There’s a saying that you’re either a beach person, or a hill person. For those amongst us belonging to the former group, the picturesque Konkan offers a multitude of beautiful beaches which range from being touristy to surprisingly undiscovered. While the very mention of beaches in India almost instantaneously makes one think of the frolic-filled beaches of Goa (which, by the way is also a part of the Konkan region), there’s another completely undiscovered, idyllic facet of Indian beaches which remains largely un-noticed. Nestled quietly by the side of the beautiful coastal hills and jungles of Konkan, some of these beaches are absolutely breathtaking. With hardly any visitors, white sands, blue waters and exotic vegetation lining them, these coastal gems can hold their own against the most exotic beaches in the world. So the next time you wish to slake your quest for spending some time on that exotic virgin beach, consult this list, swing a leg over your motorcycle and head off to one of the beaches mentioned below. You’d not be disappointed.
1. Dapoli – Murud, Anjarle, Harnai, Ladghar beaches
The beaches around the little town of Dapoli, which falls under Ratnagiri district, are amazingly exotic for a place which is only 250 km away from Mumbai. The Mumbai-Goa highway or National Highway 66 (erstwhile NH17) would lead you to Mangaon, which is about 150 km from Mumbai. Thereon, you have to travel about 15 km on the main highway, and then take a right turn towards the western coast to reach Dapoli.
Now Dapoli by itself doesn’t have a beach, but it’s a great place to get stationed to discover the surrounding areas. From Dapoli, you have easy access to about half a dozen beaches, all of which are beautiful, favourable for swimming and attract very few to no tourists. Dapoli has quite a few branded hotels and resorts, though there are other local resorts closer to the beaches as well. Those on a budget can also opt for home-stays or rent one of the cheaper rooms in local limited-service hotels.
The closest beach to Dapoli is the beautiful Murud beach which has a really long shore. Travelling further north along the beautiful coastal road would reward you with some breathtaking views of the sea. This coastal road is peppered with some really pretty beaches namely Palande, Harnai and Anjarle. Move down south, and you’ll discover the Ladghar beach known for its red sand.
2. Padale and Savane beaches
We should probably have mentioned Padale Beach in the list above, but we didn’t for two reasons. First, it’s relatively far away from Dapoli as compared to the other beaches. Close to the remote village of Padale, this beach is completely off the tourist circuit and is one of the most amazingly virgin beaches you’ll come across in the Konkan region. The road leading up to the beach also offers some of the most exotic vistas anywhere in India, and allows the traveller to get a panoramic view of the beaches lying ahead from several vantage points on hilltops.
The second special thing about the Padale Beach is that it’s in a league of its own in terms of the clarity of water and suitability to swim. While 30 kilometres may not sound like a lot of distance from Dapoli, the road leading to the beach goes through small village towns and become very narrow to accommodate two-way traffic in places. The place calls for a day trip to fully enjoy the beach, as well as all the beautiful sceneries that you get to see en route. Palade beach is adjoined by the Savane beach, which, again, is very beautiful and needs a mention.
3. Guhagar beach
The city of Chiplun, which falls within Ratnagiri district, is considered as the mid-point between Mumbai and Goa. Travellers often choose to stay overnight in Chiplun while riding to Goa and relish Konkani cuisine at one of the many speciality restaurants that the town has to offer. Not many travellers, however, know about the Guhagar Beach which is about 45 km from the city.
Being a relatively lesser known beach, Guhagar hardly ever has heavy tourist influx, even in peak winter months. It’s a beautiful, calm and serene beach which also offers water-sport activities like water scooter and parasailing during the peak season. There are also quite a few small hotels, resorts and home stays available suiting a variety of budgets. With its clean, clear waters which are conducive for swimming, Guhagar will prep you up for sea, sun and sand in a refreshing way before you hit Goa. For those willing to spend some time around the village, Velneshwar and Hedvi are two other beautiful beaches worth visiting close to Guhagar. There’s also a light house some distance away from Guhagar, which offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the sea.
4. Bhogve – Nivati beaches
A trip to Konkan can never be complete without visiting Malvan, the town famous for its specialty cuisine. And while the city by itself has the swim-friendly Chivla beach for those who aren’t of a very adventurous variety, the nearby beaches of Bhogave and Nivati have some of the most spectacular, exotic views to offer in all of Konkan.
From Malvan, one has to follow NH 4 in Goa’s direction and turn right from a small village named Parule. Thereon, you have to traverse small village roads. It’s useful to pre-download Google Maps as network is sparse. Follow the route that leads you to the Bhogave Beach.
It’s a pristine, virgin beach which is also home to migratory birds in the winters. Although not very suitable for swimming, the Bhogave Beach looks exotic with its white sand and green mountains surrounding it. An adjacent hill has the ruins of the Nivati Fort on top of it. If, however, you manage to find your way up to the Nivati Fort, you’ll reach a vantage point from where you’ll have the majestic Arabian Sea right in front of you, the beautiful Bhogave Beach on your right, and the truly out-of-ordinary Nivati Beach to you left. From the top of the hill, the Nivati Beach, with a rock face extending into the sea offers a mesmerizing sight.
Getting to these beaches can be quite an exercise, as they’re not very well connected by road, but once you get there, the memory of those vistas will be etched forever in your mind.
5. Devgad beach
About 110km southwards from Ratnagiri is the relatively less known town of Devgad. While Ratnagiri is the keyword when one talks about the world famous Alphonso mangoes, Devgad’s Alphonso has a flavour of its own and is considered superior to that of Ratnagiri by many. Travelling to Devgad from Ratnagiri, you’ll come across hundreds of mango farms, and if it’s the right season, you’ll also see tons of green mangoes hanging off the trees.
Apart from the beautiful roads and the bucolic charm of this region, the Devgad Beach is like no other beach you would have ever come across. It’s flanked by two vast plateaus, with the one on its left being home to dozens of monstrous windmills, giving the place a unique visual character. The other plateau is a barren flatland, which offers a fantastic view of the white sand beach and the majestic windmills from a distance. The beach by itself is very clean, and has shallow areas where one can swim easily. More than anything, though, it’s a visual spectacle. An evening just looking at the beach from any of the two adjoining plateaus would make you remember the sight forever.
So those were our top five picks of the best undiscovered beaches in Konkan where you should ride to if you haven’t already. We know about a lot more, and will probably prepare another list some other time. If, however, you think you know of some beaches which are hidden from the world’s eyes, do share the names and directions with us. Maybe we’ll plan a secret trip to the place next time, experience it in person and share our experience with you in another of such lists.