Palghar’s beaches are not your typical beach towns which are full of activities and resorts. Instead, there are long sandy stretches, palm and casurina trees, chikoo and banana plantations nearby, and forts dipped in history apart from the lovely fishing hamlets and its people. It is mostly the locals who frequent here and is fairly an unexplored stretch of beaches located to the north of Mumbai. Though the beaches may not be quite pristine, being secluded and away from the crowd makes them quite attractive.
While Kelwa beach was my first destination for the day, direction markers to Bawangad fort made me inquisitive and I headed there first. Tough to locate, it took a while and a couple of enquiries with locals to locate the fort. Totally in shambles with dilapidated walls, very little of the fort remains. The fort does offer nice views of the surroundings. There is also a temple within its premises.
Though a few kilometers away from the town, Kelwa is undoubtedly one of the best beaches in Palghar. The long black sandy beach with casurainas in the backdrop had visitors even in the mornings. The sea had receded during summers and the people had to walk deep to get into the waters. The tonga (horse cart) was already out and a group of school kids gleefully enjoyed the wonderful ride. Amidst the casuarinas stands Kelwa fort with just a few fort walls remaining. Further down in the waters stands another crumbling fort of Kelwa, probably a better vantage point to track sea attacks during those ages. Kelwa dam is also quite a popular place to visit in Palghar.
After a quick breakfast at one of the many stalls near Kelwa beach, I headed to Shirgaon known for its 18th century fort and beach. The tall outer walls and minarets look attractive. The upper levels offer nice views of the surroundings and the beach in the distance. However, the sad part is that there was construction happening inside the fort which in no way seemed related to restoration. The long ramp to the beach was nice, and Shirgaon beach with sea weeds all over has an interesting setting.
Further ahead lies Satpati beach, known for its light house. The beach which is lined with boulders isn’t accessible, but has a small park adjacent to it. Mahim Temba beach which is a short detour away is home to a fishing hamlet, but isn’t well kept. Tarapore fort is another point of interest in Palghar. However, it was quite difficult to locate and even locals found it tough to help me. After much enquiries two young boys guided me there. It was surprising to note that the fort has now become a private property with a large coconut grove inside, while just the tall fort walls and the large entrance gate remain from history.
To the north of Palghar lies the beautiful Chinchani beach. The long beach with casuarinas is quite well maintained and is an ideal place for an evening stroll. The beach becomes alive closer to sunset and there are a couple of eateries too to make the evening an enjoyable one.
Palghar is located 45 Kms from Dahanu (via Boisar) and 109 Kms from Mumbai (via NH- 48). There are frequent trains between Mumbai and Palghar. The closest airport is located in Mumbai.
Food and Accommodation:
There are small stalls near Kelwa beach and Chinchani beach. Other places are devoid of eateries. Kelwa has a few hotels and resorts near the beach.