One of the many things that I have often debated with my near and dear ones is whether a vacation within India is a better experience than one without. Well, the quality of an experience is quite subjective and depends upon the aptitude of the individual. Take my example; Since the time I have known the word introspection, I find myself with more questions than answers. People say “Devil is in the details”, well I say “Beauty lies in the intricacies of life”. Hence, I end up enjoying simplest of things and obscurest of places which might seem mundane to others.
In conjunction to the debate of vacation, to defend my point of enjoying a vacation within India, and the fact that my budget was in doldrums, my better half and I decided to explore the Konkan coast. I have always been in love with Konkan specially, the name urges the nostalgia of monsoon within the wanderlust. Though this time, we thought it would be a good idea to explore this region during the winter.
It is noteworthy that many places along the Konkan coast developed as villages under the rule of Chhatrapati Shivaji around the 17th century. One such village is the Kihim Village. This tiny village has a beautiful shore which is flanked by numerous forts and adds to the ornate beach. The location of this region is so picturesque, it begs the question, why has the place not been commercialized as much as Goa. Well, much to our advantage! This is the exact reason why one can lose oneself in the milky white waves crashing up to the beach surrounded by the serenity of quiet and fillers contributed by migratory birds that adorn the beauty of this beach village.
We reached Kihim by the Pune-Mumbai Express highway, then a detour towards Khopoli and onwards thereon. The stark contrast was quite visible, the transition of the landscape from grey to green. The roads, though narrower than the city, seemed to welcome with warmth. Romancing the village roads, I must say is an art in itself, which all city dwellers should indulge in every once in a while. Kihim is flanked by several forts of the Maratha rule. Two of them are Khanderi and Underi and they can be seen from the beach. Kihim beach is located between Mandawa Jetty and Alibag Beach.
Once we reached Kihim, I could not stop smiling to myself like a child who just got a new toy to play with after throwing tantrums, the guilty pleasure, which was only mine to cherish. We booked a cottage by the beach of course, welcomed by an equally warm host. The cottage was more like a miniature bungalow, sandwiched between dense foliage on one side and beach on the other. Metaphorically speaking, it was the proud infantry soldier holding his own ground between two great armies.
So, what was so different of a house by the beach? Well, as opposed to “The Squirm” that we get from all those people hogging the space, this one was calm, away from all the crowd, serene, very private, almost as if we had leased the house, the beach, a part of the sea, the breeze, all of it at one go. MMM! You could smell the salt in the air. Yes, it may not be an extravagant space, would certainly not live up to your expectation if you had Goa in mind, but simply put, if you are a private person, wanting some peace, away from the humdrum, this is the place to be. There were dainty little snack shops along side of the beach to keep company to tourists. What caught my attention was the sheer number of private bungalows that were lined up along side the beach. I also got to know from the beach-house owner that they even have a beach-house association of sorts who do housekeeping for the beach in times of need.
Until this point, I was under the impression that these country people had their lives made, owning beach resorts and in charge of upkeeping a piece of heaven. But it was then that I realized the amount of hard work they would have to put in if the place was in the eye of a storm. This fact alone made my respect grow for these folks a thousand-fold. Loved the food there, its main attraction being Pomfret, Kingfish and Bombay duck and note-worthy a mention for Prawns. There is a specialty of Konkan region if you need a soothing drink in the form of the “Solkadhi”, which is a mixture of Coconut Milk, ginger and a fruit called “Kokum” which is dark purple in color. I think either I am in love with the Konkan cuisine or the resort-owners drugged me and hence now I am addicted to their food.
Needless to say, it was a heart-wrenching “So-long” when we parted ways with Kihim to visit our next destination along the coast of Konkan. The resort owners even blessed us with the parting gift of the magical “Kokum” fruit and a promise to meet again. Well, as they say, “All good things must come to an end”, so must this tale follow suit. Where we started for next, is a venture I will share when we meet next. Till then, let me drown my self a bit in the taste of the sea and waves of curry of the magical place, called Kihim.
Arteastic thanks Aditya Sengupta for writing this piece for their blog
Software Engineer by profession and wanderlust by heart. Nature lover, animal lover, art lover, love to adventure. Would take traveling over desk job any day (whatever puts food on the plate 😊). Professionally trained in singing. Love painting and sketching. Can pick up a conversation and make friends with anyone.