Shrivardhan is the perfect getaway for those who want a seaside escape. It offers such
Shrivardhan is the perfect getaway for those who want a seaside escape. It offers sucha panoramic view of the sea that the water seems to be stretching into the horizon, everywhere you look. And the beaches here offer peace and solitude – they are empty most of the day. Only in the evenings do a few fishermen make an appearance, arriving, and leaving, just as quickly.
At one of the beaches, a row of fishing boats lies docked to the rocks. At another, betelnut orchards and coconut groves transport you to a beautiful paradise.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO
Apart from swimming and taking walks along the beach, there are water sports and activities such as surfing, paragliding, motorboat rides and banana boat rides. While two days are enough to explore the temples here and the Shrivardhan Beach, plan to stay for at least four to five days if you wish to travel to the nearby beaches. The best idea would be to stay for two nights at Shrivardhan, visit the major attractions and Kondivli Beach, and then head to Diveagar.
Right on the outskirts of Shrivardhan, around 2 km down SH4, is Shekhadi Beach. Shekhadi is more a place for enjoying beautiful views than adventurous swimming sessions. The blackish sand is only visited by those from the nearby Walvati village, which has some lovely marble mosques.
This beach, located 5 km away, is Shrivardhan’s pride. It is one of the few beaches around that’s still secluded. The sands are unmarked by footprints, and the road winds around lowlying cliffs, from where you have to climb down to reach the waters. The currents are a bit unpredictable, but locals claim it is safe for swimming. On a weekday, you will have the beach’s brownblack sands all to yourself.
On the other side of the road lies a small, ancient Shankar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva and his consort, Parvati.
A little ahead on the winding SH4 is the Bharadkhol Beach. Another secluded stretch, it’s a rocky beach with clusters of colourful boats anchored to the rocks on its black sands. You’ll have to climb down a steep but easily negotiable cliff to reach the waters. Watch fishermen from nearby villages bring in their catch for the day every evening.
Shrivardhan’s presiding deity, Somaja Devi, is believed to be capable of curing snakebites and reversing even the most vicious cobra’s sting. At the Somaja Devi Temple in the main town, the victim is made to lie down and burning hot coals are used to cauterise the wound, which is then caressed using peacock feathers by the priest. A short walk away is the Laxminarayan Temple, housing age-old idols; also nearby are the temples of Bhairav, Jivaneshwar and Kusumdevi.
Although everyone is welcome into these humble temples throughout the day, it’s best to visit before night as most of Shrivardhan shuts shop around 9.00pm. There are no prescribed dress codes at the temple, but it is sensible to dress modestly.
Shrivardhan is the hometown and birthplace of the founder of the Peshwas, Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath. The Peshwas, the powerful ministerial dynasty, took centrestage in Maharashtra during the reign of Shivaji’s grandson, Shahu Maharaj. Today, the Peshwa Smarak Temple, situated in the centre of Shrivardhan town and a landmark in its own right, lies in a state of neglect, and is usually dark due to regular power-cuts, but visitors continue to trickle in. The temple is open through the day.
Shrivardhan is a small coastal town surviving well on just a couple of grocery stores. However, visitors also have the option of picking up one of Shrivardhan’s farm products. These tangy treats – pickles such as aamla and ginger-lemon mix, dried aam papads and kokum sherbets – are available at the shops outside the temples.
WHERE TO STAY
Shrivardhan has mostly humble accommodation options for visitors – hygienic but lacking in high-end luxury. Arm yourself with mosquito repellents, leave behind the credit card and order your food 2–3 hours in advance.
Shiv Shanti Holiday Inn (Tel: 02147-222163; Tariff: ₹2,000–4,500), at Dabak Pakadi near the Government Rest House, has 23 rooms, just five minutes from the Shrivardhan Beach.
Right opposite Shiv Shanti is Niwara Resort (Tel: 222298; Tariff: ₹1,500–2,300), approved under MTDC’s Bed and Breakfast Scheme. It is one of the best stay options in Shrivardhan, thanks to the homely atmosphere and the charming couple who run it. Lunch and dinner (vegetarian and nonvegetarian) can be arranged if ordered in advance. Sagar Darshan (Tel: 222958, Cell: 09850018213; Tariff: ₹800–2,500), also 5 minutes from the Shrivardhan Beach. Right behind Sagar Darshan is its sister establishment Savli (Tel: 222080; Tariff: ₹1,200–1,500). They have 14 rooms.
On the road behind the Peshwa Temple is Kalaprasad Guest Park (Tel: 222619; Cell: 09850182065; Tariff: ₹800–1,500), is a good choice for those looking for budget accommodation. Aapli Wadi (Cell: 09921186646, 09922971498; Tariff: ₹1,200–2,000, bungalow Rs. 5,000) is a great homestay near the beach with good food.
WHERE TO EAT
Shrivardhan lacks restaurants and therefore travellers will have to rely on gharghuthis. You will need to place your order at least 2-3 hours in advance. Konkani food is most readily available, and surmai is the most popular.
Hotel Prasad (Tel: 02147-222455), located near the bus stand offers an excellent vegetarian thali as well as a fish curry thali. The shrikhand here is a must-try. Sagar Darshan also serves typically Konkani cuisine, including seafood. But you have to place your orders in advance.
Shiv Shanti Holiday Inn offers a varied menu serving both vegetarian and nonvegetarian in Konkani, Continental and Gujarati cuisine. Most other guesthouses can also arrange food; but make sure you place your orders beforehand. Chowkar’s located at Chowkar Pakhadi serves delicious and simple vegetarian Maharashtrian fare. Please note that orders are to be placed two hours beforehand.
When to go November to January, when the weather is pleasant
Location Shrivardhan is situated along the Konkan Coast, with the Kushmeshwar Hills as its backdrop
Distance 188 km S of Mumbai
Route from Mumbai Via Khopoli-Pali Road
Air Nearest airport: Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport (205 km/5 hrs) is connected by flights from most Indian and international cities. Taxi charges ₹4,500– 5,000 approx
Rail Nearest railhead: Mangaon (56 km/ 1 hr 10 mins). Most trains plying between Mumbai and Goa halt here. From Mangaon there are plenty of direct buses to Shrivardhan. An auto charges ₹1,200 approx from Mangaon
Road Drive down NH17 from Panvel to Lonera Phata via Kolad, Indapur and Mangaon. Turn right towards Goregaon. Shrivardhan is straight ahead past Mhasla and Arathi Road Junction.
Bus Lots of State Transport buses leave from Mumbai Central for Shrivardhan (6 hrs). However, it’s advisable to book well in advance