So last weekend we went on a spontaneous trip to Diveagar, a lovely beach town in Konkan region of Maharashtra. It’s about 4 hours drive from our home in Pune. To be honest, our ultimate destination was Bharad Khol Fish Market, and we remembered that it opened around 7 am. In the crazy plan we had in mind, we would drive out of town at 2 am so we could be on the beach by sunrise. It would be madness. You know how driving at night is like. And to drive like that across the mountains, it would be extremely insane. We could be very stubborn sometimes so we determined to take a risk just for the fresh catch from the sea.
Then something happened. My brother asked us to meet up with his girlfriend in Mumbai. We don’t have guests from Thailand visiting India often so we were eager to spend some time with her. Plan changed! We had to be in Mumbai this weekend. I told Sadik that we could go to the fish market later, but he said it wouldn’t happen because he had important meeting on the next weekend. I also realized that we have to travel to Kerala on the weekend after that, and by the time we come back to Pune, it would be rainy season when the fishermen retire from the sea. So this was our small window of opportunity. If we missed this boat, we would have to wait until February for the high volume fishing season. I thought “Hey! Maybe we could leave Mumbai in the afternoon and drive to Diveagar.” It sounded almost impossible to host a friend in a city like Mumbai and make a long trip to the far beach on the same day. But well, we’re nuts like that.
After that unconscious conversation, I stuffed a few clothes in a backpack. I threw in toothbrushes and sandals in there as well. When we went to sleep that night, I didn’t even know what we would actually end up doing on the next day.
Mumbai was like a giant sauna in summer. It’s hot and humid. We had great time shopping, eating and catching up. Then late afternoon, we drove out of that busy city.
“Are we really doing this?” I asked Sadik. I felt like, up to that point, we still didn’t make up our mind. We were quite behind the schedule as well. Then the thought of missing this tiny gap of opportunity hit us. We actually really really really wanted the fish! So we drove from Mumbai to Diveagar for the first time.
It normally takes about 4.5 hours to drive from Mumbai to Diveagar. From Mumbai, we drove on Mumbai-Pune Express Highway to Khopoli. After the toll plaza, we got off the Express Highway and turned to State Highway No. 92, Khopoli-Pali Highway. After the town of Pali, we joined National Highway No. 66 (You know we talk about this road all the time. It’s the same road we took to Goa and Kerala.) At the town of Mangaon, we turned right and drove on State Highway No. 97. At this point, the sun had already set. It was dark, and there was no streetlight. The road was twisted and narrow. It was really crazy, but we made it to the hotel in Diveagar in one piece by 8.30 pm.
We used stay at the Pearl Resort in Diveagar twice before this trip so we trusted their hospitality. But I guess time had passed, and now the hotel looked a little run down. On top of that, there was no AC room anymore. Well guys, in Diveagar, especially in Summer, ALWAYS BOOK AC ROOM!!! Diveagar is also known for power cut, so make sure your hotel has reliable backup.
That night was actually a real nightmare for us. It’s too hot and humid, and I felt sick all night. I probably didn’t sleep at all. The power kept going off so the fan turned off every thirty minutes or so. Actually, the fan didn’t help because it was too humid. The air was too dense so I couldn’t breathe. It was a tough night, but then I knew we would get through it. In the morning, the world would be beautiful again.
I was eager to get out of bed in the morning. The air was cooler and thinner, and it felt wonderful now. We packed and left the room, heading to what we really came for— Bharad Khol Fish Market.
We drove southward to Bharad Khol Fish Market. It was such a gorgeous morning. The town was still sleepy as we moved along the coast on the curves of the mountains. By 7.30am, we reached the fish market, but people told us that the market is open around 9.30am now. Well, this gave us a lot of time to drive and find breakfast.
Aravi Beach is a serene beach on the south of Bharad khol. To reach there, just follow the road down south. You will notice the panoramic white sand beach. The beach is quiet and it looks almost neglected as compare to nearby beaches like Diveagar Beach and Srivardhad Beach which are flooded with tourists. You can watch our Walk with Us on Aravi Beach here.
We found the private patch of rocks on the north side of the beach so we spent some time there.
Bharad Khol Fish Market
Our goal was to buy bulk fresh seafood and get it back to Pune in an ice box. When we reached the market, I felt instantly familiar. I loved the sight of hard working women in colorful sarees who bought fish for retail. It’s very empowering. I never liked crowded places, but for some reason, I always love the chaos in fish markets. The fish came fresh off the boats.
It was abundant, but it still wasn’t as flourished as how it used to be in 2010. I wondered was it because the season or are we running out of fish in the ocean. Anyway, we got a crate of prawns and fish to bring home. I was happy.
I love eating when I’m hungry. It makes food taste 10 times better. We had local food, packed with spices and intense flavor. I usually eat very healthy, but when we travel, I’m super spoiled. Hot, greasy and spicy food seems perfect for road trip. Do you agree?
As we crossed Tamhini Ghat in while driving back, we had wild berries for snack. Have you ever seen these berries before? They’re delicious, but I dislike gummy texture of it.
Well, guys… it was a long post so I hope you’re not bored. At the end of this month, we are going to Kerala where we could enjoy the shower of rain. I can’t wait to tell you all about it.