On the vast coastline of Maharashtra there lies this little gem – Dive Agar. A tiny hamlet that is on the verge of a tourist boom due to the saturation of neighbouring ‘awesome’ tourist spots like Alibag and Janjira Murud.
From Mumbai it will take you about five hours of leisurely driving with stopovers. The distance is just 195kms and the roads are also lovely. You have to travel on the NH17 – the Mumbai Goa highway upto Mangaon and then take a diversion to Shrivardhan and Harihareshwar. On this road you will come across a village called Mhasla from where this spot of heaven is just 16kms. There are two decent restaurants with clean washrooms between Mumbai and Mangaon. In Karnala that is 10kms from Panvel, is the ‘Vittal Kamaths’ multi cuisine restaurant and in Kolad 2okms before Mangaon is ‘Mai Bhavani’
an ethnic Maharashtrian restaurant which has a ‘Tulzapur Bhavani’ temple too!
Dive Agar has become famous for its ‘Suvarna Ganesha’.
On 17thNov97, Draupadi Dharma Patil, while digging in her betel nut farm, found a copper box which contained a Gold mask of Ganesha.
On discovery of this treasure, she went and told her neighbours and the police about the same.
Then as per law a ‘panchanama’ was carried out and the Gold Ganesha mask was taken over by the local governing council. It was then decided to place it in the existing Ganesha temple in the village for worship and display. Unfortunately, the ‘finder’ is not the ‘keeper’ in this case and all that she has received until now are just vacuous promises from the governing and the temple authorities. Who said honesty pays?! However, she has set up a small temple at the place where she had found it and people who visit there do donate towards her effort.
Then there is another temple being built called the ‘Rupnarayan mandir’.
It is still under construction behind which there is an old temple called the ‘Sundernarayan Mandir’ of 1962 vintage from where the idol is removed and placed in the new ‘Rupnarayan Mandir’.
Now that one has taken care of ones spiritual needs, one can indulge. The beach is virginal, clean and beautiful.
The sunset is awesome.
There are tiny cottages all along the street and most if not all will offer you a hearty meal at very reasonable prices. However one has to inform them in advance or be prepared to wait for a while as the food is cooked on order.
Did not see any liquor shop around and when we asked for beer, were told that it has to be procured from ‘Borli’ another village about 10kms away, so go stocked with your wines if you so wish. The sea food, especially ‘Surmai’ is delicious and you will get an option of either a Chicken Thali or a Fish Thali in the restaurants apart from the vegetarian Thali. For dessert, you can indulge in the ‘Ukdiche Modak’ – the steamed dumpling stuffed with grated coconut and jaggery. The use of oil is minimal but the coconut is used generously in all preparations.
As far as accommodation is concerned, one can stay in any of the homestay cottages or in regular hotels of which there are just about three in all of Dive Agar. One is the MTDC leased ‘Exotica’ and then there is the popular mid range ‘Prathamesh’ where we stayed or ’Pinakin’ also a mid range hotel. Exotica is the only one that is bang on the beach while the other two are about a 10min walk away.
Like all the villages in Maharashtra there is the ‘Shivaji Chowk’ which is the focal point of the village.
If you are the type who wants to relax and enjoy a bit of solitude while taking long walks on the beach, this is the place to go. But please go soon before it is trashed by noisy tourists.