Harihareshwar: A quaint and underrated place with touch of spirituality

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Harihareshwar is where you can “Dance with the waves, move with the ocean. Let the rhythm of the water set your soul free- Christy Ann Martine,” Well, I am not a sea lover, but there is something mysterious about them; whenever you sit on the sandy beach and watch the waves dancing along the shores, it sets me free. And I never knew each beach was different, with sands from golden to white or black. The Konkan region of Maharashtra has the most beaches- in this stretch, you always throw a shell in your pocket and sand in your shoes. Today I regret that despite staying in Mumbai for five years, I could not explore these offbeat beach destinations. But I yet have one enthralling family vacation to relive.

Visit to Harihareshwar and Sea Fortress Janjira
Harihareshwar beach

As my parents were visiting me, thus I planned a weekend road trip to Harihareshwar, a small beach town on the Konkon coast of Maharastra. I had never heard of this place, but my colleagues praised the tranquil and picturesque beach. Well, this place is likewise known as Dakshin Kashi by virtue, exciting as I, a Shaivite, was keen on visiting the ancient Kalbhairav temple and learning its importance in the spiritual arena. And then, as the name suggests, Harihareshwar is the abode of Lord Shiva. Our time of travel was perfect since it was monsoon in Maharastra. I had a Nano when I was in Mumbai, which was our way of transportation to Harihareshwar. My parents were in utter shock and pleased looking at the Nano. Visit to Harihareshwar and Sea Fortress Janjira

The rocky beach of Harihareshwar

And they were sceptical about what if it ditched us midway. But believe me, it did not, and the trip was comfortable. We set off early morning to avoid traffic; though I was anxious considering the monsoon clouds, the drive was pleasant with on and off drizzle. Harihareshwar is 210 Kms from Mumbai; we took the Kashid (via Alibaug Road) to Murud for Harihareshwar, a longer route as we wanted to relish the scenic ride along the coastal lines. You can opt for the Mumbai –>Pen –> Kolad –> Mangoan –> Morba –> Harihareshwar; this route is the best to reach Harihareshwar. However, the coastal stretch is poorly maintained, increasing our trip time by nearly 2 hours. Nevertheless, passing the picturesque villages and beaches made it close to consolation. 

Visit to Harihareshwar and Sea Fortress Janjira
The coastal Drive Via Murud to Harihareshwar

The drive during monsoon is impressive, as the beauty of Sahyadri is prominent- the bloom of greenery is personified, with small waterfalls coming down its steep walls. The journey was mystic and beautiful as I was amazed to see the green hills, waterfalls & long stretches of coastal lines. We halted at a roadside Dhaba for breakfast along the way before proceeding further. We reached Harihareshwar by past noon and checked into our hotel. As usual, I booked the MTDC beach resort, located half Km from the temple & 2min from the beach. Since it is a popular destination along with Shrivardhan and Diveagar Beach, all types of accommodation are available, from luxury to budget or lodges to a homestay. Visit to Harihareshwar and Sea Fortress Janjira

The tariff starts as cheap as Rs 500/night and moves up to Rs 3500/night. The MTDC A/c cottages were beautiful as they stood next to the ocean; they also served good seafood with a decent option for vegetarians. MTDC Beach resort cottages beach near the resort is approx 2km L in shape, rocky with black lava rocks dotting the landscape. Talking about Harihareshwar is a quaint and underrated tourist spot, surrounded by three hills named Harihareshwar, Harshinachal and Pushpadri. It is also called the Temple town as the temple of Lord Harihareshwar, said to have been blessed by Lord Shiva, along with the river Savitri entering the Arabian Sea from this town. 

MTDC Beach resort sitting area

Harihareshwar has two beaches- one is in front of the MTDC resort where I am putting up, and the other one is in front of the temple 2.4km long straight beach with black sand. After a little siesta, we drove to Srivardhan town, the birthplace of the first Peshwa Balaji Visvanath, 18 km from Harihareshwar. Srivardhan is one of the oldest towns in Maharashtra, located on a peninsula known as the town of Peshwa. Its pristine beaches, lush green mango gardens, swaying coconut trees, and typical Konkani homes with thatched roofs and storefronts will leave you mesmerised. We got to the beach before the sunset; about 3 kilometres long coasts, very clean, calm, and less crowded. 

Visit to Harihareshwar and Sea Fortress Janjira
way to Srivardhan beach

We sat on the beach, listening to the silent waves and a few fishing boats offering a panoramic view. The sky spoke in a thousand colours as the sun dipped in the ocean. Also, Shri Laxminarayan Temple – the first temple of Peshwas and is of the place’s attractions, where the temple’s idol is quite old and is said to be of Hoysala architecture style. 

Konkani Houses

However, we did not visit as it was getting dark. I also advise you to visit Kondivali beach, located just 10 minutes from Shrivardhan, and the brownish-black sand makes the spot unique to experience. The beach also does offer quite a broad range of options for water sports activities. We had to skip because it was gloomy, so we drove back to our hotel. The night ended with Bangada Rava fry and veg thali, and it was delicious. 

Visit to Harihareshwar and Sea Fortress Janjira
Mom & Dad at the Srivardan Beach

The following day we first visited the ancient Kalbhairav temple. It is believed the temple was constructed in the medieval period; the temple’s chief deity was the ‘Kuladaivat’ of the Peshwas. And the Pradakshina Marg’ around the temple was built by Chandrarao More. Harihareshwar Temple complex has two adjacent temples- the smaller Kalbhairav temple and the main Harihareshwar temple housing an ancient Shiva Linga.

Harihareshwar Temple

It’s customary to pay tribute first to Kalbhairav, then to Lord Shiva, and then again to Kalbhairav. And the Pradakshina route goes around the temple, along the seashore. We put up our prayers, worshipped the deity completed all rituals in 30mins as the rush was less.

Visit to Harihareshwar and Sea Fortress Janjira
The black sand beach of harihareshwar

Later we had to climb down 150 odd steps between Hari & Har hills to hit the rocky coastal area exposed to solid sea waves and wind called the Pradakshina- a unique and exciting route behind the temple. It was high tide; violent sea waves were dashing onto the mountains, and the entire path was covered with water, making walking slippery. Another landmark aspect of this spot is the lava rock formations made up of wave-cut basalt in an inter-tidal zone. 

Route to Pradakshina

This takes in regular cycles of wet and dry periods depending on the tides. In Tafoni’s presence, these rock formations are clusters of small honeycombed caverns, generally found in granular rocks due to centuries of weathering by the constituents. No information about this unique geological phenomenon is provided; most of the time, people merely pass by, unaware. 

Rough Sea at the Pradakshina area

We stood and viewed the exotic events before returning to our hotel. Harihareshwar is a black sand beach which generally gets submerged during high tide. And it happened last night. But by 11 am, the water was retrieved back. This beach is not recommended for swimmers as the sea currents are strong. Honestly, in all senses, Harihareshwar is a place of beauty. Along with the pleasant ambience, temples, beach and dense woods.

Honeycombed carven found on Lava rocks.

Later we left for Murud Janjira fort in Dighi.

How to Reach 

By Air

Mumbai or Pune Airport is the nearest airport, between 210 km and 172 Km, respectively. From Mumbai can take a taxi to Harihareshwar. Or even a bus till Mangaon then a cab from there onwards. In the case of the Pune route via Chandni Chowk through Tamahini ghats. Or you can also travel through Bhor ghat and Mahad to reach Harihareshwar. Buses Ply on regular Mangaon.

By Rail

Mangaon on the Konkan Railway is the nearest railway station from Harihareshwar. And they are located at a distance of 59km. Major cities are connected with Mangaon, and from Mangaon, both buses and taxis are available to reach Harihareshwar easily.

By Road

Harihareshwar is 210 Km from Mumbai, so that you can opt for anyone.

1. Mumbai-Panvel -Mangaon-Goregaon Phat on Bombay-Goa highway.

2. The Mumbai – Pen – Kolad – Mangaon – Morba – Harihareshwar

If travelling from Pune, then the below route can be taken.

Pune- Mulshi – Tamhini Ghats – Mangaon – Morba – Harihareshwar.

So you can opt for a cab or bus state as well as luxury till Mangaon, then hail a taxi till Harihareshwar.









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