Resort View

Harihareshwar Shrivardhan and Diveagar- The Beach Trio of Konkan

The west coast of Maharashtra along the Konkan coast has some scenic beach destinations, and we have endeavoured to cover them on short trips. So, on the Dasherra long weekend, Harihareshwar, Shrivardhan, Diveagar with Velas is what we tried to cover. These beaches close to each other have verdant hills nearby and are cleaner and serene with fewer crowds. So, please read on to find out how we went about exploring these beach destinations.

Map Maharashtra West Coast

At 6:30 in the morning, our chauffeur driven Innova Crysta was ready to pick us from our residence in Pune. My brother’s family joined us too this time, and so it made sense to hire a common vehicle rather than both families driving down in their individual cars. The plan was to start early, take advantage of the sparse early morning traffic, and hit Harihreshwar by noon. The route chosen was via scenic Tahmini Ghat, where we stopped at a restaurant for breakfast. Misal pav, idli vada sambar, dosa, uttapam, pohe with tea, and coffee is what we sampled.

MTDC Harihareshwar

It was approximately noon when we checked into the MTDC property at Harihareshwar. Our suites on the first floor were overlooking the beach. Yes, every morning, we rose to the sun rising and the waves rolling on the beach. After freshening up, we met for lunch at the resort’s Myra restaurant. A beach destination ensures that you get the freshest fish made with locally available spices and fresh ingredients. A fish thali and fried fish, sol kadi, were first on our list. A generous amount of coconut and tangy kokum gives a distinct delectable flavour to the local cuisine here. The food was both delicious and nutritious and very much like a home-cooked meal. Not the greasy, overly spiced, mass-produced kinds most small-town restaurants dole out.

Harihareshwar Temple

Harihareshwar Temple Complex

After lunch, we decided to rest to recover from early morning blues. Exploring the town in the scorching sun would not be a good idea. In the evening, we set off to visit the Harihareshwar temple, which has been described as the ‘Kashi of the South.’ A narrow lane dotted with shops selling pooja essentials and local snacks, sweets and preserves led us to the temple. A couple of monkeys were jumping around on a tree as we approached the temple complex.  The temple located on the beach has a hillock on its rear. Two temples were located in the complex. The smaller one is the Kalbhairav temple, and the other one is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Ganesh Gully

After paying respects at the temple, we were eager to visit Ganesh Gully whose pictures we had seen. A local shopkeeper guided us as the way to obscure. It is located on the hillock behind the temple en route to the ‘Pradakshina’.

Pradakshina Marg

Monsoon had just ended, so tall wild grass and other foliage covered the walkway. We cautiously trod on the path, clearing the wild overgrowth, and finally managed to reach the narrow lane with two boulders on either side. Legend has it that Bhima, one of the five Pandavas, had broken the enormous boulder into two as it stood in the way to the temple. The breathtaking view of the sea, with waves crashing on the rocks, from between the boulders is remarkable. It made the arduous walk worth it. One can see a Ganesh idol, otherwise submerged in the sea at low tide from here.

The children and men excitedly headed down the steep flight of steps that led to the seashore. The thought of having to climb back up seemed daunting, so my sister-in-law and I decided to sit there on a ledge midway. But my son insisted that we climb down as the view from the rocks near the seashore was not to be missed. We reluctantly climbed down but were so glad we did.

Porous Rock formation

Sweet water Cave
Locals Fishing

The unique porous rock formation on the hillocks, coupled with the sun setting at the horizon as the sea roared and splashed against the rocks, was simply irresistible. There were caves-like structures in which sweet water trickled, a stark contrast to the salty seawater. We could spot statues of several deities in the rock openings. A few locals were trying their hand at fishing. We clicked some beautiful pictures and enjoyed the wind slapping our bodies and cooling us off. We dreaded climbing back, but to our surprise, the locals informed us that since it wasn’t high tide, the rocky pathway would help us reach the temple and the beach. What a relief. The Ganesh Gully, by far, was one of the highlights of our trip and is not to be missed.

We were tired but content as we lapped some refreshing coconut water from the kiosk and headed back to our resort. After some dinner, we retired to our rooms for indoor card playing and then slept off.

Sunrise

The following day at sunrise, my husband and brother took a stroll at the L-shaped beach near our hotel. The beach is called Devaghar (not to be confused with Diveagar) and is situated at the confluence where the Savitri river meets the Arabian Sea. The rest of us decided to rest it off as a long day of beach hopping lay in store. We left our hotel at noon and headed to Diveagar, which is located 40 km from Harihareshwar. The plan was to see Diveagar, which was the farthest and, on the way, back visit Aaravi and Shrivardhan. The hotel staff had told us that two routes were possible- one through Shrivardhan town and another, although slightly longer, was a scenic coastal road. No prizes for guessing we chose the latter.

Devaghar Beach

Coastal Road Drive

The road meandered over the hills, kissed the beaches, which were pristine and secluded. So impressed were we by the natural beauty that we even contemplated retiring from the hustle-bustle of the cities to these tranquil surroundings where life moves at a leisurely pace. On a hillock was a vantage point that provided an unobstructed view of the sea.

It was close to lunchtime as we searched for a restaurant in Diveagar. The Khanavals or lunch homes, run by the locals, are very popular here. They have a simple no-frills ambiance but serve delicious local cuisines. They were very crowded, so we settled for a restaurant that dished out a mishmash of dhaba cum restaurant-style food, which it passed off as authentic local cuisine!

Diveagar Beach

The Diveagar beach is famous as it has water and adventure sports facilities and has stalls too. We decided to try an ATV ride on the beach. The instructor helped us understand how to ride it as we rode for almost a kilometre or two. He assured us that he would take us to the further end of the beach, where we would see a flock of seabirds and big crabs.  And lo and behold, we did manage to see them, but as the engine revved up, they took flight.

Aaravi and Shrivardhan Beach

We left Diveagar and briefly stopped at Aaravi beach, which is on the way to Shrivardhan. It was uncrowded, and the children played frisbee. After Aaravi, we headed to Shrivardhan beach, which was buzzing with locals and tourists alike. There was a promenade parallel to the beach with a walkway and benches.

Promenade Shrivardhan Beach

Water Sports

Water sports facilities here are the most popular. After putting on life jackets, we hopped on a rigid inflated boat for a 10-minute ride. We held on to each other, and the edge of the boat for dear life as the boat rider started the engine. The boat began to wobble and caught speed as it bumped and floated, briefly soaring in the air and then hitting the waves, splashing water all over us as we squealed in excitement.

The rest of the family had another round of frisbee playing as I sat at the promenade watching the sunset. We ate some corn on cob and ice cream and then headed back to our resort at Harihareshwar. Since it was the day after Dasherra, there was a procession on the road for the visarjan of the Devi. Revellers dressed in their best were dancing to loud music and making merry.

Sunset Shrivardhan Beach

Ferry Ride

The following day, we checked out of our resort after breakfast. The plan was to pick up some of the local eats and treats from the shops near Harihareshwar temple. Following which we were to head to Velas-known for its Olive Ridley Turtle nesting. We knew we wouldn’t see any turtles at this time of the year but wanted to visit the beach nevertheless. A ferry ride took us from the pier at Harihareshwar to Bankot. It’s a very short ferry ride, and not just passengers but even vehicles can be ferried across. The ferry service is every half an hour. We were lucky that ours was the last car that could be on board. The cars after us had to wait for the next ferry.

Bankot Fort

Bankot has a fort that provides a splendid panoramic view of the coastline from its ramparts. A plus point of this fort is its easy accessibility. You can go right up to the top of the fort in a vehicle. This fort has recently been restored and reminded us of the Chapora Fort in Goa which provides a similar view of the sea. The Bankot fort is the ‘Dil Chahata Hain’ fort of Velas, reminiscent of the movie where the three friends promise to meet every year. It is comparatively smaller in size and provides a 360-degree view of the surroundings.

Velas Beach

We then decided to head to Velas beach. With the help of some locals, we could find the entrance to the beach. One needs to walk through paddy fields and an overgrown path to reach the beach. It was lined with Casuarina trees and had soft white sand with not a soul in sight. We were the only people on the beach as we spent time contemplating, picking shells, and clicking pictures. Velas is worthy of another trip during the turtle festival. The Velas Turtle Festival is organised every year in March. The Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra an NGO organises this festival along with the villagers, for creating awareness and encouraging ecotourism.

Serene and isolated Velas Beach

Our long weekend trip to Harihareshwar, Shrivardhan and Diveagar- trio beach destination had ended, and we headed back to Pune. The serene, picturesque beaches of this stretch of Konkan with mesmerizing sunsets, azure seas are every nature lover and photographer’s delight. The variety of water adventure sports will satisfy the adrenaline junkies, while the delectable local cuisine will satiate the taste buds of every foodie. Go for them! 

 

Nearest Airports: Mumbai is the nearest international airport.
Distances: Mumbai to Harihareshwar is 184 km (5 hours by road), Pune to Harishareshwar is 175km via Tamhini ghat. Harihareshwar to Diveagar 35-40 km (1 hour by road).
Best time to visit: October to March is the best time to visit these beaches. April onwards it gets hot and the monsoon in this region is quite heavy.
Where to stay: MTDC hotel is located in Harihareshwar. It is value for money, has good food and has the best location close to the beach. You can do a net search for other options based on budget and comfort.  
Travel Tip: Please carry enough water and wear hats and sunglasses. The roads are rather bumpy, so make sure to take the medication in case of motion sickness. Do shop for some local food items like kokum, mango barfi, amla candy and other preserves.

2 thoughts on “Harihareshwar Shrivardhan and Diveagar- The Beach Trio of Konkan”

  1. Atharv Abhyankar

    The entire experience is documented with so much affection!
    Being a beach person, the beautiful and well placed images and it’s tiny but captivating captions, immediately made me want to get my car keys! 🙂

    Thank you for sharing this experience! 😀

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