Harihareshwar has been on my list for a long long time. Even being so near I could not make it after multiple attempts. Now when the opportunity arrived, I grabbed it straight and went off for a road trip to cover as many places as I can. My intention was driving through the road by the shore from Raigad district to Ratnagiri in Maharashtra. Thus I made it to Harihareshwar.
My separate posts will follow my journey through different destination. All the travel seeking Punekars and Mumbaikars on any weekend, preferably extended set forward to places like Harihareshwar and Ganpatipule. Even though the best time for a visit to these places is considered to be just after the monsoon. But to me, no time is a bad time. So I set my foot forward towards the Maharashtrian shoreline, the Konkan division.
The drive was long and at times tiring and flat, but soon new topography greeted us to get back to the initial excitement. Through the highways and the ghats (Western Ghat), we reached our first destination. I was well acquainted with the narrow main roads within the dense locality. Thanks to the knowledge gathered from my previous visit to Karde.
I am always a bit more inclined towards quaint locations. The road approaching the place made me feel that I am in the right place. The small paddy fields on either side and some mango and jackfruit trees too were the visible sign of nearing our destination. Soon we reached our stay at MTDC Harihareshwar Beach Resort.
Though the first view of the compound did not look very impressive but later the cottage allocated to us and the beautiful sea view from the balcony changed our mind. A gradual serpentine slope takes us to the beach. The resort is located on a small hillock by the sea. Walking ahead through the slope of this hillock we reached the private beach of the resort.
A small sandy beach lined by thick Casuarina forest. Huge cranes and other machinery were at work on one end of the beach. It was the narrow mouth of the backwater. Probably a bridge under construction. A family who was also our fellow boarder were busy picnicking on the beach. With no other interference, the beach seemed really private.
The small houses with slanting tiled roofs with small unorganised garden and a little adjoining farmland are a common sight. The garden mostly constitutes a variety of hibiscus plants. While the farmland was of the seasonal vegetables. The small area seemed so peaceful and content in its calm lifestyle.
The small town of Harihareshwar derived its name from the temple of Lord Harihareshwar. Two adjacent temples reside by the main Harihareshwar beach. These ancient temples are dedicated to Kalabhairav and Lord Shiva respectively. There is a written instruction to enter the Kalabhairav temple before entering the Harihareshwar. Although the reason is not known to me.
Irregular stepped stair beside the temples is the pradakshina marga. This route runs along the sea shore around the temple. It is advised not to take this route during high tides. It being mid of the week, there was hardly any tourist apart from the local visitors. The Harihareshwar beach is mostly small muddy hard beach.
This small beach arched towards a hill on a distant end. While the temple side is on the rocky shore of another hill. Thus this beach is surrounded by hills on either side. While four hills namely Harihareshwar, Harshinachal, Bramhadri and Pushpadri surround the place. The beach is the hub for the locals. There are a few beach activities and watersports facilities available. As the kids enjoy in the receding waters in a narrow channel through the beach, the parents enjoy the cool sea breeze sitting on the dark sand, watching the waves.
The rocky part of the shore was the most interesting. Gradually climbing the wet, moss covered rocks gave us an insight to the other part of the shoreline. It was even more intriguing. The undulating slopes meeting the sea abruptly. The shoreline with multiple bends shows the artistic creation of the sea. The stagnant water in a flat region above the rocks marked the reach of water during high tides.
The walls of the hills strangely curved. On careful observation, many imaginary figures can be identified. How strange and astonishing is the artwork of nature? No artistic creation can be ever compared to the work of Nature. The waves were high on this side. The tiny waves gently touched the muddy beach but high waves crashed on the rocks here violently. The splashing sound of the water broke the silence of the surrounding. One after the other waves came roaring towards us seated on the rocky platform.
The sun preparing to take a plunge into the deep. The seagulls were homeward bound. We sat on the rocks, gazing at the reddened sky, lost in some unknown thoughts. Local women folk were also returning home with their collection of seafood. Peeping into their pot showed a good amount of mollusc for the supper. They have been collecting them since late afternoon trekking along the shoreline.
A White Bellied Sea Eagle glided above us to get back home somewhere in the rocky cliffs. The sun has taken its final dip of the day. The tireless Kingfisher was waiting for its final catch before retiring. The vendors selling eatables were also packing stuff to finish off their business. It was a sign for us to return to our stay.
The night was calmer than expected. No sound of waves neither any wind. The bright full moon was frequently veiled by the flowing clouds. Waiting to watch the reflection of the moon on the sea could not happen. Thanks to the mosquitoes. They were partying, relishing on our blood drink. We were forced to escape to our cottage.
Again a morning walk by the private shore and then saying goodbye to Harihareshwar we reached the nearby Shriwardhan Beach. The long stretch of golden sand beach was a refreshing sight. The trawlers returning after the light long sojourn in the sea. Some anchored midway near the sea while some line up at the shore.
Few people were setting up their business of watersports on the shore. Probably some speed boat ride. Taking sips of morning tea from a makeshift stall we noticed a stray dog running through the beach with his prize. It was a big fish. The fish was big enough for her to hold in her mouth. Suddenly a man standing near the speed boat ran after the dog clearly in quest of the fish.
The worried dog dropped the fish and ran away far, never to return back. The man picked up the fish to find it rotten and throw it again. I could not control my anger and gave him my piece of mind. The poor lactating dog was carrying food for itself so in turn to feed its puppies. But we greedy humans can not even spare a single feed to these petty animals.
Saddened by this act we went off to our next destination. With roads unknown and the problem with network connectivity, it was like asking for the direction with every turn. This was also a fun activity. Thus we reached our next destination.