Guhagar is a typical seaside town. It has a beach, in fact two beaches.
Accommodation facilities, temples and probably more important, the orchards. Mangoes, Coconuts, Betelnuts (Supari) is grown extensively in the area. There is no change in the geography. It continues to be the narrow strip of land between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea that we have seen in the earlier posts of this blog in the northern parts of Maharashtra along the sea.
We have been recommended to stay at Duga Pearl owned by Akshay Khare and we did. Thank you, Sudhir Joshi.
It has many advantages: Homely informal atmosphere ( we could buy our own fish and have it cooked the way we like), central location with everything within a short distance and the most important, presence of Khare brothers. If you are a nature lover and particularly if you are a birder, this stop is very helpful. Akshay knows the birds of the region by their first names and was very generous with his help in identifying many of the birds we had photographed in the region earlier. He offered us a trip to his farm up in the hills so that we could have a glimpse of the Orchards at higher elevations. In southern Konkan orchards are more prevalent on the flatland between the sea and the hills. Here it is done at a higher altitude and the trees are doing well. Our intention was also to catch up with our birding. It was not very successful because of the timing. We did see some birds out there like this cute little sunbird nibbling at the coconut flowers.
Comparatively we could find a lot of life behind the Durga Mata temple and the hill which also doubles up as a nice little trek.
There are four or so temples in Guhagar. The one of Durga Devi and its ‘Stambh’ deserves special attention. It is very close to ‘Durga Pearl Hotel’. The temple itself is at a decent distance from the road but the ’Stambh’ is right on the road, or to put it another way, the road was built by keeping it in it’s middle.
The distance between the ‘stambh’ and the electrical pole on the oppoiste side diagonally is not more than 5 meters. The ST bus drivers, I can assure you. find this space pretty tricky, to put it mildly.
The ‘Stambh’ has some inscriptions of some women who look very sexy. I do not know if they were intended to look this way or the artist used his ‘poetic license’. Have a closer look and decide.
Two other temples are on the main road One is dedicated to Ganapati and is called ‘Ufrata Ganapati’, the opposite side and the other is to Vyadeshwar which is a Mahadev avatar.
When done with Guhagar, we proceed south for Velaneshwar another famous temple town along the sea.
The village also has a nice little beach but no infrastructure.
After visiting the temple and a vada-pav breakfast at the little eatery at the beach, we proceed to Hedavi. This place is not far from the sea and along the coastal road. The highlight of the place is a nearby seashore which is a phenomenon. It is called Bamanghal.
This is a rock formation along the sea. The rocky cliff slides from the hillside towards the sea. Over the ages the waves crashing into the rocks have eroded the rocks making them hollow from the bottom.
From top to the seashore it should be around 50 meters. What makes it special is the fact that seawater enters from under the rocks with the force of the waves and then spurts up through the crevices in the rock.
This phenomenon must be much more attractive during the windy months when the force of the waves would be much stonger. Not that it was bad in late October.
Bamanghal has to be approached from the main road by a narrow village road along the hill. You reach a place where you can see a small beach of about 100 meters and a temple. You pass by the temple and walk about 200 meters to reach the exact spot where this phenomena occurs.
There is one more related phenomena that you would see here. This place is a hillside with a forest on top of the hill and has streams of freshwater flowing towards the sea. You can drink this clean water at the temple. Now have a look at the picture below;
You can see a patch of pinkish brown colour. It is salt, floating. Why here? Because the heavy freshwater from the stream is concentrated here and the lighter saltwater meets it causing the salts to be separated which then float. At least this is the explanation given to me by a knowledgeable local person.
What strikes me most other than the two above is the presence of three species of wildflowers growing on the rocky hillside.
All three are purple-blue.
It is very rare for nature to offer wonders in three-in-one packages.
Text by Suryakiran Naik
Photographs by Suryakiran Naik & Veena Naik
( delayed by about 3 weeks.)