Koyna and Konkan

During 15th Aug weekend, we planned a trip to Koyna region. Koyna is a region nestled in the Sahaydri mountains (western ghats) of Maharashtra whose claim to fame is Koyna Dam. Koyna Dam forms a lake in Sahayadri mountains which goes 70 km all the way up to Mahabaleswar (Tapola). It is one of the largest Hydroelectric dam projects of independent India and even Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru paid a visit here during its construction post-independence. It generates 560 MW of electricity.

Beautiful Koyna Dam



There is a small town called Koyna Nagar close to the dam which forms the base of this region. The town is around equidistant from two major towns Karad & Chiplun on west and east side on either side of western ghats. The route from Pune was to go south on NH-4 till Umbraj just before Karad and from there turn right on state highway to Chiplun via Patan. Once we are onto state highway the traffic becomes minial and greenery all around. Soon one can see mountains awashed with nubile grass on slopes and rugged green plains. There is a river which accompanies on the left which is full and clean. We stopped at several places to take in the surroundings.

There is a gentle ascend to reach Koyna Nagar. We stayed at the MTDC resort there which is around 1-2 km above the town on hill slope. It was an ordinary place though it was fully occupied due to holidays. The dam and its lake behind is the main attraction visible from various viewpoints. There is a Nehru Garden which is a nice place to relax and also to view a short documentary about the dam and its construction.

Koyna dam from distance

Koyna dam with background

Next day we went to a fall known as Ozarda which I had never heard of before. But it didn’t disappoint and was in full force. The waterfall is inside a protected park and one has to trek for 20 minutes to reach the base of falls though it is visible from far. The water was in such a force that it created a mist around and one could get wet evening being far from falling water. No one can dare stand under it anyways. The curved hill created a performance like an amphitheater.

Ozarda fall from a distance

small water streams around main Ozarda fall

Main Ozarda waterfall

Closeup of pointed rock taking pounding from the fall

Here we saw a huge boulder covered with moss and small flowers epitomizing the saying that ‘even rocks can breed flowers’.

Even rocks can breed flowers

This was peak monsoon time so territory around was splendidly green in all its hues and waterfalls every now and then.

One of many waterfalls

Back side of dam lake

Our red car in the midst of green

Next day our destination was Guhagar, a town at seashore going through the town of Chiplun. This was going to be a foray into Konkan region of Maharashtra which is famous for Alphonso mangoes. It was a nostalgic journey for me having come to this area some 18 years back with my cousin and sisters. We had come from Solapur, stationed at Chiplun and went to Guhagar and Velneshwar, another small town on the coast. All these years I remembered names of these towns. As soon as we rounded the bend at ‘Ghat Matha‘ which is the mountain pass to the other side of western ghats I knew I have seen this before. I have a faint memory of that time getting scared looking at the valley below with a small river while the ST bus swerved at every bend. This is ‘Kumbharli ghat‘ towards Chiplun. There is a hotel at the pass which is a view point to the valley below. Due to hills coming up in such a configuration that there is always wind at this point with clouds rising from the valley below. The Kumbharli ghat was so beautiful that morning that we stopped several times at various vantage points looking at the green hills covered with white clouds. The clouds were moving at fast pace presenting a fresh view at every blink. The road and mountain slope was misty.

Misty road at Ghat Matha

Clouds rising up in the valley

Taking a break on the ghat

Clouds clinging to hill tops like they are on fire

Seat to heaven

The hills here had lot of power transmission lines due to Koyna Dam. Sometimes I feel that though western ghats are very less in height compared to Himalayas but still they are as mysterious and unexplored as they are dense.

Transmission lines coming from Koyna Dam

Kids at roadside village

Slowly we got down the ghat and reached Chiplun. Again I tried to recall if I remember anything from 18 year trip back. However, the town did not give opportunity as it was congested and difficult to maneuver.

Chiplun to Guhagar was low lying hill drive with dense forest around.

Enroute Guhagar from Chiplun

Guhagar had few tourists who might have come due to it being Sunday. We went out to the sea shore. I remember this was my first ever sighting of sea in my lifetime when I came here when I was you young. The name Guhagar is forever etched in my memory. We walked around in the town. and had our lunch.

Beach at Guhagar

Later we headed to Velneshwar where we had even spent a day at my cousin’s acquaintance but couldn’t recall which house it was? The drive as it was till now scenic with undulating hills with densest greenery.

Just before Velneshwar town

We paid visit to the main temple in town which seemed to have been recently painted.I must have been to this temple but couldn’t recall.

Temple at Velneshwar

The beach seemed familiar with hump like hill at the background. The sea was rough but lot of catamarans were out there in the sea. It was mostly secluded as I could remember from my memory. How these places are stuck in a time warp.

Beach at Velneshwar visiting after 18 years

Catamarans out in the sea

After sometime we drove to Hedvi another coastal town famous for its Lord Ganesha temple. The temple was well-built and calm. The seafront was rocky though.

Seashore at Hedvi looking south

Soon we headed back as we wanted to cross the ghat till sunlight lasts. The drive up the ghat was fine. We stopped at the hotel at Ghat Matha to have tea & pakoras. They tasted divine in this setting. It was quite chilly in the evening there due to cool wind.

Shredded clouds in the evening in the valley

The hotel at Ghat Matha from distance

Next day we drove back to Pune via same route as we came.

16 Comments

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Dear Roopesh,

    Thanks for taking us to unexplored “Koyna” . The post is well narrated supported with awesome pictures.

    Your Hill’s pictures covered with clouds remind me of our recent trip to Gangotri / Yamnotri.

    I saw Ghat with many name of the places , what is the meaning of Ghat?

    Konkan region is one of the beautiful regions of Incredible India !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Roopesh says:

      Thanks Mahesh for appreciating my post. “Ghat” apart from its meaning of river bank in North India, means ascent and descent across a mountain pass in Marathi. So, “Kumbharli” ghat is the stretch of road where we ascend, go over the pass and descend. In Railways, this terminology is quite prevalent where any mountainous stretch is known as “Ghat” section. Not sure thought that wherever “ghat” appears in a name always means this. There is more on Ghat here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghat.

  • Gita AM says:

    Lovely post and photos

  • Vibha says:

    WOW…Green is the color that I have come to associate with your posts…lovely story and pic Roopesh…thanks for sharing.

  • VJ SHARMA says:

    Anther WOW…

    Wonderful photographs and beautiful place….

  • Manish Khamesra says:

    Roopesh,

    Its a beautiful drive. Yours and Manisha’s last post brings the unexplored beauty of Western Ghats. Its amazing. The pleasing part was also to go down with you through the nostalgic memory lanes.

    The fourth picture from top with a cow in foreground and an old watch tower in background reminds me of European setting, if we replace the watchtower with a church.

    Picture of rock with flowers is amazingly beautiful.

    And when I am scrolling back to see the pics again, I am feeling that I should stop commenting on individual pictures as all of them are superb. The seat to Heaven, clouded valley, sea shore, everything.
    Great travelling with you Roopesh.

  • Roopesh says:

    Thanks Gita, Vibha and VJ, Manish for liking my post.
    @Manish – Western ghats come alive in Monsoon. Though there are hills and forests in India but rarely two come together in such abundance that too close to sea. This time I used loads of pictures to let them talk. The only effort one has to take such pics is to go there, rest is taken care by setting :)

  • Ram says:

    Your brilliantly written post, equally well supported by some scintillating pictures, brought back the memories of the days when a very close friend started his career as a civil engineer at the Koyna Dam during its construction days. He used to talk about the beauty of western ghats and the Konkan region, which your pictures have shown so vividly.

    Thanks for taking us on a virtual tour of the places around Koyna.

  • hi, amazing post and beautiful photos of the western ghats. being in delhi my access to this side of india has been very limited and i don’t see the possibility of going there in the near future too so for now, i would just be satiate my desire to visit this area just by reading your post…very very nice..!!!!

  • ssk agra says:

    Very good Photographs and writting work

  • mrityunjay says:

    what a collection

    hats off to you

  • Jaycee says:

    Wonderful photos and good writing. You have made me to take to the roads with this article. Will update my experiences after the trip down the same route to Koyna Dam.

  • Roopesh says:

    Thanks Vasanth, ssk agra, mrityunjay and Jaycee for your kind comments.

  • Ajit says:

    Thanks Roopesh. I will be at Chiplun during this Independence weekend. Will be going to Koyna Nagar. After reading your blog I am excitedly looking forward to my trip!

  • Dr. Nitin Mohire says:

    Dear Roopesh,

    It reminds me my trek to Vasota and Kas

    You have done a great job, now some of us Realy understood why it is declared as World Heritage

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