The tiny beach town of Dahanu at the Maharashtra/ Gujarat border is fast becoming known for its vast Sapota or chikoo farms and Warli tribal art and craftsmanship thanks to the annual ‘chikoo’ festival started by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) in 2012. The festival features a Chikoo safari, products made from the fruit along with Warli tribal art and craft and cultural performances. The event is held in collaboration with ‘Konkan Bhoomi Pratishtan’ in February each year.
Dahanu taluka makes for an ideal tourist destination offering nature and culture at the same spot. Over 50% of its land is covered by fruit orchards, forests and mangroves offering opportunities for agri-tourism. It has skilled agriculturists, horticulturists, floriculturists, artisans, potters, basket weavers, jewellery die-makers, salt manufacturers, balloon manufacturers, toddy tappers and fisherfolk apart from olden activities like boat repairing and net making.
Paraag Jaain Nainuttia, Managing Director MTDC said, “Our objective is to make people aware of the history of the town and place Dahanu as a strong brand associated with Chikoo, Warli paintings, tribal life, rural tourism and beach tourism.The festival has offered many business and job opportunities to local masses and has helped modifying the small town.Plenty of tourists who want to experience local food and lifestyle prefer staying with residents therefore this has encouraged B&B in Dahanu and Bordi.”
Beyond the yield, the Chikoo Festival also showcases organic farms, sightseeing, provides a hands-on village experiences, games and nature trails.The festival also gives tourists an opportunity to interact with local people and understand their lifestyle as it presents a visual sense of ethnicity and the fertile tradition.
Musafir Namah Bureau