“It’s been really long since I have been to a new place!”, I said to my friend who too happens to be a travel blogger. Nobody’s going to follow your blog if you don’t get regular with your posts, he chided! He is right! I thought to myself and started googling places closer to Mumbai for a weekend trip. While searching for places, I accidentally landed on the page of MTDC Velaneshwar resort and Yes! I had found the destination for my next solo adventure!
Fast forward to the day of the trip.
It’s 5:00 am and I have just boarded the cab. How will I catch a 5:25 am train? What if I miss the train? With all these thoughts in my mind, I kept bugging the driver to drive faster. Finally at 5:24 am I boarded Dadar – Madgaon Jan Shatabdi for Chiplun. After a 4 hour long journey I got down at Chiplun and caught an auto rickshaw to Chiplun bus stand. Since there was no direct bus available for Velaneshwar, I had to first go to Guhagar and then catch another bus to Narwan which goes via Velaneshwar. The ride to Guhagar was smooth but the ride from Guhagar to Velaneshwar was quite a bumpy roller coaster ride.
The moment I got down at Velaneshwar, the aroma of sea water struck my nostrils and I could foresee how blissful next two days were going to be. I quickly checked into the MTDC resort which is located on a hillock overlooking the beach in Velaneshwar. The resort staff was surprised to see a solo woman traveller at such a pristine place and were very helpful and caring.
Around 2:00 pm, I had veg Konkani thali for lunch and decided to take a quick afternoon nap to recoup energy for evening walk along the beach.
Initially, every staff member kept asking about people accompanying me on the trip. Their questions made me a little uncomfortable since there were hardly any tourists around. At one point in time I got so scared of going out that I kept convincing myself that I have seen enough sunsets and I can afford missing this one for my safety. Around 5:00 pm in the evening, when I got up and looked out, I was startled to see the sun shining through my window and realised that missing this sunset would be amongst the biggest mistakes of my life. I quickly got ready and left for the beach with my only companion; my camera. For next one hour I kept clicking pictures till the ball of fire disappeared into the sea. Tired from the walk, I sat down gazing at the waves with a mind emptied from all kinds of thoughts.
It was 6:30 pm and darkness had taken over. My brain wanted me to get back to the resort but my heart clung to the serenity of the surroundings. I somehow got up and started walking towards the resort which was a km long walk on the road amidst the dense coconut palms. I was a bit scared but the best part of being in Konkan is that nobody bothers a single woman on empty roads no matter how dark it is.
After gulping down two glasses of Solkadhi post dinner, I retired to my room.
It’s a bliss to wake up amidst coconut palms with sea in the backdrop accompanied with sound of waves and colourful chirpy birds. I couldn’t stop myself from clicking pictures of the surroundings.
Around 9:00 am, the auto rikshaw arranged by the resort staff had come to pick me up. The specialty of every beach town along the Konkan coast is that, it houses a temple and is famous for the temple and not the beach. I made my first pitstop at Velaneshwar temple which is about 500 years old temple of Lord Shiva and is located right at the beach. The temple is maintained so well that it doesn’t look so old.
After taking blessings of Lord Shiva, I proceeded to Hedvi beach which is a rocky black sand beach and houses a small temple. There was only one person except me on the beach and all I could hear was the sound of waves splashing between two rocks which is called Bamanghal in Marathi.
After capturing the beauty of this beach, I decided to head to Hedvi Ganpati Temple. This colourful temple is located on a hill surrounded with dense forest. The beach town is famous for this temple and pilgrims from various parts of Maharashtra visit this temple to seek blessings of Lord Ganesha.
My next destination was going to be Guhagar, which is yet another temple town along the clean and pristine Guhagar beach. It’s a white sand beach approximately 3 km long with absolutely no litter despite the presence of a small chowpatty at the beach.
Guhagar houses Vyadeshwar temple which is a temple of Lord Shiva and Durga Devi temple, which is Kuladevi (clan goddess) of Kokanastha Brahmins.
After visiting both these temples, I had lunch at Damle’s which is an eatery run by Kokanastha Brahmin family. And let me tell you, the food was amazing. It was time to get back to Velaneshwar and start my return journey to Mumbai.
The trip was coming to a close now and bidding goodbye to Velaneshwar was difficult. Those two days spent in this small temple town had set free the traveller inside me from all the inhibitions.