Sunday, June 9, 2013

Kelwa/Palghar - Beach bumming

02nd June 2013

Secluded Kelwa Beach
          I have a book called ’52 Weekend Getaways from Mumbai’ and I intend to put a tick against each destination. So, Palghar it was this time. My parents elderly gang had been to this place and they had enjoyed it, so we too looked forward for the trip. My purpose of taking this trip was to enjoy a long drive.

          Palghar is situated around 100 kms from Mumbai/Thane on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad National Highway (NH8) and is the next major junction after Virar.. It is also a railway station on the Western Line. If you are coming by train and wish to spend time at the Kelwa beach, you can get down at the Kelwe Road Station, one stop before Palghar.

          We chose the wrong season and most importantly a wrong time of the day to visit the beach. We left Thane at around 12 noon and were there at the beach around 2:30 pm. Needless to say, the sun was its mocking best at that time of the day. The drive was nice though not very scenic. The roads however were pretty smooth and wonderful to drive on. You need to take a left at Manor junction to get to Palghar and Kelwa beach is almost 14-15 kms further.

          My intention was to spend time at the offbeat Devkhop Lake on the Manor Palghar road but was lead to disappointment on being informed by a villager that  there is hardly any water in the lake and hence no boating. As you cross the Surya river en route, you come across a small dam which is a nice enough spot and where you can spend some quality time by the water. Palghar is a town like any other. I find it funny that the final lanes while reaching most of the beaches look and feel almost the same. Whether you are reaching Kashid, Gorai, Arnala or Kelwe, the by-lanes stay the same – has anyone else made this observation? My nephew who was bored till the time we reached Palghar suddenly got fresh looking at the numerous Coconut and Toddy trees. By the time we reached the beach, we were dead hungry. There are many resorts on the way to the beach including the MTDC resort and what looked like a Dharamshala too! However, don’t expect to have only lunch at any of the resorts unless you are staying there since it is quite likely that you might be turned down. People were frolicking in the pools and enjoying the rain dance amongst some blasting music – not my idea of fun!

          We went first to the Shitala Devi temple adjoining the beach and paid homage to the Goddess. There are many open air eateries just a minute before you reach the beach and we had our lunch at one of them. Local women cook and serve you food. Chicken thali it was for all of us. It was surprising that fish was not on the menu at most of these eateries even though Palghar is a coastal town. There are other smaller wada paav and bhajiya stalls and myriad other stalls selling everything that you would possibly be needing at the beach right from beach balls to shorts to caps!

          After satiating our tummies, we ventured out to the beach. The way to the beach is again lined by various stalls and the items on the list range from Coconut water to dried fish to yummy gollas to berries to mangoes to cool cucumbers and what not. Having so many toddy trees, seeing taadguls everywhere was obvious and we binged on them. It’s funny to see dried fish being creatively decorated for sale in a wicker basket. The beach is lined with Suru trees all along and though the sun was its shining best, there was a gentle breeze swaying the trees. The sand is a little on the darker side and the beach was relatively clean. Even on a hot summer afternoon, the turnout of people was amazing as they splashed and frolicked in the water. The whole lot of people though was concentrated in one part of the beach and the rest of the beach looked neglected and secluded. The entire beach would roughly be a stretch of 3-4 kms and you can see the Kelwa fort in the distance. I guess one need to walk parallel along the beach to reach to the fort and it is likely that part of the way to the fort would be submerged under water at high tide; something similar to the Colaba fort at Alibaug. There are camel rides and horse carts at your disposal. There are no water sports at Kelwa yet. Didn’t see any water birds either and the common scene of boats lining the horizon was also missing, maybe because of the wrong timing of the day. My nephew and I enjoyed splashing and running after each other in the water while my wife was happy observing us from a distance and enjoying the breeze while she guarded our belongings. As it turned 5 in the evening, the low tide started snatching the sand beneath our feet and we thought it to be a good time to head home. Sadly, didn't click many photographs this time.

          Overall the trip to Kelwa beach/Palghar is a good weekend getaway from Mumbai and one can add more spots to visit to their itinerary. One can go to the nearby Mahim, Satpati or Shirgaon beaches which are just a few kms away from Kelwa. There is also a fort lining the Shirgaon beach.

          We took a little longer to reach home since it started raining and we halted at a scenic location on the Ghobunder Road called Gaumukh. A good drive and a well spent Sunday!! 


Kelwa Beach - The horse carts were here!

Magic at the beach - floating in air and smiling too!!

Pakda pakdi on the beach

Shoes, camera, denims, water, taadguls, cap, everything available but nothing for sale

Kelwa Beach 
Water boy

Did he catch it??

All I need is a beer hic!

Jhonty, I have arrived!!

Almost everybody floats in water, floating in air is no childs' game