Designer Krsnaa Mehta’s Hometown Tour to Alibaug 2.0

Stray off the town’s arterial road and venture beyond its well-trodden spots to experience the weekend getaway’s hip new face.

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Designer Krsnaa Mehta recommends checking out less-explored hideouts in Alibaug such as Revdanda (left) and Chaul (right). Photos by: Satish Parashar/Shutterstock

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In Alibaug, known for its sprawling, resort-like residences blessed with open spaces, pools and vast gardens, the home is no less than a destination—ask Krsnaa Mehta, founder of the lifestyle store India Circus, whose lavish penthouse, Vrindawan Awas, recently came up here. Deriving inspiration from the abundant reserves of nature around and his own creative impulses and modern-art sensibilities, Mehta’s multi-level property is a vaunted landmark in Awas.

“The beach is about 100 metres away, so I do my evening and morning walks there. We have a townhouse next door where I go and use the gym. There are many very influential people who have retired here or are working from here. So very often, we are invited to lunches and dinners and we reciprocate. We have a pretty active life—much better than Bombay. At least here you’re driving to someone’s home for dinner, where you sit out in the lawn and so on,” says Mehta, whose 6,000-square-foot abode in Alibaug has made all kinds of noise for its riot of elements and colours, reflective of the acclaimed decor consultant’s stylistic quirks and well-known preference for visual polyphony (think decadent gold wallpaper, different textile choices and eccentric figurines).

 

Designer Krsnaa Mehta’s Hometown Tour To Alibaug 2.0

Designer Krsnaa Mehta’s penthouse in Alibaug incorporates elements from local flora and fauna as well as his own flamboyant design sensibilities. Photos courtesy: Krsnaa Mehta

 

Also Read | Alibaug Getaway: Yoga, Ocean Views & Seafood Thalis for the City-Weary

 

“When I decided to make this home, I was looking at something at a height. At Awas, you don’t face the trees, you’re just above them and that’s the best part—making the most beautiful neighbourhood in Alibaug. It serves as my private sanctuary that blends space and time beautifully together,” says Krsnaa, who divides his time between Mumbai and Alibaug.

While Alibaug has been a preferred summer-home and second-home choice for Mumbai’s upper-class for decades, the need for distance and better communion with nature during the pandemic directed fresh focus on the lazy settlement first populated by Jews from Israel, and the Portuguese. Once a weekend-getaway favourite, this rustic, palm-fringed coastal town two hours from Mumbai has seen a meteoric rise as a destination to live and work out of in the past few years. We got on a call with Mehta to know his Alibaug 2.0 recos for both first-timers and frequent visitors.

 

Krsnaa Mehta’s Alibaug recommendations

“If you live in Alibaug, you will realise there are certain towns or villages worth visiting. There is Awas, then we have Chondi and Zirad. Then as you head further towards Alibaug, there are some very nice places such as Revdanda, Kashid and Murud. There’s a lot of activity happening in the whole belt. We’ve started one of our stores (India Circus) too, keeping in mind that people are doing up their homes and so it was a good idea. There’s also a very stunning, 16-acre Country Club that’s opened up. I would also recommend The Deli, a large food store and cafe on the outside, run by Chef Nitin Mongia. Another exciting place that’s opened up is SUJU’s (SUJU’s Art-cafe), which is run by the visual artist Sujata Bhagwat, and sells local food. 

There’s Indisauce, which does fabulous lobsters and crabs. For some fantastic pizza, there’s Buono Pizzeria, which does better pizza than Americano in Mumbai. The best part about accessing all these now is the convenience afforded by the Ro-Ro [ferry service], even during the monsoon. Otherwise, Alibaug would remain shut for four months, when the speedboats and ferries were not allowed.”

 

First-timers in Alibaug

“Unfortunately, tourists get the worst parts to explore. Most remain on the main road while passing through. When in Alibaug, always use Google Maps to find out what’s happening around you. In Awas, we have a large lake and a beautiful temple—there are ducks and monkeys around and it’s really picturesque. Then there are the historical parts of Revdanda and Chaul, where all the Portuguese and the British and the Jews have marvels of their architecture. The Portuguese ruins in Revdanda are particularly spectacular. Travellers should ideally ditch hotels and rent a bungalow, especially if they’re with family, get a local cook and experience local culture.”

 

Also Read | Weekend Getaways from Mumbai

 

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  • Prannay Pathak dreams about living out of a suitcase and retiring to the island of Hamneskär to watch films in solitary confinement. He is Assistant Editor (Digital) at National Geographic Traveller India.

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