Sep 8, 2011

Kokan Darshan 2011

Since last 2-3 years, we were planning for a Konkan tour, but for one reason or another, it wasn't happening. Actually, my wife hadn't seen sea in her lifetime. I was reluctant to take her to any of the Mumbai beaches, so that her first impression about the sea and the beaches should not be bad. Suddenly opportunity came in April 2011 to visit Konkan and we grabbed it with both hands. 

About Konkan 

Konkan (कोकण in Marathi) is the hilly area along the western coastline of India, with Arabian Sea on one side and Sahyadri mountain ranges on the other side. It starts from Thane District near Mumbai and goes southwards upto Mangalore District in Karnataka. However most Maharashtrians feel that Konkan starts from Thane District and ends at Sindhudurg District. The legend goes that Parashuram created the beautiful land of Konkan by reclaiming it from the sea and it is the Karmabhumi of Lord Parashuram, the sixth avatar of Vishnu. 

It is also called as the California of India, famous for the produce of Alphonso mangoes and a land with rich mineral resources, a land of landscapes, carpeted with tropical forest, a land of coconut, betel nut, cashew, jack fruit, tamarind, bamboo etc. 

Konkan receives heavy rainfall during the monsoon season and earlier this area used to remain cut-off from the outside world for 2-3 months during monsoon. Now with Konkan Railway and better road connectivity, the conditions have somewhat improved. With better connectivity, tourism has also increased significantly.

Tourism in Konkan

Konkan is not a commercially well developed tourist location and that is the best part of it. The local residents have built the cottages and started giving them on rent for the tourists. Lunch and dinner is also arranged by them at their home. Don't miss to try local cuisines like "Ukadicha Modak" (उकडीचा मोदक), "Solkadhi" (सोलकढी) and different dishes of fish if you are non-veg lover. Even there is a different taste to a rice grown here.


The people in Konkan, कोकणस्थ as they are called in Marathi are known to be misers, although exceptions are there. But the reasons behind them being misers are understood only when you visit Konkan. The financial condition of masses is not very good. They are still dependent on natural resources and now tourism. This area remains isolated from the outside world for 2-3 months during monsoon. The infrastructure is poor. As a result, people are used to maintain sufficient stocks of food grains,money and other household items. They are used to spend these things wisely and conservatively. And that has happened since ages. So its in their blood.  So even if the infrastructure and their financial condition have improved now, it is difficult to change the basic nature all of a sudden. Even we faced a problem in a major tourist location like Ganapatipule. We needed to fill diesel in our Scorpio. But there was no diesel available on all the petrol pumps nearby. And Guhagar was quite far. So we had to take 20 litres of diesel from local fishermen society, which is made available to them for fishing boats. From this present day situation, we can judge the reasons for them being misers. Even if there is a tank full of fuel, people must be avoiding to travel unnecessarily or must be using bicycles to save fuel. But in general people here are good by heart. You don't feel insecure while roaming alone on a vacant beach. 

Our Konkan Tour 

Our tour stared from Dombivali by road. From Dombivali, we went straight upto Chiplun on Mumbai-Goa highway. Our first destination was Parashuram village near Chiplun. This is a mythologically significant place and there is a 300 year old temple of Lord Parashuram in this village.

After darshan and lunch, we proceeded further to visit another sacred temple at Marleshwar. This place is very much popular for the Cave Shiva Temple where one can see venomous snakes who do not bite the devotees. This has resulted in increasing faith in the place and every year thousands of devotees visit the place. We were not fortunate enough to see the snakes inside the cave, but we saw a snake on the road. 

After Marleshwar we had planned to visit Shiv Srushtee at Dervan. But we were short of time and we had to reach Malgund for night halt. So we decided to skip Dervan and moved forward. 

While going from Chiplun to Ganapatipule, we opted to go by shorter route, but I would advise the readers to go by Highway only. The shorter route is very lonely and rough and if you miss some turn, then there is nobody on the road to ask and there are no signboards on the road as well. We were driving through pitch dark forest for more than 1 hour and were praying that we shouldn't get misdirected. 

Malgund is a place just 1 km away from the famous tourist spot of Ganapatipule. We reached Ganapatipule at 09:30 pm. So we decided to have the dinner there. By the time our order was getting ready, we could not resist ourselves from getting near the noisy sea beach. Especially for my wife, it was her first experience to view the sea. That too at night in torch light. But she was very excited. 

After dinner, we went to Malgund and and it was decided to enjoy the Malgund beach at 7 am. Many tourists don't know the place and that was actually good for us, since there was nobody on Malgund beach. The beach at Ganapatipule is not safe for enjoyment. But the beach at Malgund is excellent, flat, clean and clear, very safe and not crowded at all. The following pictures speak for themselves.

After all the enjoyment at Malgund beach, it was the time to have some breakfast and then visit to Ganapatipule Mandir. 

Ganapatipule is approximately 375 km. south of Mumbai, along the Konkan Coast. Ganapatipule is a very small town with about 100 houses, having one of the most spectacular beaches along the Konkan Coast – an idyllic getaway that attracts peace-seekers, beach lovers, and pilgrims alike. The temple of Swayambhu (self-originated) Ganesh is much frequented by thousands every year. The God is considered to be the Paschim Dwardevta (Western Sentinel God of India), and those who visit Ganapatipule, make it a point to pay their respects to this great deity. Aside from its clean beach and clear waters, Ganapatipule is rich in flora, including mangroves and coconut palms. But this beach is not safe for tourists. So it is better to avoid taking any risks and enjoy the Malgund beach just 1km away. If you want to complete the "pradakshina", you have to walk round the entire hill which is a 15 minutes walk.

After Ganapatipule, we went to the place nearby called as "Prachin Konkan". Here we come to know about the traditions and lifestyle in Konkan for the last 400 to 500 years. It is depicted by statues, paintings etc. 

 This picture shows us the traditional utensils used in the kitchen.

 The picture on the right is of the house of "khot" (खोतांची वाडी) 

There was another place nearby in Malgund which is the birthplace and smarak of great Marathi poet "Keshavsoot". We got the opportunity to read some of the finest poems by him and other poets as well in a neatly maintained museum. 

After lunch at Malgund, we left for Guhagar and visited Jaigad Fort and Karhateshwar Mandir en-route. There is also a Gomukh in this temple.

View from Jaigad Fort

Sea at the backside of Karhateshwar Mandir

It was 09:30 at night when we reached Guhagar and we were fortunate to get something for dinner since restaurants close quite early here. We got the cottage which was placed in a coconut trees plantation with a beach just at the back side and it was a pleasant stay.

In the morning we left for Hedvi Ganapati Mandir with a Dashamukhi Ganesh. The mandir is neat and clean and well maintained. Even the walls of the hill facing  the temple are painted artistically. 

There is a beach nearby named Baman Ghal. It is a beautiful rocky sea shore and the uniqueness of this spot is that there is a huge gorge formed here and the sea water gushes inside that gorge. Gorge is called as "ghal" (घळ) in Marathi and hence the name Baman Ghal. Another uniqueness is that here we can walk from the right side on the rocks into the sea and we can see the waves behind us approaching the coast on the left side. 

Another place nearby is Velneshwar with a clean beach and Shiv mandir alongside. 

Beach from top of the hill

Then we had a lunch at Guhagar and took some rest. Then we had a visit to the Modi Farm nearby where we saw the green houses with floriculture technology used for commercial mass cultivation of flowers. Green houses are temperature controlled and moisture controlled. Interesting thing was that all the plants are planted not in soil but in opened coconuts. 

Then we came back to Guhagar and took the Darshan at the Durga Mandir and Vyadeshwar Mandir and reached Guhagar beach just in time to enjoy the sunset.

In the morning, we departed from Guhagar and left for Diveagar. Somebody told us that there is a lighthouse en-route but the tourists are allowed only in the evenings. We were going to Diveagar so we did not have time in the evening. Still we decided to take a chance and reached the lighthouse near Enron power plant. The in-charge there happened to be from Umred (a place 50 kms from Nagpur) and when he learnt that we are from Nagpur, he happily allowed us to see the lighthouse, the machinery inside and view of the sea from the top. For security reasons, photography is not allowed inside where machinery is installed. The officer gave us the information about how lighthouse functions, how each lighthouse has a different colour code and light patterns to enable the identification from deep sea. It was a once in a lifetime experience.

Enron Power Plant as seen from the Lighthouse

Another first time experience is to board our entire vehicle into the ferry boat. This was the ferry boat from Dhopave to Dabhol. 

 We saved the distance of 80-85 kms by road by doing this since we just had to travel to the opposite end of the creek just 1 km away. That took us just 10 minutes. The website of the shipping company is

As we reached the opposite end of the creek and were approaching Aanjarle, we had the picturesque look at the Aanjarle beach from the top of the hill. The beach from the top looks like a curly bracket and sea water also takes the shape accordingly.

We had a lunch at Aanjarle and visited Aanjarle beach and had a darshan at Durga Mandir. There is also a famous Ganapati Mandir here called as "kadyawaracha Ganapati", but we had to skip that for the want of time.

After Aanjarle, it was the turn of another similar ferry boat ride, operated by the same shipping company from Veshvi to Bagmandale. After reaching Bagmandale, we headed towards another sacred place of Harihareshwar also known as Dakshin Kashi. This is said to be the "Kuldaiwat" of "Peshwe". However unlike other temples in Konkan including the popular Ganapatipule, this place seems to be a mismanaged now. There was a shortage of drinking water in the temple and a shortage of milk in the roadside restaurants. 

After Harihareshwar, we headed towards Diveagar and reached there before sunset. The beach here at Diveagar was a huge disappointment though. It was very very bad. Black sand, frothy water, dead snakes and fishes laying on the beach. It was as if the sea water was extremely polluted. Locals though said that there is no industry within 100 kms and hence there can't be any pollution and black sand is due to illegal extraction of white sand on top. I didn't even clicked many pictures here.

Just posting this sample picture to show the black sand on the beach. 

As per our original itinerary, this was the last beach to visit. Next day morning we were to join the Goa - Mumbai highway somewhere near Mangaon by going from Diveagar. It was a night halt at Diveagar.  So we felt that the ending of fabulous trip was not memorable. 

But it was not our destiny to end this memorable tour on a bitter note. Thanks to the different maps we carried all throughout our tour, we found a different route and it was decided to go back to Dombivali via Murud Janjira on the same day. Earlier we had dropped that plan since there is no ferry boat available to board the vehicle from Dighi to Murud (Rajpuri). We were to view the fort and come back to Dighi, it would have took us atleast 4-5 hours. Again we had some brainstorming in our core group meeting and found a way out. We asked our driver to leave us at Dighi jetty. We caught a ferry boat to Rajpuri and asked the driver to come by road covering a distance of 80-90 kms via Agardanda. In the meantime we could have easily viewed the entire fort. 

From Murud (Rajpuri), we have to again catch a sailboat to go to Janjira fort. Travelling in a sailboat, going with the wind, seeing the adjustments according to the wind direction is again a unique experience these days. The fort is built 900 years ago and it is still strong. The fort is unbeaten and unbeatable. This fort could not be conquered despite of many attacks by Dutch, Marathas and the British. Siddi used to occupy and rule this fort till the Janjira State came to an end in 1947 and merged with the Indian Union. There is an underwater tunnel from Murud to the fort which was operational sometime till 1971. The houses inside the fort were also in good condition till that time. Then the Government decided to close the tunnel for safety reasons and people residing were also asked to leave the fort. People carried door and window frames and roof tops with them. As a result, due to wind, rains and other weather exposure, the construction inside has now turned into ruins. The main entrance door of this fort isn't noticed until we reach very near to it.There are also a couple of sweet water lakes in the fort to meet the drinking water requirements of the inhabitants. So even 900 years ago, there was some awareness about rain water harvesting, which even today is not very common. 

First view of the strong fort
Main entrance is visible only from nearby

Made of 5 metals. Remains cool in sun.

This is the Padmadurga, just 2 miles north-west of Janjira. After the death of Shivaji Maharaj, Sambhaji Maharaj took over as the Maratha king and he tried very hard to conquer Janjira so as to rule the western coastline. He built this fort to attack Janjira from a shorter distance. But its construction is incomplete since Sambhaji Maharaj had to rush back to the Capital fort Raigad since Aurangzeb attacked Raigad. The construction work was stopped and it was never completed. Although it is not as big as Janjira but still a sea fort that can be visited by taking permission from Indian Customs\Navy. It looks great from Janjira. There are no direct ferryboats to Padmadurga. Visitors have to hire a personal ferryboat. Due to incomplete construction, bombarding from Janjira during its construction, only ruins of the Padmadurga fort remain. Many parts of the fort are now inaccessible.This fort is under a seal by Indian Government as it has been claimed that the drugs were smuggled there. 

Again we had decided to join Goa-Mumbai highway from Murud, via Roha. But again, thanks to the maps and GPS devices, we found that there is a bridge to cross the creek before Revdanda. So we decided to return via Alibag. And best was still to come. Unexpectedly, we noticed that the beautiful Kashid beach is en-route. Kashid beach is completely commercial, but very clean and safe, with water sports facilities and change room facilities. All the restaurants on the beach have their own hammocks so that tourists can relax. 

We decided to take the Banana Ride. In this ride, 5-6 people sit on a inflated banana shaped boat shown in the picture. The instructor sits at the back. This boat is then tied to a speed boat. When we are in deep sea, the speed boat attains full speed and turns. At the same time the instructor sitting at the back turns bends himself sideways. This causes the entire boat to turn and all the people take the plunge in sea water directly. Even if you don't know swimming like us, we still float due to the life jackets. This is done twice in this ride, once in deep sea and once near the coast. Since we had some senior members on board, we had asked them not to turn the boat in the deep sea. For the second time near the coast, when we fell into the sea, all of a sudden we took the 3-4 feet plunge inside. Sea water was inside our eyes, nose, throat and all. We were searching for help from the instructor. We first began to float with the help of life jackets. We were still unable to maintain our balance. Then the instructor came near and just asked to stand upright, since it was just 4-5 feet deep, which nobody notices in a panic like situation. All in all it was a thrilling experience for all of us. I could not capture many pictures at Kashid beach since I was not carrying my camera due to the Banana ride. And that experience what such that it cannot be captured in camera. It has to be experienced. 

After Kashid we returned to Dombivali after a brief visits to Alibag beach and Revdanda Birla Temple. And that was the happy ending of the memorable tour.

Any comments/suggestions are welcome. If you need any references or contact numbers at the places mentioned here, please let me know by commenting here. I will be glad to help.

Finally I leave you with some of the bizarre photos captured by me during this tour. Click here for this. 


  1. very informative article mate...its very hard to get such a detailed information even on internet...there is definitely a personal touch to it. I will mail you from my mail ID.

  2. Gr8 job!You can write very well.
    Thanks for all the detailed information I 'll use it while planing my trip to Konkan.


  3. after reading complete artical i found that u have not visited to heart of konkan which is called talkonkan in local language u ahve went upto ratnagiri& came back completing all main spots but there is some good spots like dervan, pophali chotha tappa power station, karneshwar mandir , saptarshi mandir in sangmeshwar , bhagavati bandar, thiba palace in ratnagiri, visava point at parshuram mandir at chiplun from wher u can able to c the geographical condition of chiplun city.

    now i will suggest you to plan for the visit to talkonkan u can start from ratnagiri & end your journy at sawantwadi in becouse whatever you had seen in your visit u will find why we call konkan is california of india.....................

    my native place is chiplun. i feel very lucky that i am kokanstah proud to say konkani.......................yeva konkan aapalach asaa.............

  4. Yes. We had only a few days to spare. So we could not visit "Talkokan". 
    I am from Nagpur and our to and fro train journey takes 3 days of whatever leave we get. That leaves us a little time to go in the interiors. So we had to visit main spots while coming back to Mumbai. Dervan was there in our initial itinerary, but we had to drop that since we needed to reach Malgund for night halt. We covered maximum that we could. 

    In this article, I have tried to sum up all our experiences. But "Talkokan" is definitely on the cards. Thanks for your comment and suggestions.  

  5. A very informative and Very good blog. keep posting.

    Amit Chauhan

  6. Dear, 
    your site (project) is very well but if you are concentrated on living, temples, ghat sections & overall green kokan that is more effective than beach & seashore. Sorry & warm Regards (Tushar Dixit. Lanja)

  7. I agree...that part of Kokan is equally good....but its a matter of every individual's preference..

  8. you visited small part of kokan that also less than quarter. i agree with your comment that every individual has different preference, but u just can't say,''kokani people are known as misers'' this is what u feel and hence u cant use word ''know'', well u can say ,'i feel kokani people are misers'' . Kokani people are simple living creatures they dont like to showoff. just by visiting a small part of kokan and meeting few people u cannot say that most of of kokanis are misers. i think u have not meet real kokani till now because they live in heart of kokan, and what you said about infrastructure and storage i not the case with cities of kokan like vengurla, sindhudurga, kudal, mahad ..... etc

  9. completely agree with you koknis are somewhat misers,, if u go to any kokni by 12.30 noon they will say "Jewan kaarun alach asal ,sarbat karte /karto" but they will not invite u for lunch .another famous statement "chiplun la aalach tar y aamchy kade " other wise dont come

  10. Well, let me clarify. This is not my personal opinion that they are misers. I have said that they "are known to be misers." So that's a factual statement citing popular belief. And I have tried so explain the reasons for them being like that. Now somebody might call them misers, while someone may call them conservative spenders and someone may just call them being "practical".

  11. Hi,

    Thanks for the comment. Let me clarify. Its not personal opinion that they are misers. Neither I "feel" so. I have said that "they are known to be misers". This is because it's a popular belief. People outside in general feel like that and regularly talk about that. So rather than being my opinion, its simple a factual statement citing popular belief. I have in fact tried to explain the reasons. So some may call them "misers", some may call them "conservative spenders" while some may just call them as "being practical".

  12. and my concluding remarks in that section are "in general people here are good by heart. You don't feel insecure while roaming alone on a vacant beach."

  13. This is swapnil from Mumbai , I read your blog n it was amazing ,seems you are very keen on observation .
    on comming weekend I am planning to take my family to kokan ,i was with no idea before i read your blog, atleast now
    I am familiar with names of places .

    Can you please guide me in my tour plan , we have 25th,26th and 27th JAN 2013

    I was thinking for below places

    will start by 05.30AM from mumbai on 25th Jan

    Parshuram temple
    Marleshwar temple
    Shivshrusti (which you dint went but still if you can help)
    Ganpati pule
    Jaigad fort
    We have visited kashid /Harihareshwar /Alibaug and Murud earlier so..

    What i need from you

    1) we have two days, so from above spots which we cn drop or which are imp or whcih spot i have to wind up fastest
    2) I have 88 Years old grand father with me so places having lot of steps would be difficult
    3) On 27th unfortunatly we need to start for return journey so we have just two days

  14. Hi Swapnil,

    Good to know that you liked this article.

    If you leave on 25th early morning, then you can cover Parashuram, Marleshwar, Shiv Srushti and reach Malgund at night for hault.

    Its better to enjoy the Mangund beach on 26th morning since it is a safe sea unlike Ganapatipule. So next day after Malgund beach, you can get ready and take Darshan at Ganapatipule, visit Prachin Kokan and leave for Guhagar. You should reach Guhagar by 4 pm to enjoy sunset at the beach and take night hault.

    On 27th you should try to visit BamanGhal and light house as well while returning to Mumbai.

  15. Thank you so much !!!!!
    I followed exactly same what you have instructed ,but as it was weekend there was 3.30 hours waiting at jaigad for my turn to ferry
    So we reached at guhaghar at 21.00Hrs ,but later again we were on track .

    you made our trip ,malgund was awesome ,prachin kokan was another marvel

    thanks thanks and once again thanks

  16. Hi Swapnil,

    Good to know that I could be of some help for you.

    Feeling happy that you enjoyed your trip.

  17. it is a wonderful blog. it has covered each and every aspect of the place.

    I am planning to go to North Konkan Coast in the coming
    Holidays, I have found a package for myself. It seems to be less expensive.
    Check this out:

  18. sandeep ji...we have published kokan gaurav magazine every month. we have discuss various issues of kokan development. such as agriculture, horticulture, fisheries, agro tourism, etc. month of December we have thought pubblise addition on tourism.. we need some help .

  19. Hiii sandip
    I read ur article..feeling awesom.but missing pawas and Nanij near ganpatipule and Ratnagiri.
    Anyways I also plan 5th march-8th march to visit the same places u mentioned in ur blog....kindly assist me.

  20. That was a very narrative explanation of your memorable tour to Konkon Coast. I am planning to visit Ganapatipule with my husband, after going through your great experience I need to visit soon. Thanks for sharing it with everyone!:)


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