Saturday, February 18, 2012

Trip to Tarkarli Beach, Malvan and Sindhudurg Fort : December 2011

My trip to Tarkarli beach was long overdue and in an effort to reduce the backlog  in  my long pending list of ‘must see places, I planned the trip in mid-December 2011 with my family. To save time in travelling, we decided to travel by an overnight train to Kudal on the Konkan Railway which is the nearest railway station for reaching Tarkarli beach.

Day-1  : Rajya Rani Express reached  Kudal on its scheduled time at 10.00 am.  There were plenty of autos in the queue outside the railway station but cars/ SUVs were conspicuous by their absence.  We engaged two autos for a 30 kms drive to Tarkarli via Malvan (@Rs.400/-) The road was fairly good  with gradual climbs in some patches of ghat section which were covered with dense forest. It took about one hour to reach Malvan. A left turn immediately after Malvan Bus Stand  took us on Malvan-Tarkarli road and in about 10 minutes, we were in MTDC Resort.

Later, I was told by MTDC Manager that  cars/SUVs can be hired from Kudal Bus Stand which is about 2 kms from railway station. Alternatively, there are regular bus services from Kudal Bus Stand  for  Tarkarli and beyond.

We checked in MTDC’s Tarkarli Beach Resort (Konkani Houses -  Rs.1500/- non-AC, and Rs.2000/- for AC). The rooms were large and clean. The AC rooms were just opposite the beach. We took lunch at MTDC’s restaurant (Rs.100/- for vegetarian thali and Rs.180/- for non-vegetarian thali).  The evening was spent on the beach  which was just a few steps away from our rooms. Surprisingly, even at 5.00 p.m., there were hardly any visitors. The beach slope was gentle and sea water was clean enough to see the snails floating on the sea bed.  We even saw a live star fish which came with the waves. We were on the beach until we watched a spectacular sun set, thanks to the clear sky.  We had dinner at the restaurant for which we had placed order in advance out of their  ala carte menu.

There were many home stays and eating options  on Malvan-Tarkarli Road, some of which are beach facing but not as close to the beach as MTDC Resort.  I understand that they are cheaper than MTDC Resort.  

Day-2: In the previous day, we had fixed up with a boat man  for a boat ride  which included dolphin sighting and other sight-seeing places such as Nivati Beach, confluence of Karli river with Arabian Sea and Sunami Island (Rs.1700/- for a four hour ride). Normally, boats are available from Tarkarli village which is about 1 km walk on the beach. But the boatman offered  to bring his boat on the beach in front of our Konkani House.

The boatman came with his boat sharp at 7.00 a.m as promised. The boat sailed towards southern (Devbag beach) side. In  about one hour of boat ride passing by the sides of Tarkarli village, Devbag village and beach and Niwati beach, we did not spot any dolphin activities.  The explanation given by our boatman was that due to high wind velocity, dolphins do not venture to come out above the sea water level. We got down at a secluded Niwati beach which is nestled between two hillocks one of  which is called the golden hill as it glows in golden colour when sunrays fall on it. In fact this beach was not visible until we passed by the golden hillock.    There was no one on the beach except 4 dogs who welcomed us by wagging their tails expecting some eatables from us which we obliged.  The location of this small beach is superb with its north and south side concealed by two hillocks and eastern side surrounded by back water. Beyond the backwater was a hamlet which was partly hidden by the dense coconut and areca nut plantations.

After spending about 30 minutes on the beach, we boarded the boat for our next destination, the Sunami Island  beach. This island has emerged in 2004 after Sunami waves hit the coast. The lagoon type island is not more than 500m long and 200m wide. A local villager told us that prior to 2004, this place used to be under water at least by 3-4 feet even during the low tide. After the sunami wave hit the coast, it has turned into an island during low tide but gets submerged  by 2-3 feet during high tide. Location of Sunami Island beach is superb surrounded by Karli river on its west and south sides and back water of Karli river  on its east and north side.

There is a tea/snacks stall set up by an enterprising  person from a nearby village located on the other side of the back water. The food items are prepared in the village house and brought here in casseroles by boat. There are water sports facility like water scooter, mechanised boating, rowing boats and Liquid Force. We spent about one hour on this beach doing water scooter and Liquid Force boating.  While walking on this beach, one gets a feeling as if  walking on a form.

On our return trip to MTDC, we passed through the confluence of Karli river with Arabian Sea. At this point, a part of Devbag beach looks like a ledge moving into the sea.  Devbag beach appears to be the most beautiful of all the adjunct beaches in this area.

As we were returning to MTDC, we saw some movements of dolphins opposite Devbag village. Our boatman stopped the boat for some time so as not to disturb the dolphins.  After spending about 15 minutes in standstill and not seeing further movements from dolphins, we started our boat to move on.  Suddenly, we saw to our left,  two giant brown colour dolphins jumping above the sea water. They did that twice but thereafter it was quite for long time. It was so sudden that there was no time to shot the event. We returned to MTDC by 11.00 a.m.

We had not planned for snorkelling while in Tarkarli  as none of us had  attempted it so far. But the way our boatman explained how it would be conducted for novices like us, we agreed. He said that his brother who  was an accredited guide for snorkelling  would take us in his snorkelling boat  to the snorkelling point which was about 5-6 kms from the beach.The charge was Rs.300/- per person with a minimum of 4 persons. 

After about one hour of rest in our room, we boarded the snorkelling boat which was docked at Tarkarli beach.  The snorkelling  point   was nothing   but a group of small hillocks in the sea around which snorkelling was conducted.  It took about 20 minutes to reach the point. By the time we reached, one group had already completed their snorkelling and we were the only persons at this point to do snorkelling. The guide took us one by one for a 15-20 minutes  round with in the vicinity of rocky patches. The entire snorkelling route was not more than 6-7 feet deep where we could see some rocky and reef like bases on which many marine lives could be seen swimming.  For me,  15-20 minutes of snorkelling was the limit after which I felt tired. It was a good experience though I don’t think that I will do it again. We return to MTDC resort by 2.00 p.m. and after bath we had late lunch at the MTDC restaurant. In the evening, we spent our time at the beach  witnessing once again  the sunset in a clear sky.

Some pictures of Tarkarli beach and around below :

MTDC's boat shaped Reception Office off Tarkarli beach.

A beach view hut of MTDC's Tarkarli beach Resort

MTDC's beach facing Konkani Houses at Tarkarli beach.

MTDC's beach facing Konkani Houses at Tarkarli beach.

Towards Malvan side from Tarkarli beach.

Fishermen push a boat into the sea off Tarkarli beach.

Crows in 'conference' at Tarkarli beach.

One of the crows from 'conference' flies to 'watch' sunset at Tarkarli beach

Silhouette of children against the background of the sunset at Tarkarli beach.

Boatman came on the beach in front of our Konkani House to pick us up for a boat ride and dolphin sightings

As sun rises, a fishing boat proceeding towards mid sea from Tarakarli village.

Early morning sun rays on this hill located near Nivati beach reminded me of  Hollywood film Meckaenna's Gold(1969).

Nivati Beach. This is situated between Devbag and Bhogwe beaches and  secluded by two hillocks on its both sides.  On the left of the beach is sea shore and on the right is backwater.

Devbag beach seen from the boat on way to Sunami Island

This picture was taken on a low angle to capture the wave type 'design' on Sunami island beach. The natural design is created by the shallow waves of Karli river that cross over the beach during the high tide.

Scooter boat turning sharply in Karli river

When the pulling speed boat takes a sharp turn, the impact  on the Liquid Force boat (behind) creates some thrilling experience.

Confluence of Karli river with Arabian Sea. Note the colour difference in water

A large and high wave during high tide off Tarkarli beach.

Seagulls swimming in the Arabian Sea off Tarkarli beach

Snorkelling point off Tarkarli beach

Snorkelling off Tarkarli beach

Evening sun rays over  MTDC's Konkani houses

Day-3 : The MTDC check out timing was 9.30 a.m. and  we were booked for Rajya Rani Express boarding at Kudal in the evening.  In effect, we had one full day to spend without any accommodation.  So we hired a Maruti Ecco (Rs.1600/- for full day) from one of the two  local drivers recommended by MTDC to take us for some local sight-seeing places around Malvan including Sindhudurg Fort.

After checking out,  we left  MTDC Resort around 10.00 a.m. for Malvan Jetty which was 8 kms from Tarkarli. After passing through the congested Malvan bazaar road, we reached the Jetty.  Since it was Saturday, there was a lot of rush mainly of school children. After buying ferry tickets (@Rs.37/- to and fro) we waited for about 30 minutes before our turn came for boarding the ferry. It took about 15 minutes to reach the Sindhudurg Fort jetty. We were given one hour to take the tour inside the Fort as the same boat was to drop us back to Malvan jetty.

Sindhudurg Fort was Chatarpati Shivaji’s answer to the growing  threat from the marine forces (Navy) of Portuguese and Siddis. It is said that the selection of the place and the Fort layout was done by Shivaji himself and he personally supervised the  three years of its construction phase which was completed in 1667. From the outside view, it looks like a simple Fort, but once inside, one realises that it is almost like a mini township spread over 50 acres of land.

The east facing main gate of the Fort is not visible as it is hidden between two bastions. It is only after getting down from the boat and walking towards the  wall that one can see the gate. Inside the fort, there are  water supply wells, residence quarters, some temples and godowns for storing grains, provisions etc. The 40 odd circular bastions constructed over the wide outer wall were the watch towers which also served a repository of  guns and cannons.  Most of the bastions and other places are in ruins now. At some places, outer wall has crumbled. The only places which are still intact are a dozen or so residential houses, sweet water wells and , temples. The thick vegetation inside the Fort is stated to be partly responsible for decaying  walls and other remaining structures. We could not see the famous two branch coconut tree as this tree was damaged in a lightning strike few years back.

After finishing our one hour of ramblings inside the Fort, I felt very proud of Chatrpati Shivaji who had farsightedness in constructing such Forts at various part of Maharashtra.   Shivaji’s professional approach is evident in  one of his letters to the Construction Engineer in charge of constructing Sindhudurg Fort. The instructions and guidelines were very clear from the specification of foundation, checking the raw materials to the  negotiating for the materials from Englishman traders who were very smart. Finally, his  dictate was that the labourers to be paid their wages daily without fail.

While returning from Sindhudurg Fort to Malvan, we stopped at Salgaonkar’s Ganesh temple where the Ganesh idol is made up of  pure gold.  After lunch at Bamboo Hotel,  we proceeded to Rock Garden. The garden is so named because of its close proximity to the rocky shores of Arabian Sea. We spent more time on the rocky patch than in the garden. The Rock Garden is a good place for spending evenings.

On our way to Kudal railway station, we visited Bhagwati temple at Dhamapur which has been constructed like a Konkani style house with Mangalore tiles. The temple has got a big lake with some water sport facilities.  We reached Kudal railway station well before our train’s arrival thus ending 3 days of trip to one of the less touristy beaches of Maharashtra.

Some pictures of Malvan and Sindhudurg Fort below:

Fishing boats at Malvan jetty
Malvan Jetty for ferry to Sindhudurg Fort ( in the background)

Malvan beach with fishing village in the background

Fishing boats on the Malvan beach.

Sindhudurg Fort as seen from Malvan Jetty

A fishing boat and a protruding rock in the mid sea off Malvan coast.

Sidhudurg Fort jetty at the main eastern gate of the Fort.

South-west wall of the Fort. A small beach below the wall is called Ranichi Vela (Queen's beach).

Eastern rampart of the Fort

Some houses inside Sindhudurg Fort

Stone stair case leading to the bastion above the main gate

Sindhudurg Fort jetty seen from  the main gate top.

Ganesh idol in gold  in Salgaonkar's Ganesh temple.

Salgaonkar's ancestral House in Malvan

The rocky shores of Arabian Sea off Rock Garden, Malvan

An unidentified bird at the rocky shore of Arabian Sea off Malvan

Bhagwati temple,  Dhamapur on the  Kudal-Malvan road

Bhagawati temple lake

An unidentified bird at Bhagwati temple lake shore.

More pictures here.


Kusum said...

Mr.Sadanand, Wow! great write up and lots of info!

BTW, I got here through! Lucky me to have info about places with amazing pics! Thanks for sharing :)

Prits said...

I am planning to visit Malvan and Tarkali at the end of April 12 and I found your blog.
Very well written Mr. Sadanand, very informative!! your blog will help me to plan a better trip.

V C said...

Nice write up. Thanks for contributing information on Tarkarli and ur trip.

Trav Themes said...

Nice post I like this place...

Konkan Cultural Travel We introduce you to 'experiential' Konkan Tourism. Drawing people into cultures, communities & the outdoors.

Dr. Jyoti Sontakke said...

Nice write up...Thanks for contributing..we r going to tarkarli today night

Debbi Shah said...

Nice post, nice photos and nice photography. Now i will plan my next trip to malvan with my family and i will definitely visit sindhudurg fort

"VJ" said...

Very nicely written.... I visited tarkarli once but after reading your article it looks i missed lot of other spots. Thanks for sharing your experience.

dr. ram taktode said...


Minal Rane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Minal Rane said...

I visited Tarkarli by reading your blog.It was very help full for planning my trip .Thanks for sharing your experience explicitly.

Kalyani Bhujbal said...

After reading your blog i decided my next trip to Tarkarli and finally I am traveling to Tarkarli Tomorrow morning...Thanks for sharing your experience

Girish Palkar said...

My visit to Nivati Beach – Maharashtra