Unwinding in Harihareshwar

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17 May 2019, Pune : For most people, a beach holiday is reserved for the winter season or early summers. But I personally enjoy the sea in monsoon, when the water level is higher and the waves are rougher. Last monsoon, after contemplating a lot about where to go for a quick weekend getaway, my friend and I decided on Harihareshwar. This small little beach town sits on the Konkan coast, in southwest Maharashtra. This was my first trip ever to this part of the state and I wanted it to go smoothly. So we found a comfortable and reliable car on rent in Pune and started our journey on a cloudy June morning. It was still the early days of the rainy season, which made it perfect for traveling.

On the way

It was 170 Km via the Tamhini Ghat Road and was supposed to be five-hour drive. But the route was so scenic that we kept stopping every hour to breathe the fresh air of the hills and enjoy the rain-soaked views of the Western Ghats. We made stops at Mulshi Lake, and then at the quiet little villages en route. These places were a world apart from where we come from and felt so peaceful. Gradually as we neared Raigad district, the roads became narrower and the hills gave way to thick forests. Throughout most parts of the drive, there was hardly any other vehicle on the way, making us feel like we owned the road. For the best possible experience ensure that you book a licensed cab from Pune to Mumbai.

First look – Harihareshwar

We reached our destination around lunchtime. We had made no reservations for our stay, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because we found the perfect place on the beach. The Harihareshwar Beach Resort was a cozy and clean property overlooking the sea. Post lunch, we headed out to the beach through the backyard of the resort.

The main temple, after which the town was named, was nearby. The temple is dedicated to Kalbhairav – an avatar of Shiva. The temple structure and layout was ancient, with a huge courtyard and carved stone pillars. The backdrop of the temple was what stole all my attention. On one side, was the endless sea, and on the other side were thick coconut groves and mountain bluffs. The grey rain clouds just took the scenery to another level. We did some photography and a quick tour of the temple. There was also the  Yogeshwari Temple, dedicated to Shakti, close to the Harihareshwar temple but we before we could head there, it started raining. We walked through the rain, along the beach and headed back to the resort. While my friend resorted to the bed, I spent the rest of the evening at a shack on the beach, watching the romance of the clouds and the waves.

A day at the beaches

Next day was a clear, partly sunny day; a typical June morning. So, we planned to spend most of it at the Harihareshwar beach. The beach was not like the typical ones that we are used to seeing. This one had black sand and boulders. Swimming was prohibited on this beach, owing to the strong undercurrents and rocky shores. But I did notice a couple of Jet Ski riders. We rented a Jet Ski and rode with a guide for about an hour. The sea was much calmer that day and it was a thrilling ride. There were hardly any people that day on the beach. So, when we came back after the ride and found a spot to rest, I immediately dozed off and woke up only to a phone call from our driver. The beach was the perfect definition of tranquility, which was the only thing I was looking for on this vacation.

Later in the afternoon, we headed to Shrivardhan Beach, another popular tourist attraction nearby. It was around 20 Km from Harihareshwar but with empty roads, we reached in no time. This beach looked like a hotspot of water sports and adventures and was quite crowded. People were parasailing, surfing, and swimming. But what fascinated me the most were the camels. Except for some beaches in Gujarat (or Mumbai in the 80s), I have never seen camels on any other beach in India. There was a beachside promenade with garden benches and lines of casuarina trees. We spend the entire afternoon exploring the beach, the nearby areas, and lunching at a local diner. By sunset, the crowd started dispersing, leaving the beach peaceful once again. The views of the sunset from this beach were absolutely breathtaking.

My weekend getaway to a completely unknown destination turned out to be more than I had expected. Before leaving I tried to do a little research on what we could possibly do in Harihareshwar but unfortunately couldn’t find many details. I hope my personal experiences would help quite a lot of travelers when they visit this part of the state.