Sunday, May 23, 2010

Diveagar – a village with a beach

It had been a while that i traveled with friends and hence for this weekend i decided to hang out with friends and what better than a beach do that. So we decided to head for Diveagar a beach not too far from Pune. diveagar

We hired a 17 seater van which cost us about Rs 7200 and booked a bunglow which cost us Rs 2100 and left for the beach on 22nd March 2010, a Saturday morning.

May is hot and near the cost it is hotter and may be a wrong time to go to a beach but we couldn’t care lesser. The road to Diveagar was re-done recently and was in quite good condition for almost the entire distance. Narrow winding roads leading up-to this tiny hamlet took us a drive of about 5 hours with more than one stop, once for breakfast and then once for no justifiable reason!! For the records the distance from pune to Diveagar was about 165 Km as the milestones read but from experience i don’t trust milestones much.

Diveagar is for starters a small village with a beach which shot up in popularity after a golden idol of ganesha – the elephant god was discovered by a woman in her farm and was later placed in a temple the Suvarna Ganpati temple.

The locals here seemed to have taken up the hospitality business with a zest. Almost all the houses here seemed to have a board soliciting the bread and breakfast board. However its better to have a place booked before reaching here as almost all the good places seemed to have been booked during even this off season weekend!

Once we checked in to the bunglow that we had booked from Pune we headed for lunch. To be honest the lunch was disappointing because our host couldn’t manage to get fish that day and what is lunch without fish that too while in Konkan.

Anyways after a lunch of chicken thali which was nothing to boast about a few of us headed to scout the Diveagar beach. The beach was understandably deserted at this time of the day. The diveagar beach is quite a long stretch of beach which seemed close to about 5km with a river meeting the sea at one end. The sand is very fine and quite mucky once wet. I wasn’t too happy with the color of the sand but who cares…its a beach after all !!

DiveagarWe went back to our room and after resting for some time in the evening we again headed to the beach this time for a dip in the ocean. Diveagar is quite a wavy beach, though not the high waves it has waves coming in constantly unlike most of the beaches in this stretch which are quite calm. After having a lot of fun in the water and football in the beach we headed back for our shower and dinner. This time around food was nice at this joint which seemed to extremely busy. I never expected myself to be waiting in line for dinner at a place like Diveagar but here i was waiting for people to finish their dinner as the place was packed. Food was good and the fish fry was great!!

Like all groups our group also had a singer amongst us and we jammed quite late into the night and i don’t remember when drifted to sleep.

All in all I would rate Diveagar as a good weekend destination, pluses would be not too close yet not too far, not too crowded but not sparse either, availability of the resorts and the minuses would be the food which was quite disappointing overall.

waiting for my next weekend and eagerly waiting for the monsoons which is supposed to arrive in a fortnight!!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dahanu Beach

Dahanu Beach
A national holiday was coming up on account of the Mahatma's bday it was my day too on the 5th so we decided on yet another camping trip but couldn't zero in on a destination until our neighbour suggested Dahanu, which happened to be her home town. So six of us set out on the trip.
This holiday however turned out to be a series of goof ups so i name it disaster in dahanu.

We left from Pune in Pragati Express, as a matter of fact we had planned to leave Pune in Deccan queen which leaves Pune one hour earlier than Pragati Express and reach Mumbai two hours earlier than Pragati!!..we had to catch a connection train from Mumbai to Dahanu and we had checked; the official website of Indian railways for booking tickets, which gave us the option of Garib Rath which would get us to Dahanu in less than two hours.
Once we reached Mumbai we asked at the enquiry about the train. The attendant at the enquiry window gave a blank look at us and then said; scratching his armpit, that we had to go to Bombay Central to catch the train. We took a taxi to Bombay central where we found out that the train that we intended to catch doesn't stop at Dahanu Rd. We had to catch the Ahmedabad Passenger which got us to Dahanu in four hours!!

Once we reached Dahanu the first thing that struck us was the friendliness of the Auto rickshaw wallahs. We hired an auto and asked him to take us to the beach. While on the way my friend asked about getting booze near the beach to which the auto came to a screeching halt as a response. With great difficulty the driver turned around, because two of my friends were flanking him on either sides (six of us had fit in that one tiny auto along with the luggage) and with a twinkle in his eyes advised us to get the booze from the town because for the same that we could buy at maybe 1000 rs we would end up paying close to 2500 near the beach.
he took us back, escorted us to the store carried the booze to the auto opened our bags packed the booze in the bags and left us all mere mute spectators to all that he was doing...well i should add here that i dont like even my partner opening my bags or packing anything in it anyways he gave us a bright big smile after doing all this which kind of evened it out.

We reached the bar nakka beach in about 10 minutes of the joy ride. It again was a flat beach with grey sand. I expected some more waves; i was humungously missing the Kerala beaches and wanted to sea a few waves..anyways the beach here was very calm. The afforestation efforts of the forest department on the beaches gives it a good serene look. We set our tent up on the beach and it was quite a nice evening until the tragedy unfolded.

By about 2 in the night the local police came to the scene and asked us to pack up from the beach because its not allowed to camp on the beach. At two in the night we weren't sure what to do. Tried talking to the cops and we figured out that it was just another attempt on their part to get some money out of us; to which we refused. We preferred to pack up the tents to bribing them. We walked into the peerline beach resort which was just across the road. Couple of our friends had taken a room in the resort because they weren't too keen camping and we asked the hotel admin whether we could bunk in with them and pay for the extra beds to which they stated that the rules do not allow them to do that..Made me wonder who made the rules. They told us that all the rooms are packed and only the super deluxe suite which happens to be the most expensive of the lot was available. We had seen the resort quite deserted in the evening and wondered how the whole resort ended up being full in matter of hours. Quite evident that the resort guys were looking at our misery as their opportunity and we weren't ready to cave in. We walked out of the resort quite disgusted. We put all our bags in our friends room (We weren't allowed to carry the bags to his room - the rules again - and our friend had to carry it to the room - some customer service huh!) and after that we wandered around ion the raods till about 4 in the morning when we got an auto.

He took us to a lodge in Narpad 3 Km from Dahanu,which cost us 1/10 of what peerline was charging but yes the rooms weren't the best possible; but managable. The beach here is rocky and landscape around the beach was beautiful. It was a perfect campsite with a small pond and a creek but we did not have the courage to camp again in dahanu!

The next day we had plans to go to the fort; which apparently we found out later that it was converted to a govt office! It started raining and the storms wouldn't stop! We still managed to get to the fort but again it wasn't worth the effort.

In all this disappointment the only good thing was the food at Visava dhaba near Narpad and in all fairness the food at peerline also wasn't bad. All said and done if we had to give a review of the place we would say that the place is a good destination for a weekend and the food is great. But the customer service of the resorts leave a lot to be desired.

For more details on how to get to Dahanu visit puneritraveller - a travel guide to maharashtra
You could write to me at

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Alibag - Beaches around Pune

The great Admiral of Shivaji,Kanhoji Angre planned and executed the creation of Alibag town towards end of 17th century. Present day Ramnath happened to be the Alibag of those days . Most land of today's' Alibag was then under sea. Beautiful coconut and betel-nut orchards stood on the shores. Legend has it that a wealthy Muslim named Ali Owned many plantations, which gave the town the name Alibag . Alibag is the seat of District Administration of Raigad (formerly Kolaba) district since 1852. The name Kolaba is attributed to a sea Fort Kolaba built by shivaji the great, in 1680 to flight the mighty naval prowess of the Siddis' (Abyssenians) of Janjira and the British of Mumbai. The later historic events vindicate the far sight of Shivaji. Some people like to call Alibag, 'Shribag'. The town flourished under the regime of the Angres.

Eight surrounding places-Revdanda, chaul, Nagao, Aakshi, Varsoli, Thal, Kihim, Awas-are known traditionally as the 'Ashtagars' (eight fertile lands).

Among the historic battels, one was at Varsoli between siddis and Kanhoji angre. Another was aggression on Kolaba Fort by the English and Portuguese jointly, which they lost. Next was the battle of chaul between the British and Sakhoji Angre which Sakhoji won and held them captive in Kolaba fort. The Angres demonstrated their supremacy by creating their own currency 'Alibagi Rupaiah'.

In 1852, Alibag was made the district Headquarters.


It was Shivaji Maharaj, the first among the Indian rulers to fully comprehend the significance of navel power, and to indeed build an invincible navy. After Shivaji's death, it was Kanhoji Angre, who carried the mantle forward and created such a firm grip for the Marathas on the naval power, that his name became synonymous with naval supremacy over the western waters for the next ninety years.

There is no record of where and when Kanhoji was born. Historians opine that he was born around 1669. His forefathers resided at Aangarwadi near Pune and had the surname Sakpal. Folklore has it that Angarwadi gave the later generations a new surname, Angre.

When he was 14 or 15, Kanhoji was recruited in the naval division of Sambhaji Maharaj and got appointed at suvarnadurga. He rose to the post of Killedar (Commander of the Fort) by virtue of his velour. In 1689, Aurangjeb, the Mughal Emperor, assassinated Sambhaji and Rajaram became the Chhatrapati (the King) of the Maratha dynasty. But during his tenure, the Mughals became very aggressive and overpowered all the forts under Maratha command in Kokan, heralding reinstatement of Mughal rule in Kokan. This enraged Kanhoji so much, that he unleashed all his martial acumen to wrest all the forts from the Mughals and restrored them to the Maratha dynasty, in the span of just four years b'n 1694 and 1698. Rajaram Maharaj was only too pleased to promote Kanhoji to the post of Admiral.

In 1697, Kanhoji shifted his headqarters from Suvarnadurga to Kulaba, i.e.Alibag.After Rajaram's death, his widow Tarabai gave the watres stretching from Mumbai to Sawantwadi under the command of Admiral Kanhoji.He made all possible efforts to develop his armada to match the preparedness of the Europeans.Kanhoji issued permits called 'Dastak" to all the ships plying on the waters uner his command. Such ships enjoyed protection from the pirates and unfriendly littoral princely states.Kanhoji's fear was such that ships not carrting his permit were either sunk or held captive. Kanhoji's growing power was unacceptable to the Europeans.They tried to beat his upremacy collectively singly, but never succeeded.

This armada included 10 frigates (Gurabs) carrying cannons ranging from 16 to 30, some of them weighed over 400 tons. Besides these, there were more than 50 ships of tonnage between 60 to 120, carrying 4 to 10 cannons each.Angria's armada was earlier called Shivaji's navy. Kanhoji's officials collected lad revenue for Shivaji from the people in Konkan, who had by this time recognised Kanhoji as if he was the soverign. Kanhoji could easily have become one, but he had steadfast loyalty to the chhatrapati's throne.

When Shahu was freed from the Mughal custody, a controversy ensued between Tarabai and Shahu as regards the true inheritor of the throne. At the time Kanhoji belonged to the Tarabai camp, but the first Peshwa (Prime Minister) Balaji Vishwanath prevailed upon Kanhoji to recognize Shahu as the Chhatrapati. In 1713, Kanhoji and Shahu signed a pact whereby 10 inland forts and 16 sea- forts were acknowledged to be Kanhoji's tutelage. The pact was mutually beneficial as Kanhoji was anointed unquestioned master of Konkan and Shahu was assured safety of Konkan in Kanhoji's able hands. Kanhoji was bestowed the titles of 'Sarkhel' (Admiral) and 'Wazarat-Ma-Aab'.

His stature in Shahu's Court grew so much that he was consulted in every strategic move, especially against Siddi's of Janjira (Murud).

Kanhoji established an ideal statecraft in Konkan of the time. He promoted paddy, salt pans and plantation of timber in a big way. He was also a benefactor to artists and artisans. He opened a primary school for each cluster of 4 to 5 villages, and a hostel for students, within the precinct of Kulaba Fort. He also created markets to facilitate commerce and minted 'Alibaghi Rupaya', his exclusive currency. He also presides over foundation and development of Alibag town.

Kanhoji's persona was formidable- large, well- built man with beard, awe- inspiring face and sharp gaze. He had tremendous patience, poise and perseverance. He excelled in naval as well as land warfare. Apart from being a brave warrior, he was an astute statesman. Historical papers under his hand are testimony to clarity of thought-process and etiquette, tinged with sarcasm.

Kanhoji's reign lasted 36 years. He had three queens, namely Mathurabai, Laxmibai and Gahinabai, six sons and a daughter. He passed away on 4 th July, 1929 at the age of 60, after brief illness. Last rites were performed at Alibag and an imposing tomb (Samadhi) was constructed at the site of cremation, which still stands to sing the ballads.


State transport buses reaching Alibag are aplenty. Some 35-40 buses ply to and from Mumbai. Alibag is also linked by state transport bus to destinations like Thane, Pune, Borivali, Nasik, Kolhapur, Miraj, Jalgaon, Solapur etc. The state transport bus depot provides fairly efficient,in-time bus services.

You can also reach Alibag by sea.Ferry wharf at 'Bhaucha Dhakka' in Mumbai is where launch service to Revas port (17 km from Alibag) is available from 06.00 A.M. to 06.00 P.M. The jouney takes 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The frequency is almost every hour, both ways. The timetable changes slightly to suite high tide and low ebb timings, though there is advance announcement of timetable for the coming week. Reservation facility is also available. The journey is fairly comfortable and is a unique experience. Each launch carries 100- 125 passengers. Tea, cold drinks, snacks are provided on board and also film music is played on the cassette player!

As soon as the ship sets sail, it's a nice sight to watch the Mumbai shore line becoming distant and Uran shore line to the left and Revas shore line to the right drawing nearer. At Rewas port, state transport bus starting point is only a few steps away. The bus takes you to Alibag in about 45 minutes.

The other sea rout to Alibag is from Gateway if India in Mumbai to Mandwa port, 14 km off Alibag.

Private catamaran services run by PNP, Maldar, Ajanya and launch services by Ajanta take you to Mandwa port in 50 to 60 minutes. Your fare includes bus service from Mandwa to Alibag, which takes another 30 minutes or so. You can avail these services except in rainy season.

We are born part of nature and are constantly shapped by Her. Nature's breath-taking beauty, ever changing to the cycle of seasons, is an unending store of delight. That is why, the residents of cities and towns compensate for their displacement from Natural environs by planting flowery saplings in their backyards; and balconies.

In Alibag, you will find yourself in the midst of nature. The evergreen orchards of coconut and betelnut, quiet and refreshing shores of silver sand, huge and old mansions (wadas) as living witnesses of history, structures with a touch of modern artistic architecture, fisher-folk going about their business in the creeks and in the sea in their traditional gear and dresses, multiple locations as photographer's delight- all these experiences is what make Alibag a touris't delight.

To add to the lustre, you will get clean, fresh local vegetables, exotic flowers, tubers, Nature's delicacies like Palm fruit (Tadgola), ocal beans called 'Waal' which have a peculiar and unmistakable flavour, fresh white onions, local and mouth-watering sweet called 'Naralipaak' watermelons- all these special gifts of nature are yours to take home.

Tourists will relish the rides in bullock and horse-carts for a delightful change and their races on clean beachfronts in March- April will be a treat of local skill and adventure.

An urban touris't senses will experience a pure delight in the form of chirping of birds in the orchards, haunting fragrance of flowers and fruits at morning walk on tree lined pathways, the overwhelming and trance-fixing consistency of sound of waves, flourish of ever-changing colors on the vast backdrop of horizon which becomes one with the sea and clean air. All these heavenly delights are yours for free! It is for these delights, that visit to Alibag is an unforgettable experience for scores of domestic and overseas tourists!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Beaches near Pune

Maharashtra is blessed with a long coast line with few of the finest beaches one could find in the country. Some of thse beaches are a backpackers dream,long stretches of secluded beaches ideal for camping and if you are lucky you could manage to go fishing with locals in the early hours of the day.

for maps detals and hotel listing please visit

Alibag Beach
Alibag is a small beach town few hours drive away from Pune on the Konkan coast with a long stretch of beach from Rewas to Revdanda. read more about alibag beaches

Dapoli Beach
Dapoli is one of the most untouched and unspoiled beaches near Pune on the konkan stretch and are amongst the cleanest ones on the entire west cost of India. Read more about Dapoli beaches

Diveghar Beach
Diveghar, is a marvelous beach around 15 km from Shrivardhan and Harihareshwar. Diveghar is popular for its stunning secluded beaches. Read more about Diveghar beaches

Ganapatiphule beach
Travelling to Ganapatipule by road is a vacation in itself. The entire 'konkan' region is picture-perfect: narrow roads, red soil, roofed houses, clean courtyards, innumerable fruit bearing trees and casuarinas lining the coast are a common sight. read more on Ganapatiphule beaches

Harihareshwar Beach
Harihareshwar is considered one of the holiest places in India. The town is surrounded by four hills named after Lords Harihareshwar, Harshinachal, Bramhadri and Pushpadri. Read more about Harihareshwar beaches

Kashid Beach
Kashid is a beautiful seaside weekend retreat on the Konkan stretch and arguably one of the best beaches around Pune.Kashid is popular mainly because of its white sand, blue seas, green mountains, and paddy fields. Read more about Kashid Beaches

Nagao Beach
Nagao is a beautiful destination from Pune. Its a hamlet set close to the beach on the same stretch as Alibag. A secluded beach; with fewer visitors than Alibag, makes it more attractive to the traveler looking to just relax and laze around. Read more on Nagao beaches

Shrivardhan Beach
Srivardhan is a nice beach around Pune with sun kissed sands on a spectacular beach. Srivardhan has a nice atmosphere with unpolluted air and a blue sea. Read more on Srivardhan Beaches

Dahanu is located about 240 Kms from Pune. Its a quite seaside town with an unspoilt beach. the entire stretch of the beach is lined by caseuarina more on Dahanu beaches

Anjarle is one of the finest places in Konkan. It is just 26 km from Dapoli. It is famous for the ‘Kadyawarcha Ganpati’ (Ganesh temple situated on a cliff). You can get a magnificent view of the thick plantation of coconut more on Anjarle beaches

Dabhol town is located on the south-west border of Dapoli taluka. Vashishthi River flowing from Chiplun merges into the sea at Dabhol and is called as Dabhol creek.Read more on Dabhol Beaches

Guhagar, is a temple town in Ratnagiri district and in all regards with many outstanding temples in and around. Temples committed to various forms of Lord Shiva Read more on Guhagar beaches

A note of caution to start with don't confuse this Murud-Harnai with that Murud-Janjira near Alibag. Though the name is same, they are located at least 100 Kms apart. Read more on Harnai Beaches

Manori beach is about two kms long and fringed with palm trees and rows of seafront hotels. Both Gorai and Manori are safe beaches linked by a rocky headland and accessed across a small creek.Read more on Manori Islands