12 best beaches of Maharashtra

12 best beaches of Maharashtra
Photo Credit: Flickr
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Maharashtra has a variety of beaches--touristy to tranquil--to spend your winter vacation

Uttara Gangopadhyay
December 15 , 2015
07 Min Read

Alibaug
Famous as a site for second homes of Mumbai’s elite, Alibaug does not need any introduction. The coastal stretch between Alibaug and Murud-Janjira is dotted with many smaller beaches—Revdanda, Aksi, Kashid, Kihim, and others—with their own fan followings. From the Alibaug beach, you can spot the Kolaba Fort located on an island in the Arabian Sea. During low tide, the water recedes so far that you can either walk or take a horse-cart ride to the fort. A huge fair is held in the fort on the day of Maghi Ganesh Chaturthi (usually in February).

Mumbai is nearly 100km by road from Alibaug. You can also take the ferry boat (http://alibagtourism.com/ferry-time-table) from Mumbai to Mandwa jetty and then travel onwards by road.

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Bordi-Dahanu
The twin villages, near the Gujarat border, are known for their lonely beaches, old Parsi homes and a flourishing chikoo cultivation. There is not much by way of activities. But there are places to try authentic Parsi cuisine. Usually, a Chikoo Festival is organised when the fruits are ready for harvesting. The place can be combined with a trip to Daman and Silvassa.

By road, Dahanu is 140km from Mumbai. Save Farm (http://savefarm.in/) runs the Tarpa Agri Eco-tourism complex near Bordi (3km away); you can stay at their eco-friendly cottages and take a farm tour, learn to climb coconut trees, zip-line across the pond, learn Warli painting and other skills.

Diveagar
The white sand beach of Diveagar remains fairly uncrowded. The town landmark is the 12th century Roopnarayan Temple dedicated to Vishnu. The place can be visited in conjunction with Harihareshwar and Shrivardhan. Nearby Devkhol, known for its temples, is also a good place to go birdwatching.

Mumbai is 180km away by road. Driving is the most convenient option to reach Diveagar.

Ganapatipule
The twin attractions of the Ganapati Temple and the beach, make the place rather crowded during holidays. So, if you are looking for some tranquil moments, look for a beach resort away from town (but you need a personal vehicle for smooth commuting). Beachside shacks, camel and pony rides, water sports, etc. are some of the attractions along the stretch nearest to the famous temple. But you cannot approach the temple from the beach directly any more. The nearby Malgund beach is also becoming a popular attraction. Ganapatipule can be part of a circuit covering Ratnagiri, Malgund and Jaigad. Know about the region’s traditional lifestyle and history at the open-air Prachin Konkan museum; be prepared for a trudge uphill during the guided walk.

Mumbai is a little over 300km away by road. Ratnagiri, 45km away, is the nearest railway station. MTDC runs a sprawling resort—bordered by the sea on one side—right opposite the temple gate.

Guhagar
This once sleepy town is discovering its commercial potential. Pilgrims flock to town for the old temples, especially the Vyadheswar Shiva Temple. The beach remains fairly empty of tourists. You can combine a trip to Guhagar with trips to Velneshwar beach (15km away), the Dashabhuja Ganesh Temple of Hedavi, or a boat ride to Jaigad (from where you can continue to Ratnagiri and Ganapatipule), etc.

Mumbai is 280km away by road. The privately-run Nisarg Resort (http://www.nisargresortguhagar.com/), located some distance away from Guhagar town, is a nice place to stay but it is about 2km away from the beach.

Harihareshwar
Pilgrims flock to the old temple complex consisting of shrines dedicated to Kalbhairav, Shiva and other deities. The coast near the temple (and the town’s bus station) sweeps out in a wide curve with the deep blue Arabian Sea lapping up the beach. Behind the temple, a long flight of stairs go uphill and you can catch a glimpse of the sweeping beach and the sea from the top. From here, another steep flight of stairs descend to a rocky edge overlooking the sea on the other side. The waves strike against the rocks and rise in towering angry sprays—a perfect place for selfie-lovers. From here, during low-tide, you can walk across the rocky outcrop to reach the temple courtyard on the other end. Be careful when you walk, the rocks can be slippery.

Mumbai is 200km by road. Located away from the temple is MTDC’s tourist lodge; the cottages dot the sloping verdant hill side that drops to the sea. The lodge can arrange for boat rides in the sea. There are a couple of family homes near the temple that also double up as restaurants where you can order in advance for some hearty Konkani seafood dishes.   

Harnai-Murud
If tranquillity on the beach is your kind of holiday, then Murud-Harnai is the place for you. The white sand beach perfectly complements the turquoise blue Arabian Sea. Gateway to the sea forts, Suvarnadurg and Kanakdurg. Durga Devi temple in Murud village (not to be confused with Murud Janjira near Alibaug) is known for its architecture. Take a boat from Harnai village, cross the Paaj Creek, to visit the Kadyavarcha Ganapati temple.

Mumbai is 225km away by road. Khed, on Konkan Railway is the nearest station. Dapoli, 14km away and connected with Mumbai, Pune and Kolhapur, is also a convenient gateway.

Shrivardhan
The beach, lonely for the greater part of the year, can be a tad crowded during long weekends. The abundance of betel nut trees give the town a green look. Can be visited in conjunction with Diveagar and Harihareshwar.

Mumbai is 185km away by road. Autorickshaws ply to and from Harihareshwar, 20km away.

Shiroda
Located very near Sawantwadi—near the Maharashtra-Goa border—Shiroda is still off the tourist circuit. It does not have much by way of amenities such as places to stay or local restaurants. But you can always have a picnic with your family or friends; only remember not to litter the place.

Mumbai is over 500km away by road. Nearest airport is Dabolim in Goa.

Tarkarli
Tarkarli is another famous beachfront along the Maharashtra coast that requires little introduction. Stay at the MTDC resort on the beach, go on a cruise in a houseboat or go snorkelling in the Arabian Sea (near the old fort called Sindhudurg). Tarkarli and its neighbouring towns, including Malvan, are dotted with homestays, most of which have the sea as their backyard. For some delicious coastal cuisine, visit the eateries in Malvan; those with a sweet-tooth can try the chocolate-cashews sold in the local market

The nearest airport is Dabolim in Goa. Mumbai is nearly 500km by road. Kudal, on the Konkan railway route, is 45km by road.

Velas
Save your trip to this lonely stretch of sand and sea—tucked behind a hilly range—for a visit during the Velas Turtle Festival, held usually in February/March. See the wee little Olive Ridley turtles take their baby steps after hatching. Early in the morning and just before sunset, the turtles begin their journey to their pelagic home from the Velas beach; this is a natural phenomenon and so no fixed dates. Follow the website of Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra (http://www.snmcpn.org/); they monitor the hatching of eggs and list the tentative days when there is a chance of seeing the baby turtles. Velas is

215km from Mumbai. Nearly all the homes in the village open their doors to visitors for night stays for a nominal charge.

Velneshwar
One of the most picturesque of Maharashtra’s beaches and yet thankfully not invaded by the holiday crowd. The town is known for its Shiva temple. You can also plan a visit to Guhagar and Hedavi from here.

Mumbai is about 300km away by road. Chiplun, 50km away by road, is the nearest railway station. The MTDC resort is perched on a forest-clad hillock that overlooks the sea.

Note: Do not venture out to the sea alone. Consult the local people before deciding to take a dip in the sea—not all areas are suitable for bathing; the local people know best. Do not litter the beaches.


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