Diveagar, a tiny village, is part of a cluster of three beach towns in the Raigad district of Konkan – the other two are Shrivardhan and Harihareshwar. It has one of the best stretches of pristine clean beach with silvery sand. Its proximity to both Pune and Mumbai makes it a perfect weekend gateway for the city dwellers. The extensive natural beauty and greenery of the Konkan are on full display here, as the village is full of Supa, Coconut, and Banana orchards. Diveagar is famous mainly for the Suvarna Ganesh temple. The fresh air, tender sand, and a swimming friendly beach makes Diveagar popular among locals and tourists alike.
History and Significance:
Legend has it that sailors, who were on board a ship caught in a storm, were worried about the impending doom. They prayed to the Gods for their safe passage to the shores. The gods answered their prayers and the sailors saw a light far away. Guided by the distant light, the sailors set their sails and reached safely to its shores. This place then became known as Deepagar, Deep meaning light and Agar meaning Orchards, until the 14th century. Back then Deepagar was a flourishing commercial city ruled by Satvahanas, Mauryas, Rashtrakutas and Shilahars. The first reference to the name Diveagar is found on a copper plate dated 973 AD known as Velasi Agar, as it was discovered in the Velasi village.
Main Attractions in Diveagar:
What attracts most people to Diveagar are:
It is a clean beach of fine sand that stretches for nearly 5 Kms. The southern part of the beach has its fair share of tourists especially in the evening during weekends. Those seeking adventure can find simple water sports activities like Banana rides, Parasailing while tied to a jeep, Water scooters, and Boat rides on the beach. These shacks also arrange for Dolphin safaris. In addition, there are horses and camels for joy rides. There are even a couple of food stalls on this part of the beach. However, to escape the crowds head to the northern end of the beach which is secluded and peaceful.
We enjoyed walking barefoot on the beach and collecting seashells which one finds in plenty, while starfish and fiddler crabs trudge along in wet sands. Early mornings are a playground for the local village folk, who race their bullock carts. The beach is flanked by trees and there are only a few entrances to the beach which are scattered along the length of the beach. During the day, one can easily spot them but in the night it is difficult to find the exits. If you venture out in the dark then do carry your flashlights as there are no floodlights on the beach.
In 1998, on the auspicious day of Sankashti Chaturthi (17th November), an ancient looking box weighing around 30 Kgs was found buried deep in the earth in a coconut orchard near the temple. This attracted the attention of not just the locals, but also of people from far and wide. Diveagar became famous overnight. The box was opened the next day in full view of the public. Inside there was a 24 Karat gold sculpture of Lord Ganesh weight 1Kg and 300gms. The golden Ganesh sculpture was carved in the southern style from Shilahar who ruled around 450 years ago in Konkan. It is believed that the sculpture was buried to protect the idol from the Arab pirates who looted and destroyed idols during that period.
In 2012, the Golden Idol of Ganesh was allegedly stolen from the temple. Thieves broke in through the roof, killing two temple guards, and stole the gold sculpture. They tried to melt it with the help of two goldsmiths. Police caught all 4 culprits, but not before the idol was permanently damaged.
Temples of Diveagar:
Shri Siddhivinayak Temple houses the village deity of Diveagar. The present temple, constructed in 1968, has a large assembly hall and sanctum. Inside rests the black stone idol of Lord Ganesh, and a copper statue of Annapurna Devi, dating back to Shilahara period.
Shri Siddhinath Bhairav and Shri Kedarnath Temples are Nath Panthi order and believed to exist since the 6th century. Both temples are made of purplish rock and have black rock idols that are not properly chiseled.
Shri Roopnarayan Temple houses a beautifully carved statue of Vishnu that dates back to 12th century. Even though the temple is renovated, the carvings inside the inner sanctum testify to the age of the temple. Most noteworthy among them are the carvings of Vishnu’s ten incarnations – i.e. Dashavatar along with the carvings of Brahma and Mahesh.
Shri Sundarnarayan Temple houses the statue of Shri Sundarnarayan which too dates back to the 12th century. The sequence of shank, padma, chakra and gada in the hands of the statue indicates that it represents Hari.
Shri Uttareshwar Temple on the northern end of the island is a Shiva temple. The temple is renovated but the inner statue point dates back to 12th century.
Gajantalakshmi Temple is recently built near the ST Stand with a newly built marble statue. However, Gajantalakshmi temples are rare to find. Behind the temple, out in the open, lies the old deity with its hands held by elephants in their trunk.
The original copper inscription is no longer available at Diveagar. Instead, two stone inscriptions can be seen, one on a platform near village Panchayat and the second one on the private land of Shri. Bal Joshi.
The first inscription has text in Arabic, but much of it is defaced as it is in the open. The only thing that can be read is that Nizamshahi Sultan Burhan Nizam Shah has been mentioned.
The second inscription is the Gadhegal. The sun and the moon are carved at the top with the inscription “Yaavat Chandra Divakaro”. It means that the below message is valid as long as the Moon(Chandra) and Sun(Divakar) exists. The inscription suggests that during the reign of Shilahar King Anant Dev, the lord of Mahamandaleshwar, an official named Ram Mandalik gave alms of a cottage to one Ganapati Nayak. The text is written in the text style from 1294 AD. Below this text is a repulsive carving of a donkey in forced sexual act with a woman. This suggests that whoever doesn’t accept the presents will be punished severely. We have given this information merely to present a slice of history.
Things to do around Diveagar:
- Visit Shrivardhan and Harihareshwar, the other two beach towns in the Raigad district that have pretty beaches and beautiful temples.
- Drive along the coastal road from Diveagar to Harihareshwar. Along the way, one passes through vast stretches of Arabian sea peppered with fishing trawlers, colorful fishing villages like Bhadrakhol, secluded beaches and in some places an intricate web of mangroves.
- Visit Devkhol for its ancient temple with beautiful carvings of Gods and Goddesses. The surroundings are a Bird-watcher’s paradise as one can spot a variety of local migratory birds.
- Visit the sea fort of Janjira and Padmadurga near Murud via Dighi.
- Trek up to the hidden fort of Madagad to enjoy excellent views of Murud creek in the North and Bankot creek in the South. The trails up to the fort pass through a thick forest that is home to wild boars and panthers, and it is best to hire a local guide before venturing into the forest.
- Cross the Bankot jetty by a local ferry that carries the car, and then drive up to the Bankot fort to enjoy excellent views of Harihareshwar beach.
- Visit natural underground springs – “Gangasthan” off the road to Borlipanchatan, that emerge from five cisterns at specific intervals. Water springs forth intermittently due to an underground siphon system.
Where to stay
MTDC’s Exotica Resort is the best place to stay in Diveagar if you are not on a tight budget. Otherwise, one can find a lot of guesthouses and homestays in Diveagar with locals offering rooms in their houses. Check out the MTDC website for booking cheap guesthouses.
Where to eat
There are not many restaurants in Diveagar. If you prefer unlimited food buffet’s, then MTDC’s Exotica resort has great food at a relatively higher price. Otherwise, check with the locals and ask around. Many houses will prepare home cooked food on request. This is the best way to enjoy the local seafood and chicken delicacies in the village.
Getting There and Around:
The best way to explore and get around Diveagar is with your personal vehicle.
From Pune, one can reach:
Via Tamhini Ghat:
From Pune, reach Chandani Chauk and travel towards Paud along the Pirangut Road. At Paud take the road to Mulshi Dam to reach Tamhini Ghat. Once you cross Tamhini Ghat, turn left at Vile to reach Nizampura. Here continue travelling towards Mahad until you reach Mangaon. Turn right 500 mts. after Mangaon ST Stand on SH 97 towards Mhasala. Turn right again on SH98 after Mhasala – Arathi Road Junction – Diveagar.
Via Bhor Ghat:
From Pune, take the Pune — Bangalore Highway NH4, all the way until Khed Shivapur. This is a 4 lane highway and the road conditions are excellent. Turn right just ahead of Khed Shivapur at Bhor Phata to proceed towards Varandha Ghat. From here reach NH – 17 at “Hotel Sagar” just outside Mahad, and then turn right towards Mangaon. Get off the highway at Lonere Phata to Goregaon, and the drive to Mhasala. Turn right again on SH98 after Mhasala – Arathi Road Junction to reach Diveagar. The Varandha ghat road is not smooth, so beware of the bad roads if you opt for this route.
From Mumbai, take the Mumbai – Goa Highway.
Drive from Panvel until Mangaon on NH66 – Mumbai Goa Highway. Turn right 500 metres. after Mangaon ST Stand on SH 97 towards Mhasala. Turn right again on SH98 after Mhasala – Arathi Road Junction – Diveagar.
If one is travelling by Public transport, then ST buses run from Chinchwad & Swargate in Pune and Thane & Mumbai Central in Mumbai.
- From Chinchwad via Paud @ 6:00 am
- From Swargate via Paud @ 12:30 pm
- From Thane Central Bus station @ 05:45 am
- From Mumbai Central @ 08:30 am
- From Mumbai Central @ 02:00 pm
In addition, there are bus services that run to Shrivardhan,Borli, and Dighi. One can take the ST Buses for those destinations and then travel to Diveagar in an auto-rickshaw.
The best way to get around Diveagar is by foot, as the village is tiny and really beautiful. However, one can easily find an auto-rickshaw to travel around and visit distant places.
Best time to Visit
The winter months between November and February are the best time to visit Konkan in general and Diveagar in particular. However, the monsoon is a good time to enjoy the fresh greenery in Konkan. However, heavy rains may confine you to your rooms.