Kelwa beach is a popular weekend getaway for Mumbaikars. Those who haven’t been here, this is a wonderful break from the routine. Laden with natural beauty and a maintained travel spot, hats off to whoever is responsible for its care. They are doing a satisfactory job for the tourists here.
The good part is you can make a weekend plan or a day out in spur of a moment. There are ample resort options if you want to stay and even economical options of lodge accommodations. A day out plan will require nothing more than information on how to get here. From Mumbai, it is a 2 to 2.5 hours drive to the beach. For people coming from northern regions, you can take the bypass from Palghar on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway No.8. For those who want to take train from Mumbai, it is much convenient to get here with direct local trains that have recently started from Churchgate to Dahanu. Do look up the timetable in advance to sync accordingly. The Kelwe road railway station is quite a remote station with few transport options, the dumdum(8 seater rikshaw) & bus.
The dumdum or bus ride from station to beach is approximately 5 Kilometers and very pleasant one. It starts with somewhat barren landscape and grows greener as you travel inside. On one side of the road you will find salt pans and the other with many oasis spots of green plantation.
As you get closer to the beach the greenery gets thick and resembles Konkan region. Technically, Palghar district is almost a part of Konkan region minus the red soil.
The Sheetala devi temple is an old pilgrim place for devotees and now renovated beautifully. There is carefully cultivated garden around the temple with beautiful flower and other show plants. The premise and the temple is maintained clean.
Various small eateries take care of your hunger pangs with quick snacks like Vadapav, Misal etc. If you are a group of 8 or more people you can order a vegetarian Maharashtrian thali or non-vegetarian Biryani in approx 1-2 hours. There are also full time restaurants in the vicinity. For stays, you can book lodge rooms on the spot at these eateries or book the resorts beforehand. A large travelers group is much economical in the lodging options and can cost you Approx. 800 -1000 for a group of 10. Resorts can be pricier but come along with their conveniences.
You have to pay a Rs. 5 ticket per person for the entrance at the beach but it is worth the cleanliness and hygiene maintained here. The ticket also covers lifeguard cost appointed for our safety. The public toilets are fairly clean. You even have changing rooms there, so a day out plan here is good idea too instead of booking for a stay.
Enough things to amuse you on beach like horse-cart ride, camel ride, four-wheel bike ride, savory chaat – ice candy – coconut water carts, toy sellers and a small playground for kids.
More Pictures here – https://flic.kr/s/aHskR1f6jK
Jharas is Winter green found only in the region of Vasai-Virar. Most of the vegetable vendors especially those who are not native and sometimes even natives like ‘maushis’ in eastern market of Virar haven’t heard of this leafy green. It just grows like that, probably like in the mushy areas around wells. The veggie is bitter in taste, slightly bitter than methi, so the proportion with other ingredients needs to be balanced while cooking. It is supposed to have medicinal value and therefore preserved by sun drying and stocked for the whole year. If you like methi, you will like Jharas.
After a lot of search (been on lookout for nearly 2-3 years) found this greens in the small market of Umbargothan- a pretty scenic village situated in between the road to Nalasopara starting from Agashi. Had to travel far but I’m not complaining because the evening travel by Dumdum (big rikshaw) was pleasantly beautiful with reddish-golden sun setting on the horizon and the road surrounded by luscious green fields. Hope the greenery never vanishes.
Below is the recipe for Jharas Vaal bhaaji in the video. The recipe is given by Ms. Bhagyashree Pandit. There are other ways to cook jharas like using in thalipeeth.
Hurry now before the season is gone!
Making Ukadhandi in our urban residences by Mrs. Manasi Milan Dharmadhikari.