With lush resorts and beach shacks galore, Alibaug has always been a weekend getaway for people living in Mumbai and Pune. In the recent years, it has been garnering more attention from people across states, who head here to explore this relatively unknown beach town. Alibaug may seem like a great destination for a weekend trip to a hidden beach, but remember that the threat of Covid follows you around no matter where you go. Read up about traveling to Alibaug during Covid for a comprehensive rundown of the scene.
Alibaug is a town that is regionally part of Raigad, located on the Konkan coast of Maharashtra. It is 110 kms south of Mumbai. Getting to Alibaug is relatively easy for most, and even involves a fun ferry ride if you’re headed here from Mumbai. However, the Covid pandemic has brought about certain travel restrictions, so make sure you keep abreast of them before you plan a trip.
As of June 14, all people entering the state of Maharashtra are required to submit a negative RT-PCR report. You should also have uploaded it on the online portal, and filled a Self Declaration Form. Passengers will also be screened for symptoms upon arrival.
The state of Maharashtra overall is under a lockdown until June 15, but rigidity differs from region to region. The district of Raigad, of which Alibaug is a part of, has been declared ‘very critical’ in the light of the rising number of cases. The borders to this district are sealed, and a full lockdown is in effect.
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport is the nearest airport to Alibaug, located in Mumbai. It is a 3.5 hour drive away. Make sure you have your negative RT-PCR report with you, and that it is valid. These norms apply to both international and domestic passengers.
The nearest major railway station to Alibaug is the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus at Churchgate in Mumbai. It is well connected to other major cities in India. Smaller stations that are the closest are in Roha and Panvel, 37 kms and 47 kms away respectively.
Alibaug is well connected to nearby cities like Mumbai and Pune by road, and is easily accessible. NH 66 is the major highway that passes near the town.
Taking the ferry to Alibaug is the fastest way to get from Mumbai to Alibaug. Head to the Gateway of India in Colaba, and board a ferry to the Mandwa jetty. The ferry ride can take around an hour, and half that time if you travel by speedboat. You can also hop onto the bigger Ro-Ros that offer air conditioned seats and enable you to traverse across with your vehicles. There are several ferries that operate within the day and services run from 6 am to 6 pm.
The main attraction in Alibaug is definitely the many beaches it shows off. Head to the Alibaug Beach for a great sunset, or the three-kilometer long Nagaon Beach where you can go snorkeling. Walking along Kihim Beach is having the green overgrowth on one hand and the blue of the sea on the other, while Murud Beach’s black sands and 300-year-old fort will make for stellar Insta-worthy photos. If you’re lucky to be there on a clear day, you can spot the stunning Gateway of India from the Mandwa beach.
Most people are unaware that there’s a population of Bene Israel Jews living in Raigad. One of the Indian Jew communities, they are now dwindling in number which is why you may have to call ahead if you intend on entering the Synagogue to admire it from within. The Magen Aboth (Hebrew for 'Defender of Brothers') Synagogue was constructed in 1910 for one of 13 Bene Israel congregations. These groups or congregations were organized throughout the Raigad district in the late nineteenth century.
The community’s presence was tangible in the region; initially traders from the Middle East, some chose to settle in small towns and villages of Raigad. In fact, the name ‘Alibaug’ was said to have been after a Bene Israel Jew by the name of Ali, a successful businessman who owned mango and coconut plantations. Locals once called the place “Alichi Bagh” (Garden of Ali), which over the years has become ‘Alibagh’. Today the synagogue stands as a testament to India’s diversity and as a place of worship to the Jews who live in the region.
The Kolaba or Kulaba Fort was built way back in 1652 by erstwhile warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It served as one of the Maharaj’s chief naval stations, and though it has gotten worn with the test of time, it is a protected monument today. The fort is surrounded by a sea of saltwater, yet has a well that has fresh water in it. There are also a few temples built in the fort. Look out for the carvings that adorn the wall; though faded, you should be able to spot tigers, elephants and peacocks. The fort is inaccessible during high tide, but you can walk to it during low tide. It is 2 kms away from Alibaug Beach.
Alternatively, you also have the Revdanda Fort and the Korlai Fort built by the Portuguese in the 16th century. The Korlai Fort was built over a sprawling seaport that was used by the Nawab Shah of Bijapur; the fort itself is huge, and it’s said that it could hold as many as 7,000 horses in its heyday.
Not your run-of-the-mill tourist attraction, the magnetic observatory was built by the British all the way back in 1904. It is also one of the few of its kind and the only such kind in all of Asia; there are 12 more magnetic observatories scattered around the world. The Observatory provides geomagnetic data related to geomagnetic field changes and geomagnetic storms.
No, in light of the current lockdown in the district of Raigad, venturing to Alibaug right now is a bad idea. The cases have increased, and the lockdown means non-essential movement isn't allowed.
Alibaug was never shut off from tourists during lockdown, although strict travel regulations issued by the Government of Maharashtra discouraged tourists from other states from visiting. As of the moment, it is inaccessible since its district is under lockdown.
The best time to visit Alibaug is between November and March. This is when the heat is bearable. Visiting from April to June means you may feel stifled in the afternoon hours, when temperatures can reach as high as 40°C.
Kashid and Alibaug are similar in many ways; both are coastal towns that are frequented for their clean, empty beaches. Though, Alibaug has more accommodation options that can also cater to higher budgets. What you choose depends entirely on you.
Three days in Alibaug is enough to get in some sightseeing and laze around on the beaches.
Alibaug is perfect for those seeking a laid back vibe away from urban chaos. But it doesn’t have much to see or do, and might be dull for some.
Yes Ola cabs are available in Alibaug, though their availability may differ.
Yes, the Ro-Ros will transport cars across to Alibaug.
Alibaug may be a ‘cool’ destination to vibe at, but be mindful of your surroundings. Beachwear is welcome as long as it isn’t too revealing. However, you’ll attract stares but no real harm. Ensure you have light cotton clothing for summer as it gets very hot.
Yes, you can go scuba diving at Murud Janjira near Alibaug. However, this is seasonal so ensure you call ahead.
There’s several great accommodation options for Alibaug, most of which comprise of resorts. A word of advice: if you’re depending on public transport, book your stay at a resort/hotel that is easily accessible and is near a more bustling area for safety.