As I walked barefoot by the silver sparkling beach of Harihareshwar, spellbound by the simplicity of this sleepy Konkan town, the silence mixed with the rhythmic sound of waves was putting me in a peaceful trance. I found myself at ease with the way of life of this quaint coastal town – hushed, peaceful, slow, laidback, like a chapter from some retro novel. It was in this town that I fell in love with Konkani Maharashtra and I knew this wouldn’t be my last visit here.
Konkan Maharashtra does not immediately strike you as exceptionally gorgeous, and yet once you experience it closely, it grows on you. Whether it is the slightly crowded Kashid, the screechingly quiet Harihareshwar or the historical Murud-Janjira, Konkan has a way of making you feel at home and when it’s time to leave, you find yourself wishing you could stay longer. So you make a mental note of doing a full blown Konkan travel soon and bid adieu for now.
As I pen this post at a rooftop pub of busy Bangalore, I look back at my days driving through Konkan; the flashes that cross my mind are those of sun kissed beaches, gleaming water of Arabian sea, curvy roads along the Konkan coast flanked by palm trees on both sides, the delicious local Konkani food and the welcoming hospitality of people.
In Kashid town, we arrived at dawn and strolled past sunrise on the beach, sat on the rocks witnessing the love-hate dance of rocks and waves, amusingly watched a rare glimpse of bullock cart on the beach, sipped coconut water as soon as the first shack opened up.
One afternoon, we decided to take a ferry to the island fort of Murud-Janjira and learnt that both the words Murud & Janjira mean “island” in Konkani and Arabic respectively. Just a fun fact.
Another dawn, we found ourselves arriving in Harihareshwar. It was still dark and we had no hotel reservation yet. We drove around a bit, biding our time, not anticipating that Harihareshwar would be as hushed during the peak of afternoon as it was at the break of dawn. As the day unfolded itself, we began to like the quiet of the town. The fact that no one seemed in a rush to open their shops or even hotel gates for the patrons until late morning was as queer as it was amusing. It didn’t take us long to adopt the lifestyle. After all, when in Rome..
We spent the better part of our time in Harihareshwar doing what the locals do – ease. We found ourselves adoring the simplicity of people and basking at the beach.
We spotted a food shack operated by two ladies from a make-shift kitchen, serving dozens of people and we ditched our hotel food for the scrumptious and soul-gratifying Konkani thali of prawns, pomfret, fish curry and rice – your typical comforting food.
That’s Konkan Maharashtra for you – easy on the soul. It grows on you, if you will let it.