Alibaug and Kashid are one of the most popular destinations for day and weekend trips from Mumbai and Pune. It offers vast expanse of flat beach with a soft fine mixture of white and black sand. It is an ideal destination to just laze around but now it is slowly establishing itself as a destination for water sports too. Here you can have a feel for Konkani lifestyle with tourism facility. Famous beaches in this section are Kihim, Versoli, Alibaug, Akshi, Nagaon and Revdanda. Kolaba fort along with Khanderi-Underi forts are treat for history lovers. Alibaug area is well connected by Road and ferry transport from Mumbai and Pune city.
Karmarkar Museum at Sasawane near Kihim is first destination from Mandwa which is entry point by Ferry. It is sculpture museum of famous sculptor Padmashri V P Karmarkar. A museum has been set up at his house which is a 100-year-old house. During childhood of Vinayak Karmarkar, he made a picture of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on the wall of Rama temple. British Collector (Otto Rothfield) saw the painting and offered education to him in J J Art College in Mumbai. After acquiring the first rank, he worked in Kolkata and then went to England for further study. Sculpture of Horse ridden statues of Shivaji Maharaja made him famous across India. It was installed in Pune city at Shivajinagar. He created many sculptures which were installed in various part of India. You can view beautiful statue made by him from 1914 till 1964.
Sasawane and Awas beaches are close to museums which are less popular in tourist. Kihim Beach is around 10-11 km from Alibaug. Sandy Beach has a group of rocks on the seabed. Be careful while entering into the sea for swimming. Watersports, snacks stall on the beach are available. It is worth to visit the beach in the evening to witness the Sunset from Rocky shore.
Next destination on coastal is Khanderi and Underi fort. Due to rock cutting edge, only small boats are able to go to Underi fort. You have to hire separate boat from Thal Jetty. Regular boat service is available from 9AM onwards from Thal Jetty. Khanderi fort is built on an Island which is known as Kanhoji Angre Island. Island was renamed in 1998 in honor of the Maratha general Kanhoji Angre. Underi Fort was built by Siddi on sister Island. A series of battles happened between Maratha and Siddi allied with British (Few Battles) to beat Maratha. Khanderi Fort was built in the year 1679. After many battles, it went into hands of the British in 1818. On the Fort, you can see Temple of Vetal where huge stone painted in Shendur (red color) is worshipped as Vetala. Local says that Stone grows in size every year. You can see Shark bone inside Temple which is used to donate to God Vetal.
There are series of Bastions on the fort and couple of Bastion has canons. You can see canons with cartwheel as well. Lighthouse was built in 1867 by Britisher on the fort. You can see the metallic rock on the left side of stairs (Stairs from Jetty side and not from the back side of Fort) to Lighthouse. When you struck large size rock with another stone, it creates metallic noise which is unique. There is no Food stall available so better to carry water and some snacks. Thal Village is fisherman colony and biggest market of Dry fish items. Be prepared for the stinky smell. If you cannot bare the smell, better to skip it.
Next destination is Alibaug. Alibaug was developed in 17th Century by Sarkhel Kanhoji Aangre the naval chief of King Shivaji’s Kingdom which also a birthplace of Sarkhel Kanhoji Aangre. Prior to this, a rich Muslim person Bene Israelite Ali developed seven gardens. So the local people called the place AlichiBagh (Gardens of Ali). Alibaug is famous of Beach and Kolaba Fort. Varsoli beach is located about a mile from the main Alibaug beach. Kolaba fort is situated in the sea at a distance of 1 km inside from the Alibaug shores. During low tide, you can walk to the fort. It takes 45 min to 1 hour to visit Kolaba fort and it has bastions, Ganesh Mandir, ruins of few old buildings, giant canons and a sweat water lake/well in the middle of the salty ocean. Shivaji Maharaj built this fort in 1680 to keep Portuguese under predominance. Later this fort became the main place and was used for building huge/ magnificent ships. Kanhoji Aangre used it as his main base from which to launch raids on British ships. The ‘Mahadarwaja’ (Main entrance) to the east is a special thing as it was difficult for the enemy to locate during the war.
Next Destination is Akshi Village. It is famous for slow pace Konkani lifestyle, flat-bed beach and bird watching in the winter season. You can see the Stone Sculpture at the entrance of Akshi village, near Shankar Temple. Stone name Gadhegal derived from Gadhe means Donkey and gal means Stone. It is three part stone slab in which the top part shows the Sun and Moon with a Kalasha. The middle part consists of a verdict/ Law and last part shows a donkey in sexual congress with a men / Women. Anyone who dares to violate the royal verdict is being threatened with the most disgusting of punishments. This stones are 1000 years old and can be found in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa.
Akshi beach is extended part of Nagaon beach but less crowded as compared to Nagaon. The beach slope was gentle and you can take KM walk towards the sea. Sunset from the beach is awesome and Orange color spreading all over the horizon during sunset was amazing. Northern side of beach is mainly used by local fishermen to anchor the boats. You can see Alibaug beach on the other side of Creek and Kolaba Fort in the sea.
Next destination is Nagaon beach which lies between Alibaug and Revdanda. Plenty of Water sports are available at Nagaon and on Alibaug beach as well. There is small temple at Nagaon known as Nav-nag temple. Local says that Name of this village came because of this place. In the temple, you can see total 10 rocks having snake images on it. 9 were originally placed here and in recent time someone added 10th snake idol.
Next destination is Chaul Village. It is famous for Temples and mainly for Rameshwar Temple. It is ancient temple which took 275 years to complete. Chaul village have around 360 small temples spread across village. Chaul was important trade port which was rules by Egyptian Mamluk, Gujarat sultanate and Portuguese emperor. It lost its glory after 17th century when British gave Mumbai city upper edge over Chaul for trade. Revdanda village is adjoining village near Chaul. This place is famous for beautiful beach along with a Portuguese fort known as Revdanda beach Fort. It was built in the year 1528 by Portuguese whereas prior to that, they built a factory in the year 1516. Later they built a wall for the factory and the construction of the fort. It consists of strong fortification wall, Bastions, Cannon and 7 floored watch tower mainly known as Saatkhani i.e. 7 story tower. Near the watch tower, you can see 4-5 cannons. On the right side of the tower, you can see the grave of Portuguese queen. It has a symbol of Portuguese emperor which can be seen easily. Revdanda beach is famous for migratory birds. You can see korlai fort on the other side of beach. Alibaug to Revdanda section has multiple Homestay option, Budget stay and resorts. Tourist prefer Alibaug, Varsoli, Akshi, Nagaon or Kashid beaches area for stay. I will share information on next section from Korlai to Rajapuri in my next article.
Pritesh Kulkarni from Pune is in IT industry by profession. Travelling and exploring places is his passion along with travel and wildlife photography. He is travel Blogger and has written more than 125 travel blogs in last 6-7 years.
Visit the blog: http://pritskulkarni.blogspot.com/?m=1. You can contact the author through the email: [email protected]