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India: Ajanta Ellora, Alibaug, Bhandardhara with Ajanta and Ellora, Diveagar, Ganpatipule, Kodaikanal with Madurai & Rameshwaram, Koyna Nagar, Panchmarhi, Raigadh
by Manjiri Kale, India
From the hectic & tiresome routine we needed a cool break & decided to visit Alibaug, also lovingly known as 'mini Goa'. Alibaug is just about 140 kms from Pune, my hometown, and can be easily driven down in about 4 hours allowing time for meal breaks.
We left Pune at 6AM and reached Alibaug at 10AM taking the Expressway and driving through Lonavala, Khopoli and Pen. Our exit was at the toll after which we went to Wahkhal Naka on the Mumbai Goa highway. We then crossed Poynad and Karle Khind to reach Alibaug - our final destination.
Those in Mumbai have the option of taking the sea route. Ferries depart from Gateway of India to Mandwa. There's alos a boat service from Bhau Cha Dhakka to Rewas.
The major attraction in Alibaug is the Kolaba Fort. It was built in the 17th century by Kanhoji Angre, the naval chief of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The fort is 2 kms from the seashore - into the sea. One can walk to the fort during low tide. However, services of a boat need to availed during the high tide. Visitors must keep an eye on the time table. The site has seen many battles fought between Kanhoji Angre & Siddhi as also battles between the British and the Portuguese.
The fort holds many sweet-water wells despite the fact that it stands in the middle surrounded by sea water. Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha temples are worth visiting. Other structures remain in a state of ruin. It's an awesome view to stand on the rampart towers of the fort and watch the might of the Arabian Sea.
Good to know that Alibaug has a geomagnetic observatory. It's 150 years old and has the distinction of being the only of its kind in Asia. Records have been maintained since 1971!
For the night we decided to stay in one of the many home stay facilities in Nagaon about 8 kms from Alibaug. That gave us the opportunity to savour simple but delicious food, cooked fresh. We were served with home cooked sea food, rice, roti, sol curry and pickles. Like Nagaon there are many quiet villages surrounding Alibaug and includes Akshi, Sasawane, Awas and Kihim.
Suru tree grows in abundance at Nagaon. The beach is clean and water sports include speed boat, banana boat ride and gliding. The sunset is awesome.
12 kms away is Satav on the way to Janjira. Out there Birla Temple is quite beautiful. One needs to cross the Revdanda creek. The temple is on a hillock and offers a good aerial view of the creek and the sea.
Another nearby attraction is Kankeshwar about 12 kms from Alibaug towards Mandwa. To reach the top you would need to climb about 750 steps. The route is surrounded by big and old trees. Various birds and monkeys can be seen too. Atop is a temple of Lord Shiva that was built in 1764, Lord Ganesh temple and a water reservoir.
The 2-day break refreshed us thoroughly.
Alibaug Image Gallery Photo viewer
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