We usually look for warmer places to visit in December. We have been to Kerala during this season and a couple of times to Goa. Since the time we started driving to places, we discovered that having a car can totally turn around your experience of any place.
Looking for beach towns near Pune, we came across Diveagar. It looked perfect for a 4 days’ trip – it is known for its clean beach, we could reach there in 4.5-5 hours’ drive and it is one of the less explored places near Pune. Though we came across quite a few bad patches, the overall drive was pleasant via Tamhini Ghat.
MTDC’s Exotica Beach Resort is full of greenery, and is for anyone looking for an idyllic place. It is located right next to the beach. It is perfect for a rejuvenating and relaxing trip. Actually there are very few resorts in Dive agar. Homestays are the more popular options, and cheaper too.
Exotica has just 20 cottages. Each cottage has a parking spot in front of it (which is a major plus point). Cottages are small and basic but clean. Each cottage has some space around it, some have hammocks, some have sitting space etc. There are some cottages with sit-outs too but we opted for the one without sit-out since we have never actually used this facility anywhere. The staff is helpful and we did not have any problems.
The play area was quite a favourite. Since we went there during weekdays, we had almost all the place to ourselves. I and the better half rediscovered badminton after quite a long time. It was so much fun. Our 5 year old tried his hands at Table Tennis and Carom. There were swings and hammocks, or you could just sit and read newspaper or books. We spent quite a lot of time lounging there.
The resort is a quiet place, filled only with the tranquil sounds of nature like those of waves, crickets, birds, etc.
Note: I read a few bad reviews about this resort and frankly, most of the details were not wrong. It just highlights the fact that each one of us travel with different expectations and perceptions. For example, the cottages were not out of the world, they were basic; but the overall experience was great for us.
The resort had a decent (though repetitive) breakfast buffet but their menu generally missed the local flavors. They had the standard Indian fare which is available everywhere, the Paneer Butter Masalas and the Chicken Chillies! Though we are not into sea food, we wanted to taste the local flavors. So, we would have our breakfasts at the resort but have all the other meals outside. Even outside, the best food options are the lunch homes offering authentic Konkani style special thalis. We tried food at Patil Khanaval and Rane Bandhu. Both these had been recommended by someone at the resort and they were, apparently, quite popular among tourists. The Chicken Thali was delicious and the food in general was reasonably priced. Both days, we spent less than Rs 300 a meal for 2 people.
It was a clean beach. In the name of water sports, there was parasailing attached to the jeep and All-Terrain Bikes. There were no shacks like Goa. There were 2-3 food stalls that sold usual snacks like Dosa, Misal Paav, Vada Paav etc. The beach would be deserted by 6.30-7 pm. And we did not find it safe to venture there at night.
We also planned to visit Shrivardhan and Harihareshwar but dropped the idea since we were staying next to the beach and saw no point in hopping to other beaches.
Dive agar is actually a village. We went for a long drive around the village and in the outskirts. The drive was captivating, with houses on one side and the beach on the other. The beach is flat, and we found quite a lot of kids playing cricket. There is hardly any crowd. If you step out at night, not a soul is visible. We did see a slew of cars while returning on Saturday though.
We missed visiting the beach early morning during this trip. Since I wake up early at home, I really kept the alarm away during my trip, and woke up late every single day.
We also visited the Murud Janjira Fort. It was a different experience too. One needs to take a ferry ride, along with the vehicle, and then drive to Rajapuri, from where a sail boat takes you to the Fort. Read more about this monument here.
Diveagar is strongly recommended for a relaxing and peaceful weekend trip. The operative words here are beach, place near pune, peace….you got the drift, right? Do not expect anything else.