In and around Aravali
AravaliAravali, home of Shri Dev Vetoba, lies in Vengurle taluka of Sindhudurg district in Konkan, an area surrounded by semi-circular hill ranges on 3 sides and pristine beaches on the other.
It is as if God created this area with loving care: teeming with breathtaking natural beauty, tranquility, sparkling blue waters, long stretches of pure, virgin beaches filled with silvery sand shimmering in the sunlight and cool sea breeze whispering through cashew and jackfruit, berry and palm trees, coconut groves and mango groves.
Straddling the Arabian Sea, Aravali has a long and serene beach called Sagartirtha, its silver sand untouched and undisturbed by the ravages of progress. The village is surrounded by 200 feet high mountains and hills.
Home of Literary LuminariesAravali occupies a unique place in the annals of Marahi literature. The doyen of literature, renowned novelist V. S. Khandekar lived in Aravali for 18 years, from 1920 to 1938. The literary giant, who was later conferred with Government of India’s Padma Bhushan honour as well as the Dnyanpith Award, the country’s highest literary distinction, lived in the nondescript house of local resident, Appa Rege, and worked as a lowly teacher in the then Tutorial High School at Shiroda, just a kilometer away.
Near Aravali is a hill named ‘Bhike Dongri’, where the novelist used to go after school and sit on a particular rock, enjoying a panoramic view of the sea and village. Here he got the inspiration and ideas for most of his works which he completed during his long stay in Aravali. The rock he used to sit on came to be known as ‘Khandekar’s Chair’, and for literary buffs today it is a place of pilgrimage.
Another famous literary figure closely linked with Aravali was the versatile Jaywant Dalvi, journalist, short-story writer, novelist, playwright and screenplay writer. He was born in Goa and brought up in Aravali in his family’s huge ancestral home close to the sea shore. The writer described the house variously in many of his stories and novels. A must-see attraction for the writer’s fans, the house still very much stands today, being presently occupied by his nephew who is one of the Devasthan’s Trustees.
The other attractions of the village include the Aravali Vaidyakiya Sanshodhan Kendra run by Aravali Vikas Mandal and the temple of Shri Devi Jagbai. Goa’s Fomento Group is coming up with a Star hotel in the village.
Aravali is surrounded by Shiroda, Redi, Mochemad, Ajgaon and Asoli villages.
ShirodaWith their proximity to each other, Shiroda-Aravali are called Twin-Villages. Shiroda’s main attraction is its breathtaking beach and its soothing greenery with densely covered palm trees swaying in the wind around the beach. Shiroda is also known for its colourful market which attracts nearby villagers for its sea-food, cashew crop, mangoes, spices, dried fish varieties and other goods. And it has the temple of Shri Devi Mauli. The village has Guruvarya A. V. Bawadekar Vidyalaya which was earlier known as Tutorial High School where novelist V. S. Khandekar taught for 18 years. It also has the R.G. Khatkhate library which is over 125 years old. Above all, however, Shiroda enjoys the unique distinction of being a place of historical importance. The Salt Satyagraha of 1930, initiated by Mahatma Gandhi at Dandi, took place here on May 12th 1930, as part of the Mahatma’s Civil Disobedience Movement. Over 90 local satyagrahis were arrested. The village still has the Mithagars - places where salt is created.
RediRedi is most famous for its ‘Swayambhoo dwi-bhuj’ (of 2 hands) Lord Ganesh. Over 6 and half feet tall, the singular idol materialised in 1976 and was installed in a beautiful temple. It also has Shri Devi Mauli, Shri Rampurush and ‘Swayambhoo’ Shiva temples.
Redi has an ancient sea side fort, Yashwant Gad, constructed on high ground. First built during the rule of Vijanagar Kingdom, the fort changed hands from Vijayanagar to Bijapur sultanate, Shivaji, Sawantwadi state and then to the British. Today it is in a crumbling state. Redi is also known as a mining area, with proximity of iron and bauxite mines. It houses a huge plant of Tata Metallic Company which produces pig iron. A proper port is also being constructed at Redi, though a small make-shift one had existed there for years.