“Smell the sea and feel the sky,let your soul and Spirits fly”
Maharashtra is fortunate to be bestowed with many Mountains and pristine Beaches. One can trek the western Ghats and enjoy the beauty of the mesmerising hills and to enjoy the beauty of the Beaches, there is no better place than konkan.I had planned this trip to enjoy the beauty of the konkan coast which has many serene beaches some of which are virgin beaches.For those looking for tranquillity and peace,Harihareshwar is the place to be which is a haven for solitude lovers.I along with a friend set off for Harihareshwar early morning on a Saturday which is approximately 195 Kms from Mumbai and takes about 6 hours by road.It took us 5 hours from Navi Mumbai to reach our destination – MTDC Resort. We checked in the sea facing AC Cottage which provided an excellent view of the rising sun and pleasant sound of the breaking waves.
Harihareshwar is a town in Raigad district in Maharashtra(India). It is surrounded by three hills – Harihareshwar, Harshinachal and Pushpadri. The river Savitri meets the Arabian Sea at Harihareshwar.From here, one can visit Velas,Shrivardhan and Divegar which require 3 days. The roads are good but being a hilly area, they are winding . A dose of anti nausea tablet is recommended for those prone to car sickness. After examining the available options, I decided to hire a cab, as there are no State transport or Luxury buses to Harihareshwar which drop the passengers at Shrivardahan which is 13kms short of Harihareshwar and takes about 30 mins by Tumtum(8 seaters autorickshaws).Although a bit expensive, for a relaxed and peaceful trip as also to visit the nearby places, it is preferable to hire a cab.
Enroute we stopped at a roadside eatery for breakfast of Missal Pav and Tea and thereafter headed for our resort.The wooden cottages at the resort are very aesthetically constructed with all modern amenities.After a good lunch and afternoon siesta, we decided to try our luck at witnessing Turtle hatching in Velas
The Ferry Ride to Velas
Velas beach which is a small fishing village on the west coast of Maharashtra, about 220 kms from Mumbai,in Ratnagiri district. This beach is famous for the Olive Ridley turtle population that visits the beach every year to lay their eggs. There are a little over hundred houses along the coast at Velas and the Olive Ridley Turtle conservation is undertaken by the villagers jointly with an NGO named Sahyadri Nisargmitra.The Female turtles visit the beach in late-November to lay eggs in about two feet deep dug pits which are then covered with sand prior their returning back to the sea. At a time, a single female Turtle lays about 100 eggs. The volunteers from the NGO along with the village committee members then dig the sand and transfer the eggs into man-made pits called hatcheries. After the incubation period of 50-55 days, the hatchlings emerge and create small depressions in the sand. The volunteers uncover the basket, check if the eggs have hatched, and transfer all the hatchlings carefully in another basket to take it closer to the sea.Twice daily at 7am and 6 pm, Since it is a natural process, the lucky visitors can witness this fascinating event.The season is Feb-April.The best and the fastest route to Velas beach from Harihareshwar is by the hourly Ferry service.
The Ferry jetty from our resort was about 30 mins drive and the ticket is Rs 100 per person and Rs 200 for the vehicle ( Varies depending on the type of vehicle).The driver travels free. The ferry takes only about 7-8 mins to reach Velas beach.There being no mode of transport available in Velas and the distance to the hatching site being about 24 kms from the beach, carrying the vehicle in the ferry is a must. The roads in Velas are bad and extremely narrow.There are boards displayed all along the path indicating direction to the hatching site and advising visitors to conserve the sea turtles. We reached the site around 5.30 pm and the opening of the nests was to be carried out only at 6.30 pm.Having arrived early, we were able to select the best place for clicking photographs with the camera flash off as advised by the care takers but to our disappointment, although there were depressions on the sand, the hatchlings did not surface(the success rate is about 60 %).We were disappointed but returned accepting our bad luck and promising to try our luck once again next year.
The Velas Turtle Hatching Site on the Beach
“Don’t rush on anything,when the time is right,
it will happen”
We thereafter set out to see Bankot Fort which is now in total ruins and returned to our resort. The Dinner Menu did not have much of a choice but the masala pomfrets were delicious which we enjoyed with a cool drink sitting in the cottage balcony with excellent sea view and refreshing cool breeze.
I woke up early the next morning and captured some beautiful shots of the sunrise sipping the morning cup of tea. Our plan for the day was to visit the Shiva temple and the Pradikshna .
“Let the waves hit your feet,and the sand be your seat”
At the north of the town is the temple of Lord Harihareshwar said to have been blessed by Lord Shiva and hence Harihareshwar is often referred to as Dev-ghar or “house of God”.Besides being a major pilgrimage centre, Harihareshwar is also a popular beach resort with two beaches- one to the north and the other to the south of the temple. Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation resort is on the south beach. Harihareshwar temple is a simple structure with traditional tiled roofing. There is a small garden on the left as one enters the temple complex. The temple complex opens up to a long stretch of beach to its north where the shorter ‘pradakshinamarg‘ culminates.It is customary to pay respects at the nearby KalBhairav temple before visiting the Harihareshwar temple. The ‘pradakshinamarg‘ around the Harihareshwar temple is one of the most interesting part of the temple. It starts off right behind the temple with about sixty steps before the 140 narrow steps cut in the cliff down to the sea. The trail goes around the cliff over a natural rock platform with the roaring sea just by the side and comes back in front of the temple. It is advisable to check the Tidal conditions with the locals prior attempting the ‘pradakshina‘. After paying our obeisance to the Shiva and kalbhairav temples, we set out on the Pradikshna route.The sight was mesmerising.The natural rock formations are very beautiful.We could see the rise in the water level and slow increase in the height of the waves indicating it was high tide time and commenced our way back.
The outward route has stalls selling cold drinks like kokum,amla etc. we tried the kokum juice which was very refreshing !!!. After enjoying our morning outing, we returned to the resort for a cool drink and Lunch.
“Good vibes happen on the tides”
After a sumptuous lunch and afternoon siesta,we set out for Divegar which is about 40 kms from Harihareshwar. The drive from Harihareshwar to Divegar is very scenic and the roads are good.
Divegar is a village located in Shrivardhan Taluka of Raigad District in Maharashtra.The area is very peaceful,clean and sparsely populated.The region includes a fishing settlement,a beach,a temple ,local businesses engaged in coconut and beetelnut farming and some tourism businesses such as restaurants,cottage rentals etc. Divegar has one of Konkan’s finest beaches and also provides a window into Konkani lifestyle and culture.The beach is accessible from the Mumbai-Goa highway via Kolad or Karnala.
“Sky above our heads,sand beneath our feet,Life is Good”
After spending some time on the beach, we tried out para-sailing and thoroughly enjoyed it. You have to leave your footwear and all your belongings with the owner of the sport(you can trust them). A small wallet can be kept inside the pant pocket but handbags etc have to be left behind.There are other adventure sports too like para-gliding,surfing,water biking etc.
Shrivardhan is a taluka in the Raigad District of Maharashtra.It has developed into a good seaside resort.It is an ancient place of historical importance and is mentioned as being visited by ArjunaPandav during his pilgrimage.It is one of the oldest towns in Maharashtra. It is a town of the Peshwas and ShriLaxminarayan Temple with in the taluka was the main temple of the Peshwas. The idol in the temple is old and is said to be of Hoysala style of Architecture. The other temples in the town are of Kusumdevi, Somjai, Bhairavnath and Jivaneshwar.
Famous for its betel nut ‘ShrivardhanRotha’, the beautiful town of Shrivardhan was once the home town of the Peshwas, the prime ministers of the Maratha Empire. The plantation of betel nut at almost every courtyard called ‘wadi’ gives it a wonderful green canopy which is very soothing and refreshing.
From Divegar we set out for Shrivardhan which is about 20 kms and we reached in time to capture the amazing sunset though we were late for any kind of rides like the banana boat ride etc.After being in the water for some time, We enjoyed the sunset sitting on the benches on the beach.There is a stone path for people to use during their morning and evening walks which is lined with beautiful flowers on both sides of the pathway.
We returned to our resort from Shrivardhan around 8pm and retired for the day after a cool drink and Dinner with good fish. The next morning after a lazy breakfast, we left for Mumbai around 11 am,stopping on the way for lunch and reached home around 5 pm.
“The sand may brush off, the salt may wash away
The tans may fade away, but the memories will last forever”
To Get There
Harihareshwar is not very well connected by rail.By road is the best way to travel.
By Road from Mumbai
!) Take any of the Luxury Buses get down at Shrivardhan and take a Tumtum.Takes about 30 mins to reach Harihareshwar.
2) Hire a cab the rates are the usual which are charged by any travel Company ie you have to pay for 300 kms per day @10 per km.Rs 300per day as driver’s allowance.Food allowance separate per day varies from company to company.Some charge a lumpsum amount.
3) Self Drive: Landmarks Imagica -Mumbai-Goa Highway -Mangaon is the nearest city.