Saturday, April 17, 2010

Diveagar - How to go, places to visit, things to do

April 17, 2010: Divenagar, Divaghar, Divyaghar...well, these were the names that we used to identify the place, until a villager told us....its Diveagar (Dee-ve-ah-ghar).We have had enough of reunions in restaurants..etc.Now, it was time to reunite at an outdoor location.Although, we had been planning this for a quite long time, things just were'nt materializing. Our age old rule of "Last minute kulti Not Allowed" was'nt working ;) But, somehow this time everyone seemed to be serious.Mumbai is lucky to have a lot of beaches around - Kashid, Murud, Alibag, Daman, Kelve to name a few.However, we wanted to go to a relatively unknown beach. The internet was quite helpful here, a few searches - we found this place.Attributes such as serene, unknown, clear waters, white sand were all over the net. It was quite appealing and at the same time hard to believe.So we decided to check it out ourselves - Diveagar here we come.....

How to get there :  
By Public Transport: There are S.T. buses which ply from Mumbai to Diveagar. They leave from Mumbai Central Bus Station to Diveagar Bus Stand.Although, there are just two buses, it won't be difficult to assume, they would be crowded. There buses from Thane too. Checkout the MSRTC site for more details.The journey takes roughly 6-7 hrs.
By Personal Vehicle : Although, we had the bus option, we went by one of our friend's vehicle.We got in from Matunga around 9.30 a.m. and picked each of our friends along the way. One of us got just 1/2 hr to wake up, decide, pack and leave!!!Last of our friends got in from Panvel. We picked up a few vada pavs from the famous Shri Dutt snacks in Panvel. Well, you must have guessed it already, we were on our way via the Mumbai-Goa highway.Diveagar is a 200 kms drive.Its kinda drive thats not too far and not too close. The viallages that come along the way were Pen (69 kms), Wadhkal (71 kms), Nagothane (93 kms), Kolad (111 kms), Indapur (123 kms), Mangaon (132 kms) along the highway. It is in Mangaon, that you need to take a right towards Mhasala (159 kms).
             As you go through Mhasala, look out for sign boards that will guide you to Diveagar. Usually at important turns there are signboards put up to help you in your journey.The government is not that bad after all.. ;) Refer to the map attached.It was around 2-3 pm, we were still at Mhasala. One of the villagers advised us to have our lunch at Mhasala.The reason being most places would be closed for lunch by the time we would reach Diveagar. So, we stepped out at a local place to have lunch, thali was the preferred food snack.Other feasted themselves on some chicken.We started our journey post-lunch. The journey was scenic and somewhat a careful drive. It was through ghats with lots of blind turns. Infact, there were lots of places where there were signs to blow horns.It was scary at times, especially when there is a vehicle all of a sudden in the opposite direction.However, the guy at the back of the steering wheel was a good one.
Locals are helpful and sometimes funny too !!! :        
The villagers are usually helpful, but, sometimes interacting with them can be an altogether different experience. There is no frequent public transport in these parts. So, you can imagine, people would always like a free lift, if they can get one.At one particluar turn, we saw an old man.He had this long white beard.His face structure suggested he didnt have any teeth. We decided to ask him the way to Diveagar. His reaction was euphoric.There seemed to be sudden burst of energy on his face.He rushed towards our car. There were already five of us. Two seated ahead & three in the rear.So there was'nt any place anywhere.Still, he was trying to forcefully get into the rear from the left door. God knows, where he was intending to sit.!!!  The old man was calling out "ho ho Dighi Dighi". What's going on?? That's when one of us calmly told him, we needed the way to Diveagar and not Digha..suddenly he stopped, and guided us to the way to Diveagar.He had a dejected look on his face.Poor guy, he thought we were going to take him to Dighi. All this while our friend seated near the left door was scared to hell!!! ;p

Places to stay/eat : Soon, after the funny incident, we were back on our journey to Diveagar. It was'nt too far from the place. As you enter, the zilla or village of Diveghar greets you a warm welcome.No, they dont come and offer you garlands, but, there is large structure at the entrance, welcoming all. As you enter Diveagar, you need to pay a toll of around 30-40 Rs.As you proceed,you can see cottages, hotels along the way. Some of the bigger hotels like Exotica, Hotel Prathamesh, Bapat Khanawaal, Pinakin have even kept directions to their hotels.We opted for Exotica Beach Resort (9869068676), which has a partnership with MTDC. For Exotica, you need to go straight ahead along the road and then turn left. Watch out for signs. The reason for us opting for Exotica was purely for its proximity to the beach.Although there are direct routes to the beach from other hotels as well, this was the closest. The resort was spread across with really some nice cottages with check in check out at 1200 PM.With trees and flowers all around, the silence, chirping birds and to top it all the sound of the whispering waves, gave it the perfect ambiance. There is lot of parking space. A large area for sitting,relaxing. For recreation purposes, there are carrom boards and table tennis as well. The resort has its own pantry and offers good palate of veg. - non. veg food.There is a huge dining space attached to the office. We opted for a room with two extra beds. Well, they don't allow that, but, I guess it was a matter of just one person and they adjusted.It was an A/C room which cost us around Rs.3000  along with the extra beds.There is a problem of load shedding in these areas.They have generators for every room. although, you won't be able to use the A/C all night.That was fine with us.The rooms were neat, so was the bathroom. They provided us with neat towels,bedsheets,pillows, soaps and even a free complimentary fruit basket. Each room is also provided with a Television with all the regular channels.The room even had a small balcony, where you can sit down for a while and enjoy the nature.All in all, there is good value for money for these rooms.Alas, we reached at 4.00. Had it been earlier, we could have availed more. Lesson : Plan better & Always Leave Early!!!

Places to visit/ Things to do : 
The first glimpse: As soon as we took the room, we freshened up, took the camera, the bat the ball, water and we were off to the beach. All this while, we hadn't seen the beach yet. Although our resort was close to the beach, there is no way you can see the beach, because of a thick, dense of growth of trees near the beach.In fact the beach, in a way is protected from people's eyes with this dense forestation. This was going to be the first glimpse of the beach.All the stuff we had heard, read about the beach was going to be realized now.As we walked towards the beach, we could see people, kids, vendors through the narrow lane to the beach.And in minutes, we crossed the thick forestation and we got our first glimpse of the beach.S-p-e-c-t-a-c-u-l-a-r-!-!-!White sands, clear waters, lesser crowds and clean. This is how beaches are meant to be.You often seen in movies, photography magazines..the scenes here were pretty much the same. If you are a nature lover, this is one place you cannot miss.Hard to believe , but, its true.Such a nice beach and so close to Mumbai and not many know...Good for it.

Cricket, cricket, cricket : After a nice sighter, we got on with the game.As expected, everyone was out of form.We hardly were able to get a ball on the stumps.It was a more of a session of cricket photography, than actually. Guys wanting to get themselves photographed either bowling or batting.Until then we were pretty much well restrained the whole trip. Cricket brought the raw energy out..Abuses flew here and there. It was sledging of the worst kind.Bit of cheating, bit of masti and only photography. Some kids wanted to join us. We allowed them to play with us, some of us feasted on their bowling. Whats more, we even asked them to field on their own bowling. Well, some of us got back their form with kids bowling..!!! ;)
Royal Bath, the jog & the camel ride : It was a low tide at the time.Clothes out and off to the water!!!We had to walk a long way into the sea to get into the water.We walked until the water was till our thighs. None of us knew swimming, so we didn't go any further.The water was quite clean too. It was fun waiting for the waves to pick up slowly and hitting you with force.
After bathing there for some time, some of us went for light jog - me included. Wasn't sure if I would be able to make it after all the exertion of the day. But luckily the jog was a light one.However, our mission of the jog failed - No, there weren't any foreigners sunbathing on this beach ;(
         Now, it was time for some photography. After taking a few scenic sunset pictures, we were on our way of us spotted a camel.God knows what got into us, camel ride was the top priority. The ride cost us 30 Rs. per ride per person. The camel sat down, and it was an easy climb. If you try something like this, hold on to the camel tightly, when he stands. It was fun, as the camel moved slowly.Wished he would have been quicker, then I realized this is no horse. If you fall from the camel, the damage is not going to be nice!!!!Watch out for the landing, it ain't gonna be smooth ;)

Dinner & games : After each one of us had a bath, we went to the dinning space to have our dinner.  They even deliver the food in your rooms.We felt, eating in our room would make the room dirty. The food did cost more than usual.However, that was fine.  Some opted for Mutton Biryani, while others chose a veg. cuisine.The food was sumptuous and descent enough.After the dinner, while some decided to rest straight away. Few of us had a night stroll on the beach followed by a few games of T.T. On our cards was also a little party which continued till 2.00 am. That's when we decided to hit the sack.

Return journey : Some of us woke up by 6.00, as watching the sunrise was on our mind. We thought, the white sand can be captured best when there are early rays. We went for a long walk taking pictures of the morning scenes. Yeah, the white sand did look whiter. In fact, our walk took us two hours to complete.We didn't realize, how time passed so quickly. As we returned, we had a nice breakfast of omelette and fresh fruit juice.  Later, we took our bath and packed our bags as it was time to leave. Yeah, our journey was cut short because some of us had some important meetings to make. A few pictures, the payment and we bid a farewell to Diveagar.The return journey was quite smooth.As we knew the route, we were able to return quicker. Overall, it was nice weekend getaway. Planned quick, executed quicker. The only regret being not able to eat at Bapat's Khawaal which is known to serve one of the best the elusive Maharashtrain Thali and not able to visit the Suvarna Ganesh temple, which a must see.There is always a next time. However, we witnessed one the best beaches close to Mumbai.  You got to see it to believe it!!! Hope you enjoy your trip to Diveagar.