DiveAghar is a lovely sea side village. It’s populace amounts to about 5000 people. Its Quaint!! Thats what I like about it. Very quaint houses and lanes and everything the way you would like in a small non commercial quaint seaside village.
The houses are generally one storeyed at most. Most are beautiful old structures with tiled roofs and wooden beams. They all have their own front yards and kitchen gardens. Just the sizes vary depending on how prosperous you are.
We entered the place and then realized we didn’t have the address of where we were to stay! I had their phone number but the cell phone didn’t catch any signal there. So we cruised around slowly and asked people if they knew where the Kelkars lived. Kelkar was the name of the family who was going to put us up. People nodded and told us to keep going down the road we had taken. We were in a bit of a rush to get there and heaved a sigh of relief when we found it.
The owner Mr Kelkar escorted us over to the lodge where we were to stay. It was across the road from the Kelkar house, a small cottage with a big verandah. To my great delight, there was a big wooden swing there! The cottage was divided into three sections of two rooms each. The front and the back yard and porch was the common area. The rooms were sparsely furnished but roomy for two people. The floor was rough and uneven garden stone. (Recommendation: Carry a pair of rubber slippers to walk about the house. They are light to carry, can double up as beach slippers as they can be cleaned easily and they dry off quickly too). The ante room door opened out into the back yard. It housed some thatched roofed huts and a “matichi chool”. A small pathway disappeared into the green beyond.
Mr Kelkar left and we hurriedly freshned up! We were already running the risk of not getting any lunch!!
To understand why, here is a little recap. I had booked the Kelkar place over the phone. At that time, Mr Kelkar had informed me that we could get meals at the Bapat’s house, another family which had been living there since ages. So I had called up Mr Bapat to book the lunch we would have on arrival! Mr Bapat had then asked me if we wanted “Ukadiche Modak” with our lunch. Ukadiche Modak is a very special Maharashtrian sweet which I absolutely love. I said yes happily. The next question bowled me over though. He asked me “How many?”!!! I hesitated, thinking about how many I and my husband might feel like wolfing down when we reached Dive Aghar the day after! I finally came up with the sum total of 6. I ended the call with Mr Bapat’s warning in my ears – if we were going to be late, we had better have lunch on the way as they won’t serve us any!!!
With that conversation in my mind, we rushed to make it to Bapat’s on time. Thankfully we were allowed in!! The meal scored 100% marks though! Everything from the variety, the quality, the taste, the cleanliness and service was up to the mark. And the modak were superb!! Melt in the Mouth category!
Feeling pleasantly full, we strolled back to our cottage. To our horror, we found that the rest of the house had been captured by a bus-full of oldies. They were all over the place: the verendah with my swing, the backyard and all over. We escaped to our rooms like mice running into their holes and sat listening to their din. We later learned they too had come from Pune. They were a jolly group and invited us to join their meals. We didn’t.
When we had had afternoon tea, we ran down to the beach. Mrs Kelkar pointed out a shortcut to us through their plantatation and our walk to the beach was quick.
The beaches in Konkan are quite unlike the ones in Goa. Thats also why they are happily unpopular. There is no pure white sand and clean blue waters. Instead there is little sand and waters are almost muddy brown. The beach at Dive Aghar was no different. When we reached there at around 5, the water was at low tide, leaving a sandy shore that was grey in colour and soft and moist to our feet. It was teeming with marine life like crabs and shells. It was also beautiful to my eyes as it was devoid of the most irritating aspect of beaches – crowds and clutter. It was clean, emtpy and breathtaking. As far as the eye could see, it was all ours to enjoy!
The land side of the shore was lined with some fruit bearing tree which we could not identify. In the distance were some hillocks covered in green. We walked along the shore for a long while with the foaming waves breaking and wetting our feet.The wind howled and the sea roared as the sun slowly set in. It was almost seven when it dropped into the sea and immediately the sky turned a spectacular golden red. The grey sandy shore dazzled with the reflected gold in the sky. We simply stood and gazed at this magnificent scene till the early evening darkness took over.
It was a little after seven when we made our way to the cottage. We had been asked to come for dinner at 9 by the Bapats. In the meanwhile we had about two hours to kill. Konkan villages were still facing power cuts when we were visting, so the village was draped in a cloak of deepening darkness. (Recommendation: Carry a torch ) We came back to the cottage to find that the jolly gang of oldies had returned from the beach with sand in their hair and even jollier spirits. They were as usual all over the place. Sitting peacefully out on the verendah was hence out of the question. So instead we made our way to the Kelkar’s house. Mrs Kelkar, a very fair and straight backed old lady invited us in to chat. She was an intelligent woman with a pleasant demeanour. I warmed to her and we chit chatted and gossiped in general about Dive Aghar and the distractions of its people.
By the time we took our leave an hr later, the lights had come back on. The GOJO (Gang Of Jolly Oldies) had left to have their dinner and I was free at last to swing on the swing to my heart’s content!! Ahh.. what fun! All too soon it was time for dinner! We tidied up and left at a quarter to 9.
It was a bright golden full moon night with a lovely breeze. We ambled along the lane at a leisurely pace taking in the village at night. Every cottage had its doors open and they seemed warm and welcoming. According to old Mrs Kelkar, they never had to worry about burglars or the like in all their 50 years of living there.
We stopped on the way at a Phone Booth as our Cell Phone was off. The owner came out to inform us that the phone line was dead and it wasn’t likely to be working next morning either!
We went on to Bapat’s for dinner and found the GOJOs enjoying a hearty meal. They smiled and nodded as we took our places. The dinner at Bapat’s was as delicious as the lunch and we tucked in. From where we sat, we could see the matriarch of the Bapat family supervising the food being prepared.
We returned to the cottage and slipped into our rooms. Thankfully there were no mosquitoes though little lizards were freely scampering in and out of the many windows. (Recommendation: Carry some insect repellant ). We ignored them and got ready for bed. The voices of the GOJO boomed around us but they couldnt keep us awake for more than a few minutes!
The next morning, we were served tea in our rooms along with tasty pohe. Pohe is another lovely Maharashtrian snack which can be had at b’fast as it is quite filling.
The Poha was manufactured at the Kelkar’s own mill and we bought some to take back with us.
The GOJOs were moving on to some other destination and after a lot of noisy activity left the village in their bus. In the extreme calm that followed, we got ready for the next adventure. A Bullock Cart ride! The Kelkars had arranged it for us and we excitedly got in. We were taken round the whole village. A lot of the village people smiled as our bullock cart rolled past the green plantations and cottages of Dive Aghar. I wondered fleetingly if the ride was meant to amuse us or make us the source of amusement!
We visited two old temples on the way and came back to our cottage. We said our goodbyes and thankyous and left Dive Aghar behind with the promise to return soon.
We drove back to Mangaon and then to Kolad on the Mumbai Goa highway. From there we took a turn to go to Roha. We visited a dear friend and her three month baby. Her mom had prepared a special lunch of Puran Polis for us. We took our leave and started the return journey home.
Staying at Kelkar’s (This is not a hotel but a cottage with very basic facilities. We were charged Rs 600 per night)
02147 – 224242
24460867 (Pune Contact Number)
Eating at Bapat’s
02147 – 224377