Prior to journey, during planning, I did lot of research (obviously using Gogale Devta) but got very sketchy information about full route, some information in bits and pieces was though available. That made me to take a resolve to do this journey and put a very informative post to bring in clear picture / advice for others.
The verdict even before completing this post - take this road at least one way if not both ways, even to Goa. You avoid bad traffic (but you may encounter bad roads in few patches) and the peace of mind due to scenic beauty and sea shore for company. You will never regret it.
Our out bound travel was on conventional lines, Super express, Goa Highway and State Highway. Our return leg started at Ganpati Pule in Ratnagiri district and finished at my home in Colaba, Mumbai after a 2 days drive, one stopover, 4 ferry boats across the rivers / creeks. The total coastal run was 397 km except a small patch of few km between Dabhol and Dapoli where I took SH 96 on local advice rather than MH SH 4.
See the map for the whole route below-
If one looks at time, distance and Road used chart, this is how it appears:-
|Time - Distance - Road Used Chart|
|Time||Location||Km ex GP||Road Used|
|1040||Left Ganapati Pule||0|
|1110||Reached Jaigad Ferry Jetty||20.5||MH SH 4|
|1130||Landed at Tavsal Jetty||20.5||MH SH 4|
|1155||Hedavi Dashbhuja Ganesh||31||MH SH 4|
|1215||Left Hedavi||31||MH SH 4|
|1250||Reached Vadyashwar Guhagar||54||MH SH 4|
|1405||Left Guhagar||56||MH SH 4|
|1435||Reached Dhopave Ferry Jetty||71.6||MH SH 4|
|Missed ferry, next at 1515||MH SH 4|
|1525||Reached Dabhol||71.6||MH SH 4|
|Anjarli via Dapoli||SH 96 / MH SH 4|
|Anjarli Kelshi (un-numbered road)||un-numbered|
|1650||Get on to Velas Kelshi road||124||VK road|
|Got on to Kuccha Road at Panhali Block||Kuccha Road|
|Reached Sakhari - Better road||un-numbered|
|1955||Reached Vesavi Jetty||173||un-numbered|
|2015||Landed at Bagmandala Jetty||173||un-numbered|
|Time||Location||Km ex GP||Road Used|
|Shrivardhan town||Sh 99|
|1145||Reached Dighi Jetty||227||Srivardhan - Dighi road|
|1215||Landed at Agardanda Jetty||227||un-numbered|
|1235||Rajapuri Parking (Murud fort)||235||un-numbered|
|1515||Left Rajapuri||235||Revdanda Murud road|
|Revdanda||Revdanda Alibag Road|
|1745||Stopped at Poynad||302||NH 166A|
|Vadkhal Naka||NH 66|
|Kasarbahr - Dolghar||Switch to SH 104 / NH 348|
|to Belapur||NH 348A|
|Belapur Vashi||Palm Beach road|
|2057||Reached Home (Colaba)||397||Sion Panvel HW and EF Way|
Day I - 05 March 16
Stage I - Ganpati Pule to Guhagar.
This part of the trip was done on MH SH 4 (also called Sagari Mahamarg) all the way from Ganpati Pule till Guhagar. It is a real coastal road with attended delight of having sea nearly running parallel to you through out the journey.
The road surface is mostly good and in some places it is drive-able. However approaches to Jetty / exit from jetty for about 4 to five km on either side are narrow and the the road surface is poor at both Jaigad and Tavasal,
|Fare Rs 230 for car+driver and 3 passengers|
The map of the travel looks something like shown below:-
If the map is studied properly, it emerges that travel time using MH SH 4 that we used and MSH 4 (major SH 4) seen inland is the same. The gain however is, Mh SH 4 distance is less (54 vs 76 km) so less fuel expense and also the company of water front, scenic beauty and ferry crossing are bonus.
Guhagar has famous Vyadeshwer temple, a very beautiful Shiva temple and a Durga Devi Temple. This place also has a pristine beach which we did not visit (middle of the day is not a time to visit a beach.
Stage II - Guhagar - Velas Via MH SH 4.
Initial stop was Dhopave to catch a RORO ferry to Dabhol (Enron fame, incidently, Enron Power Station is in Dhopave and not in Dabhol). Left Guhagar at 1405. Guhagar to Dhopave (about 16 km) was done in was done by MH SH 4 in 30 min. We reached Ferry Jetty at 1435 and thus missed the 1430 ferry by 5 min. Had no option but to wait for 1515 ferry.
|Fare Rs 160 for car+driver and 3 passengers|
We reached Murdi and the nightmare started. We took a un-named road which was scenic but narrow and with mostly poor surface till Kelshi. At Kelshi the road improved as it was laid fresh but right in the middle of the village the road was blocked for relaying. We took a detour through narrow unpaved roads and came on to Kelshi - Velas road which was nothing better.
Continuing on Kelshi Velas road till the bridge on river crossing we came across a junction of a road going straight and a road going left. We took the left road on Google Maps navigator's advice. Since it looked coastal we also felt this to be right road. This is where our nightmare became of highest level like the image below
It was narrow, going mostly parallel to the route that we took from Kelshi, just that it was across on the other bank of the river. Worst thing was there was no surface at all. It was all Bauxite filled rad soil with tracks such as made by bullock carts. Two vehicles could not cross without one reversing and creating space for other.
Driving on that road, if it can be called one, was a test of driving skills, vehicle and also patience. We felt stupid on that road but more than that we felt bad for villagers staying there. It was in Velas that we were told that we should not have taken the left turn from the bridge and continued straight on tar road which was supposed to have been better!
|Route Not Recommended - Very Bad Road|
We reached Velas by 1830 by the time the Tortoise Release effort was over but no hatched tortoise were found then. Thereafter we visited Mr Mohan Upadhaye's house for a small documentry on Turtle hatching on Velas Beach and left for Harihareshwer by 1930.
Stage III - Velas _ Hariharishwer.
Route between Velas and Harihareshwer (Via Vesavi - Bagmandala Ferry) is given below :-
The comment given earlier about approaches to / from Jetty are true for the whole route. They are narrow and have badly maintained surfaces.
|Fare Rs 160 for car+driver and 3 passengers|
Taking 2000 ferry, we reached Bagmandala and thereafter reached Harihareshwer at 2030 hrs. Thus our first day tryst with Coastal Road (in MH SH 4, Some SH and Some unnamed roads) finished in a total of 10 hrs time including halts.
Day II - 06 March 16.
Stage I Harihareshwer - Murud Janjira.
The travel plan was to go from Harihareshwer to Murud Janjira (Rajapuri) via coastal highway and then cut across to Roha - Pali and then to Super Express for Mumbai for a faster return trip to Mumbai.
But it is said that the man proposes and God disposes (mostly for good though). Our car was giving mechanical trouble since last two days while reversing. As we started from Harihareshwer at 1000 hrs the same trouble started appearing while driving forward too. That got us worried about our plans. More about it later. The route map for this stage is as shown:-
Except for the worries on mechanical trouble, the journey was smooth. The road surface (with exception to jetty approaches) was very good. Roads were reasonable wide too.
We crossed Srivardhan by SH 99. Srivardhan to Dighi Jetty was done by Srivardhan - Dighi road via Borali (Boralipanchatan). Again beautiful road through hills, woods and sea shore. We reached Dighi Ferry Jetty (last Boat crossing on the trip) at 1145 hrs. It took us one hr 45 min for a stretch of 50 km despite good road due to keeping speed under 50 km/hr because of the worries about car.
A word about Ferry to Agardanda. For quite some time a ferry runs between Rohini, further down the road on the right turn from Dighi road, to Agrdanda. Time table of which is given below
We took 1200 ferry from Dighi to Agardanda, reached in 15 minutes and then proceeded to Rajapuri parking after another 20 min drive (from where boat is taken for Murud Janjira Fort). We had already contacted Tata Motors and they were deputing a mechanic for inspection of the car at Rajapuri Parking. Since the mechanic was coming, I had to stay there, rest could go to the fort.
I got the car inspected by the mechanic who found the problem and said that it should be repaired. But he was of the view that I can drive it on my own risk at speed less than 60 km/hr with negotiating curves slowly to Mumbai. He further advised to take the Alibag route and not Roha Pali route since mechanical assistance from garages was available on Alibag route and not the other one which passes through Jungle (as per his input).
That disposed off our plan for quicker return junking coastal road (See God desired that we complete the journey through the coast only). After this activity, only thing left for me, as I had decided to take that risk of driving to Mumbai, was to wait till my people come back from the Fort. They returned by 1500 hrs.
Stage II - Rajapuri - Kashid - Alibag - Vadkhal - Colaba.
Our final journey in our affair with the coastal road started at 1515 hrs. Road was mostly good throughout. very few patches while crossing villages and towns enroute were bad. Despite mechanical trouble with the car it was possible to do 60 km and below throughout. The route of stage II took us through beautiful landscape as can be seen in the map.
We made rapid progress and stopped at Poynad at 1715 for refreshment after crossing Kashid and Alibag. Leaving Poynad we crossed Vadkhal at about 1850 and reached home via NH 166A, SH 104 (also called NH348) and NH 348A, Palm Beach road, Sion Panvel highway and finally Eastern Freeway. We finally reached home at 2057 hrs (before 2100 hrs). The good news was that the car held its ground and got us home safely.