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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂