The entire week since Pinks told me about going on just a twosome getaway to a nearby beach, all I could think about was the beach and what fun we’ll have there! We had decided on a short trip, leaving home by Saturday (19th Feb ’11) around 11 am and returning on Sunday (20th Feb ’11) post lunch from Diveagarh (the beach we were going to).
So, before I start my version of our trip, let me brief you on the destination a bit. Diveagarh is a small secluded, non commercialized beach, around 170 kms from Pune. It is one of the Konkan beaches and became a tourist destination just recently, when a farmer found a gold headpiece of Lord Ganesha in their field! So this gold piece was established in a temple near this village and the remaining part of Lord Ganesha was crafted in brass with gold plating. So, that is how this small village with its calm and serene beach became a tourist hotspot and most people visit this place when they plan a 4 day trip to Harihareshwar, Shrivardhan and Diveagarh (they are all beaches, but popular due to religious places associated with them). The Diveagarh beach is around 7-8 km long and one won’t find any shacks or vendors on the beach (except maybe a nariyal paani wala), which in a way is a pleasant relief, since it keeps the beach clean.
So, now that I’ve educated everybody with my great knowledge on Diveagarh’s history and geography, let me start off with my experience! Finally! As usual, being a woman, I got a bit late getting ready on Saturday morning (in my defense, weekends are the only 2 days I get to sleep late!) and we managed to leave home by 11:15 am. So armed with our supply of munchies and music, we set off towards Paud road. The view and roads until Tahmini ghats is just amazing. The roads are smooth like butter with huge mountains on the left or pristine blue lakes on the right. There are a lot of cafes on the way to Tahmini as well, where travelers can stop to take in the view with a cup of tea, but we decided to carry on and stop somewhere else. So some kms down the road, we found a lovely spot where you could walk down to touch the water of the lake and it had some makeshift hay huts, where Pinks tried his photography skills while I tried to model aroundJ. Once we crossed Tahmini ghat, there were some more ghats with really huge mountains on either sides of the road, but the roads weren’t that great after that. Still, we stopped in a couple of other places on the way where we thought the view was just breathtaking to click some pictures. I have to say, that the drive does provide some good options for any photographer. We crossed an industrial area called Ville DIMC which led us to Nizampur, a small town. After that, we crossed Mangaon and Morba and finally reached our destination, Diveagarh village. Once you cross Nizampur, the ghats give way to flat lands and since we were driving during the end of winters, it seemed to be a dry and boring landscape.
So, Diveagarh is actually the name of the village and that’s the place one enters first. Thankfully, Pinks had warned me not to expect anything as bustling with life as Goa or Pondicherry and as per his words, when we entered, it was hard to believe there was a beach hidden somewhere nearby! It actually felt like we’d entered into one of Kerela’s lanes with very tiny roads, lots of cats and dainty little huts surrounded by big coconut trees. The cool breeze was a welcome change from the dry lands that we had crossed earlier and all I wanted to do was fill my tummy with some lunch (since we hadn’t stopped to eat anything on the way and we reached Diveagarh at 3:30 pm) and then check into our home stay and rush to the beach! Didn’t want to miss the sunset after all J so we found a little open hut place to eat and hogged on chapattis, lobia, cabbage ki sabzee, pickle, papad, some coconut chutney and the best part of all, fish fry! My god, I hadn’t had fish which was so fresh, so soft and completely devoid of bones in a long time. And the spices they had coated the fish with, even though a bit on the spicier side, was just heavenly! We were so hungry and being major fish lovers, we had unlimited thali and two surmai fish fries each! And all this for just 250 rupees for both of us! I thought I’d die of shock, since in Pune, you’d get 1/10th of the part of a fish for 300 rupees J So our tummies full, our next task was to locate our accommodation, which was supposed to be a home stay, i.e., people rent out rooms in their own huts in the village at very nominal rates (ours was 800 rupees for a twin sharing room per night) and provide you with fresh home cooked food. I personally feel that if you’re travelling to a small place, you’ll get the best experience of the culture and cuisine of the place at such home stays. Unfortunately, we both realized that neither of us had any signal on our cell phones! Apparently, Diveagarh does not have Airtel’s network, so travelers need to be prepared accordingly. Luckily for us, another young couple came to our rescue and lent us their phone to use. After losing our way in that tiny village (now I know why signboards are so important!), we found our home stay- ……….. The care taker was a sweet, timid fat fellow, who showed us our room. Again, if you’re one of those travelers, who just can’t do without the common luxurious resorts, then you’ll be disappointed. As I’d mentioned, this was a village and we stayed in a villager’s hut, it turned out to be a tiny dimly lit room with a small bathroom with Indian style toilet and a small area in the front where they had kept chairs and a table. I thought it was cute and quite cozy for the two of us. The room was pretty clean and surrounded by coconut trees, cows and hens. J So after dumping our backpacks and changing into the beach gear, we walked off to the beach. It was a 2 minute walk through a dense coconut tree and red sand covered path to the beach from our home stay and the minute we touched the opening to the sea, I had goose bumps all over and tried to fill in my lungs with the lovely sea water breeze. This isn’t a beach like Goa or Puri (that is in Orissa), where the waves are angry and splash you around, but it is one of those calmer beaches with a huge beach area and water which laps up at your feet. The beach had the softest and cleanest sand I’d seen (obviously can’t compare it to a foreign country or the ones at Andamans), but it is still a lovely place to walk, run, play or just sit and stare into the vast expanse of water. The only problem was that the beach was brimming with baby crabs! Not like any of them bit us or anyone else on the beach, but it’s still a bit disconcerting when you think you’re stepping on a crab while walking along the beach! Haha! So we jumped into the water, soaked ourselves, ran around like children, got tired, had a couple of amazingly sweet tender coconuts on the beach and finally settled down to watch the beautiful sunset, while Pinks tried to capture it all and try out his photography skills again. Since this beach isn’t a commercialized one, it’s difficult and not safe to linger on the beach after 7 pm. Also, the tide starts growing after that, so the water comes right up to the entrance of the beach. So we left the beach around 7, got back to our home stay, took turns to shower and settled for a relaxing night. This place again does not have a night life, and since it’s a village, I think the norm is to have an early night and not make too much of a hulla bulla. If you’re staying at a resort, then you might have a mini bar or something, otherwise, the best thing is to carry your own drinks and munchies, maybe a small portable music player, since most of the home stays allow you to drink and smoke in your rooms, but do not serve alcohol. I was content, since I got some really good quality time with my husband without the distraction of TV or anything else ;). We listened to music, talked and played 20 questions, and finally around 9 pm, had another round of very spicy, but amazingly yummy fish thali. We ended the night after a short walk around the village, which was a different experience altogether, walking along small kuccha roads with lanterns and nothing but the sound of crickets to give you company. By 10 pm, we were fast asleepJ. We woke up early next morning, did our ablutions, (which wasn’t a great experience due to the spicy food the night before), had a cup of tea and headed off straight to the beach again. It was again a lovely since the sun was just getting out, so it all looked blue and yellow at the same time, but interestingly, the beach was already full with the few tourists, either bathing in the sea, or jogging, or walking or doing something else. We went in the water again, after which I set off to look for shells as souvenirs to take back from this lovely beach, while Pinks did some more photography. We also had our breakfast of bread omelet with sweet tender coconut to quench our thirst from the same vendor! I tell you, it’s such a small place, that even he gave us a smile of recognition and asked, ‘malai wala hi chahiye na didi?’ J Finally, we got back to our home stay to shower and pack up for leaving. We decided to have lunch here itself, so satiate our hunger for fish one last time, and after stuffing our tummies again and taking some more pictures in and around the village and the beach, we set off, back to Pune and back to the city life around 1:30 pm. The journey back wasn’t that exciting, since I slept most of the way..heheh..But we managed to reach Pune by 5 pm, to a welcoming home. All in all, I give 8/10 to Diveagarh, especially as a couple’s getaway, if you want to spend some quality time with your loved one without the hustle and bustle of the city life. Not to forget a place for fish lovers to gorge on fish as well!