Alibaug is a cliched place as every other person in Mumbai has this beach destination as their first weekend option. For non- mumbaiites like myself, Alibaug has always been an exciting beach destination. However I wanted to explore beyond the beach and after a lot of research, Alibaug itinerary had quite a few places besides the beach. A fort, a synagogue, a 900 feet high temple and the colonial remains at Revdanda formed the list of places to explore.
|The path that leads to Kanakeshwar temple|
|Well paved pathway to the temple|
|A stepped well en route to the temple|
|Main entrance to the temple|
The famous Alibaug beach was the next destination where we got dropped off by our guide cum driver who had been with us since morning. Even though the beach looked dirty with litter all over, its vastness is what attracted me and kept me engaged. Being the peak of summer, the water had receded quite a lot and the beach had become sluggish. The ubiquitous tiny crabs was the other attraction on the beach. Even though it was mid noon, people were loitering around and children were having fun on the beach.
The biggest eye catcher on Alibaug beach was the Kolaba fort. It only seemed a few hundred meters away from us, but since the beach was not very conducive for a wade across the waters, we opted for a boat ride. However the boat ride also did not happen as the water was very shallow. Now the only option left was a bumpy tonga (horse cart) ride wading through the sea waters to the fort. I had doubts about the cart getting stuck in the sands but the horses gleefully pulled us into the waters and took us to the fort.
Kolaba fort (also known as Alibaug fort) which gets secluded like an island during high tide was ruled by the Maratha ruler, Shivaji. This 17th century fort was used by Maratha admiral Kanhoji Angre as the naval base to fight the British. The tall fort walls and a big gateway at the entrance makes this a very attractive fort by the sea. However the inside of the fort looked dilapidated. The fort houses ruins of residences and offices of the Maratha army, a few temples, a huge pond, tomb of a sufi saint, a couple of canons and many bastions which were used during attacks. Vistas from the top of the fort walls looked stunning with the expansive sea and the distant horizon. After walking around the fort and gazing at the vistas in the hot sun we got back to our tonga for a water ride to the mainland.
|Fort walls and bastions|
|Entrance of the fort|
|Remains inside the fort|
|Inside the fort|
|A temple inside the fort|
|An exit into the sea|
|A view from the fort|
From the main attractions we decided to go the less trodden paths and ended up at Chaul near Revdanda. Chaul, 16 kms from Alibaug is an old Portuguese settlement which boasts of exciting places for the traveller. We had an hour to rush through whatever possible we could see before the sun went down. Our new guide, another rickshaw driver took us through a neglected Hammam khana (royal bath) , an old but still active church, Revdanda fort and Revdanda beach. The 16th century fort built by the Portuguese by the beach is completely in ruins. However there is one single tall tower that still stands along with the fort ramparts amidst coconut plantations. Sunset on Revedanda beach was a riot of colours. We had to miss out on Korlai fort, Datta temple, Rameshwar temple and Buddhist caves in Chaul-Revdanda due to shortage of time.
|Remains of the fort|
|Revdanda beach as seen from the fort|
Signing Note- Alibaug has transformed from a weekend getawy to a traveller's delight...!!
Distance- 100 Kms (by road from Mumbai)
20 Kms (from Mandwa to Alibaug after a one hour boat ride from Mumbai to Mandwa)