Ever wondered how the Konkan coast looks like or what it would be to drive along that shoreline? Inspired by my travel along the coastline in Europe, I ventured out on my own along the Konkan coastline. Come with me and surprise yourself on this journey through this extensive coast of my country.
I started late around 9:00 AM from home in Mumbai and had a quick breakfast stopover at Shri Dutta Snacks around the circle before hitting NH 66. An early start could have saved me from the traffic within Mumbai roads. The recently repaired road towards Alibag helped me drive smoothly and it was a steady ride, considering I am always used to famous Mumbai’s potholed roads. Rather than driving through the Alibaug town I decided to take a left turn much before and head towards the southern beaches.
Before you turn towards Revdanda from the Alibaug road, there are two petrol stations on each side so tank up on fuel right here.
Driving past the beautiful coconut palm lined roads alongside the village of Nagaon beach, I reached Revdanda beach at 1:00 PM. You can drive through a very small driveable lane to this beach at the end of which is a temple up on the cliff. The beach was flat with coarse dark coloured sand with no crashing waves. You can go in, I didn’t. Hordes of white feathered sea birds lined up on the shallow waters of the beach and it looked beautiful. After a lazy stroll, I head back to my car and drove alongside of the road inside the fort town. One can see the remnants of the Revdanda fort walls with many small lanes allowing entry to the main fortification area. I didn’t want to get inside and so I moved on.
The next beach on my route was Korlai and the view is hidden by the villages. One has to get off the main road to hit the beach by driving downhill. As I drove past the village, the road moved up and gives away to a fantastic panoramic view of the shoreline. This uphill drive curving towards and away from the sea-face at different intervals continued for a few hours and the view kept me amazed. Driving next to coastline while coming down I hit Murud where I stopped by for a quick lunch. In my mind I just had that I need to stop before it gets dark and it was already 3:00 PM.
Post lunch as soon as I resumed my journey, I could see Agardanda ferry crossing on road-side boards. It was a great relief to know that I would be able to cross the river and save a few kms extra drive. While on my way at one of the intersections I was suddenly distracted by these magnificent tombs standing on the hilltop. These Kokari tombs were built in 1600s by the Siddi Rulers of this area but are gated now. Make sure to stop by to take few pictures. Don’t take right at this intersection but keep driving straight to the port. It was my first experience in India at the Agardanda-Dighi ferry crossing where I had to drive up the car into a boat and sail so felt quite unnerved and excited at the same time. The locals at the ferry crossing were very supportive so I was confidently able to park my car onboard the ferry.
It took 15 minutes to cross the river and reach Dighi. The road from here runs up and down at equal intervals beside the rock-face coastline. I crossed two pristine white flat beaches, Adgaon and Velas, with absolutely no habitat along the shoreline. It made me think, why don’t we keep our beaches as clean as these ones. The sun was turning crimson and I thought of pulling over for the night. I stopped by at the next closest beach, Diveagar. On my way I could spot Exotica Beach resort run by the MTDC. It had the best location as the beach access was just across the road from this property. This beach otherwise is lined with thick plantations there’s no sea view possible from the resorts. Quickly after checking in I headed to the beach and enjoyed my tea at the mobile beach shack while enjoying the first sunset on this drive.
After a healthy breakfast of poha and sheera, I started driving at 9:30 AM. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting the road to be in such good condition. Cruising along the winding hilly roads of Shrivardhan I hit the Harihareshwar beach at 10:30 AM. After enjoying all the clean beaches on this journey, I was disappointed here. This dark coarse sand beach had trash all over though I could spot lot of local tourists at this beach. I didn’t stay much longer on this beach and moved towards the next Vesavi-Bangmandla ferry crossing point.
It was 11:30 AM when I reached Harnai Beach. It was a very steep drive coupled with broken roads along the winding hill slopes and many hairpin bends. The uphill bumpy ride slowed me down considerably but the magnificent open expanse of the sea-face made up for all the hard work behind the wheels. This difficult ride is worth the view since its not interrupted by any tall trees or any plantations.
After crossing the next port Dabhol-Ghopave ferry crossing I could again experience a smooth drive at a good height with breathtaking view. I had to step out of my car for a while to soak in the moment before I came down the hill again.
It was already 4:00 PM and I knew I don’t have much time but do the next ferry crossing before the sun sets.The Jaigad-Tavassal ferry point is supposedly operational on new site only for a year now. Please check with locals for directions or you would get lost like me and end up on deserted pier.
Having reached on time for my last ferry crossing on this journey I found lots a bikers, from Harley to Bullet to Honda, all waiting to get on board. I had a tough time as others because we couldn’t fit in. Getting us all on one ferry took much manoeuvring and the ferry got delayed for nearly 30 minutes. It was like travelling on a overcrowded bus. All other ferry crossings on this route close at around 6:30 PM and have hourly ferry service unlike this one, which stays open till 10:00 PM. Each time I pulled in on the ferry and drove out, I felt more and more confident.
Jaigad has a famous fort on its sea-face but the sun was about to set, so I moved quickly after I pulled out of the boat. It was already 7:00 PM when I could spot some resorts along the coastline. I decided to stop by at Madachya Banat as I had heard about this place before. Had a lovely homemade local dinner and called it a night.
After an energizing treat of traditional thaalipeeth at breakfast next morning, I started at 9:00 AM to swiftly drive to Ganapatipule, the most famous beach of Maharashtra. I drove past the beach and the temple. It is a white beach but not so clean as I have seen in last two days. Driving past the town I reached an interesting driveway road called Aarey Warey road. Driving along the cliff edges reminded me of my tour along the Ireland’s Gallway area to the Cliff’s of Moher on the Atlantic coast.
This road to Ratnagiri is 25 km long well maintained road giving you a magnificent view of the Arabian sea. I stopped by a couple of times to enjoy this view and the virgin clean beaches that came along the way.
Around noon time I reached Ratnagiri and I was driving on the sun-baked plateau where landscape is more or less yellow tall grasslands and burnt orange rocky soil with a few occasional villages passing by. I reached Vijaydurg where a fort built by Adilshah and later captured by the Maratha king Shivaji in 1653 AD still stands. The road to the fort has been recently relaid so its smooth drive but the landscape still remains sun-baked dry. Though I kept driving close to the shoreline as much as possible but I was mostly on top of a plateau so a sea-view was a few hundred feet drop not visible from the road.
After a few hours ride I found roads lined with mango plantations and I realised that I have reached Devgad. This region produces the best quality Alphonso mangoes in all of Maharashtra. This Malvan area is on a considerable height from the sea level so one can feel the heat even while driving in an AC car. The famous Sindhudurg fort is a short detour from the main road and it stands on an island.
I decided to take a break for lunch as soon as I reached the next beach at Tarkali.
This beach is famous for scuba diving and its a long bay area jutting into the sea which is lined with resorts. I drove through the sleepy village road and settled on a small fish thali place for lunch, just where the road was turning away and heading inlands.
The southern part of Tarkarli is called Devbag beach and has many boutique resorts as the billboards promoted.
The drive after lunch was slow and rickety on a stretch riddled with potholes all along, it was impossible to drive faster than 30 kmph and there’s no beach view from here. Also known as ‘Sagari Mahamarg’ this Maharashtra SH4 is in a very bad condition in this stretch.
I soon touched the next beach Vengurla at 4:00 PM. It’s pure white fine sand beach. Though tourists were enjoying water sports but this beach is not so busy with resorts and shops unlike the previous one. After the busy town of Tarkarli, Vengurla is refreshing for its laid-back village lifestyle.
Vengurla is the last known beach in Maharashtra before you hit Goa though Shiroda is the last beach on this side of the state border. From here the road again entered the winding hills and I drove past a few villages to end my journey at Morjim beach in Goa.
Though shoreline of Goa is always full of activity but the quiet, clean, lonely beaches and the calm waters of the Maharashtra coastline will always remain etched in mind.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the interesting moments from my journey.
Adios! Till my next escapade!
One thought on “From coast to coast: Drive along the coastal highway of Maharashtra”
SwatCat, lovely writing..I can smell the sea and taste the lovely food. The photos are amazing. Keep writing …Wishing you more wonderful journeys!!!