Friday, April 20, 2012

A Quick Escape to Alluring Alibaug

If you are in and around Mumbai and looking for a quick escape from the daily rut, Alibaug is the place for you! We had planned to go to Alibaug only for two days but then extended our stay with one more day since our entire journey was full of surprises with sparkling beaches and quaint villages and ancient architecture. Alibaug is a pristine, nicely hidden quite little place with beautiful beaches, just 130 kms away from Mumbai and 138 kms from Pune! The place itself gives you a feeling of being into the interiors of Kerala. Just imagine streets and beaches lined with hutments and coconut groves!

The beauty of Alibaug lies in its clean and clear beaches, surrounded by beautiful forts like the Kolaba Fort and old churches, which instantly take you to the an era gone by. There is a Magnetic Observatory that is more than 150 years old. Then there is fascinating tower of St Barbara, famous Vikram Vinayak temple and a lot of small attractions thrown all over the place.

The main beaches near Alibaug are Kihim Beach, Rewas Beach, Saswane Beach, Kashid Beach, Awas Beach and Mandwa Beach where you can see farmhouses of a lot of film celebrities, and of course the Nagaon Beach. They all keep you enamored by their white sands and cleanliness.

Places not to be missed
Kashid
A little ahead of Alibaug, almost 30 kms, is Kashid. Here you get your first hand experience of true beach fun, with lots of shacks to relax, white sand, camel and tonga rides, boating, surfing etc.

Murud and Janjira
A stone’s throw away from Alibaug are small and sleepy twin towns of Murud and Janjira. Historically, Murud holds a very important place. These towns are just 45 kms away from Alibaug. Located on the sea shore, these towns are prosperous due to seafood industries and flourishing tourism. Janjira is a very famous fort in Murud, which is built 2 kms into the sea. During 15th and 16th centuries, it was the capital of Siddis. It was the Great Maratha Shivaji’s base from where he initiated many of his famous assaults on his enemies. Due to its strength and grandeur, the palace remained unattainable to all of his rivals, however strong they had been.

Where to stay in Alibaug
Accommodations in this part of the country are good enough to suit any pocket, but it is the family-friendly hospitality which sweeps you off your feet. For a relaxed stay and civilized service with contemporary services you can opt for resorts like Shoreline Resort, Sand Piper Resorts, Golden Swan Resort, Mahua Bagh and Lotus Beach Resort. For more economically suitable options you can go for Boarding, Beach Resort Silver Sand, Sea Face, Kinara Hotel, the Nest Bamboo House and Sea Shell Resort. There are cute little cottages also available, owned by local people, at decent rates.

How to get there
Air
Mumbai is the closest airport 140 kms away. From there, one can hire a taxi to get to Alibaug, a 3-hour drive away. It is well connected through roadways to the cities along the Konkan coast. There are prepaid taxis that are available from Mumbai International Airport. The taxi operators charge around Rs 1500 for a trip from Mumbai to Alibaug.

Train
The closest main railway station is at Panvel. Panvel is an important station on Konkan Railway and is approximately 50 kms from Alibaug. From Panvel, the road trip takes about one hour. Though the closest railway station is Pen, but not all trains stop at Pen.

Bus
Alibaug town is well connected by buses with Mumbai, Panvel, and Pune etc. Buses also ply to most of the main beaches in the area. One can reach Alibaug via Pen. It is about 30 kms. From Pen, there are many buses. The main bus stop is located at a walking distance from Alibaug Beach.

Boat
It is the most preferred mode of transportation amongst local people. It is far quicker and exciting as compared to road or train journey. Alibaug is connected to Mumbai via two of its surrounding beaches. There is a catamaran service between Gateway of India and Mandwa beach, which operates between 6 am to 6 pm daily. The journey takes around 50 minutes. From Mandwa, the boat operators have their own chartered bus service to Alibaug. Bus journey is of 45 minutes and the ticket price includes both catamaran and bus fare. There is a second option from Dockyard Road in Mumbai. A ferry service operates daily between 6 am to 6 pm from Dockyard Road to Rewas. It is one hour journey and ticket price includes only sea fare. From Rewas, one has to go to Alibaug by State Transport bus or by auto-rickshaw and it takes around 1 hour. One has to keep in mind that ferry services are suspended if it is high tide, and those usually remain suspended during peak monsoon season.

Taxi
You can also hire a taxi to go to Alibaug. Different operators charge differently but whichever way you go, Alibaug is a great stress-buster with its clean beaches, less crowd and sheer tranquility.

Text and Photos by Ambreen Zaidi

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3 comments:

Nice comprehensive short piece on this lovely beach destination. Lovely pictures!

Shubh Deepavali to you and yours!

Nice post. Re-collected my visit. Not sure if you had visited Varsoli Beach. This is also very near to Alibaug. Moreover, I loved the boat ride to the Murud Fort which is situated within the sea.

One other interesting fact for Kolaba fort is that during high tides the fort remain within the water while during low tides we can walk to the fort.

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