Based upon my personal visit in October 2012 and January 2016. Rajesh Deshpande © 2012 & 2016. Destination Type – Beaches, Forts, Temples and Hills. Trip Type – Leisure
Click here to view photostream of Tarkarli
Surreal, Tranquil, Unspoilt are few words that best describe Tarkarli. Located on the southern tip of Maharashtra in the Sindhudurg district, Tarkarli is a sleepy hamlet just 7 Kms from Malvan. It boasts of rustic charm, friendly, simple, hospitable people and the culinary delight of the Malvani cuisine.
Tarkarli is fast becoming a tourist hot spot. The shimmering beach is long and clean with silver white sands. 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 flock at the confluence for a feast of sardines which can be seen from Devbag beach (early morning around sunrise). Another attraction is the Tsunami Island popular for water sports. To the north west of Tarkarli stands the mighty Sindhudurg Fort, 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 fastest train for Kudal is the Dadar Madgaon Janshatabdi Express which runs daily. Other trains are Konkan Kanya, Mandovi Express and the newly started LTT Madgaon A/C Double Decker which runs on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. From Kudal station, ST buses or Auto Rickshaw are available for Malvan, from Malvan MSRTC shuttle bus service is available for Tarkarli and Devbag. Auto Rickshaws are also available from Malvan to Tarkarli and Devbag. From Mumbai it takes on an average 12 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 bus and Paulo travels stop at Kudal. It could take anything more than 12 hrs. to reach Tarkarli from Mumbai through the NH-17 (Panvel – Kochi highway). The route from Mumbai passes through Vashi, Panvel, Pen, Vadkhal, Nagothane, Mangao, Mahad, Bharne Naka, Chiplun, Khed, Hatkhamba Phata, Lanja, Rajapur up to Kasal. From Kasal take a right turn for Malvan which is 26 Kms away.
By Air – Dabolim Airport, Goa is the nearest airport at approx. 180 Kms
Things to do
Tarkarli and Devbag is a perfect destination for a fun filled, relaxing and rejuvenating holiday with family. Laze on the beach or swim in the sea for hours, 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 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 an ideal destination.
Tarkarli is not a full service tourist destination like Goa hence do not expect 5-star luxuries. The resorts in the region are clean and provide all basic amenities for a comfortable and relaxing stay. However, they are not star rated. Comfort levels vary between 2 and 3 star hotel. The locals although very friendly, simple and hospitable people are god fearing and conservative. Hence one must be careful about dressing. The region 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 the ones reaching out for intoxication, rave parties and night life for which one can proceed straight to Goa 150 Kms ahead. Marathi is the most widely spoken language along with Malvani and Konkani. 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. However, the water is clear and one can see the seabed up to 3 to 5 feet deep at Tarkarli and a little more deeper around Sindhudurg fort.
Where to Stay?
The MTDC beach resort has the best location in 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, LCD 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 – Komdi 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, Blue Water Resort, Fantasea Resort, Sagar Sangam Resort (on the banks of Karli River at Devbag) and Sea Pearl Resort (at Devbag). For a budget stay Laxmi Niwas besides MTDC is a good home stay option.
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 Prawns Masala; Fish Fry – Surmai (King Fish), Prawns, Pomfret, Ravas (Salmon); Khekda (Crab) Masala; Lobster Masala or Curry; Kalvan (Fish Curry), Tikhla (Fish in thick gravy), Tisrya (Clams) Masala, Kalva (Oyster) Masala, and Kombdi Vada (Chicken in thick gravy with doughnut shaped spiced puris). Vegetarians can relish on Ghavne, Amboli, Modak (Sweet dumplings with a filling of grated coconut cooked in jaggery) and Puran Poli. 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.
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). Oroskars Geetai Hotel next door serves authentic Maharashtrian vegetarian thali.
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, 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 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 (having a Ganesh idol made of gold) and the crescent shaped Chivla beach.
Tarkarli – The shimmering beach is the main attraction for which Tarkarli is popular. Visit Tsunami island for water sports.
Devbag – Confluence of the Karli River and Arabian Sea.
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 glitter when sunlight fall on them. The semi-circular Nivati beach when viewed from the Nivati Fort is a treat for the eyes (the fort although 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 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 where Helium was discovered.
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 famous 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 TLC show ‘Life is a Beach’, Sagareshwar beach is a long stretch of golden white sand totally unspoilt and uninhabited. 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 and stretch for 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