Get on to a bus or drive roughly 495 kms from Mumbai and head to Tarkarli in Malwan. Tarkarli lies in the Sindhudurga district and has been acclaimed as the paradise beach of Maharashtra. Its pristine waters and immaculate white sand beckon every enthusiastic beach bum. You could even travel by train and get off at the nearest rail head, Kudal and then journey to Malwan. Thereafter a quick ten minute ST bus ride and you are at Tarkarli.
You can choose to stay at MTDC or at any of the many resorts that line the coast or else settle down at any house cum resorts that offer you shelter too. The MTDC resort is well maintained with clean rooms, reasonably priced food and the Kokum syrup is the best refreshing drink and a truly must have. If you have a keen eye for nature at Tarkarli you can spot a langur leaping high above from tree to tree or even sight an array of Kingfishers perched close to the shore.
After a brisk walk on the beach, a quick swim and a speedy shower we headed to Malwan. The stuff you can do at Tarkarli, Malwan includes snorkeling, trekking the Sidhudurg fort and go Dolphin sighting. As eager as we were, we rushed ourselves into some snorkeling gear, post instructions from our local guide and leaped into the azure sea. Sighting gigantic corals which were over four hundred years old along with the various schools of fish that seemed to be leading our way, the sight was truly breathtaking. Our guide gently led us along the periphery of the fort, where these beautiful sea creatures swam this part of the vast sea. Plate Corals, White Corals, Cabbage Corals, Glass fish, Parrot fish and an Eel which seemed to be veiling itself from potential danger, are few of the names I recall. It was then that my learning’s in geography suddenly flashed through my mind and how fish were abundantly found in the continental shelf thriving on its rich vegetation.
As it was only around ten feet deep the sunrays easily reached the bottom of the sea bed and hence shoals of fish rambled along for nourishment. Seeing the sea turf come alive, reaching out and touching the many fish, stroking every coral we passed, while sunrays passed though our fingers, the 30 min experience underwater was absolutely amazing. Our next day Dolphin adventure didn’t prove to be fruitful though, but we did spot a giant turtle floating upon the gentle waves.
Apart from snorkeling you can also trek the massive stone walled Sidhudurg fort. The interiors of the fort, house many coconut trees, scattered dwellings and a little temple at one end. It also boasts of having the only well preserved hand or foot print of the Great Maratha warrior, which we weren’t keen on spotting though, considering the fort’s vast stretch. Our fort trek and underwater endeavor cost us Rs.350/-. However the next time it will certainly be snorkeling only.
Many of the house cum resorts offer breakfast and a well laden Malwani style lunch and dinner. If you enjoy sea food that you must have the fish thali and bite into some freshly caught fried crispy fish. You could then down your meal with some cool solkadi.
The principle of Susegad is well adhered to and is typical of the way of life across the far flung villages of Maharashtra and Goa. So ensure that you grab your lunch before its Susegad time, cause the lunch houses will open again only post 4:30 in the evening, which then goes without saying is ‘chai time’. You could choose to lunch at a small hotel or resort and listen to some sizzling Bollywood hits or watch a Marathi movie, filled with gallis at the house cum lunch homes.
If you have time to spare and nothing much to do at Malwan, you can jump onto a bus going to Kudal and then take a bus to Vengurla. The local ST bus will cost you Twenty Four bucks per seat or you could encash Four Hundred for an hour and fifteen minutes auto ride. Once you reach Vengurla you can get onto an auto again and head to Sagreshwar the nearest beach which is 3km from Vengurla. Vengurla is one of the other pristine beaches along the Sindhurang district which also has clear blue waters and powdered white sand. The beach is scattered with many tiny Star fish, just like Tarkarli that throng all along the stretch. Turn it turtle and you can chance to count its many ten thousand like tentacles. When at Vengurla also visit the local market, which is very similar to Crawford market in Mumbai and probably as old as it too.
The only resort that lines the shore is Mermaid beach resort which offers a decent stay at Rs.2000 per night. Besides water sports, you can also hire a yacht for Rs 6000 for 30 mins and have your own party at sea accompanied with Bose like speakers and of course your quota of booze as well.
So ensure you visit Tarkarli and Vengurla for its clear waters and white sand and of course Malwan for snorkeling. The best time to visit is between October to December.