Towards the far south of Maharashtra are Vengurla and Shiroda. Vengurla has Sagareshwar beach which is close to heart of the town. There are others like Mochemad and Sagarteerth close by. However the town is not really a tourist destination may be because it is too close to Goa. The language and cuisine here is also closer to Goa (not the Portuguese cuisine but south Goa cuisine). The town has crowded and chaotic roads. But once you cross it; you reach Sagareshwar beach. There is a light house on the hillock towards your right overlooking many small islands in the sea.
This is mainly a trading town where you would find numerous cashew factories on the way. The cashew here is of really good quality.
To the south of light house is the Beach stretching almost 2 km with white sand & clean blue water. Entire area is calm and quite so if you wish privacy Vengurla can offer it to you besides the fact that it has facilities of a town. Few beach side resorts are present along with MTDC tent resort.
Further down south is Shiroda; which has probably the most isolated beach with almost 3 km long straight stretch of sand and amazing tranquility. The area is so quiet that it makes you introspect. If you wish to sit at a place and think about life or meditate then this is the ideal place. There are few homes where; you can stay. Shiroda is ideal for painters, writers and honeymoon couples who want privacy.
This was our last destination on the Maharashtra coast and we decided to move down to Karnataka. We did not intend to be at Goa as it is too well known, to be explored.
We tried to find out reason as to “why tourists do not come to Shiroda or Vengurla from Goa”; especially the foreigners. And we found that Maharashtra is too expensive as compared to Karnataka. This being a more developed state; labour costs are high and even property costs are also high. People normally believe that Goa is glamorous because of presence of foreigners. However, the foreigner who come to Goa are mainly budget travelers and backpackers. They stay for weeks or months and they have shoe string budgets. They spend much lesser than Indians.
There are many retired Europeans who come to Goa during the month of September and October. They anyway are struggling to make both ends meet with their meager pensions. So they come to Goa during winter; to avoid depressing Europe weather and enjoy pleasant India winter (which is as good as summer for them). They typically take a room on monthly rental of Rs 15000/- and equal amount they spend on food. Thus they end up spending not more than $800/- per month. They stay for 4 months or so and save money form their pension to go back to Europe for summer.
We then decided to go to Goa and find out whether this is true. We reached Goa by evening and stayed at Homestay called Villa Ludo Vici. It was a big nice Portuguese house with open area; located very close to Candolim beach and host lady was really nice and caring. Throughout the next day we met lot of Homestay owners; to find out whether they were interested in promoting their business. We got consistent reply that they do not want Indian tourists; they would rather prefer foreigners who stay for months together. The main reason is that they don’t want hassles of giving service; foreigners do not expect service as they are not used to same; on the other hand Indians demand service.
We were not much interested in spending time at Goa so we decided to move on to Gokarna in Karnataka.
This brings to end our journey of Maharashtra coast.
On the closing note I would like to mention interesting facts about Maharashtra;
From north to south every stretch is famous for certain agricultural product. Starting from north Bordi is famous for Chickoo, Kelwe for betel leaf, Palghar for Jamun(Jambhul), Dive Agar for Betel Nut, Ratnagiri for Mangoes and Vengurla for Cashew. Besides coconuts are there every where. So when you travel to these places please try these products.
Tourists typically go to places which are close by but they are not necessarily the best ones. Now Konkan railway is available so while making plan; make use of this new connectivity to the fullest and you can find really interesting places.
Tourism revenues are mainly come from Mumbai and Pune and thus locations, which are distant to these towns, are not really explored.
There are awesome beaches like Shiroda, Harnai Murud which not many people know. So if you plan to travel next time; try and visit them rather than the usual ones.
Homestay food is excellent especially fish curry; so even if you stay at resort try at least one meal there. There locations are excellent; however rooms are simple. On the whole however the experience is much better than resorts.
While talking to people I found that the less educated a persons listed to you as they do not a carry ego. They also trust you more. So talking to villagers is enlightening.
While we all know about beaches there are mountains of western ghats; which are equally beautiful but nobody has tried to promote them. Ghats of Amboli and Kashedi have tremendous potential for tourism.
The coastal roads are isolated and have nature around at its best so try them at least once. Most recommended is the Murud Janjira to Harnai Murud.
Thanks for reading …
Coming next Gokarna, Murudeshwar and the rocks of Yana…………
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