Konkan coast is also known as Kokan and it is found in India. It is located in the western part of the country's coastline and covers the coastal districts of the western Indian state of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Goa. The districts covered by the Konkan Coast are Thane, Mumbai City, Ratnagiri, Raigad, Palghar, Sindhudurg, and Mumbai Suburban. Konkan coast stretches for 450 miles along the coastline and cover total area of 11,871 square miles. The topography of this region is generally rugged in nature.
Origin of the Name
According to Hindu legend, Sahyandrikhanda of the Skanda Purana, the coast was discovered when Parashurama shot his arrow and asked the god of the sea to put the boundary of Konkan coast where the arrow reached into the sea. The land was initially named Sapta-Konkana which means a part of the earth or a corner of the earth. The word Sapta-Konkana originated from Sanskrit naming.
Konkan coast stretches throughout the western coasts of the three states of India of Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Goa. Konkan coast borders the Western Ghats Mountains on the eastern side, the Arabian Sea on the western side, the Mayura River on the northern and Gangavalli River on the southern part. The larger part of the Konkan coast has forested areas, particularly in the slopes of the Western Ghats, dense cover of mangrove trees particularly in the estuaries, numerous coral reefs, different fish spawning areas, and a wide range of sea flora and fauna.
Urban Centers in the Region
Mumbai which is the state capital of Maharashtra is the Konkan’s largest city and the most populous with a population of about 12.4 million as of 2011. Mumbai lies within an administrative sub-division of Maharashtra and Konkan division. Other towns found in the Konkan coast include Bhatkal, Karwar, Honavar, Ankola, and Kumta.
Different communities inhabit Konkan coast, and the largest communities include Malvani, Vani, and Vaishya among others. There are also tribal communities which include the Konkana, Katkari, and Warli among many others. There are minority communities like the East Indian Christians, Jews, and Muslims.
Tourism in the Konkan coast
To reach Konkan Coast, one can travel by air, rail, or road. Konkan has beautiful sandy beaches, waterfalls, hills, forts, temples, and Konkani food and cuisines. There are also beautiful places which attract tourists, and they include the Harnai-Murud beaches, forts, Ganpati temple in Ganpatipule, and Ratnagiri town. Most tourists visit Malvan town to dive and also visit traditional resorts found within the town.
Threats and Conservation
Some areas particularly between Alibag and Mumbai, have suffered severe pollution from Mumbai’s solid waste and sewage, effluent from industries, and oil spills from ships. Some parts have been acquired for development hotels and industrial development, without taking into consideration the social and ecological impacts. All these have led to depriving the locals of their livelihood and employment as well as threatening the biological life in the region.
World Wide Fund for Nature in India in undertook the task of preparing a conservation plan that takes into account the communities in the area. The WWF Proposed 12 locations of scientific and social interest and five protected areas. The idea of having national parks and sanctuaries was not feasible for the Konkan coastline. However, the concept of creating a biosphere reserve which can reconcile the interest of both humans and wildlife was found to be the most ideal in the area.