Alibaug which is also popularly known as the Goa of the state of Maharashtra in India is a coastal retreat which was developed in the 17th century by Kanhoji Aangre who the naval chief of King Shivaji’s Kingdom. This place is a famous getaway spot for people from nearby cities such as Mumbai and Pune. This coastal city which is a part of Konkan region has a rich history of defiance against British Navy by Kahnoji Aangre. In fact the first organized navy in India was formed in this moderately sized town.
The history of this place is punctuated by numerous battles that were fought between Aangre, the naval chief of Shivaji’s kingdom. The etymology of the name Alibag can be traced to a person named Ali who had many gardens and plantations. Therefore the name roughly translates to Ali’s garden. Moreover, being the headquarters of the Raigarh district this place had significant military importance which was cleverly utilized by Shivaji’s navy against the Portuguese and the British.
There are around eight to nine beaches in the city and it also has numerous other tourist attractions in the form of many forts and culinary delights consisting of fresh sea-food. Some of the popular beaches include Alibaug beach (main beach of the town), THAL beach which is around five Kilometers from the city, Varsoli Beach which has a naval base, Nagaon beach, Akshi Beach, Kihim-Navgaon Beach, Awas, Saswane, Rewas, Chaul Revdanda, kaneshwar Mandir, Mandawa, Kashid Beach, and Korlai Beach.
Some of the famous forts include the Kolaba Fort which is well-known for its history of military fortification by King Shivaji. Located near the ocean this fort can only be reached by boats on high tide and wading through waist deep waters in the monsoons. It was built in 1759. Other famous places include Murud-Janjira which is famous for being the only fort on the western coast which remained undefeated in spite of many attacks by the Dutch, Maratha and the East India Company.
Alibaug has a variety of culinary delights; however it is more famous for seafood and a variety of fishes such as Pompfret and Surmai can tantalize any connoisseur’s taste buds. Some of the local delights include bhakri (chapati) of rice powder, solkadhi (an invigorating appetizer made with the purple fruit kokam (garcinia) and coconut milk). Of course the ubiquitous coconut also finds its place in almost every food item made here.
- Reaching Alibag:
Reaching Alibaug is easy from the Gateway of India in Mumbai by availing of the services of a catamaran or a ferry. It can also be reached by buses from every part of Maharastra and it takes about an hour to reach this coastal town by bus. Another option is to take a train from Panvel which is about 85 kilometers away or taking a car or taxi ride which takes about an hour.
- Nearby Places:
The British period building that houses rare and valuable instruments like a magnatograph is built only in stone without any use of steel.
The observatory records magnetic movement within the earth’s’ crust and also magnetic storms caused by solar storms.
Tomb Of Kanhoji Angre
Kanhoji Angre was a much-revered and much-feared Sarkhel (Maratha navy chief), so powerful that Alibaug was almost an independent principality under him.
Angre lies buried a mere 5 minutes from today’s bus station at Kelkar Naka. The memorial there to Darya Samrat Sarkhel Kanhoji Angre, a raised, black stone structure is crumbling under the effects of the monsoon and improper upkeep.
Just outside the stone boundary that encircles the samadhi thrives a busy market.
Alibaug is the seat of District Administration of Raigad (formerly Kolaba) district since 1852. The name Kolaba is attributed to a Sea Fort Kolaba built by Shivaji the great, in 1680 to fight the mighty naval prowess of the Siddis’ (Abyssenians) of Janjira and the British of Mumbai. Kolaba fort is famous for many battles, between Siddis and Kanhoji Angre, the British and the Portuguese.
The length is 900 ft., width is about 350 ft., height is 25 ft. of the fort. Kulaba Fort is an old military fortification in India. It is situated in the sea at a distance of 1-2 km from the shores of Alibaug in the Konkan region of Maharashtra.
Khanderi and Underi are 2 island out of which one can be visited. (seasonal) island is situated in heart of ocean.( traveling is to be done by boat only). Small Sea forts, 5 km. away from Alibaug towards kihim and opposite the village of Thal.
Khanderi is written Kundra, Cundry, and Kenery. The island, which is a mile and a half long by half a mile broad, is larger and considerably higher than Underi, rising to the light-house cliff on the south. In former times the walls and fortifications were more regular and better adapted for defense than those of Underi.
Underi is written Undra, Ondara, and Henery. Small island near the entrance of Mumbai harbor, due south of the Prongs light-house, 1,200 yards from the mainland and opposite the village of Thal. Underi is smaller and lower than Khanderi and is nearly circular. Except for a small cove in the north-east side where boats lie, it is surrounded by rocks.
Varsoli beach is just 2 Km from Alibaug S.T. stand. Major attractions are fresh air, pollution free atmosphere, gardens of cypress, coconut and palm trees. The number one attraction of Varsoli is total peace and quiet. You can simply relax. Visit the beach at once.
It is situated just on the outskirts of Alibaug. It is relatively less visited site and as a result is a quiet beach with sparkling white sand and cleaner seawater. Varsoli is a small satellite village across Alibaug, complete with thick vegetation of coconut and Casuarina.