Think of a beach holiday in India, and of course one thinks of Goa! Yes, Goa has its fair share of beaches, white sandy stretches and golden sunsets. But for all the sun-n-sand that the 100 kms of Goa coastline has to offer, the 700 odd kms of Konkan coast has a few hidden gems of its own. One such gem is Harnai!
The 230 kms to Harnai from Mumbai is covered by road in about 5 hours of relaxed driving, mostly along the Old Mumbai-Goa Road, or NH66.
What becomes apparent as soon as you hit the beach here is the absence of that sense of urgency to do the things one does on a beach that is already crowded by beach bummers sunning and swimming with one eye on the sun, and by busy shack owners running hurriedly, trying to sell them everything, well, under the sun.
Now Harnai is not such a beach. In fact, it’s not one beach but four beaches, with Harnai in the north, Karde Beach in the south and Palande and Murud Beaches in the middle. One can just about picture oneself standing here, in solitude, staring at a calm sea. A picture postcard waiting to be clicked finished with a ‘pencil sketch’ filter.
Idyllic beaches are not just what Harnai has to offer. It is rich in culture and heritage too, with the historical Suvarnadurg Sea Fort close by, Durgadevi Temple in the vicinity and the famous Harnai Fish Market, for those who prefer their seafood fresh. Come here if just for the choicest of sea food cooked in the traditional konkan, malvani style. Of course, there is much for the vegetarian folks as well.
“You can rest and relax or choose to be adventurous on one of India’s safest beach with plenty of adventures to choose from. So why do less when you can do more?” says Mahrukh Bulsara of Ecomantra which runs the very popular Lotus Beach Resort at Harnai. There is rock climbing and rappelling, a multi assault obstacle course with a commando bridge, and a flying fox tower. Also on offer, exclusively by Lotus Beach Resort, are Electric Segway rides and Beach Go Cart.
The local village council organises the popular Dolphin safari, and for the adrenaline seekers, there is para-sailing, jet skiing and banana boat rides on the Arabian Sea.
And when you have had your fill of the sea, sand and seasoning, just grab the nearest hammock and gently rock yourself to a peaceful slumber.
For the Traveler:
Distance to Destination from Mumbai: 230 kms
Drive time: Approximately 5 hours
Watch out for: The crabs on the beach and on your plate!