Vacation Report: Tarkarli Beach and around

Posted: March 15, 2007 in beach, chiplun, goa ganpatipule, kankavali, konkan, tarkarli, tondavali

Early this month, we took a vacation to the southern Konkan region, and specifically to a beach resort location called Tarkarli.

The place is about 10-11 hours by road, driving down from Mumbai. Not comfortable to drive such long stretches and also not aware of the conditions of the road, we chose to go half way, and take a night’s halt. This mid point was Chiplun. We stayed at Hotel Pagoda there. It was a decent place with a swimming pool and other facilities. We reached in the evening and left the next day morning, after breakfast, to head up to our final destination, Tarkarli. That was going to be another 5-6 hours drive.

Recognising the length of the drive, and also finding out that there was a decent place on the way, at Kankavali, where we could have lunch, we decided to stop there. This was the Neelam’s Countryside Resort, apparently owned by Maharashtra’s ex-CM, Narayan Rane. Rane, by the way, comes from that part of the state, and he was also in the area, during the time that we were there. This was on account of the zilla parishad elections which were happening in a few days thereafter. Although I digress, let me mention that all through our stay, and our drives in and around the area, we hit a lot of campaign teams, which slowed our drives then. It just showed that these elections are big in the small towns, and lot of campaigning happens, as it does for the larger elections, that we see in the city.

Coming back to the vacation, we had a decent lunch at Kankavali, and headed on to the resort at Tarkarli.

It was quite a breathtaking site that greeted us. Interestingly, although there are so many beaches right through the Konkan patch, and the road that we took, kind of runs close to these beaches, until we hit Tarkarli, we had not even seen a glimpse of the sea or the beach. The road does not exactly run, by the sea, you know.

So when we hit Tarkarli, it was an amazing site. The resort is an MTDC resort, bang on the beach. Its one of those places that has existed for a while, as there is no way that new resorts could get CRZ clearances, to be located right on the beach, as this one is. The ‘rooms’ are in fact, cottages, with 2 ‘rooms’ to a cottage. Just the ground floor. From the cottage and its balcony, you can watch the sea, and the beach. And it takes about 20 paces to walk, and get on to the beach itself. The entire property meanwhile is leaden with beautiful tall trees. In the mornings when the sun comes up, it makes for an amazing site, with the sun peaking through the thick foliage of the trees.

The general area is called Sindhudurg district. The nearest large place, near Tarkarli, is called Malvan. We visited Malvan often – to eat, to shop, to go for other sight seeing. There is a neat Malvani eating place in Malvan, called Chaitanya. We had a couple of meals there. While Malvani food is better known for its non-vegetarian varieties, there was good vegetarian fare as well. Particularly loved the shrikhand and the soul kadhi there.

One of the days, we just took a drive to reach another beach. We thought it was going to be close, but by the time, we kept asking for directions and kept driving along, it was a decent 30 min. drive. It was the Tondavali beach. If Tarkarli had about 20 odd people other than us, on the entire beach, the Tondavali beach had 2. That empty and that clean a beach it was. The two other persons that I mention, included one who got us fresh coconut water. While at the beach and in the water, we suddenly spotted at a distance, several dolphins in the water. We watched attentively and closely, as the dolphins came much closer to where we were. There were at least half a dozen of them. Many of them would flip in and out of water, as if they were doing a show, for us. Well, we thoroughly enjoyed the show!

At Tarkarli itself, we enjoyed the beach across our resort many times. The water was good, and although they warn us about the risks, it was not difficult to get till waist deep water levels and enjoy the surf there. The kids had a lot of fun too.

Dinners at the resort were nice. We would sit in the middle of the trees close to the hammocks, etc. and have a few drinks, before heading to the dining area. Thanks to some good ordering by some of our group people, we got a range of food options to try out over the days. The service levels were relaxed as one would expect from a typical government place. However the rest of the resort impressed, inspite of being a government place. We discovered that this was on account of two facts:
a. The manager, who seemed reasonably committed, and
b. More importantly, the resort being a halt for the Deccan Odyssey. This is a train trip, in lines of the Palace on Wheels, and they stop at a station nearby, and the passengers are brought to this Tarkarli resort. This firm business one day of the week, each week, keeps the resort on its toes, and maintenance is good, on account of that.

Another excursion that we took, was on a boat. We were taken out in the waters, where we spotted some more dolphins, this time at a much closer range. We also headed to another beach, viz. the Bhogwa beach, completely isolated again, and having a few additional bonuses:
a. A couple of small shacks who made fresh poha with kokam sherbet for us (some of us had tea, which was good as well),
b. Large number of sea gulls comfortably sitting there, several flying around as well,

c. An isolated bay kind of, which we discovered, was not deep at all. It became this very large swimming pool for us, with the steady water. It was awesome.

On the way to this beach, in the water, we spotted some birds too. In fact, within the Tarkarli resort, especially in the mornings, we heard and saw some beautiful birds.


Another trip we took was to go to the Sindhudurg fort. This was also by a boat. We got a guided tour to the rather dilipidated fort, which we learnt, was built by Shivaji, very strategically, to combat the Portuguese, from Goa.

We also met up with this very interesting “doctor”, a marine biologist, who has located himself there, now. He is trained in Australia. And he has been appointed by the MTDC to try and develop a kind of tourism opportunity in the area. He trains students for snorkelling and will be doing so, for scuba diving too. These are just the initial trials. He shared with us his various plans, and they seemed very ambitious and yet exciting. Now with an airport likely to be cleared, in that area, all these will make sense, and the tourism opportunity can be very good. This chap is doing a good job, he is very committed, and I am sure, he will deliver the goods there.

The one last trip that we took, was a day trip to Goa. Goa is about a 3 hour drive from Tarkarli, and we left in the morning. We headed first to a flea market that happens on Wednesdays, at the Anjuna beach. It was quite a sight. More than 500 booths, selling all kinds of interesting flea market stuff. In the middle of the day, with temperatures quite high, the place was packed. Mostly with foreign tourists, visiting Goa. Several of the booths were also manned by the foreign tourists, selling stuff there. Bargaining was a pleasure, and thankfully, the market had some food and drink places too, one of which also served chilled beer! We also had the pleasure of being hosted for lunch by a close friend of one of our group members. While the hospitality was superb, from a well equipped bar to a lavish spread which had a clear Goanese touch to it (especially for the non-vegetarians and the sweet toothed amongst us), what remains the most vivid memory of this visit, was the amazing house. Located at a height on a small hill, it faces the beautiful marine drive and the vast sea at the back. There is no way that this view is going to be blocked, being on the hill. It was an amazing view and also got a pleasant breeze on account of this location. The house itself was out of some National Geographir or Discovery Channel program about great architecture or the homes of the rich and the famous! A lavish, about 5000 sq ft place, it was made with great taste, with most of the design efforts coming from the owners themselves (our hosts that day).

Returning back to Mumbai, we again chose to break the journey. This time around, we headed to another beach resort on the way, called Ganpatipule. This place is also known for its Ganesh temple there. We stayed at the MTDC resort there too, again bang on the beach, and also just across of the Ganesh temple. A much bigger resort with larger number of rooms and cottages than the Tarkarli one. A much bigger restaurant. Quite an awesome place, apparently the best MTDC resort in all of Maharashtra. There were some water sports too, which the kids enjoyed, at Ganpatipule. A fabulous place, and we wished that we could have stayed there longer than just that one night.

As we headed back to Mumbai, we could not resist just that one last lunch, at Chiplun, at the Gateway ex-Taj hotel. That is a fantastic property and lunch was fun there. By the time we headed out after a relaxed lunch, we had lost enough time, to ensure that we had several hours of driving in the dark, later than evening. After picking up batata wadas at shree datta, we managed to reach home comfortably by around 10 pm at night.

All in all, a fun vacation.. !

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Comments
  1. USC Trojan says:

    Sounds like a great vacation!! A lot of driving, but at the same time, a lot of nature to be with! 🙂

  2. SPM says:

    Yes, it was a fun trip. It was not the best of times for me to get out for a vacation, but since the elder one is getting into class X, I thought it fit to take one last nice break for her, and with her, for the year! I am glad I did..

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