Based upon my personal visit in October 2012, January 2016 and June 2019. Rajesh Deshpande © 2019. Destination Type – Beaches, Forts, Temples and Hills. Trip Type – Leisure
Click here to view photostream of Tarkarli
Surreal, tranquil, unspoilt are some words that best describe Tarkarli. Located on the southern tip of Maharashtra in the Sindhudurg district, Tarkarli is a sleepy hamlet about 7 Kms from Malvan. It boasts of rustic charm, friendly, simple, hospitable people and culinary delight of the Malvani cuisine.
Tarkarli is fast becoming a tourist hot spot. It’s shimmering beach is long, clean and has silver white sand. The water is azure and the atmosphere is mesmerizing. Down south, Tarkarli is flanked by Devbag, a village at the confluence of the Karli River and the Arabian Sea. Dolphins can be spotted at the confluence during sunrise when they flock for a feast of sardines. Another attraction is the Tsunami Island popular for water sports. The mighty Sindhudurg sea fort is to the north west of Tarkarli on the Kurte island about 3 Kms inside the sea off the Malvan coast. Regular ferries are available from Malvan Jetty to reach the fort (except in monsoons).
How to reach?
By Rail – Konkan Railway is the best option to reach Tarkarli from Mumbai. Kudal (45 Kms away) is the nearest railhead. The Dadar Madgaon Janshatabdi Express and the CSMT Karmali superfast Tejas AC train are the fastest trains to reach Kudal. Konkan Kanya, Mandovi and Matsyagandha express also halt at Kudal. From Kudal station, ST buses and auto rickshaws are available for Malvan, further from Malvan MSRTC shuttle bus service and auto ricksahws are available for Tarkarli and Devbag. From Mumbai it takes about 8 to 10 hrs. to reach Kudal and further 1 hour to reach Tarkarli.
By Road – ST buses ply to Malvan from Mumbai, Pune and other cities of Maharashtra. Goa’s Kadamba buses ply between Malvan and Panaji. Mumbai Goa buses operated by private operators like Canara Pinto, Naik, Kaloji and Paulo travels stop at Kudal. It could take anything more than 11 hrs. to reach Tarkarli from Mumbai through the NH-17 (Panvel – Kochi highway). This scenic route passes through the konkan coastline from Vashi, Panvel, Pen, Vadkhal, Nagothane, Mangaon, Mahad, Poladpur, Bharne Naka, Chiplun, Hatkhamba Phata, Lanja, Rajapur to Kasal. From Kasal turn right for Malvan which is 26 Kms ahead and further to Tarkarli which is 7 Kms from Malvan. A better and faster route from Mumbai is the expressway till Pune and NH-48 (old NH-4) ahead passing through Katraj, Shirwal, Satara, Karad and Kolhapur. From Kolhapur city drive towards Gaganbawda and drive down through Karul ghat for descending down to Vaibhavwadi in the Konkan region. Drive further to reach NH-66 (old NH-17) at Talere. From Talere take NH-66 to reach Kasal. Take a right turn at Kasal and drive towards Malvan to reach Tarkarli.
By Air – Dabolim Airport, Goa is the nearest airport at approx. 130 Kms. It takes about 3 hrs. to reach Tarkarli from Goa airport.
Things to do
Tarkarli and Devbag is a perfect destination for a fun filled, relaxing and rejuvenating holiday with family. Stroll on the beach or swim in the sea, enjoy the thrill and excitement of water sports like snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing, boat rides, parasailing, go on an excursion to Sindhudurg fort, indulge in photography, Dolphin spotting or simply do nothing. If the idea of a holiday is to be in the lap of nature, adore its sheer beauty, experience silence and simplicity, then Tarkarli is the perfect destination
Tarkarli is not a full service tourist destination like Goa hence do not expect 5-star luxuries. Resorts in the region are clean and provide all basic amenities for a comfortable and relaxing stay, although not star rated. Comfort levels may vary between 2 and 3 stars. Locals although very friendly, simple and hospitable people are god fearing and conservative. Tarkarli lacks the hustle bustle of Goa and the overload of luxuries like Ayurvedic massages and therapies, spa’s and yoga centers. Tarkarli is not a destination for souls reaching out for intoxication, rave parties and night life for which Goa is ideal. Marathi is the most widely spoken language along with it’s Malvani dialect. Hindi and English languages are also spoken or understood by the locals. Tarkarli has a tropical climate and remains humid throughout the year. Best time to visit is in Winter (Nov. to Feb.). Summers are hot but abundant with Mangoes and Jackfruit. Beware of exaggerations on many websites and blogs on the Internet about the see through visibility of the seabed at Tarkarli up to 20 feet deep on a clear day. These are vivid imaginations penned down by souls who swim in fantasies. Water is clear and the seabed is visible up to 3 to 5 feet deep at Tarkarli and a little more around Sindhudurg fort.
Where to Stay?
MTDC beach resort, Tarkarli has the best location in all of Tarkarli and is undoubtedly the best place to stay put. It’s bang on beach amidst casuarina trees. The resort has independent cottages (AC and Non-AC) assuring full privacy and great view of the ocean right from the cottage. The cottages provide basic amenities like a king size bed, running hot and cold water, LED Television and Room Service (which is tad slow). There are plenty of hammocks, gazebos and benches all over the resort. The resort has a restaurant which serves Konkani and Malvani delicacies (although not the best in taste and bit overpriced).
Visava Beach Resort is a new property at Wayari Bandh about a kilometer before MTDC. It is bang on beach with the Deluxe rooms having magnificent sea view. Their restaurant serves delectable and authentic Malvani cuisine. Their signature dishes – Kombdi Vada (Thick Chicken curry with doughnut shape spiced pooris) and Fish Fry are not to be missed.
Other places to stay put are Sea View Tarkarli Resort, Grande Vista Resort, Blue Water Resort, Tarkarli Nivas Nhyari Resort, Avisa Nila Resort, Fantasea Resort, Sagar Sangam Resort (on the banks of Karli River at Devbag) and Sea Pearl Resort (at Devbag). For a budget stay Ghar Mithbavkaranche and Laxmi Niwas besides MTDC are good home stay options. Many new homestays have mushroomed off late all over Tarkarli and Devbag.
Where and what to eat?
For satiating the taste buds, there are many eateries in and around Malvan, Tarkarli and Devbag. The Malvani preparations are authentic and tantalizing. Non-veg. and seafood lovers must not miss out on Fish Fry of Surmai (King Fish), Prawns, Pomfret, Ravas (Salmon). Thick gravies like Khekda (Crab) Masala, Prawns Masala, Lobster Masala, Mori (baby shark) Masala, Tikhla (Fish in thick gravy), Tisrya (Clams) Masala, Kalva (Oyster) Masala, and Kombdi Vada (Chicken in thick gravy with doughnut shaped spiced puris). Curries called as Kalvan or Kadhi of fish. Vegetarians can relish on Black Vatana Usal, Bhakri, Ghavne, Amboli and Ukadiche Modak (Sweet dumplings with a filling of grated coconut cooked in jaggery). The gastronomic overload can be rightly balanced by a glass of Solkadi. Food has to be pre-ordered in Tarkarli and Devbag at least an hour in advance. Some well-known eateries in and around Tarkarli are Ghar Mithbavkaranche, Swami Samarth Hotel, Laxmi Niwas and Revankar’s Cafeteria at Devbag. Many new eateries have sprung up all over Tarkarli and Devbag.
In Malvan, the popular Atithi Bamboo Hotel near the Chivla Beach serves best seafood. Oroskars Chaitanya Hotel in the market near Bharad naka is a well known seafood joint. A little ahead Yashashree Cold Drink House is famous for Mango Mastani (a popular alphonso mango milkshake).
Bhagat’s Malvani Pahunchar Khanaval (mess) in the panchayat samiti lane is a popular eatery for seafood. Their Mori Mutton Masala (baby shark) and Savandale Masala (Sardine) is not to be missed.
Shop at Oroskar store in Malvan market for Malvani Khaja, Chirota, Sev Laddoo’s, Pickles (Prawns pickle is a must buy), Cashews, raw Kokam and kokam agal (concentrate), kokam sherbet, kaju sherbet, Amba Poli and Phanas Poli (sweet made from sundried mango and jackfruit pulp) and of course the world famous hapoos (Alphonso) mangoes and jackfruit during summer. Buy authentic malvani masala at Bandekar stores or at Bhagyashree masale in the market.
Places to visit
Malvan – the mighty Sindhudurg Sea Fort is the main attraction of Malvan region. Spread across 44 acres on the Kurte islands 3 Kms. off the Malvan coast, the sea fort was built by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as an icon of the Maratha Naval supremacy in the 16th century CE. Other places to visit are the Malvan Rock garden, Salgaonkar Ganesh Temple (well known for the Ganesh idol made of gold) and the crescent shaped Chivla beach.
Tarkarli – The shimmering beach is the main attraction for which Tarkarli is popular. Many hotels in Tarkarli make arrangements for Scuba diving.
Devbag – Ferries are available from Devbag sangam for water sports at tsunami island. Scuba Diving and Parasailing is also available at Devbag sangam. Dolphin spotting rides also operate from Devbag sangam.
Nivati and Bhogwe – diagonally opposite to the confluence of the Karli river with the Arabian Sea is the serene Bhogwe beach. The beach is totally uninhabited, an ideal place for beach buffs for camping and solitude. Down south Bhogwe beach are the Nivati Fort and Nivati Rocks which glitters when sunlight fall on them. The semi-circular Nivati beach when viewed from the Nivati Fort is a treat for the eyes (the fort is in ruins).
Around Tarkarli and Devbag in the Sindhudurg district Click Here to view Photostream of Sindhudurg district
The entire Malvan region and Sindhudurg district are picturesque and serene. Few destinations which must be included in the itinerary are:
Bharadi Devi temple at Angnewadi – is 12 Kms from Malvan town. It is famous for the annual jatra (fair) in the month of February when lakhs of devotees including film stars and politicians flock to Angnewadi for worshipping the goddess. Bharadi devi is the deity of the Angne’s and the temple is a private property of the Angne family.
Lineage of beaches between Malvan and Vijaydurg – this long stretch of 100 Kms has many marvels. Secret beaches, ancient temples, picturesque villages, forts and caves are all here. The beaches at Tondavali and Talashil villages are pristine and unheard. Achara beach and the 400 year old Rameshwar temple come next. A little ahead is Tambaldeg, a new tourist hotspot is being developed here by MTDC.
Kunkeshwar – is an ancient Shiva temple by the beach. It is built in the Indo sarcenic style while some believe it to be built in south indian style. There’s a legend which tells that the temple was built by an Arab trader few hundred years ago whose ship could find the shore due to the light lit in the temple.
Devgad – is a small town and taluka headquarters 20 Kms. north of Kunkeshwar. It is famous worldover due to the Hapoos (Alphonso) mangoes grown in the region. Devgad is also an important port, fishing being a major trade in the region.
Tara Mumbri – is a scenic village on the outskirts of Devbag. The sea near the village displays the rare phosphorescence effect at dusk due to light emitted by crustaceans in the sea.
Vijaydurg – is 20 Kms to the north of Devgad, it is one of the strongest sea forts built by the Marathas and was their maritime headquarters. It was named as Gibraltar of the east by the British. The mighty Maratha naval fleet was stationed at Vijaydurg in its days of yore. It is also a place from where Helium was discovered by British scientist Sir Norman Lockyer.
Lineage of beaches from Tarkarli to Vengurla – The stretch of 45 Kms from Malvan to Vengurla has the world’s best kept secrets – shimmering beaches with golden white sand and turquoise water render a magnificent landscape. Bhogwe, Nivati, Kalvi Bunder, Khavne, Vayangani and Kondura are splendid beaches, totally untouched and unspoilt.
Kondura beach in particular is popular due to two things – firstly the ‘gaaj’, a roaring sound that is heard during the onset of monsoon from the rocky gorge near the beach that signals the arrival of monsoon and secondly due to the famous Marathi novel ‘Kondura’ written by the renowned Marathi novelist and poet Chintamani Khanolkar a.k.a. Arti Prabhu. An Hindi and Telegu film named Kondura were also famous.
Vengurla – 45 Kms south of Malvan is the small town of Vengurla. It has one of the best beaches in the world – The Sagareshwar Beach. Featured in the NDTV Good Times show ‘Life is a Beach’, Sagareshwar beach is a long stretch of golden white sand totally unspoilt and pristine. Other attractions are the Vengurla Jetty, Light House, Dutch Vakhar and the fruit research centre of Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth.
Within 25 Kms south of Vengurla are few more unknown, unspoilt beaches near the villages of Aravali and Shiroda called as the Sagarteerth and Velgar beaches. Both beaches are in a straight line stretching about 16 Kms. The Vetoba temple is also a well-known place of worship in Aravali. Little ahead lies the town of Redi known for the famous Redi Ganesh and believed to be swayambhu (self-appeared). The Ganesh idol is 6 feet tall. Redi also has mines of Manganese. Just outside Redi is Goa’s toehold in Maharashtra – Fort Tiracol (now converted in to a private hotel) on a cliff. Aronda is a postcard perfect village on the banks of the Terekhol creek in Maharashtra whereas Kiranpani is its counterpart in Goa on the opposite bank. The Terekhol creek separates Maharashtra and Goa.
Dhamapur Lake – is a placid lake on the road from Kudal to Malvan. An ancient temple of goddess Bhagwati stands on its banks. It is worth a stopover while travelling from Kudal to Malvan for the scenic view and tranquility.
Sawantwadi – about 45 Kms south-east of Malvan is the town of Sawantwadi famous for its wooden toys and artefacts. Visit this kingdom of wood art at Chitar Ali, about a kilometre from the bus depot. The palace of the erstwhile rulers of Sawantwadi ‘The Rajwada of Khem Sawant Bhonsle’ and the central lake called ‘Moti Talav’ are also worth a visit. 35 Kms in the Sahyadris east of Sawantwadi, at a height of 3500 ft. is the hill station of Amboli, also a bio-diversity reserve.
Amboli – is a hill station in the western ghats famous for its enchanting weather all year long. A night safari in the jungle is highly recommended, as one could spot rare species of snakes, frogs and reptiles. The forest is abundant with animals like the bison, porcupine, sāmbhar, deer, black buck, birds like the Paradise Flycatcher and Hornbill, and a wide variety of butterflies. Leopard sightings are also common in Amboli during summers. Some places to see in and around Amboli are the Amboli waterfall (during monsoons), Sunset Point, Mahadevgad point, Shirodkar point, Parikshit point, Kavle Shet point, Hiranyakeshi Uppam (origin of the Hiranyakeshi River) and the Nangartas waterfall.
Rajesh Deshpande © 2013, 2016 & 2019