Beaches in Maharashtra
The 720 km long coastline of Maharashtra,
sprawls from Dahani and Bordi in the north, to Goa proceeding
southwards. Exciting water sports, sunbathing
on golden sands, exploring grand fortresses, temples, and
churches, discovering tiny, remote villages, savouring the
exotic Konkan cuisine, or just feeling one with the immense
sea - Maharashtra has all this to offer and more.
Marve - Manori - Gorai
Lying to the north of Mumbai, are three beautiful and serene
getaways, virtual havens, for those sick of the dreary monotony
of the big city. Marve, a quaint little fishing village, is
the nearest and the quietest of the three. Low - lying hills
make for a breathtaking canvas, for the glorious scenes of
sunrise and sunset. Gorai and Manori, a little further away,
though a trifle crowded with revellers, are popular for their
wonderful all night beach parties. A 15 minute ferry ride
from Marve or Borivili takes you to Gorai and Manori.
How To Get There : Malad, a station
on the suburban segment of Western Railways, is the nearest
railhead. By road, Marve is 40 kms from Mumbai via Malad.
In the early 17th century, Bassein served as an important
ship - building centre. In 1739, this was the site of the
Portugeuse defeat at the hands of the Marathas. The ruins
of the Portugeuse Fort still stand solemnly, amidst dense
brushwood and palm groves. To the northwest, about 10 kms
away, lies the Nalasopara village, the erstwhile Konkan capital
from about 1500 BC to 1300 AD. Nalasopara is believed to have
been the birthplace of the Buddha in a previous incarnation.
Many Buddhist relics have also been found here. The Vajreshwari
temple, the Akloli hot springs, the Sadguru Nityanand Maharaj
Samadhi Mandir at Ganeshpuri, the Bhimeshwar temple and other
ashrams are at a short distance away from Bassein. There are
quite a few interesting churches, too, in Bassein, poignant
reminders of the Portugeuse past.
How To Get There : The nearest railhead is Bassein
Road, on the Western Railway line. By road, Bassein is 77
kms, along the Mumbai - Ahmedabad highway.
Murud - Janjira
The former capital of the Sidis of Janjira, Murud is famous
today, for its enchanting beach, huge stretches of coconut
and palmgroves, and a fascinating fort.The three centuries
- old fort of Janjira, once considered impregnable, is a marvellous
piece of architecture. On a hill to the north, is the Lord
Dattatraya shrine, the three - headed image, representing
the holy trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. A few kilometres
away are two alluring, little - known beaches, Nandgaon and
Kashid. Nandgaon is renown for its magnificent Ganpati temple,
and the annual fair held in the god's honour, every February.
Other sites of interest in this area, are the palace of the
Nawab and the Janjira caves.
How To Get There : Panvel is
the nearest railhead. Mumbai is 165 kms away by road.
Mandwa - Kihim
Twelve miles north of Alibag, on the north coast, easily accessible
from Mumbai, is the untouched, divine beach of Mandwa. The
little Mandwa village leaves the visitor enchanted, with its
neverending coconut palm groves, and overwhelming tranquillity.
For a slightly unusual yet exciting holiday, the Kihim beach
near Mandwa, is the ideal site. Remote and unspoilt, Kihim
is a virtual treasure - trove for the avid nature - lover
: deep woods, wild, and rare flowers, equally uncommon species
of butterflies and a variety of birds, not surprisingly, Kihim
was one of the popular haunts of Dr. Salim Ali, the famous
ornithologist. The other places of interest are the Kolaba
Fort, near the shore, and Chaul ( 15 kms from Alibagh) which
is a site of historical importance, boasting an assortment
of Portugeuse ruins, Buddhist caves, the Hamam Khana, a church,
a synagogue and a temple.
How To Get There : The nearest
railhead is Panvel ( 85 kms ). By road, Kihim is 120 kms from
Mumbai. Small passenger service boats ply frequently between
Mumbai and Mandwa ( Rewas ).
Dahanu - Bordi
Thane District is home to the serene seaside town of Dahanu,
that is notable for its vast stretch of unspoilt beach. The
coastline, stretching from Dahanu to Bordi, is 17 kms long.
Once the stronghold of Irani settlers, Dahanu is famous for
its 'chickoos', and is teeming with fruit orchards. Udwada,
'the Mecca of the Zoroastrians' is accessible from Dahanu.
The magnificent temple, which houses the sacred fire of the
Zoroastrians, is the prime attraction of the region. This
fire has been kept alive for almost a thousand years, an incredible,
nevertheless, true fact.
How To Get There : The nearest
railhead is Dahanu Road, which is around three hours away
from Mumbai. By road, Mumbai is 145 kms away.
Shriwardhan - Harihareshwar
The Shriwardhan Bay is the popular haunt, for those craving
for some real sun, sand and sea. For the more adventurous
in spirit, small boats are available to be taken out to the
north side of the bay, and indulge in some exploration, going
deep into the land, where the Peshwas, the prime ministers
of the Maratha kingdom, originally dwelt. The 'Peshwa Smarak'
is a local landmark, of much tourist interest. The town of
Harihareshwar, is primarily known for its beautiful beach,
and the grand Harihareshwar temple.
How To Get There : By road, Mumbai
is 230 kms away. The nearest Mumbai - Goa highway point is
about 60 kms, at Goregaon, which is around 170 kms from Mumbai
(via Vashi Creek Bridge).
To the north of the Shastri river, lies the little village
of Velneshwar. Its tranquil, coconut - fringed beach is perfect
for swimming, or just lolling around. It also boasts of an
ancient Shiva temple, which is an important pilgrimage site.
The great Maha Shivratri fair, held in honour of Lord Shiva,
that comes once a year in March, makes Velneshwar the cynosure
of attention, throughout the country.
How To Get There : Karad is the
nearest railhead. By road, Mumbai via Chiplun and Guhagar,
is 370 kms away.
Ganapatipule is a popular tourist haunt, not only for its
soothing greenery, and its golden beach, but also for its
400 year old temple, which is dedicated to Swayambhoo Ganapati.
Some places of interest around the area are Malgund, the birthplace
of Keshavsoot, the famous Marathi poet; Ratnagiri, the birthplace
of Lokmanya Tilak; and the Thebaw Palace, where the deposed
King of Burma was confined. Jaigad Fort and Swami Swarupanand's
ashram in Pawas, are also worth a visit.
How To Get There : The nearest railhead is Kolhapur.
Mumbai is 375 kms away by road, while Pune is 331 kms away.
Vijaydurg - Sindhudurg
Vijaydurg and Sindhudurg were once naval bases, giving testimony
to the Maratha martial supremacy, under the great Chattrapati
Shivaji. Vijaydurg, or Fort of Victory, was strengthened in
the 17th century by Shivaji, who added impressive features
to it like, the triple row of huge walls, the umpteen towers
and the spacious inner buildings. Sprawled over an area of
48 acres, once seized by the British, and renamed Fort Augustus,
the Sindhudurg or Ocean Fort at the Malvan port, is a historically
vital monument. Within its premises are temples dedicated
to Bhavani, Mahadeo, Jarimai, Mahapurush and Shivaji, the
last being, the only shrine of its kind in India. Both these
places also boast of picturesque beaches.
How To Get There : The nearest
railhead is Kolhapur. Sindhudurg by road is 510 kms, and Vijaydurg
is 425 kms from Mumbai via the Goa highway.
Vengurla - Malvan
Further south down the Maharashtra coastline lies Vengurla,
with its immense stretch of shimmering sands, and thick cashew,
coconut, jackfruit and mango groves. It also has two famous
temples, the Shri Devi Sateri temple and the Rameshwar temple,
to its credit. Vengurla was an important trade settlement
in ancient times. Twice razed to the ground, it has been the
target of quite a few attacks and plunders between 1664 and
1812. A short distance away lie the Vengurla Rocks, also known
as the Burnt Islands. The old township of Malvan, houses two
old forts : the Sindhudurg and Padmagad. It is believed that
there was once an underground tunnel joining the two forts.
An erstwhile trading centre, Malvan is now famous for its
salt pans, Chinese clay pottery and its mouth - watering Malvani
cuisine, which is quite different from Konkan delicacies.
How To Get There : Kolhapur is
the nearest railhead. By road, Malvan is 514 kms away from
Mumbai, 200 kms from Ratnagiri. Vengurla is 522 kms from Mumbai.