I have lived many years of my childhood in Mumbai and have very fond memories of the umpteen times my parents took brother and me to Juhu beach then. We loved the place and always had so much fun there… we chased the waves, walked on the beach, made sand castles… They form a big part of my childhood memories. Today, it saddens me to see the state of Juhu beach… it is dirty, overcrowded… no longer the the same beach from my childhood 😦 In fact we have never felt like taking Cheebu there at all 😦 The only time she has been there was when we went there with some relatives who were visiting to show them around Mumbai. That said, staying in a coastal area we dont want her to miss all the fun of playing on the beach either 🙂 … and when we started exploring around, we discovered some awesome beaches around Mumbai.
Our love affair with the Konkan coast in Maharashtra began around 3 years back when we went on our first road trip to Alibaug. A few hours drive from Mumbai, Alibaug is dotted with some lovely beaches. Due to its close proximity to Mumbai, the place has become a bit touristy over the years, but is still clean and relatively less crowded. At walkable distance from the Alibaug beach is the Kolaba fort. The fort is approachable by foot or horse cart only during low tides. The fort is not very maintained but nevertheless worth a visit. The other beaches in Alibaug … Kihim, Varsoli, Akshi, Naigaon, Kashid, Nandgaon are pretty clean and nice and good for spending some time there, the best among them being Kashid Beach. Clean silver sands and clear water undoubtedly make it one of the best beaches in this stretch.
We fell in love with this beach the moment we set our eyes on it. The hammocks tied on the coconut and cazurina trees along the beach make it a perfect place to relax. Add to this the small stalls selling hot maggi and poha. Yummy! It is our favorite beach that is within driving distance from our home and since then we have been going there every year at least once during the winter months (when the weather is good).
The fort again, though not very well maintained, is worth a visit for the adventure of being on a fort in the middle of the sea. The Janjira fort, unlike the Colaba fort at Alibaug that can be reached by foot during low tides, can be reached only by boat. The fort offers some great views and there are some interesting stories about a tunnel way from the fort to the coast under the sea (reminded me of Kirrin island from Famous Five 🙂 )
Going further south on the Konkan coast brings you to the beaches of Diveagar, Shrivardhan and Harihareshwar. Visiting these places was our second road trip on the Konkan coast.
While the beaches were nice and clean, what we loved best from this trip was driving along the coast from Diveagar to Harihareshwar. The road was not very good, but we never regretted taking that road. The views were amazing… we drove on roads that had hills on one side and sea on the other side…. sometimes it was a rocky shore, at times the sea was deep below the cliffs … the waves lashing out on the rocks below and sometimes all of a sudden, it would break into a beautiful beach with not a soul in sight. It always amazes me to see the sea meeting the shore in so many different forms … a rocky shore somewhere, a natural harbor at another place, a black sand beach somewhere, a silvery white beach somewhere or a swamp full of green mangroves somewhere.
After this trip, I thought we were done doing road trips along the Konkan coast as the beaches further south were too far to be covered driving from Mumbai. But I was wrong 🙂 , as the recent road trip saw us exploring more of the region… the beaches of Guhagar, Velneshwar, Ganpatipule and more.
I will do a detailed travelogue on the trip. Meanwhile sharing a few pictures from the trip
So far, we have loved everything we saw… the sea, the sand, the trees, the mountains…. the villages on the way with little children walking miles to the nearest school, the friendly locals who guided us with big smiles on their faces and even wishing us “happy journey”, the beautiful temples everywhere, the local cuisine of Kanda poha, kokam sarbet, sol kadhi … and more. We cant wait to explore more of the beautiful Konkan stretch… next on the wishlist is beaches of Vengurla and Tarkarli. And so our love affair with Konkan continues…..