South of Mumbai on the Konkan Coast lies the town of Shrivardhan. The historical significance of this town features in the History of the Peshwas – the early residence of Bajirao Vishwanath Peshwa, the first Peshwa under the rule of Chhatrapati Shahu. 5-6 km south is Harihareshwar, called the Kashi of South India. According to legends, this one of the places where the 5 Pandavas halted during their periods of exile.
The beaches of Shrivardhan and Harihareshwar cannot be more contrasting – the former long stretches of serene sand and waves, the other choppy waters breaking over rocks and rough terrain. In fact, the Harihareshwar beach has been off limits with over 250 drownings reported this year.
We stayed at Resort Harihareshwar and had a good time. The other option is the MTDC resort for which one has to do the bookings well in time.
The drive itself was quite a good experience. The Mumbai-Goa Highway, NH17, is a dream run, especially with a light drizzle on. Turning right from Mangaon, one drives through rolling hills covered with light green moss and grass, dark green gorges and valleys and one beautiful view of the River Savitri meeting the sea.
Where: Konkan coast, south of Mumbai, drive down NH17 from Mumbai, turn right at Mangaon (170km) and drive to Shrivardhan (62km). Harihareshwar is to the south, like two prongs of a fork heading into the sea.
Where to stay: MTDC Harihareshwar, Resort Harihareshwar. The food is better at the latter. There are the usual village huts and stuff but you can board them at your own risk. It’s not like Kerala or Goa where tourism management is part of the lifestyle.