Seven days, 1500 km. The plan was to leave the mountains this summer and drive down the Konkan coastline instead, dotted with ancient temples and forts and lovely white beaches.
We began our trip from Murud Janjira, 150 km from Mumbai. Murud has a beautiful beach and Janjira, 5 km ahead of Murud, has an island fort, whose interiors are crumbling, even though it looks imposing from the outside. After spending the night at the wide and clean beach of Diveagar, and visiting the golden idol Suvarnaganesh, we drove along the sea to Srivardhan.
At Bankot, we took the ferry to Harne. The jetty was full of wide launches with vehicles stacked side by side. Harne is famed for being the biggest fish market in the Konkan region, and by the time we covered the 100 km, the sun was setting and the sky was alight with streaks of burnt orange. That night, we decided to shack up at Jambulgaon, a village in the same Raigad district.
We kept the next day free for temple visits -- the ancient temple of Parshuram at Guhagar, the temple of Vyadeshwar (Shiva) and the beautiful temple of Ganesha at Hedvi, 18 km away, located in a thick forest. Close by, Velneswar has another temple of lord Shiva, but it is known more for its beach, covered in pure white sand. That night, we drove down to Ganapatiphule, covering the 80 km in darkness with not another vehicle in sight. Luckily, a car emerged and drove with us the rest of the way.
We visited the Sindhudurg fort, ate some delicious Malvani cuisine, made our way to Tarkarli and even spent a couple of days in Goa. But on our way back, I made sure we got a bit of trekking in at the hill station of Amboli. Once a mountain guy, always a mountain guy.
Suhas is a designer with the Pullouts team, and a serial mountain trekker
You'll find enough places to stay that can fit all budgets.
Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation has a list of homestays and bed-and-breakfasts on its website. Head to http://bit.ly/bptuLM
Road trip tips
This coastline is best traversed through your own vehicle, not public transport.
Keep a check on battery and fuel -- there aren't enough fuel pumps en route
There aren't many ATMs either, so make sure you stack up on cash