We have a history of travel during Holi and Vengurla was our third trip during the Holi weekend for the third consecutive year after travels to Vizag and Akshi – Alibag. The Holi wala trip is like the last chance to enjoy before the sun starts beating down on us in the hot Indian summer. The Holi – days are hot and not at all comfortable on the beach. So, we explored the town of Vengurla during the day.
Port towns are usually smelly, stinking of fish and dirty – what with an economy built around produce from the sea. Vengurla was a port of some repute in the 17th century, extensively used by the Dutch and its anchorage was considered to be one of the best in India. Over the years, Vengurla, an important port of the Bijapur kingdom was plundered and destroyed twice for its wealth. For me the most interesting part of Vengurla’s history was that the great Sunil Gavaskar was born there.
Being an old port, Vengurla has a wonderful lighthouse in working condition on top of a hill which offers the most amazing views of Vengurla. This lighthouse houses a huge bulb kinda structure which warns and helps those sailing the seas around Vengurla. This is what the Vengurla lighthouse looks like from the inside.
The path to the lighthouse and its adjoining staff quarters is a long, winding climb to one of the highest viewpoints in Vengurla. A view of Vengurla beach from the lighthouse.
The rich port town of Vengurla is houses numerous warehouse as a testimony to its past and importance as a center of supplies. The cardamom sourced from Vengurla was in much demand in the western countries. Even today, the town has a rich and buzzing fruit market which stocks all kinds of fruits and vegetables – some of which I had never seen before.
We also had the chance to have a traditional Konkani meal there.
While the Konkani vegetarian meal doesn’t find many takers, the non vegetarian thali with fish fry is something which is cherished by every visitor.
We topped of this sumptous fare with some solkadi – which is coconut milk mixed with kokum and spices are added as per taste. Solkadi is considered to be a cooling drink that also helps relieve one of Pitta from the body.
Vengurla was a wonderful destination – easily one of the best beaches I have been to. The lack of tourist infrastructure was as always a boon and a curse. But the excellent location of the MTDC resort on Sagareshwar beach and the quaint Vengurla town more than made up for it.