Sometime last year, after immersing the Ganesha idol (post Ganesh Chaturthi) into some dirty makeshift water tank in Magapartta, i decided that the following year, i would immerse the idol only into the sea. Fast forward to 2011, Ganesh Chaturthi was done with and Lord Ganesha was waiting for his meeting with the sea. It did take some time (few months!), but it did happen. Well, the nearest beaches from Pune are on the Konkan coast. On every trip to the Konkan, i have made deliberate attempts to go further south. So, this time, for us and Ganesha, Karde Beach was chosen as the place to go.
Karde beach is a non-descript beach to the north of Dapoli. If you are looking for a nice, clean beach without the maddening crowds, then this is a good option. The waters are calm, the sand clean and the beach is quite long too. You can do parasailing/ATV in the evenings and boat rides for dolphin watching are available in the mornings.
How to go to Karde Beach from Pune (from Magarpatta): Cross the ghats either through Tamhini, Varandha or Mahabaleshwar, reach NH17, cross it, drive to Dapoli. Karde is around 9 kms north of it. More Details: Check the map below. There are multiple ways of reaching Dapoli. There are shorter internal routes once you cross NH 17 (Goa highway), but many are pretty deserted and it would be difficult to get any help if needed. So, it is better to stick to NH17-> Khed -> Dapoli -> Karde, rather than try to reach Karde through Mandangad. Regd crossing the ghats, your choice depends on multiple factors like familiarity/time available and interest. Pune to NH17 through Varandha is the fastest. Both Varandha and Tamhini are very scenic in the monsoon, but varandha is more deserted. If you are travelling in the late evening, go for the Mahabaleshwar route, though the descend into NH17 through the Poladpur Ghat is a bit tedious and long (again, very scenic in the proper season). The last 2 kms from Dapoli to Karde are through kuchcha road and the vehicle can take quite a beating, but there is a ST bus on this route too!
On the konkan side, it is fanciful to name hotels such as beach-side, on-the-beach, sea-view etc, but more often than not, the sea view is from the terrace on the 4th floor! But, in Karde, every hotel is on the beach because, they cannot be anywhere else. There is one kuchcha road passing next to the beach and this is the only road in this area. So, all hotels are right there. The arrow in the image below shows the hotel where we stayed –> Hotel Seaface, 1000 bucks a night with a great balcony facing the sea.
We went to the beach in the evening as well as in the morning. It was a cloudy day so the golden light during dawn/dusk was absent. But it was fun with Akshara bravely (bravely, because she had refused on all the previous trips to the beach) getting into the water and playing with Hari.
But then, we had come here with a purpose, a holy purpose! Our first attempt at getting the kids to immerse the Ganesha was washed away, literally, by a wave! Then, a small search for the missing Ganesha was done and we found him, wet but still in one piece. Then Vidhya went a bit further inside and did the holy immersion.
Places to see near Karde: If you go a little to the north, you will reach the fishing village of Harnai. This place is famous for the fish auction which happens twice a day. Also, there are three forts/structures next to each other worth a visit along with the suvarnadurga island fort.
Driving further north will take you to Anjarle. The Anjarle Ganesh temple is noteworthy for the Ganesha idol with the trunk turned the other way. There is a long bridge connecting Harnai and Anjarle which makes for a good viewpoint. To avoid going through the extremely narrow streets of Anjarle, you can take the bypass (MSH4 – scroll a bit in the map below). The views of the coast are amazing from this road.