Thursday, December 31, 2009
Shrivardhan, Beach Resort -Trip to Remember
End of the year was on a high. After the hectic wedding activities that started on the 23rd December, and continued right up to December 27, we were all ready to chill out. Jui and Ashwin's wedding was one of those nice events that everyone congregated to from all over the world - Satish, Marla, Nikhil from the USA, Chhaya from Germany and so many others from all over - and why not? Milind, Neelima, Jui and Saie have always been warm and affectionate and offered their time and space for everyone to bond and stay together.
After the sangeet, mehendi, wedding and reception at Pune we hit Shrivardhan, a sleepy town on the western coast, now slowly gaining popularity for its virgin beaches. Jayant’s friends have a resort called Nivant Sagar, an MTDC recognized resort, completely set within a sylvan setting that reminded me so much of a scene from Enid Blyton, with a private beach (almost). Last year, Jayant, Suhita, Miskil, Anu, Pooja, Prarthana and others had made it there with some others and they loved the experience, so Raja decided to use the opportunity to book the resort for all of us. Jui’s wedding got a whole lot of us together and we decided to go and visit Shrivardhan.
And so we set off, Satish, Marla, Nikhil, Shobha, Anjali and me, Raja, Prarthana, Aai, Chhaya, Neha, Prutha, Jayant, Suhita, Sudhir (Jayant’s cousin), Bakul and Avani - the age range was 2 to 65. Two Tavera’s were hired, driven by two young mavericks, Santosh and Sagar, and one Santro driven by Jayant, and we headed off from Pune at 9 in the morning and headed off on the scenic Paud road to Shrivardhan which is a 180 km drive, that takes about 5 hours, thanks to the ghat section and the bad road. The road goes straight to the Tamini ghat, turns off to Mangaon where it reaches the Mumbai-Goa highway (from Mumbai it is 110 kms) turn right off the highway almost immediately to Shrivardhan (there’s is clear sign board there). Shrivardhan is about 50 kms from that highway and the same roads go to Harihareshwar and Dive Agar which are about 15 kms or so apart. The road is not the best in the last stretch but then you don’t mind all these.
The approach to the resort is through the village's narrow roads and you wonder how anyone gets across because not more than one vehicle can pass though or so it seems but as in many things in India miracles happen and everything moves on. We slowly made our way through increasing foliage, small narrow village roads and hit a white wooden fence in a scene straight out of an English novel and then voila, in the midst of tall trees, vegetable farms and coconut trees, the resort emerged.
It was about 2 in the afternoon, and the drinkers popped open cold beers and we all waited for the lunch to come. It is cooked in the village and sent by road so there is normally a small delay which can be used to drink a little more beer. The food was certainly something to wait for anyway - fish, chicken, rice, sol kadi, roti, fish curry and some more heavenly vegetarian fare.
The resort is heavenly. 'I have not seen anything like this,' said Raja, 'anywhere in the world.' And he has been around! The main resort is a well appointed one – 3 bedrooms with attached bathrooms, a huge verandah that can host about 12 - 20 people. There are a couple of common bathrooms as well for those who want everything under control. Towels, blankets, soap, its all taken care of. In fact it's so functional that it surprises you, and all the small things are taken care of, very conducive for lots of social activity if you're in a group. There is a television which no one bothered with to play anyway.
You move out of the main building and you walk into the dining area. Further up is the small path that leads directly on to the beach. There is a treehouse, a small pond, hammock, beds, and best of all, a small gate that just opens our into the beach. Thats it – 2 minutes to the beach. It's idyllic for everything – read, laze, swim, sleep, farm, clean, watch tv, (I worked on my book), listen to music, do whatever, whatever you do you're not likely to get bored in this place.
The food is brilliant, Konkani style food, that starts with sol kadi, fish fry, fish curry, chicken curry, modak, prawn biryani, bhakri, ask and you get it. Since it is contracted out to a caterer, it needs to be brought in from the town, so factor in the time.
There is hot water as well (firewood and a boiler) and its completely exclusive because you have the entire resort for yourself. The beach is almost virgin, not crowded at all.
Ideal for a group of 10 to 15 because we noticed that the kids has so much to do there that they almost disappeared and left us to our own devices. All the adults also somewhow seem to find the space to be with themselves, it offers so many corners and so much to everyone to do their own thing. There is definitely something about Nivant Sagar to be advertised as one of those places where time flies you always feel like you could have stayed longer.
Best time to visit is anytime say the die-hards, but if you're picky about the coastal weather then October to February is the best time. Go with two or three families or a group of friends and book the whole place and laze off, sleep and chill.
For bookings contact Sunil Kulkarni (Mumbai) 099690 02603 or Deepa Kulkarni
(09821681163). Next time you have two days off and you're in Mumbai or Pune, call those numbers and head off to Shrivardhan. You will never regret it!