Hotel Sagar Sawali, Ladghar
Hotel Sagar Sawali is a Beach Resort located at Ladghar in Dapoli, District ratnagiri, Maharashtra. There is another hotel with the same name at Harnai beach belonging to the same management, but I am writing about the resort at Ladghar.
Amazing and peaceful are the two words that best describe this place. More importantly, the affection and welcoming attitude of the staff here is what draws me to this place recurrently every year. The hotel was started more than 20 years ago and it is still going strong. Hotel Sagar Sawali has truly been instrumental in setting a milestone in tourism development of the Konkan belt of Maharashtra.
The most charming aspect of this hotel, at least for me, is that it has no television! Some might find this a bit of put off but for me, what is the point of sitting in front of the TV at a beach resort? So folks who are looking for all the trimmings and frills, such as gourmet foods, room service, TV in the rooms etc. this place is not for you. But for those who are looking for a few days of undistrubed calm and quiet, lots of peaceful time in which you can really contemplate, miles of undisturbed and deserted sands, plenty of sunshine etc. then go for it. You will fall in love with the place immediately.
Location of the Hotel
It is situated only 8 kilometres from Dapoli on the road towards Dabhol port. Be very cautious and ask around when starting the drive since there are two roads that are almost parallel going towards Dabhol. Take the road that goes via Burondi and it will lead you right on, the hotel is situated on the road itself on the right side, a couple of kilometres before Burondi. People are very friendly and unassuming hence it is very easy to ask for directions should you get confused. If one is travelling via train, the nearest railway station is Khed on the Konkan railway. Also, from Dapoli bus stand, plenty of State Transport (ST) buses or private shared jeeps and rickshaws run between Dapoli and Ladghar. Alternatively, you can hire an auto or drive down. Rented jeeps and cars are also available.
Types of Rooms
The hotel comprises of one main building that contains 7 or 8 rooms, all of which are airconditioned; four cottages of which only one has an AC and 3 common dining areas in the open. All of the rooms in the building as well as the cottages have an open front view of the ocean. The windows are huge and as you open the drapes, you get an instantly pleasing view of the ocean as the hotel is situated at some height. The rooms are all extremely clean, spotless and well maintained. The sheets and bedding is also very clean and the sheets and the pillow cases are changed on a daily basis. Towels are provided. The rooms are good for couples and/or a small family of four. In case extra bedding is needed, clean mattresses, blankets and pillows are provided at an extra cost. Some rooms in the main building have an extra small bed apart from the regular double bed, so a family with children or an elderly person can live quite comfortably in the rooms. All the rooms have attached bath and toilet with a western-style WC. The bath and toilet is not very big but they are well maintained and are cleaned daily.
Room service is not provided and the guests are expected to take all their meals in the common dining areas. All the cottages have been provided with a table and lounging chairs outside and one can bring their meals here to enjoy. even from the dining areas, there is an open view of the ocean and mealtimes can be very enjoyable with the lovely sound of waves and no other noises to disturb you. Although room service is not provided and you have to go down to the office for anything you need, all your requests are met immediately and politely. All the staff here is well trained and is friendly in attitude.
The food here is authentic Konkani cuisine (Maharashtrian) which is prepared using traditional methods. Electric mixer-grinders etc. are not used at all and all grinding is done on traditional stone mortar. It really makes the food exclusive and extremely mouthwatering. The choice of breakfast meals comprises of typical pohe with plenty of freshly scraped coconut, upma, thalipeeth with sweet and hot chutney, and ghawan (crispy rice pancakes).
Lunch and dinner contains vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian fare with typical konkani masalas and plenty of coconut in most dishes. One must try the special "Walache Birde' with "Tandalachi Bhakari" (rotis made from rice flour). For seafood lovers, there is a variety of fresh fish cooked in coconut gravies to choose from. It is always better to order in advance the preferred dishes and the quantity etc.
One must also try "Ukdiche modak" which is a traditional Maharashtrian specialty sweet, steamed rice flour dumplings which are stuffed with coconut, jaggery and poppy seeds mix and steamed on a banana leaf, served hot with a bowl of ghee. This dish is a must-have and is usually prepared in Maharashtrian homes as an offering to Lord Ganesha.
Another side accompaniment worthy of trying out is "Solkadhi" - a drink made from kokum fruit in coconut milk and flavored with chillies and garlic. This is supposed to aid digestion and also has cooling properties. Hence this is a must have if you are ordering non-vegetarian dishes. Again a word of advice, as this is rather tedious to make and all foods are prepared by hand, you have to be very specific when ordering. So order an extra glass or two and you are sure to find place for it in your stomach rather than ordering less and then longing for more.
The Beach and The Vicinity
The beach is only about 150 metres walk from the hotel. The sand here is reddish in colour and it becomes even more redder during the sunset, hence the name of the beach is 'Tamasteerth' or the Holy Beach - 'tamas' means red and 'teerth' means holy place. The sheer variety of reds seen here during sunset is really amazing, making the experience quite breathtaking.
The landscape here is quite unspoiled and pristine and the area around is rather undeveloped. Therefore, there are usually no crowds here as are found on most other beaches. The only visitors here are the guests from the hotel and from a couple other resorts in the vicinity. But most of the times, you will find yourself undisturbed. Right next to the hotel a few metres away, there is a small river that empties into the sea. This is also a great spot from swimming. In the months from October to January, a large number of migratory birds are seen here. If you follow the river upstream, it will lead you towards the Ladghar village. There is a small temple-like structure built right over the water, this is a good spot for watching birds like pond herons, egrets, hoopoes, parrots, storks etc. For botany lovers, there are many horticultural delights just waiting to be discovered, like the beautiful Gloriosa lily, or as locally called haldi-kunku, which is a beatiful flowering creeper with part-red and part-yellow flowers.
The beach is also covered with lots of coloured pebbles, making this a rock collector's paradise. There are many areas with boulders where you can sit for hours looking at the birds and the water. Or if you are so inclined, you can take a ride in one of the fishing boats here early in the morning to watch dolphins. To take the dolphin ride, you can take help from the hotel staff who can arrange one for you. Or if you head out to the beach early in the morning, one of the fishermen themselves will approach you for the ride.
Next to the hotel, there is an ancient Shiva temple called "Veleshwar" a beautiful temple which one must visit. The temple campus is very pleasing, amazingly quiet with huge mango trees that must be at least 70-80 years old and nothing but a few cows and storks to give you company. On the north side of the beach, there is a 'Lord Dattatreya' temple that is situated on a small hill and a 15 minutes walk will take you there. For an unusual and calming experience, one must visit both the temples.
On the south side of the beach, there is a small fishing village called Burondi. You can take a walk to this village, a long walk yet it is very invigorating and in the evenings you will be rewarded with a delightful view of the numerous fishing boats swaying into the sea with their twinkling lights.
Or you should do nothing but do like I always do. Nothing!! Just sit on the cool sand for hours watching the waves lapping at your feet or watch the beautiful patterns made on the sand by numerous bugs with amazing colours and designs. Or collect some colourful pebbles. Or build sand castles. Or be creative and make drawings in the sand. The choices are numerous. Once you go there and decide to immerse yourself in the beautiful nature, you will find there is no dearth in the ways with which you can enjoy yourself! The point is whatever you decide to do, take a walk or whatever, everything here is so pristine, serene, idyllic and beautiful, you are going to fall in love with the place and will want to come again and again.
Telephone no.: 02358 288047, Ladghar, Dapoli
Contact Person: Mr. Bapu More
A Word of Advice: In order to avoid last-minute disappointment, be sure to call and reserve your room at least 3 months in advance. That is the minimum waiting period here as the frequent visitors here are people from Mumbai and Pune who come to stay regularly every few months.
Best Time to Visit
During the months from November to February. The weather is clear and cool enough to make your stay enjoyable and also you can play on the beach plentifully. Although summer is extremely hot and you can visit the beach only early in the mornings and late evenings, you can still enjoy an offseason stay here because this is the time when the nature if bountiful with summer delights such as mangoes, karvandas, etc. which you can gorge on.
Photo Source - All photographs are by author.
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