Alibaug :A town on the Konkan coast which boasts of having hosted the whos who of Mumbai. A long line of celebrities and industrialists have bought weekend homes in this Konkan retreat due to its breath taking beauty and easy accessibility from Mumbai. Apart from Akshi, other beaches which dot Alibaug’s famous Konkan coast line are Thal, Varsoli, Nagaon, Kihim, Awas, Saswane, Rewas, Mandawa, Kashid and Korlai, with Kashid being the pick of the lot.
Alibaug is the seat of Raigad’s municipal council and due to its strategic location, it hosts a very lively fruits and vegetable market. And with my love for food, I wasn’t able to resist clicking a few snaps of the variety of fruits on offer.
The abundant rains and proximity to the Arabian sea ensure that the Konkan coast produces some of the most eclectic fruits and vegetables I have seen like white onions, palm fruit (Tadgola)jamuns, tamarind balls, water melons and cashewnuts. Apart from the fruits and veggies, Alibaug is also famous for its Konkani cuisine primarily consisting of sea food. It also has a large variety of fresh fish such as Pomfret, Surmai, Ghol, Saranga as well as dried fish.
In fact, Alibaug was named so due to its abundant plantations. Alibaug was once home to the Bene Israeli Jewish community which has since migrated away to places like Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Israel. One of the more famous members of Alibaug’s Jewish community was Bene Israelite Ali who used to possess many plantations in the area. Due to this the region came to be called as Alibaug (Ali’s Gardens).
One of Alibaug’s attractions is the Kolaba Fort – not to be confused with Mumbai’s Colaba. The Kolaba fort was fortified by Shivaji Maharaj after the whole of south Konkan came under his command.
We can reach the fort by a short ride on a motorboat. Safety equipment such as life jackets are provided by the boat operators and the journey to the fort is a very short one. This sea fort has a sweet water well – a structure very similar to that of the sea fort at Janjira.
The fort structure is decrepit and not unlike most of India’s crumbling monuments. Apart from the well, there is a small temple within the walls of the fort and nothing much apart from the usual fortifications built during its heydays.
How to reach Alibaug
For those travelling from Mumbai, there are ferries or catarmans available from the Gateway of India, regular MSRTC buses from Mumbai Central apart from the option of travelling by cars or even bikes. The roads leading to Alibaug are smooth and generally well maintained. And as is the case for most of Maharashtra, travel by MSRTC will be painful and beautiful.