Living in a big city can be daunting, especially with all the noise. So if you miss the silence, the gentle strokes of the sea hitting the shore, empty roads, and great weather, then it is time to head to Tarkarli and its neighborhood. I backpacked to the south Konkan coast recently. On my agenda was a laidback time on the beach, an affordable home-stay, good food and beer. And my plan was to beach hop.
Tucked between Ratnagiri and a little less than 100 kms short of Goa is the peace and quiet of Maharashtra’s finest but most under-marketed beaches on the South Konkan coast. These include Tarkarli (extends for about 12 km), Deobagh, and Vengurla.
If you are looking to add a Goan texture to your getaway without the commercialisation, then Tarkarli fits the bill. Resting around the sleepy town of Malvan, the beaches and the backwaters along the Karli River are a lovely place to visit for a leisure trip. Unlike Goa, you will find no pubs or bars but then the entire beach is a place to hang out. Add the silence, the spicy Malvani food and the odd sports activities, and it more than makes up for everything that it doesn’t offer.
I got myself a chic home-stay. The owner helped me plan things to do while I was there. All it took was a few hours of settling in to fall in love with the relaxed pace of life. Over the next three days, I made mates and was instantly invited to small get-togethers on the beach.
British citizen Roy Burgin, for instance, has been visiting India with his wife Pearl every year for 15 years now. They lived in Goa for six months a year till they discovered Tarkarli in 2006 and have since chosen to travel home and then back here. In fact, Roy and I plan to meet again in February and go fishing to a nearby place, details of which he refuses to share, for the love of giving me a surprise.
Tarkarli shuts down at 8 pm and that is a good thing. After a day full of quietness, snorkelling, scuba diving, fort visits, fishing, and cycling, this is the time to unwind. During my stay here, I woke up early morning to spot dolphins (and they obliged), went to bed late at night after gazing at stars, scuba dived in the afternoon, took photographs of a setting sun and egrets, lazed under the December sun, rented a bicycle and went about town on it in the evening.
Around sunset and later is the best time to venture out for a long walk on the beach. Don’t forget to carry a torch and anti-mosquito repellent cream. Sindhudurg Fort is a must visit. It’s multi-sided, spread over 48 acres and is an island fort in the Arabian Sea associated with Maharashtra’s hero, Shivaji Maharaj. The fort is designed in such a way that it serves as a deterrent to approaching enemies and tides. The main entrance is concealed. Padmagad is another island fort and quite imposing. n Known for its coral findings and rich marine life, snorkelling and diving enthusiasts arrange a session based on demand. The diving experts are all trained by the MTDC.
Dolphin sighting. Wake up early to see the dolphins. I was lucky to see many from up close. n Deobaug backwaters, which is between the Arabian Sea and the Karli river, is a bird-lover’s paradise. Locals recommend this place more than Tarkarli.
How to get there
If you are travelling from Mumbai, then rail and road are good options. The Jan Shatabdi Express leaves
every morning from Dadar Central to drop you at Kudal. From Kudal, travel to Malvan, which is 33 kms away, and then to Tarkarli, Deobaug or Vengurla. MTDC has also
started luxury buses to Tarkarli.
Call 2204 4040
Where to stay: On Tarkarli beach – MTDC resort and many homestays touching the resort.
On the way: Raigad, Harihareshwar, Chiplun, Ganpatipule, Pawas, Ratnagiri, Kunkeshwar, Malwan and Sawantwadi