56. LADGHAR,KOLTHARE,DABHOL, GOPALGADH & ANJANVEL.

We leave Karde for the next place which is Ladghar. There is a road along the coast from Karde to Ladghar but we are advised not to use the same as it is in a bad condition. We have to return to Murud and drive past this office building of Darya Samaj Mitra Mandal , an attractive structure and then to Dapoli through thick greenery and winding roads.

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Dapoli is an education centre with an Agricultural University. It is early in the morning and we see a lot of students around. The ride back to the seashore is pleasant.

Ladghar beach is one of those places where the seashore is very close to the cliffs, leaving very little space for any other activity. Whatever accommodation is available , is on the hillsides. One has to climb down to the beach making the spot unpopular for tourists and travellers.

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From here the road goes away from the sea for some time and we cross the villages of Tamastirth and Burondi. After Burondi, there is small road going towards the sea again. It is a narrow, deserted road going alternatively through Mango orchards and wilderness. We take that one as against the main road going to Dabhol.

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The tough drive brings us to another village called Kolthar. It is located on the seashore with the hills right behind. People grow Arecanuts and Mangoes in whatever space is available. There is no possibility of agriculture. A few fishermen families have their own litleplace by the sea. A small river called Panchanadi meets the sea here.

This narow lane takes us to the beach. A nice little beach which gets some local tourists in the holiday season.

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Among the schools in the town is an Urdu primary school which is not functional.

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We have our breakfast at a small tea shop in the village and chat with the owner. He is Mr. Mayekar. His family migrated from some generations from Mayem in Goa. You will find this kind of migrations from Goa during Portuguese rule with people migrating to neighbouring places in what are now the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Another long, winding and off-the coast road takes us to the port town of Dabhol. A large tract of coast between Kolthare and Dabhol does not appear to be accessible by any motorable road.

The river Vashisti flows from the western ghats through the town of Chiplun and meets the sea here.

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Dabhol is a town with history. Also known as Dabul it was a flourishing port and was known to European merchants and colonizers . It was a part of the Karnataka based Muslim Sultanates.  The rivalry betwen them and the Portuguese led to the latter sacking and razing the port  and the town in 1506. Dabul or Dabhol does not seem to have overcome this disaster.

The Muslim past has the footprints in the form of these mosques. There are no signs of the Portuguese past.

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Dabhol jumped onto the front pages of newspapers when Enron Corporation announced a mega power plant here in early 1990s. What followed was a saga of allegations of large-scale bribery in India and the United States,Human Rights violations at the plant site, and ultimately a small disaster at the NYSC when the share prices of the parent Enron fell from USD 98 to USD 1. This saga also saw one of the world’s most respected accounting firm, Arthur Anderson biting the dust in what is called a monumental failure in the auditing profession. All this may not be entirely attributable to Dabhol.

In India Dabhol became synonymous with corruption until other scandals took over. It is unfortunate that the name of Dabhol was spoilt. The plant has nothing to do with Dabhol. It is located at another place called Anjanvel across the river.

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I asked a local the reasons for naming the company after Dabhol. His  explanation was that it was only because Dabhol was a historically famous place.

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The ferry crossing is short and swift. This is the second ferry crossing for TheBlueDrive.

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The Veldur village seen from hill across the ferry landing.

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We have a small mishap when climbing up the hill. An young man riding a motorcycle  in neutral gear came hurtling down and brushed our car and then fell in a ditch. he had an young girl on the pillion. After providing them First Aid we proceed to a place called Anjanvel,

Anjanvel is the access point village for the Gopalgadh fort. This is another 17th century seaside fort atop a hill. The surprising part is that it is privately owned. At least the sign board at the main gate entrance says so.

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It is owned by Simran Agro Farm House. It would be interesting to to know how a historical monument can be privately owned.

Most of the fort is in a state of neglect but some parts are found in good condition.

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From the privately owned fort we proceed to a Lighthouse , hopefuly this is not privately owned.

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This is called Anjanvel Lighthouse.

A few meters before the Lighthouse is the temple of Talakeshwar. A decent temple with a largish Deepstambh.

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Given the remoteness of the place, the temple is well-maintained.

Walk a few steps behind the temple and you will be served with some breathtaking views of the ocanbelow.

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From here we get back to the main road leading from the jetty, procedings to Guhagar, our next halt.

Text by Suryakiran Naik

Photographs by Suryakiran Naik & Veena Naik

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