After a fascinating first day at Tarkali (read here Tarkarli- Part-I ), we started our next day on a fresh note. We were eagerly waiting to unfold the mysteries of this place and started our day with a visit to Sindhudurg Fort. We headed towards the Malvan Jetty for our fort visit through the narrow lanes of Tarkarli and Malvan. We crossed the Malvan market on our way and reached the jetty. The place has good parking space and it was systematically managed. The fort looked quite astounding and was clearly showing the resolute of great warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji. After making payment for entry, ferry ride and scuba diving we boarded the ferry at Malvan Jetty. Within 10 – 12 minutes we reached the fort.
Sindhudurg Fort is a protected monument built in (1664 – 67) by Chhatrapati Shivaji. The massive walls were designed to serve as a deterrent to approaching enemies and to the waves and tides of the Arabian Sea. The construction was done under the supervision of architect Hiroji Indulkar. From outside it looked like a simple fort but after entering we realized that it was almost like a small township spread over 48 acres of land with a 3 Kilometer long rampart.
The number of permanent residents staying in the fort has been in decline since the fort’s abandonment but few families still stays in the fort. The Sakpal Naik family (the original ‘killedars’) still resides in one of the 16 houses in the fort.
The main entrance was constructed in such a way that no one can pinpoint it from outside. While walking towards the entrance we realized the same. Close to the entrance Shivaji’s palm and footprints were preserved in dry lime. Inside the fort there are some temples, tanks, residential houses and wells. Also, in the fort there is the Shivaji temple – the only one of its kind in the country. This temple also have the sword held by the great Shivaji. The circular bastions constructed over the wide outer wall were the watch towers as well as warehouse of guns and cannons.
We reached a section of the fort where there was a small passage to come out of the fort on a very tiny and beautiful beach. The guide told us that it is known as queen’s beach. The guide also showed us a special pencil like shell and we can easily write on a slate with this. While walking along the thick walls of the fort we could easily hear the sound of waves striking the walls on the other side. Such is the vastness of the sea.
We wandered in the fort for an hour and were spellbound by the foresight of Chhatrapati Shivaji. The magnitude of the fort and the manner in which it was built was quite fascinating. The fort is still standing tall and will be approaching its 350 years soon. It’s a proud moment of our history. We can only imagine about the functioning of the fort and presence of a great warrior of his time in the fort. On this note we left from the fort and headed towards scuba diving to discover the underworld mysteries of sea.
Scuba diving is one of the popular activities in Malvan which got established after the underwater discoveries done by Dr. Sarang Kulkarni near Sindhudurg Fort. This has provided the local residents an employment opportunity. The team of divers picked us up from the entrance of the fort and took us to the diving spot near the fort. The water was crystal clear and such was the visibility that from surface itself we were able to see the fishes, stones, and corals.
Two methods of diving is followed in Malvan – one where you can carry an oxygen cylinder on your back and another where cylinder/air compressor is kept on the boat and you can breathe from the pipe and valve attached to the air compressor. Charges are different for both these type of diving. We opted for the later technique. The maximum depth for dive was around 25 – 30 ft and the length of the pipe is around 40 ft. So, diving can be comfortably done there. The best time to do scuba diving here is from November to February. Underwater photography is also done by the same team and they charge on per person basis. We hired them for photography as well as video shoot. (For details Click Here)…
On our return journey we saw a flock of swan resting on a rocky surface enjoying the sunny weather. The Malvan beach was also looking very beautiful from the boat with hamlets of fishermen and a temple near its shore. The anchored boats standing still on the sparkling waters of the sea were a delight to watch. We reached back to the jetty and went for lunch at the nearby food stall. The first half of the day is over and we came back to our hotel for a small rest.
We started our evening with a visit to the rock garden which is situated in Malvan. The garden is near the rocky shores of the sea hence it is known as rock garden. The garden is a good place to spend evenings in a serene environment. This place also gives a good view of the sunset. We preferred the rocky shore instead of the garden to spend some time. Overall it was a well maintained garden. After spending some time in the garden we headed towards the Chivala Beach which was in close proximity to the garden.
It took us hardly any time to reach Chivala Beach. It was a small and beautiful beach with fishermen’s hamlet all around. A lot of staying options are also available near the beach. When we reached the beach we saw fishermen’s pulling out the net from the sea. By seeing this we got very curious and went nearby them. What we witnessed there was a wonderful experience. We got an opportunity to know about the traditional way of fishing done by them which is known as Rapan. Fishermen sail into sea with huge size fishing net and create a U shaped wall in the sea by spreading the net. In the evening they start pulling out the net from both sides with their bare hands. It’s amazing to see the coordination between those 30 – 40 fishermen. We must say a very hard job. While the net was pulled out we saw few fishes at the start but when the whole net was out we saw numerous fishes and crabs as well. The entire experience of Rapan was quite enthralling.
We came back to our hotel with an exciting and eventful day. Nothing was planned for the next day but to relax and enjoy. We roamed around the lanes of Tarkarli amidst a serene environment. We were very much impressed by the village and the inhabitants. The entire place was neat and clean. While roaming around the village we noticed that almost every house is having a special abode for Tulsi and a well in its vicinity. We had a sumptuous homemade malvani food in lunch and went to Devbaug Beach. In the evening we spent our time on the small island at sangam and had a spectacular view of the sunset. We collected quite a few shells on the island as well.
We returned to our hotel and packed our bags with heavy heart for our return journey. We decided to leave early in the morning and eventually succeeded in our plan. We took a different route for our return journey:
Tarkarli – Kasal – Phonda Ghat – Radhanagari – Kolhapur – Pune – Navi Mumbai
Our journey started on a colourful note, as after covering few miles only we spotted a peacock on a terrain. Also, the view of the road on a deserted terrain was quite enthralling. We couldn’t resist ourselves and stopped there to click some photographs. After a small break we started our journey and within an hour we were near the ghat section. We started climbing the ghat and drove through the Radhanagari forest and lot of S curves. The view of the hills and the valley was very amazing. We were enjoying the nature and after driving some distance we were near a lake. We cannot explain the beauty of the place as it was awesome. For some time, we drove parallel to the lake and were bemused by the beauty of the place. On our way we spotted lot of birds as well – some were flying with us, some were sitting on the trees, and some were floating on the lake. We halted on the ghat for a brief halt and had tea on a local stall. The temple made at the bottom of the tree and dried long grasses on the background was quite amazing. The road after the ghat section was patchy and it hindered our pace. After reaching Kolhapur we halted for lunch and thereafter straight away headed towards home. We reached home by 5.00 p.m. and the trip meter stopped at 1110 Kilometers.
Tarkarli has all the attributes of a beautiful tropical holiday destination – A long beach for romantic walk, crystal clear water, white sand, golden rocks, dolphins, islands, spectacular sunsets, rocky shores, fishing hamlet, Malvani cuisine, Karli backwaters, water sports, scuba diving, and a tranquil environment. There is lot to see and experience in Tarkarli. Malvani delicacies are very famous and if you are a non vegetarian a Tarkarli holiday will be a delight. In local shopping list we can have Malvani masalas, wooden toys made by Sawantwadi artisans, cashew nuts, kokam, solkadi and many more.
Facts File about Tarkarli
Best time to visit: November to February
How to Reach:
By Air: Nearest airport is Dabolim Airport in Goa.
By Rail: Following options exist:
Sindhudurg, but all trains don’t stop there and also connectivity by means of bus and rickshaw are not very good.
Kudal on the Konkan Railway. This is around 1 hour 15 minutes by road from Malvan. Buses are available from and to Malvan after every 30 minutes. Frequency is slow in the evening. If you want to go to tarkali directly, taxis and rickshaws are available from Kudal station
Kankavli on the Konkan Railway. This is around 1 hour 30 minutes by road from Malvan. Buses are available from and to Malvan after every 30 minutes. Frequency is slow in the evening.
By Road: Tarkarli is easily accessible from Malvan by bus and rickshaw. Tarkarli is 475 KM (via Mumbai – Goa Highway) and 530 KM (via Kohlapur) from Panvel.
MTDC Resort situated on the beach is one of the best places to stay in Tarkarli. 6–7 km from Malvan village, it offers great cottages and Konkani House. They also have houseboat facility.
Tourists can also opt for the Govt. approved Home Stays in the village. There are quite a few houses in village which offer rooms on rent services. They also provide homemade malvani food for which they will charge you extra.
Tarkarli Niwas Nyahari (Zantye Hotels): www.zantyehotels.com Kamlesh – 9404448555
Guide: Ganesh Padgawnkar – 9423214745
Scuba Diving: Anvaya Prabhhu – 9823857576