Harihareshwar is the place where you can “Dance with the waves, move with the ocean. Let the rhythm of the water set your soul free- Christy Ann Martine,” Well, I am not a sea lover, but there is something mysterious about them; whenever you sit on the sandy beach and watch the waves dancing along the shores its sets me free. And I never knew each beach is different from the other, sands from golden to white or black too. The Konkan region of Maharashtra has the most number of beaches- in this stretch, you always throw a shell in your pocket and sand in your shoes. Today I regret that despite staying in Mumbai for five years, I could not explore these offbeat beach destinations. But I yet have one enthralling family vacation, to relive.
As my parents were visiting me, thus I planned a weekend road trip to Harihareshwar, a small beach town on the Konkon coast of Maharastra. Frankly, I never heard of this place, but my colleagues praised the tranquil and picturesque beach. Well, this place is likewise known as Dakshin Kashi by the virtue, exciting as I being a Shaivite was keen on visiting the ancient Kalbhairav temple and learn its importance in the spiritual arena. And then as the name suggests, Harihareshwar is an abode of Lord Shiva. Our time of travel was perfect since it was monsoon in Maharastra. I had a Nano when I was in Mumbai, which was our way of transportation to Harihareshwar. My parents were in utter shock than pleased looking at the Nano.
The rocky beach of Harihareshwar
And they were sceptical what if it ditched us midway. But believe me, it did not, and the entire trip was comfortable. We set off early morning to avoid traffic, though I was anxious considering the monsoon clouds, the drive was pleasant with on and off drizzle. Harihareshwar is 210 Kms from Mumbai; and we took the Kashid (via Alibaug Road) to Murud for Harihareshwar, a longer route as wanted to relish the scenic ride along the coastal lines. You can opt for the Mumbai –>Pen –> Kolad –> Mangoan –> Morba –> Harihareshwar, this route is the best to reach Harihareshwar. However, the coastal stretch is poorly maintained, increasing our trip time by nearly 2 hours. Nevertheless, passing by the picturesque villages and beaches made it close to consolation.
The drive during monsoon is impressive, as the beauty of Sahyadri is prominent- the bloom of greenery is personified, with small waterfalls coming down its steep walls. The journey was a mystic and beautiful as I was amazed to see the green hills, waterfalls & long stretch of coastal lines. Along the way, we took a halt at a roadside Dhaba for breakfast before proceeding further. We reached Harihareshwar by past noon and checked into our hotel. As usual, I booked the MTDC beach resort, located half Km from the temple & 2min from the beach. Since it is a popular destination along with Shrivardhan and Diveagar Beach, so all types of accommodation are available from luxury to budget or lodges to a homestay.
The tariff starts as cheap as Rs 500/night and moves up to Rs 3500/night. The MTDC A/c cottages were beautiful as it stood next to the ocean, they serve good seafood with a decent option for vegetarian as well. MTDC Beach resort cottages beach near the resort is approx 2km L shape, rocky with black lava rocks dotting the landscape. Talking about Harihareshwar is a quaint and underrated tourist spot, surrounded by three hills named Harihareshwar, Harshinachal and Pushpadri. It is also called the Temple town as the temple of Lord Harihareshwar, said to have been blessed by Lord Shiva, along with river Savitri entering the Arabian Sea from this town.
Harihareshwar itself has two beaches- one is in front of the MTDC resort where I am putting up, the other one is in front of the temple 2.4km long straight beach with black sand. After a little siesta, we drove to Srivardhan town, which is the birthplace of first Peshwa Balaji Visvanath, 18 km from Harihareshwar. Srivardhan is one of the oldest towns in Maharashtra located on a peninsula known as the town of Peshwa. Its pristine beaches, lush green mango gardens, swaying coconut trees, and typical Konkani homes with thatched roofs and storefronts will leave you to be mesmerized. We got to the beach before the sunset, about 3 kilometres long coasts, very clean and calm as less crowded.
We sat on the beach, listening to the silent waves, along with a few fishing boats, offering a panoramic view. The sky was speaking in a thousand colours as the sun dips in the ocean. Also Shri Laxminarayan Temple – is the first temple of Peshwas which is of the attractions of the place, where the idol in the temple is quite old and is said to be of Hoysala architecture style.
However, we did not visit as it was getting dark. I also advise to visit Kondivali beach, located just 10 minutes from Shrivardhan, and the brownish-black sand makes the spot unique to experience. The beach also does offer quite a broad range of options for water sports activities. We had to skip as it was gloomy, so we decided to drive back to our hotel. The night ended with Bangada Rava fry and veg thali, and it was delicious.
The following day we first visited the ancient Kalbhairav temple. It is believed the temple was constructed in the medieval period, the chief deity of the temple was the ‘Kuladaivat’ of the Peshwas. And the Pradakshina Marg’ around the temple was built by Chandrarao More. Harihareshwar Temple complex has two adjacent temples- the smaller Kalbhairav temple and the main Harihareshwar temple housing an ancient Shiva Linga.
It’s customary to pay tribute first to Kalbhairav then to Lord Shiva and the again to Kalbhairav. And the Pradakshina route goes around the temple, along the seashore. We put up our prayers, worshipped the deity completed all ritual in 30mins as the rush was less.
Later we had to climb down 150 odd steps, between Hari & Har hills to hit the rocky coastal area which is exposed to strong sea waves and wind called the Pradakshina- a unique and exciting route behind the temple. It was high tide; violent sea waves were dashing on to the mountains, and the entire path was covered with water making it slippery to walk. Another landmark aspect of this spot is the lava rock formations made up of wave-cut basalt in an inter-tidal zone.
This takes in regular cycles of wet and dry period depending on the tides. These rock formations in the presence of Tafoni- they are clusters of small honeycombed caverns, Generally, found in granular rocks due to centuries of weathering by the constituents. No information about this unique geological phenomenon is provided; most of the time, people merely pass by unaware.
We stood and viewed the exotic events, before retrieving back to our hotel. Harihareshwar is a black sand beach which generally gets submerged during high tide. And it happened last night. but by 11 am the water retrieved back. This beach is not recommended for swimmers as the currents of the sea is strong. Honestly, in all sense, Harihareshwar is a place of beauty. Along with the pleasant ambience, temples, beach and dense woods.
Later we left for Murud Janjira fort in Dighi.
How to Reach
Mumbai or Pune Airport is the nearest airport at a distance of 210 km and 172 Km respectively. From Mumbai can take a taxi till Harihareshwar. Or even a bus till Mangaon then cab from there onwards. In case of Pune route via Chandni Chowk through Tamahini ghats. Or you can also travel through Bhor ghat and Mahad to reach Harihareshwar. Buses Ply on regular Mangaon.
Mangaon on the Konkan Railway is the nearest railway station from Harihareshwar. And located at a distance of 59km. Major cities are connected with Mangaon, and from Mangaon both buses and taxis are available to easily reach Harihareshwar.
Harihareshwar is 210 Km from Mumbai, so you can either opt anyone.
1.Mumbai-Panvel -Mangaon-Goregaon Phat on Bombay-Goa highway.
2.The Mumbai – Pen – Kolad – Mangaon – Morba – Harihareshwar
If travelling from Pune, then below route can be taken.
Pune- Mulshi – Tamhini Ghats – Mangaon – Morba – Harihareshwar.
So you can opt for cab or buses state as well as luxury till Mangaon, then hail taxi till Harihareshwar.