If it’s the Indian West Coast for a holiday, You’d pick Kerala or Goa 9 times out of 10. The only time you probably would pick something else, would be when you live in Mumbai and need to travel to some nearby beach for the weekend during the monsoons which would probably be Alibaug or Ratnagiri. So, ignoring probability and common sense, I proceeded to pick a map of Maharashtra and pick a place close to Goa, but not in Goa. I found Vengurla an interesting place to head out for the long weekend. A night train from VT to Sawantwadi Road railway station found me next morning, getting off at a quaint little station. 120 rupees and an auto ride later, I was at Sawantwadi, savoring a morning breakfast of Poha and getting excited about exploring a rather quiet Southern part of Maharashtra, even as the morning sun just beams inside the restaurant to welcome me.
Pit Stop at Sawantwadi
I walk around town to explore the town, which is very similar to towns in this Konkan belt above and below Goa. You would have structures made out of a similar looking red color brick, good roads, Tall coconut trees with a languid gait leading to a beach village, with a church en route. You could tell someone that this script reads GOA all over it, but this was Maharashtra and it had very little to separate it from its flashier cousin state. I passed a little church and a board that said Goa was a hop skip and a jump away across the state border.
I boarded a bus to Vengurla and sat on it until the driver felt there were enough people to justify economies of scale. In a couple of hours, in between what felt like many bus stops, I landed at the promised land of Vengurla. No ugly signboards of a party nearby, or traffic jams. It felt a little unreal, but here I was, staring at the Bluish Arabian sea, that had no takers. I rushed to my hotel which was about 500 meters from my bus stand, overlooking the part of the beach that was closer to the low tides. After a lazy brunch, and stocking up on cell phone battery, I walked over to Sagareshwar Beach which was the main attraction. The nearby hills surrounding the beach, presented a beautiful picture of a place untouched by civilization. The little town of Vengurla is a port city, which also has a few temples dedicated to Shiroda and Nava Durga.
I walked over from Sagareshwar beach along the sand to Velavar Beach, and this was probably my first trip on the Konkan coast, where I did not see many people. I saw a bunch of birds, who had gathered there to probably let their ilk know, that a human invader was in their territory.
There was no shack to run into or restaurant to bump into. I kept on walking till I encountered a sea of trees planted close to each other. It provided me the necessary shade required to take some rest. I sat beside the trees and looked at the beauty of the place. I opened Rhonda Bryne’s ‘Secret’ and thumbed through 100 odd pages and when I looked back at the beach, the place looked like somebody had given it a makeover meanwhile. The beach seemed pristine in the afternoon heat and I was enjoying the simplicity of a day well spent by the beach. I walked a little further and found a dilapitated hut, which had no one inside there.
‘Doing Nothing’ in Vengurla
I marked my little tepee and stayed there till the moon replaced the sun, and a few more pages were read. I was already feeling like Robinson Crusoe and was enjoying my day out in the sun. I could have stayed the night at the beach, by just staring at the beach all night and lying on the sands, but when I looked up, my mobile was almost out of battery, and off all reasons, the backpacker in me gave way to the flashpacker, as I scurried back to the safe comforts of the Sagar Sarita Hotel, to sleep on a clean bed overlooking the little lake that empties into the sea. Vengurla had taught me a lesson on minimalism and enjoying nature and taking pride in doing nothing, which would then become an important ingredient on any subsequent beach trip. Doing Nothing!
So the moral of the story is, if you head to Vengurla, then please plan on ‘doing nothing’, and soaking up some peace!