Photo Diary of Kolaba Fort and Beach Hop Alibaug - Varsoli - Kihim
The previous evening had set the mood (Click here for Day 1). Vacation (though extremely mini) was so on! On today's agenda was the Kolaba Fort. The idea of reaching there early morning before the sun gets hot sounded lucrative to us.
All experiences, surprises and sights in this blog post happened within a span of seven hours. Around 7 am I moved the window curtain to check if the sky was still dark. luckily not ;)
The minute of walk to reach the beach was utmost peaceful. The air was slightly misty. The tea stalls had opened their shutters but there was not a soul in sight.
And as we reached the sea shore there it was- our first surprise of the day! SUNRISE!!! We were not aware that the location of Alibaug Beach enables one to see both- the sunrise and the sunset.
If I walked towards the sun, my skin was soaked in golden beams. If I walked the other way, where empty boats floated on the gentle waves, it felt like walking into infinity as there was no visible boundary between the sky and sea.
After a half an hour's calm and indulgence, the water sports section came to life with the drumming of two motorboats. To reach the fort, you need to hop into one of the bigger boats, which also line up along the water sports section.
A guy on a motorbike, who was hunting for candidates for water-sport told us that the boats for the fort would leave at 9 am. So we still had an hour to go to our hotel and enjoy the complimentary breakfast. Somehow we were glad that we did not inquire about the boat timings the previous night. Else we would have missed our morning surprise! ;)
Bye bye secluded beach! When we would return, there would be many more people to share it with ;)
I love coconut water!! <3
Misal Pav for Breakfast :)
Misal (Vegetable Mix) Pav (bread) is a spicy breakfast/ lunch/ snack dish popular in the state of Maharashtra. Misal is made of sprouted moth beans and a spicy masala curry (for me its the flavor of the masala that dictates the taste of the entire experience), topped with chopped onions and tomatoes, the savory-crunchy farsan (fried noodles of chickpea flour for eg.), chopped coriander and the juice of fresh lemon. Simply yum!
Its 9 am and off we go...
Getting your feet wet is inevitable, as you have to walk into the water and then hop into the boat. Do try take one with a roof on top- as they are more stable and sway less. Its just a ten minutes of a ride.
We had an hour to roam about on the fort and then we needed to return to the boats.
For those of you who are new to culture in west-India, here is a short summary: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, born in 1630 was the great King of the Marathas who captured numerous strategically placed forts in the state of Maharashtra. During childhood our history text books taught us the numerous stories of his valour, strategies, battles, arrests and escapes. Thus stepping foot on any of these difficult to reach forts bears a lot of cultural and emotional meaning for us locals.
An integral part of the fort experience are also the vendors who sit with an array of fruits and boiled peanuts. I
The fort encloses many a tiny temples and a big one. There are a handful of houses at the very start and not to forget the fort walls with their splendid views. My favorite was the west side of the fort, which faced the Arabian sea and also offered a wonderful overview of the entire premises.
The fort turned out to be truly scenic at every turn. Though I am not sure how much parents or caretakers of little kids will enjoy it. As there are no safety grills along the fort's border and steep falls and big rocks along the path. One needs to be extra careful. Not too perilous for adults though.
Keeping the one hour schedule in mind, we explored the insides. Adding to our picturesque experience was a serene water tank. Right out of a Bollywood movie :)
The Tip of the fort furthermost from the entrance is one super photo location. A gorgeous door that opens to rocks and an endless, undisturbed sea.
10 am on the west coast can be scorching hot even in February. It was time for some watermelon before heading back :)
Back on the mainland, we hopped into our hired car and headed straight for the next beach.. Varsoli! Which was just a ten minute of a drive. My parents had been there before and were excited to show it to me. They had memories of staying in cottages amidst the coconut trees and taking long walks on the beautiful sand. I was a bit disappointed on arrival though, as all we got to see was an over crowded tiny strip of sand. Am sure its a delightful place to stay, as the little walk we took in Varsoli was like walking into a green wonderland.
The stalls at the beach sold every possible meal right from maggi noodles upto freshly made fish thalis. Note for next time: we could just drop in at the beach for lunch ;)
We could hardly wait for 12 pm. As that would mean lunch at a famous Sea-food restaurant in the town of Alibaug called 'Sanman'. They also had a very good vegeterian Thali.
I opted for a Surmai (seer fish) Thali. It included a fish fry, fish curry, and yummy solkadi (check the pinkish looking drink- made of Kokum and fresh coconut milk). The food tasted just like mom-made thali at home and costed about Rs.350 :)
Siesta would have been perfect. But we had one more stop before heading back home. Kihim Beach about 20-30 minutes away. On reaching, I wondered if I had accidentally landed in Goa.
Mom and me walked a few minutes till we came to some benches that looked over the noon sea. We took a break below an orange leaved almond tree and simply enjoyed the cool breeze on this hot noon. Dad would join later after his nap in the car ;)
For me these 26 hours spent in Alibaug were packed with indulgence right from the moment we arrived.
In the coming days I would take a longer tour into the Konkan region.. to explore and beach hop in the less known yet spellbinding villages on the west coast of India :)