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Old 4th March 2017, 18:12   #1
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Default Family weekend getaway! Mumbai – Diveagar – Harihareshwar

It all started with a casual conversation on New Year’s Eve, we (my daughter, wife and me) were at our friends place for New Year’s dinner. We have known them from the days they were dating and now more than 14years forward they are married – have two kids, gained few kgs and live at Kharghar.
From 2003 to 2006 we were 4 friends, 2007 we became 5 and now 2017 we are 7 (3 kids were added to the list by default), jobs changed, address changed, car changed (Esteem –> Cielo – > Alto –> i20) however our friendship grew stronger, we always made plans to meet up at least once in 4-5months. It’s nice when you look at pictures which are more than a decade old with the same set of friends, back in those days camera phones were not really common nor had good clarity (I had a Nokia 6600 but expectation were less out of 0.3MP lens), sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory (below are few random clicks – wish I had clicked more)

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Coming back to 31st Dec 2016, I was telling Shivam (my friend Shri’s first son) that the last time we went for holiday together to Kashid he was 3years old and he loved the beach, the word “Beach” acted as a catalyst for the topic “Road Trip Holiday”. I shared some pictures of my colleague who had gone to Tarkarli beach recently. Like most Mumbaikar, good Beach = Goa and in no time everyone started repeating the same words “Let’s go to Goa” along with the sentences we all hear when trips are discussed “last time I was there it was ….. and ate ….we did …”, not that I wanted to kill the enthusiasm of Goa however I have been there 5 times already and personally feel Goa is overrated (no offence to anyone – just my honest opinion), agreed it’s a very good place but the kids would not know difference between Goa or Tarkarli or Diveagar – for them beach is a beach and let’s face the fact that we are not young couples who can party all night or go to places with loud music, our kids will be with us and priority is safety, cleanliness, convenience and biggest one cost (+ we had all been to Goa, better to see something different).

Speaking on nearby locations I remembered a travelogue written by my friend “bhpian tejas08” on his trip to Diveagar – Harihareshwar, wasting no time my phone loaded his travelogue on Team-Bhp website showing the pictures to everyone, additionally searched more pictures on google and praised the clean beaches, fresh sea food, VFM home stays etc, long story short I sold Diveagar that night – tentative date was Feb mid.

Planning started – My thought was to make it bit adventurous covering multiple beaches + taking ferry ride while driving to Diveagar. Below was the route we intended to take. (I had never taken my car in a ferry so wanted to try that):-

Day 1
Borivali (0) – Kharghar (50) - Pen (42) – Alibag (30) – Kashid (34) – Murrud fort (20) – dighi via ferry (5) – diveagar (15)
TOTAL 197Km Estimated Time 9hrs (including 2Hr breaks/sightseeing etc)

Day 2
Diveagar (0) – Shekhadi (10) - Shrivardhan (15) – Harihareshwar (21)
TOTAL 50km Estimated Time 2.5hrs (including 1Hr breaks/sightseeing etc)
Return to Diveagar by evening post visit to Diveagar Ganesh Temple, Harihareshwar Temple and beach

Post sharing this route on the whatsapp group (which BTW was created for holiday planning however it seems it will continue like all other groups), both ladies didn’t approve this route as 9hrs travel with two 3year old kids would be difficult. I even shared this plan with Navi Mumbai TeamBhp whatsapp group and many suggested going directly to Diveagar via Khalapur – Kolad – Mangoan route which would be longer by 20Kms however cuts the time by 2.5-3hrs, even spoke to bhpian Tejas and discussed the options.

So now by public demand - our new route plan was :-

Day 1

Borivali (0) – Kharghar (50) - Durshet via MPEW (51) – Mangoan (67) – Diveagar (47)
TOTAL 215Km
Estimated Time 7hrs (including 2Hr breaks/sightseeing etc)

Route Map (Courtesy Google Maps)
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For the stay various options was looked at (Internet/friends etc ..) and shortlisted top three:-
  • Exotica the Beach Resort – Rs 4000 per room per day
  • Cocohut Resort – Rs 5200 per room per day
  • Ambience Cottages – Rs 3800 per room per day
My wife’s colleague had gone to Diveagar second week of Jan so when she enquired about their stay, we got the fourth option “Punyayi Holiday Home” which was Rs 1900 per room per day. Post looking at pictures we decided on the place and half amount was transferred via netbanking. Our priority was safety (stay not to be an isolated location), near the beach, clean room (especially bathroom), internal car parking facility, AC room, hot water, open area to sit and enjoy the late evenings and of course a good price – this place ticked all boxes plus had positive feedback from the people who had been there just few weeks back. Other amenities didn’t matter as we would be out most of the day.

Day1
We planned to start driving at 5.30am from Borivali, pick up our friends from Kharghar at 6.30am, we met our targeted start time – reaching time was not targeted as we had kids travelling with us however Lunch would be at Diveagar for sure.

The Journey Matters More Than the Destination - Tony Fahkry (I said this line to my wife when she asked “how much more time”)

It took us additional 30km as there was a detour (it was guided by local police) this was at the end of Mhasala road before starting Dighi road, I got suspicious when the intersection had three barrels kept in the middle of the road and 4-5 people in police uniform without a police car guiding us to go another direction, we went slightly ahead on the road they told us to take – stopped searched alternative route on GPS (only 2G was available in that area), only when I was fully convinced there is another route we went following GPS, After sometime we had to take a 10km U-turn as the road was blocked – again used GPS for alternative route. Post driving for 5-7min there was a sign board reading “Diveagar” which reassured us. Sometimes people call me over cautious – but technically, how could I be 100% sure that they were actual cops or thieves in police uniform telling us to take a route which will take us to a remote location/dead-end. This is purely the result of reading newspapers and watching crime shows on TV but I strongly believe in “Savdhaani Aapki, Suraksha Apno ki”

We reached our destination, Diveagar – Punyayi holiday home at approx. 1.30pm
Total Distance – 243.5Kms
Total Duration – 5hrs 50min
Avg Speed – 41Km/Hr
Road condition – Good till Mangoan post which there are few bad patch near Mhasala however its still lot better compared to Mumbai roads that I travel daily.

Punyayi Holiday home was as per expectation however the only trouble was the mattress on the bed which was extremely hard (it would not flex even if you throw a full grown elephant on it – not over exaggerating), if you happen to give this place a visit, I would strongly recommend to ask for extra cotton mattress and put in on top of the existing bed mattress (there was already an extra cotton mattress in the room when we checked in).

It’s a new property, its clean, bathroom with shower, TV (with limited channels subscribed), AC – few pictures below. This place does not have a kitchen however directly opposite is “Srikrupa holiday home” where you can get very good home cooked food – prawns rava fry and crabs are awesome, day1 and day2 dinners and day2 and day3 breakfast were at this place, rates are very reasonable, every rupee spent here felt double the worth – total cost was approx. Rs 4000.

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As it was already Lunch time we quickly unloaded luggage – took a quick shower and went to the very famous “Patil Khanaval” which is 5-7min distance from the place we were staying.
This place has seating capacity for 40+ and customers are waiting, once the food is served - you will know the reason of its popularity, we ordered 3 Pomfret Thali, 1 Surmai Fry, 1 Chicken Thali, 5extra chapati, 4 papad, 5 solcurry and 1 bottle of mineral water – Total bill was Rs. 1420 (though its slightly expensive compared to other eateries, I would still recommend this place for Lunch for its taste)

We got so engrossed in eating that clicking pictures was missed – few pictures below.
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Post Lunch, we were back at holiday home for an hour of rest – then moved to the beach.
There are multiple vendors selling Chaat, Vada Pav, maggi, ice gola etc. Many adventure activities like Parasailing, Horse/Camel ride, ATV ride, Banana/Bumper, Jet Ski Ride etc.
Beach is something all kids love by default irrespective they have seen it in real or not; it’s like bundled software which get activated when beach is seen, watching the kids super excited - jumping, playing, crawling on sand, running on the beach laughing like they have been released from prison before term, watching them made enjoy made that 6hrs journey completely worthwhile.

Not just kids but all of us was involved in just having fun, no thoughts of office deadlines, future planning, financial stability, home/car loan, nothing – just us friends with our kids enjoying on the beach (few pictures below clicked by phone)

Top left to right – Vishnu (Shri’s son #2), Shri, Imran (me) + daughter on my shoulders, my wife Sheetal,
Below right to left – Smitha (Shri’s wife), Shivam (Shri’s son #1)
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This will be my profile pic for a long time (my daughter and me)
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Two 3year olds – when I told them picture is being taken, they looked up trying to block the sunshine
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How can I dare forget to post pictures of my Elite i20 – she enjoyed the beach run
This Beach has wet sand and you can drive any car on it (primarily because during high tide the sea water covers 70% of the beach); it’s really fun to drive on sand.

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We returned to our home stay and started our evening party , as it was a long day – wife and kids went to bed early and Shrijit and I were enjoying the weather (it was 17 degrees) along with rawa prawns and crabs (this was at “Srikrupa holiday home” which is opposite to the place we were staying)
There was a group of 8-10 mechanical engineers from Pune (I forgot the name of the company they worked for but I remember one of them mentioned he is working on diesel engine project), most of them being from south India connected with Shri instantly (same language benefit) and we spent some time chatting/dancing/singing post which retired to our room as we had to get up early next day.
Day2
We got up at approx. 8am, had breakfast and got ready to hit the road by 11am.
From Diveagar to harihareshwar there are two routes, one passing through forest area the other which we took was costal drive (on GPS need to put Shekhadi -> Shrivardhan -> Harihareshwar) or else it will take you through Shirvane)

Diveagar (0) – Shekhadi (10) - Shrivardhan (15) – Harihareshwar (21)
TOTAL 50km Estimated Time 2.5hrs (including 1Hr break/sightseeing etc)

Route Map (Courtesy Google Maps)
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Few pictures on the way to Harihareshwar

This was one of the best clicks (surely going to be on my FB page)
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Many mini-beaches on the way however this one caught our attention, we had a 10min stop here.
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Although this stretch (Shekhadi to Kondvil) is the most picturesque, the roads are not the best (zoom in on the roads in the pictures below), it’s not full of potholes but it feels as if a layer of tar is wiped out and its rough consistently – it’s not uncomfortable to drive but you can hear “darrrr – darrrr” from the tyres and constant vibration like sitting on a massage chair at level 2.
The view is such that I am sure most of us will not cross beyond 40kmph.

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First we went to Shrivardhan, filled fuel and moved on, reached Harihareshwar by 1.30pm and the temple area was packed with tourists, more than 100 vehicles were parked, there is a parking facility near Kalbhairav- YogeshwariTemple.

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To Be Continued .
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Old 4th March 2017, 18:19   #2
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Default re: Family weekend getaway! Mumbai – Diveagar – Harihareshwar

We first went to the temple post which had Lunch at “Pournima Khanaval”, this place was recommended by tejas08 in his travelouge (Total cost Rs 1200 aproxx. few pictures below)

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Harihareshwar beach is quite crowded so after spending some time there we returned to Divegar and enjoyed the evening; also I always avoid driving post sunset wherever possible.

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Day3

We all got up by 9am, breakfast at 10am and said goodbye to Divegar by 11am post settling all final bills for stay and food (few photos on the way to Mumbai)

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Trip Summary
Total Distance – 595.4Kms
Total Duration – 19hrs 40min
Average Speed – 30Km/Hr (approx. 4hrs of idle time added to duration resulting lower Avg)
Average fuel consumption was 13.8km/Lt (considering the idle time it’s not bad)

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Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it - Greg Anderson

Thank you for reading
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Old 5th March 2017, 13:33   #3
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Default re: Family weekend getaway! Mumbai – Diveagar – Harihareshwar

Greg Anderson will be happy reading your travelogue .

Nice trip and well documented too. The smile on your faces reflect how happy you all were in each other's company.

The soft suspension of your i20 Elite must have been a godsend after the inconvenience of the elephant proof bed and pock marked roads.

The picture of the two three year olds trying to pose while blocking the sun, and their busy toys lying in front of them, appealed to me the most.
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Old 7th March 2017, 04:14   #4
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Default Re: Family weekend getaway! Mumbai – Diveagar – Harihareshwar

Quote:
Originally Posted by dailydriver View Post
The soft suspension of your i20 Elite must have been a godsend after the inconvenience of the elephant proof bed and pock marked roads.
Thanks dailydriver, i20 did pretty good on those rough roads and with nearly 400kgs load, I felt the 1.2 VTVT was adequate and didn't feel underpowered the entire journey, the funny thing is I find my car under powered while driving alone with no luggage (with kids on board I am super careful I guess)
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