The Konkan is a coastal strip of land bounded by the
Sahyadri hills on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. Maharashtra's
Konkan coast includes the districts of Raigad, Ratnagiri,
Sindhudurg and Thane.
The entire coastline of the western state of Maharashtra, starting from the well known towns of Kihim and Alibag in the north to the town of Vengurla in the south where it merges with that of Goa is dotted with golden beaches, picturesque creeks, solitary lighthouses, ancient forts, stunning cliffs and charming fishing hamlets, many of them still remain the way nature sculpted them. This region is best known for its fresh produce, especially Pomfret (a fish), Avocados, and delicious Alphonso mangoes.
This area is relatively undeveloped, a few travellers are already finding their way to the excellent beaches, which fringe the coast. The Konkan railway will definitely increase the amount of travellers who arrive here. They offer what the real traveller is looking for - vast open spaces, undisturbed solitude and the prospect to do something really different.
This region is a relatively prosperous area of the state. The people are literate and well off, living in neat and clean villages. They depend upon fishing for their livelihood and very little agriculture occurs here. However, the southern portion, in and around the town of Ratnagiri, is famous for its Alphonso mangoes.
Konkan cuisine is a homogeneous combination of Malvani,
Gaud Saraswat Brahmin, and Goan cuisines. Konkan cuisine has two styles of
cooking, Konkan cast Brahmin cuisine, which uses few spices and is more
coconut based, and the spicy non-Brahmin version. A little further inland,
the Konkan cuisine has peanuts, sesame and coriander as the main spicing
The food has a lot of coconut in it and masalas that have mainly red chillies and coriander. Konkan food uses 'Kokum' (a deep purple berry that has a pleasing sweet and sour taste) and raw mango as souring agents along with tamarind and lime. The Konkan food also has a version of 'Garam' masala called bottle masala, which has about 20-25 ingredients powdered together. Konkan food also plays on textures. Many dishes use coarsely ground masala that you can feel with your tongue to give the food a different feeling.
Most of the chutneys and masalas are being hand ground, as it is believed that machines cannot give the same quality as using the grinding stone. Konkan cuisine also uses a lot of charcoal grilled onions. These onions are either used chopped or ground along with masalas after being grilled. This gives the food a very interesting smoky flavor. Of course, coconut is also liberally used in various forms: raw grated, fried grated, coconut paste and coconut milk.
Fresh tender coconut water is another way to quench your thirst. The white flesh of the coconut, which they scoop out after one has drunk the water, is simply delicious.
Located in Sindhudurg district at an altitude of 690m, Amboli is the last mountain resort before the coastal plains begin in the southern ranges of the Sahyadri hills. It is also known as the Mahabaleshwar of Konkan.
Ambarnath is a small town located near Akoli in Thane district of Maharashtra. Ambarnath houses a fascinating temple dedicated to Lord Shiva dating back to the 11th century. It is built in a peculiar form of architecture known as `Hemadpanti' style.
Ballaleshwar Ganapati - Pali
Named after Ballal, son of Kalyan Shreshthi, from whose `Tapasya' (meditation), Ganesh appeared at Pali. The deity is known as Ballaleshwar. The Ganesh idol in the temple is 3 ft. high. Behind the temple, another temple of Ganesh, known as Dhundi Vinayak is situated.
An Old Portuguese settlement, located 40-km south of Mumbai, secondary in importance to Bassein. There are a few remnants of Portuguese fortifications and a couple of ruined churches. The hilltop Muslim Korlai fort stands on the opposite bank of the river, looking across to the Portuguese fort.
Fringed with casuarinas, Bordi is a very safe beach where the water for half a kilometre does not rise above the waist. The entire stretch of 17-km from Dhanu to Bordi is scenic with a backdrop of orchards of various fruits, especially 'Chikoos'.
Across the Mumbai Harbour, lie the 7th century rock-cut temples of Elephanta. Once known as "Gharapuri", or the Fortress City, the caves are now designated as a World Heritage Site and visited by hundreds of tourists both for their art historical and scenic value.
Ganapatipule is one of the important beaches of Maharashtra located near Kolhapur. It is 375-km south of Mumbai. Fine sifted silver sands and a gentle lapping sea, which soothes frayed nerves, attracts large number of tourists. It is regarded as a beautiful seaside resort of today-especially for families.
The town of Harihareshwar, known for its tranquil and picturesque beach is also land marked by Kalbhairav - the Shiva temple. Gentle winds, soft sands and inviting waters make this beach irresistible to beach lovers.
One of the few tribal kingdoms in Maharashtra, Jawhar is famous for the vibrant Warli paintings. It is a famous hill station and known as "Mahabaleshwar of Thane District".
Kashid is Maharashtra's upcoming beach resort, boasting a 3-km sweep of clean, undeveloped beach with good swimming.
The journey through the Konkan region is breathtaking. Travelling by train on a 30m high embankement, one suddenly shoots through a tunnel over 3-km long, emerge from a brief moment on terra firma, then rush on to a bridge over a deep gorge. There are 169 major bridges and 1,640 minor ones and 88 tunnels, the longest tunnel is about 6.5-km long. The picturesque and unrelenting 1,000-km long Konkan Coast streach covers the states of Maharashtra, Goa And Karnataka.
Just 120-km away from Mumbai, Kihim is an exclusive beach laced with lush coconut trees. The inviting part of it is that Kihim is entirely undiscovered and unpolluted.
Karnala Bird Sanctuary
Karnala Bird Sanctuary is a great place for bird lovers and tourists can spot Drongos, Barbets, Bulbuls, Spotted Doves, Tree-Pies, Woodpeckers and many other smaller birds.
Just off the coast 160-km south of Mumbai is the majestic island fortress of Janjira, the 16th century capital of the Siddis of Janjira. It is one of Maharashtra's most commanding coastal forts, stretched along an island a short distance off the tranquil fishing town of Murud and only accessible by local boat.
Matheran is a fascinating hill-station located 80-km east of Mumbai in Alibag district. It is situated at an altitude of 800m. This little hill paradise has been left largely undisturbed, since the time when an Englishman, Hugh Mallet, Collector of Thane, discovered it in 1850 and declared it a fine place for shady walks.
The fort in Raigad stands as a silent reminder of Maharashtra's glorious past though the sound of trumpets or the clang of clashing swords and shields are heard no more at this historic monument. British called it "Gibralter of the East'' as the well-fortified structure atop a hill that had repeatedly defied attackers.
Savantwadi is one of the most popular Taluka of Sindhudurg district, which is beautifully adorned with lush green forests and hills from three sides. It has got various waterfalls and is also adorned with beautiful sea to its west (Arabian sea).The place is known for market for fish, coconut, Betel Nuts, Jackfruits, wooden articles and mangoes.
Sindhudurg, the ocean fort was built by Shivaji in 1664 AD on a low rocky 48-acre island off the Malvan coast. The fort stands firmly as a silent sentinel to the lingering memories associated with the maritime history of the glorious Maratha empire.
Titwala Ganesh Mandir
A famous pilgrim center in the district of Thane and the presiding deity of Lord Ganesh is worshipped over here.
Varad Vinayak Ganapati - Mahad
Known as Varad Vinayak, the temple is in Mahad village of Raigad district. A Ganesh devotee named Paundkar found this idol in a lake near the temple, 375 years back. The original temple is now enlarged. The lamp before the deity is kept lit uninterruptedly for hundred years or so.
Vasai Fort is an important sea fort located in Bassein, present day Vasai, at about 55-km from Mumbai. Built by Bahadur Shah, Sultan of Gujarat, it was initially one of a chain of forts intended to guard the coast against the Portuguese and the pirates.
Vajreshwari is named after the Goddess Vajreshwari whose temple has historical importance. Chimaji Appa, the younger brother of Bajirao Peshwa, constructed it. The Vajreshwari hot springs nearby are well known.
Vijaydurg or Victory Fort is one of the great forts of the Konkan. Vijaydurg fort was strengthened around the 17th century by Shivaji, to whom it owes its finest features - the triple line of walls, the numerous towers and the massive interior buildings.
Languages: Marathi and Konkani are spoken.
Time: Five and a half hours ahead of GMT.
Dress Sense: Casual clothing. Tank tops and skimpy outfits are not advisable.
Climate: Maximum temperature of 35° Celsius and Minimum temperature of about 15° Celsius. The Konkan region gets rainfall up to 900 mm in the monsoon.
Best Time To Visit
Mid-November to mid-February is the ideal season for rambling along this coastline. For those who simply cannot stand the heat, the period from December 15th to the end of January is the most ideal.
Rail: Konkan Railways have got regular services to the reach the various places in the coastal region.
Accommodation is available at the hotels along the coast of Konkan.