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Harnai - Swadesee
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Harnai

This colourful seaside fishing village is not only host to one of the world's craziest fish markets, with a smattering of seaside forts it also has a rich history as the capital of the Maratha Navy.

History

Harnai was an important port city since the ancient times of the Silhadaras. Just off the coast, lies the massive Suvarnadurg fort, the largest and most important fort out of the several located in the area.

On the coast, there are three forts that helped safeguard the area – the Gova, Kanakadurga and Fattegad forts.

The world's craziest fish market

The fish market in Harnai is a microcosm for India. It is absolute chaos, yet bizarrely functional. Every morning and evening this makeshift market sets itself up on the beach itself. Customers come in from all over Maharashtra to buy fresh fish and seafood that comes in fresh from the sea. 

The market itself functions by people bargaining and haggling. Fisherwoman attract customers by trying to shout over their neighbours. All this while, there is constant movement along the shore as fresh fish is brought in on smaller boats and then transferred onto bullock carts, that take the catch towards the beach in order to be sold.  ​

Practical information

State
Maharashtra
District
Ratnagiri
Elevation
5 metres
Coordinates
17°80' N, 73°08' E
Distance from Mumbai (BKC)
240 km

Problems faced

Tourism is rapidly developing in the area, and many new constructions are illegally dredging sand from the beaches around, in the process, destroying a pristine nesting site for sea turtles and other marine life.