The Konkan belt is the coastal division of the state of Maharashtra in India. It stretches North-South from the city of Mumbai (Bombay) in the North to Goa, which borders the southern tip of Maharashtra. Apart from being rich in its own Konkani culture, this belt is home to some of the most scenic beaches in India, many of which are yet to be commercialized and retain their pristine beauty. A drive through this region is particularly captivating in the monsoons, as it lends breathtaking views of lush green hills rolling in all directions and occasional glimpses of the majestic Arabian Sea.
Alibaug - Alibaug is the weekend getaway from the chaos that is Mumbai. A lot of Mumbaikars go to Alibaug via ferry (Ferry Wharf, Bhaucha Dhakka). The ferry leaves from the Gateway of India at multiple times during the day. It is a 45min - 1.5Hrs boat ride (depending on the type of vessel) followed by a 30 min bus journey (included in the ferry ticket). In recent years the beach has become very commercialized and hence very crowded.
Kashid beach - Kashid is about 40Kms from Alibaug. The Beach is slowly becoming a popular tourist destination. You can find a lot of small resorts in Kashid which offer all modern amenities. Water sports can also be done here.
Murud Janjira - Murud Janjira is mainly known for its Fort. Situated in the middle of the sea, the fort presents a good experience for the tourist visiting it. Ferry's ply regularly from the beach to the fort and back.
Diveagar Beach - Diveagar is a small village on the konkan coast. Known for its Ganesh temple & Seagulls. One can take the Mumbai - Goa highway if travelling by road or the better route is to take a ferry from Rajapuri ( Rajapuri is about 10 Kms from Murud.) The 30 min ferry ride is quite a fun journey as a lot of locals use it to travel back and forth.
Srivardhan - Srivardhan is a lazy village about 25 Kms from Diveagar. The Diveagar-Srivardhan journey is amongst the most scenic routes on the Konkan stretch. The route has breathtaking views of the Arabian sea on one side and Mountains on the other. The beaches are much more cleaner than the Alibaug, Kashid or even Murud beaches
Harihareshwar Temple - Harihareshwar is another small village on the Konkan route. The harihareshwar temple is an abode of Lord Shiva. The ancient temples in this area are the living specimen of Indian architectural style blended with Maratha style of constructions.
Kelshi - Kelshi is famous for at least two historic monuments, the Dargah of Yaqub Sarvari (who was the 11th spiritual leader of Shivaji) and Laxmi Mandir. Very few hotels are available here to stay but generally people can do home stays. Family's rent out dormitory type rooms for about 100-150 Rs. Per Person. This being well in the interiors of the Konkan Region, if you are lucky you may meet local traveling theater groups. Do visit the local Sand dunes as well if you are here.
Guhagar- Guhagar has possibly the best beach in the whole of konkan stretch. In the interiors of Konkan, away from any kind of noise, Guhagar is the amongst the best places to have a relaxed couple of days on the beach. The beach is pristine clean and virtually virgin. Home stays with local families is the best option to stay. You can also camp on the beach as there are several good spots. Also, a wood mill right next door sells firewood for a pittance.
In reality, the entire stretch from Thane to Mangalore forms the historical Konkan region, with some definitions including the entire western coast of India, from Gujarat to Kerala in it. But the official name of Konkan has been assigned only to the Maharashtrian part. It is an approximately 40 km wide strip of land between the Arabian sea and Deccan plateau (Ghats).
The area is generally home to fishermen communities and cash crop farmers, growing Mango, Jackfruit, Cashew etc.
It must be noted that the world-famous Alphonso Mango is endemic to this region.
Marathi,konkani, Hindi. The locals would typically not speak very fluent english however, they'll speak enough broken english for people to understand. People are generally warm and helpful and would point out the best places to eat/see
There are several ways to get into the Konkan belt, depending on your intended destination.
One could drive south from Mumbai, hitting Alibaug, Kihim and Dapoli en route the small city of Ratnagiri, or move up from Goa, to places like Malvan.
There are direct buses from Mumbai (both privately operated and state transport) to different coastal towns in the Konkan like Ratnagiri, Malvan, Chiplun, etc. Just inquire with a local tour operator as timings, routes and fares are subject to change.
You can also enter the Konkan region from slightly inland cities like Pune and Kolhapur.
Fruits from April to May end you must have the king of fruits Hapus (or "Alphonso") mango especially from Ratnagari District. You can also try on Fanas (jackfruit), Karvanda (blue berries ), Jambhul, Kokam, cashew fruit/nut
San-za-na, jackfruit Idli with coconut or cow milk
Fanas Bhaji, jackfruit curry
Amti Bhat, rice and yellow dal curry
Koyada, half ripe mango curry
Vatli dal, raw mango dal
Sol kadhi Kokam curry
Kadva wal usal beans curry
Bangdyache human mackarel cococnut curry
Veg specialities in Konkan Region:
Chulivarchya Bhakrya - Cake of native grains made on chulha
Fanas Bhaji - Spicy jackfruit curry
Amti Bhat - rice and yellow dal curry
Koyada - half ripe mango sweet sour curry
San-za-na- jackfruit sweet dish with coconut or cow milk
Kelphoolachi Bhaji - a konkan favourite made of banana flowers
Vatli dal - side dish made up with raw mango dal
Sol kadhi - Kokam curry
Lord Ganesha's favourite steamed delight, the modak.
Non-veg specialities in Konkan Region:
Kurkuron Bombeel - crisply fried Mumbai duck
Tisrya-che Kalvan - clams in thick spicy masala
Bangadyachi Chatni - spicy dry dish made of tasty fish
Vade - Sagoti - meat dish with fried cake of mixed grains