Every monsoon, I prefer to explore a place that develops a different aura around itself in that season. Just like Goa, which mostly known for its beaches also develops into a lush green paradise in the rains and offers the most serene (non-seaside) sights to any traveler who may want to drop in. Since time was a constraint, a one day intensive trip to Goa was out of the question and so locations across the Konkan Coast in Maharashtra which could easily be accessed within five hours by Public transport from Mumbai entered my radar. And thus the coastal town of Guhagar which is around 1.5 hours away from Chiplun by bus became my travel destination.

Guhagar Monsoon
The scenic and beautiful Konkan Coast

After almost 4.5 hours of travel from Dadar Railway Station in a Second Class Coach of the Janshatabdi Express, I reached Chiplun at 10 am. After a quick snack of the local Usal Pav, I boarded a rickety State Transport Bus for Guhagar. The Usal Pav was a life saver for me as it kept my tummy relatively full for a long day to follow and was the only meal that I could have in the day. Remember that in most parts of Maharashtra, if one is in doubt regarding what to eat, the good old Usal Pav (Lentil and Pulses Curry with Bread) can be your steadfast culinary companion. With the energy derived from the Usal Pav, I could manage to soak in with greater vigor the sights and the sounds of the monsoon throughout the journey which was the only thing pleasant in the otherwise uncomfortable bus ride at least till Guhagar.

Guhagar Monsoon
Usal Pav, a special dish of Maharashtra, India

Known for its pristine beaches and temples, Guhagar literally means Cave House. Once at Guhagar, I struck a deal with a rickshaw driver outside the Local Bus Stand to cover a few locations in and around a radius of 25 kilometers and which mostly included temples and a couple of beaches. My first stop was the popular Vyadeshwar Temple which is located at a little distance away from the bus stand. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva but also has shrines dedicated to Surya, Ganesh, Durga, and Vishnu. These four deities combined with Shiva form a divine group of five called ‘Panchayatana’ with Shiva at the center and is a regular feature of Shiva temples in Maharashtra. Vyadeshwar also is the ‘Kuldevta’ or the family deity of the Chitpavan Kokanastha Brahmins of Maharashtra. My next stop was to be the famous Durga Devi Temple nearby which though renovated and no more in the traditional style still has a beautiful water tank adjoining it. The darshan of Lord Shiva is never complete without the Darshan of his ‘Shakti’ who is Durga, and so having completed this necessary ritual and having got my share of divine bliss moved ahead to Hedvi village, the abode of a unique temple dedicated to a ten handed Ganesh.

Guhagar Monsoon
My ride throughout the trip

At this point, my rickshaw driver told me that since I was interested in temples, he would take me to a small private temple that is a little off the track from the route to Hedvi. Located at Asgoli, a small hamlet near Guhagar, I was greeted with a typical postcard version of a Konkan Village in the monsoon. Surrounded by several seasonal streams overflowing due to the rains, the temple was a sight to behold. After appreciating the Almighty’s creation both within the temple and outside, we moved to Hedvi, our next stop.

Guhagar Monsoon
The pristine Velneshwar Beach on a cloudy monsoon afternoon.

The Dashabhuja Ganesh Temple literally meaning Ten – Handed Ganesh Temple at Hedvi had only the temple priest and me in the surroundings. Dating from the Peshwa era, the temple is located in the lap of nature with a distant view of the ocean.A few seasonal waterfalls were also visible nearby. From the Hedvi temple, I decided to visit the nearby Bahamangal cliffs where the crashing sound of the sea waves hitting the rocky edges of the cliffs are a treat for the senses. But I had to cancel that plan due to the paucity of time and head to Velneshwar Mahadev Temple which was next on my itinerary. By now the intermittent rains had ceased for a while and the sun was playing hide and seek along the entire stretch to Velneshwar. After a quick Darshan at the temple, I moved to the nearby beach where the deafening roar of the monsoon sea under dark skies gave me goosebumps and shall remain etched in my memory forever.

Guhagar Monsoon
Durga Devi Temple, Guhagar

Then my trip was done and had to hurry quickly to Guhagar Bus Stand which was a good 15 kilometers away from Velneshwar since my return train from Chiplun was going to arrive at 6 pm I had only three hours to reach Chiplun. After an eventful trip in the surroundings, I finally reached Chiplun at 5:30 pm to board the train back to Mumbai and wrap up quite an eventful trip with memories etched forever.