Friday, 27 April 2012

Trip to beautiful Malvan - Tarkarli

After Mahabaleshwar trip, my next target was to visit Konkan beach before Monsoon. We (Me and my wife-Renuka) decided to visit Malvan-Tarkarli area. As we had to attend my friend’s wedding on 26th in Sagali, we planned to move ahead and spend our long weekend in Malvan area. Malvan is around 385 – 390km away from Pune city.

About Malvan – Tarkarli
Malvan is a town in Sindhudurg District, Maharashtra. It is known for Sindhudurg Fort, Malvani cuisine (Fish curry and Solkadi), Alphonso – Mango and local food. Malvan is considered as heaven for the non-vegetarians especially sea food lovers.
Tarkarli is just 7 km from Malvan with very beautiful long coastline with white powder sand beaches, clear sea water. Tourists get attracted towards Malvan - Tarkarli because of clean, beautiful beaches, Fort, lovely nature and very less crowd. People generally opt to go to Goa as it is hardly 100km away from Malvan. Now it is famous spot for Snorkeling and Scuba diving.
Our main intention to visit this place is Snorkeling and scuba diving.

Sindhudurg fort in Malvan

Tarkarli Beach

Best way to reach Malvan is Pune – National highway 4 (NH 4) – Reach to Kolhapur – from Kolhapur city either you can join Radhanagar forest road OR Gaganbawada ghat road – Vaibhavwadi (If you opt Gaganbawada ghat road) – Take a right at Phonda and join state highway 116 – Join National highway 17 at Phonda Phata (Humbrath Titha village) – Take right at Kasal - state highway 118 – Malvan.

To reach Tarkarli, take a left turn after Malvan Bus stand. Distance between Malvan and Tarkarli is 7km. Resort MTDC is consider as end point of Tarkarli and you can go ahead to visit Devbag by same road which is end point of Malvan – Tarkarli road.
           Regarding Radhanagar-Phonda ghat and Gaganbawada ghat, both routes are same in terms of distance. If you want to enjoy dense forest then prefer Radhanagar-Phonda ghat and if you want to enjoy driving then Gaganbawada is best. Road quality in Gaganbawada is too good.

We planned our visit to Malvan for 5 days i.e. on 27th April and 1st May 2012.

Day 0 (26 April 2012): Pune – Sagali – Kolhapur (Distance traveled: 300km)
                As we have to attend friend’s wedding, we left home by 5am. We were travelling with my friends. After few hours we took breakfast at hotel Virangula on NH-4. This is one of my favorite restaurants on NH-4. Don’t miss Sabudana khichadi at Virangula.

virangula restaurant
            After attending the wedding function, friends went back to Pune whereas we continued our travelling towards Kolhapur. We wish if they could have joined us for our further trip. When we entered in Kolhapur, we were welcomed by heavy rain and thunderstorm. It was difficulty to drive the car at that point. As per our plan, we took halt in Kolhapur at my Uncle’s place.

  • Car petrol: INR 4500/- (Avg INR 70/lit., Total distance cover by car 1200km)
  • Toll on NH-4 (Khed-Shivapur): INR 70/- one way entry
  • Breakfast at Virangula: INR 150/- for both
  • Toll on NH-4 (Anewadi-Satara): INR 50/- one way entry
  • Toll on NH-4 (Taswade): INR 58/- one way
  • Toll in Sagali: INR 12/- one way

 Day 1 (27 April 2012): Kolhapur – Malvan via Radhanagar forest (Distance traveled: 165km)
                We woke up in early morning and went at Mahalaxmi Temple. Because of the rain the day before, the weather was very pleasant. There were fewer people in temple and hence we managed to come back within an hour. After a nice breakfast, we actually began with our trip to Malvan. We decided to go via Radhanagar forest and while coming back to Pune we preferred Gaganbawada ghat route. Road journey was through very dense forest and hardly had we seen any vehicle on this road. Definitely you should avoid this route after sun set.

Radhanagari forest

          We wanted to have lunch in Malvan but because of lots of pit stops in forest and in Phonda ghat we were not able to make it. We took our lunch on NH-17 and reached to Malvan by 3pm. There are lot of hotels and homestay options in Malvan and Tarkarli. Tarkarli gives you real Konkani feel so we went to Tarkarli. After research and lot of enquires, we decided to stay at Annapurna Nivas. This was homestay and within our budget. Room was ok but the surrounding property was excellent. Tarkarli beach was just 2-3 min walk from our Room. We could hear the sea from our room. After rest for a while, we planned to visit beach for swimming. Surprisingly, even at 5.30 p.m., there were hardly any visitors. The beach slope was gentle and sea water was clean enough to see the sea bed. This beach is much better than any other famous beach from Konkan area. Unfortunately we were not able to witness sun set as weather was cloudy. After some playful and relaxing time at the beach we headed back to the resort. We gave call to Mr. Rupesh who arranged snorkeling and scuba diving for us. As we had purchased our own kit and were aware about snorkeling, he was ready to give us boat transportation service and useful dive site information.
           We had our Dinner in Malvan at “Atithi Bamboo” restaurant which is famous in Malvan for Fish. Renuka ordered vegetarian meal whereas I ordered Surmai fish meal (king mackerel or seer fish in English). Food was simple awesome and we decided to have dinner here for next 3 days. Malvan trip is incomplete without having dinner in “Atithi Bamboo” restaurant. We ended our day 1 with a tasty dinner.

Surmai fish thali

Vegetarian thali
  • Lunch at Royal paradise on NH-17: INR 170/- (Punjabi food + rice)
  • Surmai meal at Atithi Bamboo restaurant: INR 150/-
  • Veg meal at Atithi Bamboo restaurant: INR 70/- (with sweets)
Day 2 (28 April 2012): Malvan – Sindhudurg fort – Snorkeling – Rock garden
                  Early morning we went on beach for a walk. Clear weather and cool morning breeze from the sea made us feel fresh. In breakfast, Gosavi aunty offered us local food. It was Konkani base rice Amboli with coconut milk. It was heavy breakfast before we proceeded to Sindhudurg fort. 

Konkani base rice Amboli with coconut milk

                We took ferry tickets to visit Sindhudurg fort. It takes hardly 10 min boat ride to reach there. We hired guide so will get to know the history of fort. Sindhudurg (Sindhu = sea, durg = fort) was built by the great Maratha warrior King Shivaji in 1664. Fort was built over a period of three years spread over 48 acres area. The main entrance is concealed in such a way that no one can pinpoint it from outside. This fort has the only temple of great Maratha warrior King Shivaji. The fort also has a Bhavani temple and the impressions of hands and feet of Shivaji Maharaja. Construction of fort is very solid. Guide told us all the details about the fort. We wanted to spend more time on fort for photography but we moved ahead for snorkeling. Mr. Anavay (Rupesh’s Brother) came to pick up us from fort and took at the snorkeling point which is nearer from fort.

Sindhudurg sea fort

temple of great Maratha warrior King Shivaji

temple of great Maratha warrior King Shivaji

           As we have our own kit, we quickly entered into water. It was fun to see marine life for 1 hour. It was ending season so visibility was bit poor. Best time to visit this place for snorkeling and diving is Nov and Dec month. Local people feed those fish with bread to attack so people can see them while snorkeling. We saw 4 to 5 types of fish. It was really a great experience, seeing the beauty of sea wildlife. Our scuba dive was planned on Monday but due to bad weather we were not able to do it. We promised Rupesh to come back in month of November just for Scuba diving. He gave us few snaps taken during snorkeling and scuba dive.

Our Snorkeling gear kit

Photographs taken during our snorkeling.

Photographs taken during our snorkeling.

Photographs taken during our snorkeling.

Photographs taken during our snorkeling.

               When we were back, we were too hungry so we went directly to restaurant name “Chaitanya”. This was an alright restaurant. Due to peak summer we preferred to stay at our room for relaxation. In the evening around 5:30 PM we went to Rock garden in Malvan. 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 an evenings. You can spend entire evening just to view waves hitting on rocky patches creating hug water splash. Sunset from this point was amazing.


Sun set from Rock garden

sea wave splash
             Walking around the market we picked up some Malvani shopping items like Masala, kokam, Amba-poli, pickles etc. Once our little ‘Malvani items shopping’ trip was over we headed back to our room. Aunty gave us information about a dealer/ wholesale agent who is owner of Mango (Alphonso) business from Malvan town. We meet him at his place. His family is in this business from last 35yrs. They greeted us with Mango and other fruits. We got to know how they run this business. They take all mango trees from town on 5 or 10 yr. lease. They take care of trees for entire year and then collect the Mangoes in the summer to sell in Mumbai/Pune/abroad Market. We requested them as we wanted to buy Mango and purchased 4 Dozen large sizes Alphonso at INR 400 per dozen rates (That time market price in Pune was INR 700-800/-).

  • Car parking at Malvan jetty: INR 30/-
  • Boat (ferry) ride to Sindhudurg: INR 74/- for both (return ticket)
  • Guide at Sindhudurg: INR 100/-
  • Lunch at Chaitanya restaurant: 280/- (Veg + Amaras meal for both)
Day 3 (29 April 2012): Tarkarli – Malvan.
                Me and Renu wanted to see Rapan (Traditional way of fishing in Malvan) so we woke up early morning at 4.45 a.m. and went on the beach by 5.15 a.m. Yesterday we got to know the timing by fisherman about Rapan so we managed to reach there before time. Fishermen sail into deep sea in the midnight with huge size fishing net and spade it in such a way that it forms U shape wall in the sea. In the early morning they start pulling out the net with their bare hands in perfect coordination with each other. It looks graceful but I have no doubt that it must be very hard. There are at least 30-40 people pulling this Net. At the end when complete net was pulled out of sea, we saw too many live fishes. Nobody was in mood to talk but when whole Rapan process ended they gave us answer to our all quires. We clicked a few photos and then local auction begins. It was completely fun to watch this Auction and entire process.


fishes in Rapan

Sea snake

These are my Crabs :)

Sea snake
                We just roamed around the beach in the morning and spent 2-3 hours in water. Then we sat down on beach for watching the sea and the waves. It was a nice morning and no work pressures, no daily routine. This was the laziest morning of the trip.

Tarkarli Beach

We came back to room and went for lunch in Tarkarli at hotel Tarkarli Nivas. Menu in the vegetarian Thali (Meal) was very simple but food was tasty. We took rest in the noon on rope hammock.
                Our evening plan was to visit Devbag which is end point on Malvan Tarkarli road. But due to maintenance of road we were not able to go there. Run time we decided to visit Ozar place for caves which is just 7-8km away from Malvan. After watching the cave we came to Ciwala beach which is in Malvan. The evening walk by the beach is also stress relieving and revitalizing.



Sun set from Chivala beach

 We had dinner again at “Atithi Bamboo” restaurant. I ordered Pomplet Fish Meal (Bramidae family fish / type of Stromateidae fish) with Solkadi (Local non-alcoholic drink made of fresh coconut milk in mangos teen/ red mango juice spiced with ginger, garlic and coriander). It was an awesome dinner.

Pomplet fish meal
  • Lunch at Tarkarli Niwas: INR 160/- (Veg Meal for both with extra Solkadi)
  • Pomplet meal at Atithi Bamboo restaurant: INR 220/-
  • Veg meal at Atithi Bamboo restaurant: INR 70/- (with sweets)
Day 4 (30 April 2012): Tarkarli – Devbag
            We woke up at 8 and went on beach for swimming. After spending hardly half an hour we came back for breakfast. Monday is the local Market day so we decided to visit the market. Lots of local people selling verity of product as well as some local products. We did some local food shopping and came back.
             We were a bit confused about our day plan. We had 2 options; Relax in resort for entire day or visit Kunkeshwar temple along with Vijaydurg. We decided to go with plan 2.  Visit to Kunkeshwar temple was nice. Temple is build up on sea shore. Kunkeshwar is the most devoted Lord Shankar Temple in the Sindhudurg District. A local guy told us the history about temple that a cow, instead of milking for her master, was delivering it on a stone in the jungle. Her annoyed master once followed her to that stone. Seeing the behavior of the cow, he tried to axe the stone. As the axe hit the stone, the red blood emerged out of the stone. The master understood that this was not an ordinary stone; he apologized to the stone & started worshipping it. That stone is the Shiva-Linga (The symbol of Lord Shiva). 

Sea shore from Kunkeshwa

               Latter we went to Devgad but strong smell of dry fish from port made my wife uncomfortable and we decided to go back to resort. We took some rest and planned to visit Devbag (Devgad and Devbag are two different places. Devbag is 7km south from Tarkarli and Devgad is 66km north of Tarkarli) where Karli creek meets Arabian Sea. Devbag is a small fishing village based on a thin strip of land with Karli backwaters on one side and Arabian Sea on the other. Amazing view and must visit place in the evening. 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.

Devbagh beach

Devbag beach where Karli creek meets Arabian Sea

At Devbagh beach

                    After spending 20-30 min on small beach, we decided to go for our next destination, the Tsunami Island beach. This island has emerged in 2004 after Tsunami waves hit the coast. A local fisherman 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 tsunami wave hit the coast, it has turned into an island during low tide but gets submerged by 2-3 feet during high tide. This island is very small and you can see it during low tide. Water sports are arranged on this island and even during high tide you can go there.

Tsunami Island during high tide
           To reach to the tsunami island you have to hire a boat which cost you INR 500/- per boat. No one was there to share the cost so we said no to them. Local fisherman (young boy) approached towards us and he was ready to take us there in his own small size fiber boat (local name Dinghy) in just INR 200/-. Experience was thrilling and we entirely enjoyed this journey. Due to sea waves, the boat started rocking from side to side. Both fishermen managed to keep boat steady. We spend 30 min on beach and did Bumper ride. We were confidant and comfortable during our return journey from tsunami island to Devbag beach. I liked the overall experience and gave him INR 70/- extra for making our last evening special. With the Devbag and tsunami island, our trip to Malvan-Tarkarli comes to an end.

Bumper ride
         I don’t want to go home without having fish in dinner on last night so we headed to “Atithi bamboo” and had Surmai fry and Savandala fish meal (Local name). This was my last full fish meal at the restaurant as we were going to head back for Pune the next morning.

Savandala fish meal
  • Car parking at Kunkeshwar temple: INR 20/-
  • Lunch at Devgad: INR 90/- (for both at small local hotel)
  • Boat ride(Dinghy) to Tsunami island: INR 270/- return fair for both
  • Bumper ride at tsunami island: INR 400/- for both
  • Dinner at Atithi Bamboo restaurant: INR 212/- (Savandala fish meal + Veg meal)
Day 5 (1 May 2012): Malvan – Pune via Gaganbawada ghat (Distance traveled: 395km)
              We got up early and went on beach for a while where we saw local fishing activity. We had our breakfast and left Malvan by 10 a.m. We followed same route but instead of Radhanagari, we came via Gaganbawada ghat and reached home by 8 p.m. It was truly stress–relieving trip.

Stingray fish

We, the traveler
  • Home-Stay at Annapurna Nivas for 4 nights: INR 2800/-
  • Breakfast at Annapurna Nivas for 4 day: INR 160/- for both.
  • Lunch at NH-4 : 180/- (Punjabi food and rice for both)
  • Toll on NH-4 (Kini): INR 58/- one way entry
  • Toll on NH-4 (Taswade): INR 58/- one way
  • Toll on NH-4 (Anewadi-Satara): INR 50/- one way entry
  • Toll on NH-4 (Khed-Shivapur): INR 70/- one way entry
 Contact numbers for your reference:
  1. Annapurna Nivas for Homestay: Vandana Gosavi – 02365-253537, 9404442990.
  2. For snorkeling and scuba diving: Rupesh – 9766420038, Anavay – 9823857576.
  3. For local boat (Dinghy) Ride in Devbag: Dhananjay – 9420336845.
  4. Mango-Alphonso dealer from Malvan: Chandrakant Salunke – 02365-252516. 
  5. Atithi Bamboo restaurant: Sanjay Gavade – 9423304327.
Visit Places which we miss due to lack of Time:
  1. Tondavali Beach (16-18km from Malvan)
  2. Day visit to Vengurla town for temples and beautiful beaches nearby Vengurla.
  3. Burnt island visit from Vengurla or from Tarkarli.
  4. Dolphin ride from Tarkarli. (best time for ride is November to January else you should be lucky enough to spot in sea)
 I will try to upload more and more travel blogs. Thanks for reading this Travel Blog.
 Pritesh Kulkarni