48. AROUND ALIBAUG (1)

If you cross the creek from Mumbai southwards, you are in the adjoining district of Raigad with its headquarters at Alibaug. The ‘u’ in Alibaug is an English mystery and that ‘u’ appears in many names without much justification. The entire district was earlier known as Alibaug. This part of Maharashtra has seen a lot of history with rulers from within as well as the Europeans. At least in one case the rulers claim African ancestry as we will see as we go along.

There are a few places having regular ferry service from Mumbai to this district. Revas is the northernmost but does not connect to Mumbai. It is used mainly for the areas adjoining Navi Mumbai and other places south of Thane Creek. You can see below the jetty and the places across the creek

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The mangrove here are healthy and thick. Did not see much of plastic menace here.

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Consequently, this area appears to be a major spawning ground for shrimps, prawns and crabs.

What you see below are chicken legs. Not the ones that you eat. What you eat are the thighs, not the legs. These are the legs proper on which the chicken run. The chicken shop in your neighbourhood would be having a problem in disposing off these discards. Not here. They are an excellent bait for Mud Crabs.

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The preparations are under way for a crabbing expedition, the most professional that I have seen.

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The boats seen below will be used. On a smaller scale one can even use the shore at high tide.

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The Revas port is approached through a swath of mixed wetland and mangrove. The area produces a wise variety of fruits, nuts, tubers and other produce typical of Konkan region. A smpling of those itms isfound here on the jetty for sale.

The next one is the jetty at Mandva. It is reflective of the Mumbai culture. The resturant on the jetty serves this and that says it all.

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Mandva is in the Sasawane village panchayat and a about 15 Kms from Alibaug town.

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It has a rudimentary Lighthouse.

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And this structure up on the hill, looking like a water tank which it is not.

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You will see a number of sailing and motor boats around here. Most of Mumbai’s moneybags have holiday homes and their boats here. They go incognito. Dont expect to meet them on the passenger ferry, you silly.

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On your way from Mandva to Alibaug you can take diversion and visit the village of one of India’s topmost sculptor- Vinayak Pandurang Karmarkar and have a look at the private museum maintained by his descendents.  The place is called Awas, Sasawane.

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Gandhiji himself is claimed to have sat for this portrait.

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Many Englishmen and the Indian royalty are seen among the works of art.

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When you come out you might find this buffalo in the compound eating grass.

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No. It cannot eat. It is one of the sculptures in stone.

PART  II OF ‘AROUND ALIBAUG’ FOLLOWS.

23.10.16

 

 

 

14. Jodiya & Balachadi

We leave Morbi with the intention of staying at either Jodiya or at Balachadi, the seaside towns on the way to Jamnagar. Both places turn out to be small villages with neither accommodation nor food. However, they had to offer some interesting glimpses.

Jodiya is a fishing village. It once used to be a port but in course of time the waterway silted and reduced the place to a fishing village. We reached there at around 2 pm. The motorized fishing boats were expected back at around 3 pm with the high tide. During this hour we saw an interesting phenomenon. The fishermen hunting crabs were returning with their catch just in time to beat the high tide, to be followed by the boats.

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The boats, including the one owned by Yusufbhai brought the fish. He is not happy with to-day’s catch. It is too little for the time and the efforts. In comparison the crabbers appear to be making good money walking on the shore at low tide. Nobody came with less than 5 kgs. All fish is bought by traders for sale in larger towns.

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The silting of the waterways allows growth of Mangroves and in turn crab fishing. With that kind of mangrove cover, I expected Prawns / Shrimp breeding around. The fisher folk have no knowledge of such creatures. They are happy hunting the crabs – the Blue Crab as well as the grey Mud Crab. The former can be picked up from the floor, the latter needs nets. Here one can see several species of the Mangroves unlike up north at Jakhau where one can see only one dwarf species.

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Jodiya has a Lighthouse. Not the masonry type but a lattice steel structure. We don’t know if it is functional. The gate was locked and there was none in attendance.

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The boys on the waterfront take a break from trying to catch crabs to pose for a picture.

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The next place along the coast is Balachadi which is quite close to the town of Porbandar.

Balachadi has a Sainik School and a large part of the village is covered by the school’s compounds.

A small beach, nothing to write home about. It is a part of the Marine National Park and the Sanctuary.

Balachadi beach

The place is recommended for birding during winter. Even in August it is not bad but you will all the local species not the ‘foreigners’ who come in winters.

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The Dargah of Yakubshah Pir is an attractive structure and is among the major places of pilgrimage in the area.

Yakubsha Pir

We round off the visit a visit to the Diwadandi. It looks majestic. Located on a hillock quite away from the seashore and has a large compound.  We were denied access and shooed away.

Balachadi Diwadandi 

Suryakiran & Veena Naik

suryakiran.naik@gmail.com

27.08.2016