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Diveagar & Harihareshwar Food jaunt!

October 20, 2009 3 comments

A trip to the beach and temple towns of Diveagar and Harihareshwar (in no particular order) proved to be good on the restaurant review front. We were able to try out different restaurants on both days to give us a sense of the kind of food you can expect there. To summarise right now, food is much better at Diveagar and there are quite a few options and most of them remain open till 9-10 PM which is a good thing for travelers like us who prefer to be just-in-time for dinner!

I would like to start in sequence from breakfast to dinner where we had breakfast at Vadkhal Naka and dinner at Harihareshwar. First up is Gandharv Family Restaurant which is located at the Vadkhal Naka on NH17. It is on the road that goes towards Mangaon. Gandharv is a veg-only restaurant (which we only realised the next day when we stopped for lunch and had to move out as we were in the mood for some prawns and chicken!). We stopped here for breakfast and had Tea and Puri Bhaji, a combination which rarely goes wrong anywhere! The food was pretty good, hot puris and hot bhaji along with chutney and sambhar which made for an odd but interesting combination! The tea was nice as well, full of milk instead of water! It was a full breakfast costing us INR 22 for the Puri Bhaji and INR 4 for the tea. A must go to place if on the NH17. Maybe next time, will try for lunch as well. There seem to be a couple more expensive places nearby but I think they will only charge more for the same quality food.

Breakfast was followed by lunch at Mihika Bhojnalaya which is located in Diveagar. The restaurant is situated inside Prathamesh Holiday Resorts. Mihika doesn’t have an extensive menu – it serves only fish in non-veg and Watana in Veg and there is Omlette Pav as well. We were served Surmai as there wasn’t anything else available, though they do seem to serve a couple more types of fishes, the names of which I cannot recall. The food here is pretty good and for INR 140 we got a Surmai Fry, Surmai Masala, some more Surmai Masala and plain rice and rotis – quite a lot for just INR 140! It was a hearty meal and I cannot remember eating so much fish for so less!

There is another restaurant, Prathamesh Holiday Homes, right opposite the resort where Mihika is located.  Holiday Homes also serves Punjabi food among other things, as the board outside clearly mentioned. Will try this place on my next visit!

We also had a chance to try out snacks at Grasshopper Inn (not sure what an ‘inn’ is doing inside a resort!) at the MTDC Resort at Harihareshwar which seems to be the only place far and wide to serve any kind of food! We had Kanda Bhajiya and Batata Bhajiya which was priced at INR 35 each. The Kanda Bhajiya was golden brown and not burnt, a serious sigh of relief! The Potato Bhajiya was oily but acceptable for it wasn’t dripping of oil! The snack at the MTDC Resort was followed by dinner at a roadside Chinese eatery, the name of which escapes my memory. The food here is nothing to talk about though everything you get here is edible. If atall there was a rating of 101 places to eat the same chinese food, then this place would be in the low 90s. The tandoori chicken we had here though wasn’t bad, a little too overcooked for my liking but tasty nonetheless. Ironic how a chinese branded eatery served better tandoor than chinese!!! The half tandoor we had was worth INR 70 while the Manchurian Rice cost us INR 60.This small eatery is on the way to Diveagar from Harihareshwar and was the only eatery we came across in the 35 kms stretch until we reached Diveagar.

We started the next day with Poha mixed with grated coconut at the Cottage where we stayed. It was a wonderful breakfast to kick start the day as the meal was nice and hot with a liberal addition of coconut. I think I will ask my mom to add coconut the next time she makes Poha! The Poha was enough to keep us going until lunch for which we stopped at Upkar Restaurant which is right next to the Gandharv Family Restaurant. Upkar was the choice as we wanted to have non-veg food. The boys ordered for a Prawns Masala, chicken fried rice and a chicken schezwan fried rice. The Prawns Masala was awesome – it wasn’t spicy and the prawns seemed fresh.  I guess we got there at the right time!! Had the prawns with Bhakri – a bread (more like a chapati) made of rice instead of wheat – which incidently was a first for me! The chicken fried rice was good and had a lot of chicken pieces in there. The meal was a cheap one as well as we spent a little less than INR 100 per person.

Interesting is the fact that two of the best places on the whole trip were located at Vadkhal Naka. In my view, this is a definate must stop place for breakfast/lunch/dinner. Also, Vadkhal has a more Veg places than non-veg places it seems as all I could see was veg resturants all throughout the Naka.

This was a good trip as I got to try out so many different places and more importantly different food items at every place. If it was fish at Diveagar then it was prawns at Vadkhal though I think the chicken and the veg food was good as well! Overall, the food was good and the trip was refreshing – nothing else matters beyond that!

A photoblog of Diveagar and Harihareshwar Trip

October 19, 2009 16 comments

On the way….the morning clouds at Palm Beach Road, Navi Mumbai

The Clouds

The beautiful NH17

NH17One of the many curves on the way to Diveagar

CurveThe View from our cottage, Vrindavan

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Nature at work…or should I say Big Red Ants at work

Red Aunts

A beautiful path to…..

Path…..

Coconut Treesa beautiful beach, Diveagar Beach

Diveagar Beach

The Creek at Diveagar Beach

Creek at DiveagarAn old tree trunk, Don’t know for how long its been here!

TreeSunset at Harihareshwar Beach

SunsetCatching up at night at MTDC Resort

Sitting togetherSunrise at Diveagar Beach

SunriseRipples in the sand, almost looks like I am in a desert!

RipplesThe Sea!

Sea

The waves

The Waves

The Road back home!

Road

Weekend trip to Diveagar and Harihareshwar – 17-18 Oct 09

October 18, 2009 6 comments

It is been a see-all-the-beaches-you-can-while-you-can for the last few weekends and this weekend was no different. A 2-day trip to Diveagar was planned for the Diwali weekend of 17th and 18th October 2009. Planned by a colleague, Daniel, I tagged along with another colleague Neville and Daniel’s cousin Rohit and common friend Nilu. We met at 7 in the morning at Sion Station and headed out towards Vashi. From there we went to Panvel and took the Mumbai-Goa Highway (NH17). For most part of our journey we were on NH17 which is a pleasant ride! Finally after reaching Mangaon we took a right turn to go to Diveagar, the place where a 1000 year old full-gold statue of Lord Ganesha was found!.  Below is the road map of the route (Source: Google Images) we took to reach Diveagar.

Diveagar_Roadmap

We took 5 hours to reach Diveagar which was good time covered considering we took a couple of wrong turns, stopped for breakfast and stopped a few times to ask for directions! We booked a room at a cottage run by a family which, incidentally, is also a Hindustan Petroleum (HP) gas dealer. The name is Vrindavan but asking for ‘HP Gas Dealer’ works better :D.

Interesting here to note is that if a ferry ride can be availed from Murud to Dighi then Diveagar is only a short distance from Mumbai and not the 200 Kms that we covered! A quick search led me to some forums which state that ferries can be transported from Murud to Dighi. So its quite possible to do a one-day trip to this serene beach.

After reaching the cottage, we freshened up and went for lunch at Prathamesh Holiday Resort which only serves fish in Non-Veg Thali and Watana in Veg. The food though, is nothing to complain about. The Surmai Fry and Surmai Masala were really delicious albeit a little too spicy for my liking. Per Thali costs came to INR 140 which is cheap considering the amount and quality of fish served! A point to add here is that, it is better to speak in Marathi or they might not understand the order correctly even though it is a simple menu!

The delicious lunch was followed by a trip to Diveagar beach, which at 3 PM, and rightly so since it was quite hot, was deserted with only the Migratory Seagulls sharing this long beach with us! The beach is clean and one of the most picturesque places I have seen so far! One has to go through a dense cover of coconut and Betal Trees to reach the beach. The feeling you get after passing the forests and finally getting on to the path from where the sea is visible is irreplaceable. You have to be there to believe that such a place exists and is not so far from Mumbai or Pune!

We had earlier decided to only ‘have a look at Diveagar beach’ and head to Harihareshwar but instead we ended up spending close to 2 hours there! At 4:30 PM we finally did move on to the temple town of Harihareshwar which is considered to be one of the holiest towns in Maharashtra. The original plan was to watch the sunset at Harihareshwar and we almost ended up missing the sunset as we had a late start from our cottage. But thankfully, due to some skillful driving by my friend Neville and the fact that the days are longer for it being the summer season, we reached just in time to catch the beautiful sunset.

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The sunset picture clicking session was followed by a light snack at the adjoining MTDC Resort. We had Kanda Bhajiya and Batata Bhajiya both of which were good and filled our tummies! Though it was a fun drive to Harihareshwar for the sunset, we soon realised that the more exciting part of the day, or should I say night, had only just began. It was pitch black and we had to drive all the way back, 35 Kms, to Diveagar! Scary but adventurous came to my mind. It was a slow drive back home and a bit eventful as well with the suicidal toads (the name we gave the toads that only crossed the roads when a vehicle would pass by) crossing the roads every now and then and the beautiful Diwali fireworks in the distance on our left. We did halt for lunch at a roadside Chinese eatery which is nothing to write about. It is unfortunate that we ate there since after arriving at Diveagar we realised that most eateries here remain open until 10 PM.  Sigh! We did have ice cream at an Amul Ice Cream Parlour close to our cottage. That ended our first day on this short trip.

Day 2

Day 2 started early, very early. Went to Diveagar beach before sunrise to catch the beautiful morning sun against the backdrop of the Betal trees. Took a round of the beach as well. Checked out the small creek which is teeming with fishes which in turn feed the migratory Seagulls! Ah! The cycle of life. There was a high tide in the morning which did catch me by surprise cause I had crossed over on this small patch of land divided by the creek and crossing back was a bit scary!! Anyways, after the scary incident, got back to my group, clicked a few pictures, took a bath and went back to the cottage. For breakfast, we were served Poha with grated coconut. It is the best Poha I have ever had and the grated coconut made it all the more better!

Waves

Sadly, it was time to leave as the check out time is 11:00 AM. We said goodbye to the family and headed back home. On the way back, we stopped at Vadkhal Naka for lunch at Upkar Restaurant which serves some good Prawns masala. That was the last stop until Neville’s car stalled as the LPG fuel had gotten over! Not a big issue though as he switched onto petrol (after a good 20 minutes did the car finally start!) and refueled at a nearby petrol pump.  After that we headed back home, nice and safe and very very tired!

A brief Trip Log – Total Distance covered approximately (450 Kms, excluding the distance covered by taking some wrong turns here and there!)

Route taken (as seen from the map) – Mumbai-Panvel-Pen-Mangaon-Mhasala-Diveagar. We took the same route while coming back home.

On a closing note, I feel that a full 2 day/2 night trip would be suitable to visit all the places in and around Diveagar/Harihareshwar and Shrivardhan. They not only offer beautiful beaches and scenary but also quite a few temples.

Here is the contact detail of the cottage where we stayed:

Name of the place: Vrindavan

Contact Person – Sameer or Vasant B. Gandre

Ph: Diveagar – 952147-224270/71 | 9594142591

Mumbai – 9702037865/9960627965

Pune – 9890927965

Related posts: Photoblog | Food Jaunt

Kashid-Murud Trip

September 27, 2009 8 comments

Kashid has been a long awaiting trip for me. Ever seen I saw pictures of the long winding roads leading to the beach and the palm trees lined up alongside the white sands, I have been itching to see this heavenly place with own eyes! The moment arrived on a Saturday when we set our course for Kashid in a friend’s car. It didn’t take us long to navigate the early morning Mumbai traffic and soon enough we were cruising on beautiful roads including the Mumbai-Goa highway. For most part the road was good, except for when we had to traverse Alibaug to reach Kashid. But that was only a small let down which did not deter us from pursing our goal.

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In approximately three and a half hours we reached Kashid Beach. Taking into account the few stops we made for photo shoots, I think we made it to Kashid in good time. Once there, the four of us quickly ordered for some snacks – namely Omelette and Bread – that is the only thing, besides some chips, biscuits and tea that you get at the many shacks situated on the beach. But the best thing besides the beach, were the hammocks! Lazing around in the hammock, we took in the beautiful sights on offer.

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The beach, the white sands and the muddy waters are surrounded by two cliffs on either end. The beach itself is a 3KM stretch and there are carts available for those would like to check out the beach in its entirety.

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We weren’t interested in that and were more than happy to click some amazing pictures while lazing around the shacks. Some of us also caught a short and much needed nap. After Kashid, we headed out to Murud beach.

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We also went to Rajpuri from where the ferries are available to go to Janjira Fort. The area is very pretty with palm trees overlooking the calm sea. Spent some time clicking pictures of the fort and the beach.

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Though we didn’t get time to actually visit the fort – a trip we have scheduled for another time. Since it was in the middle of the day, we decided against going on the Murud beach and instead chill out by some restaurants overlooking the beach.

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We had lunch at the Anand Vatika, Murud, which specialised on sea food. So since we were at the heart of a fishing community, we were all for a sumptuous sea food lunch. We ordered for Prawns fry, Pomfret fry, and Prawns Biryani along with a lone chicken dish – Chicken 65. The meal was good albeit a bit oily but good nonetheless. We paid INR 150 each, thought was a bit expensive but then sea food anywhere is more expensive than other meat products!

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Once over with lunch, we decided to head back home. Reached home in around 4 hours. Overall, it was a wonderful trip. Was a disappointed that I did not get to see the sunset but besides that there are no complaints whatsoever!

Kashid is approximately 160kms from Mumbai. We took the Mumbai-Goa highway (NH17) and took a right turn from the highway to go to Alibaug. Once at Alibaug, we were directed to a bypass road that took us straight to Kashid through a small concretised stretch of road which is surrounded by trees and lovely houses. Murud is approximately 30kms ahead of Kashid and the road which goes to Kashid from Alibaug also goes straight to Murud as well. I am assuming if one keeps following the same road, they will reach Harihareshwar as well.

Here are the albums with pics:

Picasa: http://picasaweb.google.com/godzi.85/Kashid_Trip_26Sept09

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=324338&id=764395346