed back to the hotel. We enjoyed playing a few games of carrom after a really long time.
After having a satisfying day out, we sat in the balcony & poured ourselves a glass of wine.
We then headed to the restaurant for dinner. I gorged on the delicious chicken kebabs & mutton preparation. The main course consisted of Dal Fry, mixed vegetable rotis & boondi raita. We were then served delicious gulab jamuns & ice cream for dessert. Post a heavy dinner, we went back to our villa to end our day.
Since breakfast was served only till 10.30AM, we were forced to wake up a bit earlier than we wanted & head to the restaurant for breakfast. We ordered cut fruits, cheese omelettes, cereals, fruit juice & coffee. Post our breakfast we headed to our hotel to bathe, pack our bags & check out of the hotel.
We then headed to the biggest attraction of Murud- Janjira Fort. It took us around 20 mins to reach the venue, where we had to park our car. We were charged INR 40 to park our car there & were given a receipt. We then had to walk for two ins to reach the office to collect our tickets to see the fort via a boat. It was a muslim neighbourhood. Several of whom work as tour guides at the Fort. Post waiting for 10 mins, we were told to head to the boat which would ferry us to the fort- which is situated in the middle of the sea.
The boat was packed to its capacity. We were informed that we had to finish the tour within 45 mins post reaching it & we had to pay extra for a guide. Almost 20 of us onboard the boat chipped in INR 1500 for guide’s service inside the fort.
The fort is indeed one of its kind. Its rich history kept us enthralled. Although it is just a shadow of its glorious past, we couldn’t help but get impressed with its magnificence. The fort built by the South African King Siddhi Jauhar should definitely not be missed. Post the 45 mins guided tour of the fort, we were taken back to the office by boat.
We left for Mumbai at around 2PM. The mistake we made was to not have lunch at Murud, before leaving. After driving for 45 mins, we halted for lunch at a not so clean family restaurant which served vegetarian food. I would suggest travelers to have their lunch at their hotel before leaving for home. We left the restaurant post lunch, but the ride back home via Old Panvel Highway was bumpy & uncomfortable. I was scared of my tires getting punctured because of the stones. Luckily for us, it didn’t happen. It was 7.30PM by the time we reached our home in Santacruz.
Barring the unpleasant drive, it was a pleasant vacay in Murud. Wish we had stayed at the hotel property for a day more though!
1) Have breakfast before leaving for Murud. Food court near Lonavla is not on the way
2) Get your spare tyre checked & air filled in all tyres.
3) Travel time to Murud is approx 4.30-5 hours.
4) Total tour cost for a couple is approx INR 7500
5) Golden Swan is the the best hotel in Murud. Could not find a better hotel while we were there.
6) Remember to have your lunch at Murud before heading back home. No good restaurants or fast food chains on the way.