Long weekend trip to Tarkarli

santanu

Active Member
Last long drive we did in November to Hampi, Badami and Vijaypura. Four months have passed after that. Hands and Leg started itching for next long drive, mind has started becoming restless for exploring new places. Long week end of the Holi week offered a perfect opportunity. An off on Friday makes it an extended weekend of four days. Tarkarli was chosen as the destination. We were on for our next driving trip

Before getting into detailed day by day update, let me share some of the photos clicked by us during the trip.

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SH 92, from Khalapur to Nagothane

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Bridge on Kharada river

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Kunkeswar beach

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Sunset at Chivla beach, Malvan

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Tarkarli beach at dawn

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Tarkarli beach, from another angle

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Sunrise at Tarkarli beach


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Seagulls at confluence of Karli river and Arabian Sea

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Sindhudurg fort



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Kunkeswar-Talewadi Road, near Gaganbwada, on the way to Kolhapur
 

santanu

Active Member
Day 1 (20th March, 2019)

There are two routes for going to Tarkarli, one via NH66 (old Mumbai-Goa Highway) and another via NH48.

The distance via NH66 is ~ 500 km.

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The distance via NH48 is ~ 550 km.

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We decided to go to Tarkarli via NH66 and return via NH48.

Our plan was to start in the afternoon once my daughter comes back from school. It is not possible to reach Tarkarli on the same day. So, the destination for the first day was Chiplun.

We started at 2.25 pm.

I prefer Airoli bridge over Vashi bridge to cross the creek and get into Navi Mumbai. So, from Jogeswari, we took JVLR to reach Airoli via Powai. Since we stay at Goregaon, we could have opted for Aarey colony rood. We did not do that and it proved to be a mistake very soon. On account of Mumbai Metro work, JVLR has become substantially narrower. There was bumper to bumper traffic jam from Jogeswari up to the crossing of JVLR and Ballavbhai Patel road. It took around 20 minutes to cross that stretch. After that traffic eased out substantially. We crossed Powai at 3.05 pm, touched Eastern Express Highway at 3.15pm and were at Mulund East, at the junction of Airoli-Mulund road and Eastern Express Highway by 3.20 pm.

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We encountered the second round of traffic jam at Airoli, just before getting onto Thane-Belapur road. We lost around 10 minutes there.

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There was sporadic traffic jam even on Thane-Belapur road. The road became free and drive became painless only after Nerul. We crossed Belapur at 4.05 pm and by 4.18 pm, we were on Mumbai-Pune Expressway.

It was quarter to 5 pm when we reached Khalapur toll gate. After crossing the toll gate, we took a left turn for Pen-Khapoli road. Immediately After getting onto Pen-Khapoli road, we took a U-turn and perpendicularly crossed the Mumbai-Pune expressway by the over bridge.

There, the road trifurcates. The right most branch is Pen-Khapoli road which goes towards Pen. The left most branch goes back to Mumbai-Pune express way. The middle one is SH92 which goes to Nagothane. We took a 5 minutes tea break at a road side tea stall and then proceeded towards Nagothane.

The distance between Khalapur and Nagothane is approximately 40 kms. It is a single lane road. One of the claims to fame of this road is that Imagica Theme Park is on this road. You also need to take this road if you intend to go to Durshet forest.

I last drove on this road in December, 2017. Then, the road condition was good or rather excellent. The traffic on this road is quite sparse. Driving on this road used to be a pleasure in spite of it being a single lane road. The situation has changed now. The road is being widened. Construction work is underway. Asphalt is being replaced by cement. Now it is a broken dirt track.

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The road condition improves significantly after first 10 km and remains so for next 15 km.

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The last 15km is mix of good and bad patches.

It is a serpentine road through Sahyadri hill range, full of twists and turns. It passes through Pali town and some villages. The grassland on both side of the road was completely dry. In the blistering afternoon Sun, it was emitting golden glow.

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At many places, the trees at the side of the road were devoid of leaves. The skeleton like branches moved up in an apparent attempt of catching the feet of the rain god. In the afternoon Sun, the dry branches were looking bit mystic. I am pretty sure that in dark night, these branches look eerie in the headlight of vehicle.

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SH92 meets NH66 near Nagothane bridge on Amba river. This place is approximately 3 km after Nagothane town while you are going towards Chiplun. We reached there around 5.55 pm. By that time, we had covered a distance of 124 km. Before getting onto NH66, we took a snack break with some homemade stuff on the banks of Amba river.

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We resumed our journey after 15 minutes. Before saying good-bye to SH92 we took last few snaps of the road. In slanting rays of the setting Sun, it was looking surreal.

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By the time we took NH66, it was already in the captivity of the shadow of the hills standing tall at the west. The dusk was setting in. The moon appeared in east.

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By the time we crossed Mangaon, the darkness was visible.

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I drove a number of times on NH66 since 2009. Though it is a single lane hilly road, it used to be an enjoying drive. The route offers fascinating vistas and a bit of adrenalin rush. The road surface used to be impeccably good. The traffic used to be scanty traffic especially after Poladpur. I have even drove on this road in dark and found that pretty manageable.

The assumption of good road quality does not hold good anymore. Road widening work has been going on NH66 for last 3-4 years. It has significantly worsened the surface quality. When I drove last on NH66 in December’ 2017, stretch up to Mangaon was affected. This time, based on this day’s as well as the following days’ experiences, we found that the entire NH66 has come under the ambit of road widening work.

I am ok with driving in night on a single lane road even with of twists and turns provided the road throw unpleasant surprises in form of broken track and sudden diversions. Here the case was exactly opposite. The track was broken at many places and it was full of diversion. To make the matter worse, most of the vehicles coming from the opposite side were engaged in vulgar and competitive display of brightness of the headlights. It was a difficult drive.

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My advice for myself and other travelers is to avoid NH66 for next few years to the extent possible.

Driving became bit easier once we crossed Poladpur. One of the reasons is that traffic became light after Poladpur. The another reason is that the Moon started glowing full throttle and moonlight caused darkness to disappear considerably. It was the previous evening of ‘Holi Purnima’

Driving on a hilly road in a moonlit night is an exhilarating experience. The hills, the valleys, the forest were looking mystic in moonlight. It was a treat to eyes. Unfortunately, I could not captures the same in lens. You need to take a super slow shot to capture the beauty of the nature. You need a proper camera and a tripod. I had ammunitions but did not have time. We were running late.

We reached Chiplun at 9.45 pm. We had pre-booked our accommodation at ‘Hotel Oasis’. It is on the highway. It is a neat and clean hotel with restaurant and parking lot. Room is bit smaller but quite ok for a stopover.
 

Yogesh Sarkar

Administrator
Wow, that looks like one amazing drive, hope the road conditions improve soon. Though to be frank, a wider road might look out of place here.
 

santanu

Active Member
Day 2 (21st March, 2019)

After getting up, I came out of the hotel for a stroll and found the morning bit overcast and foggy. The hotel staff told that Chiplun experiences foggy morning till March.

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What I read from internet that Tarkarli has several other good beaches in company, both in north and south of it. In its north, there are beaches namely Kunkeswar beach, Achara beach, Chiwla beach etc. We planned to cover these beaches on our way to Tarkarli. It is difficult to get down on the beach with Sun over the head. So, we decided to start late so that we did not hit the beaches before afternoon.

We started at 10.30 am. The toad condition was similar to what we faced previous evening.

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After covering a distance of around 71km, at 12 noon, we took a left turn and left NH66 as per the advice of Google maps. It was a narrow hill road.

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I was bit surprised with Google map’s guidance for taking left because our destination was on our right-hand side. Still, I obliged Google map hoping that it would take us to our destination using some underpass below NH66. However, after driving few kilometers, I realized that my apprehension was correct. This road leads to NH66 only. Google map directed us to this road instead of sticking to NH66 because as per its analytics, that was saving some time.

I am not sure whether we saved any time. But we do not have any complaint also. The road was quite scenic. Though it was narrow, its surface condition was very good. There was very less traffic on this road. We enjoyed driving there.

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We came back to NH66 at 12.25 pm. From there, NH66 was in excellent condition. So, the speedometer started hovering around 100km/hr.

We took our lunch break at 1.15 pm at Hotel Gurumauli Lodging. By that time, we had covered approximately 124km. The hotel was looking quite decent from the highway. It was actually. We ordered a vegetarian Thali for my wife and one-half chicken handi with chapati and rice for daughter and myself. Food was good. The meal costed around Rs. 500/-.



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We resumed our journey at 2.05 pm. After crossing around 8 kms, we took right turn for MDR61 and started ascending immediately. It was a nice serpentine road through greens.

After some time, we reached the top which is flat, essentially a plateau. The surface is rocky and barren. The black asphalt road has gone towards the horizon by splitting the plateau. We were driving on a parched land under the scorching Sun.

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After driving for around 26 km on MDR61, we took a left turn for Rajapur road. After another 7 km, we took SH4.

We crossed Vagothan river around 2.55 pm.

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We passed through few mango orchards in between.

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We crossed Kharada river around 3.20 pm

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After driving for around 13 km on SH4, we took a right turn for Devgarh Nippani road around 3.25 pm.

We crossed another river around 3.30 pm name of which is unknown to me. There is nice temple on the bank of the river at upstream side.

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In the other direction, the confluence was visible.

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We reached Mithmumbari beach immediately after that. At the other side of the confluence is Taramumbari beach.

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There is a narrow stretch of green separating the beach from the road. It is a white stand beach. It is completely secluded. We saw only one family there. There are few stalls on the road selling water and cold drinks. Though we got down from the car, we did not dare to venture to the beach. The Sun was merciless. So, we took few photos from a distance and started for Kunkeswar beach.

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By that time a problem has cropped up with my vehicle. Whenever, I was applying break, a metallic sound was emanating from rear left wheel. From my limited knowledge, I guessed that break shoe had completely worn out. That made me bit worried and somewhat distracted me from enjoying the beautiful surroundings.

A small hillock separates Mithmumbari beach from Kunkeswar beach. We took one more stop before starting the uphill drive and took photograph of Mithmumbari beach from another angle.

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Kunkeswar beach got visible immediately after commencement of downhill drive. It is simply stunning.

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Kunkeswar beach is flanked by hillocks on both the side. The approach to the beach is bit tricky. The road becomes really narrow at the downhill with a considerable slope. It branches into two. We were bit confused. Fortunately, there was a passerby at that time. He told that we could take any of the branch. The left one goes through the village. The right one goes via Kunkeswar temple. The branches merge in the small market along the beach.

We took the right one and crossed Kunkeswar temple immediately. The temple is at the northern end of the branch. Since I was occupied with the problem of the brake, we did not stop there which I repent at the hindsight.

After crossing the Kunkeswar beach, we started climbing the hillock at the right flank of the beach. After some time, we reached the plateau. Our driving continued towards our next destination – Achra beach.

By that time, we discerned the sequence of the terrain. First you will climb up to a plateau which will be rocky, arid and lack of vegetation. After some time, you will come down to a green valley and will cross few picturesque villages. Then you will cross a river which worth a visit on its own. That will be followed by few picturesque villages again. Then after, you will climb up again to a dry plateau. In a way, this sequence reflects various phases of our life. The river reflects our that phase of life when we are full of jest, mobile and active. The green valley is an image of that phase of contentment. The arid plateau is akin to that phase of life when everything around us starts departing and we helplessly watch that as mute spectators.

Though the sequence was repetitive, it was not boring at all. Every turn would offer a new vista. Every twist would show something unseen. A driving through Konkan is exhilarating in all seasons.

After sometime, we came down to the valley and crossed a village temple.

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Then we crossed Achra river.

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This road does not go to Acra beach. You need to take a right turn for Achra bridge after crossing Achra market. By enquiring the village people, we took the right turn from tight junction.

We were at Achra beach around 4.45pm. The parking lot is reasonably spacious. The beach was relatively crowded compared to Mithmumbari and Kunkeswar beach. There was one more family and a few bachelors. In total, there were 10-15 living souls on the beach at that time. There were some shops along the beach but all were closed on account of Holi. The sun was bright but not blistering. It was an ideal time to venture to the beach.

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We spent around 10 minutes there and then resumed our journey. The next destination was Chiwla beach. It is adjacent to Malvan town. We came back to the junction and took a right turn. It took almost 45 minutes to reach Malvan town. On the way we crossed Gad river. The lanes of Malvan town are narrow. Late afternoon marketing activities by the local populace made those lanes narrower. We carefully navigated through those lanes. By the time we reached Chiwla beach, the clock has crossed 6 pm and the Sun God is about to take leave.

Chiwla beach does not have any designated parking space. There is narrow lane along the circumference of the beach. We managed to park our vehicle there and got down to the beach.

It's a semi-circular beach.

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After spending sometime there, while we were about to leave, we noticed few vehicles on the beach. On enquiry, locals informed that it was allowed. So, we also took our vehicle to the beach and did some driving while watching the sunset.

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We started from Chiwla beach around 6.30 pm. The distance of Tarkarli is approximately 4.5 km. However, we took almost 25 minutes to reach Tarkarli since we were driving slowly on account of the brake related issue. By the time we checked in Tarkarli Nyahari Niwas it was past 7 pm.

Tarkarli Nyahari Niwas is quite a good place to stay at Tarkarli. The rooms are quite spacious, well decorated and maintained. It has a parking facility. It has an in-house restaurant. Staffs are courteous and helpful.

After freshening up, when we came out, it was quite dark. The moon had just arisen on the hills at the east.

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Hotel staffs advised us not to venture to the beach because beach has not been electrified. We had an early dinner and retired for the day.
 
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santanu

Active Member
Day 3 (22nd March, 2019)

I got up around 5.30am and came out of the hotel. It was still dark. So, I went back to room.

I again came out around 6.30am. By that time, it was clear. So, I decided to go to the beach.

The hotel staffs informed us that for proper pedestrian access to the beach, we had to go to the Tarkarli beach parking lot which was adjacent to MTDC property. That place is at a distance of approximately 1 km towards south from our hotel. The alternate is to follow a walking train starting from opposite of our hotel which goes through heaps of sand, trees, bushes and few hutments. Since I was going alone to the beach at that time, I opted for the later one.

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Within few minutes, I was on the beach. The moon was still visible.

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Tarkarli beach is a very pristine beach. There was no commercial activities on the beach barring a couple of food stalls just in front of MTDC resort. It is very calm and soothing beach. It’s not obtrusive. It’s not imposing. It just lovingly and caressingly hugs you.

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After standing at a particular place for 5-10 minutes, I started walking slowly towards the south along the water line.

By that time the Sun had risen above the hills at east.

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Mariners have started venturing into sea.

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Tourists have started coming to beach for walking, jogging and swimming.

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After walking for around 20-25 minutes, I took an U-turn to return to the hotel. This time, I opted for the village road.

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It was 7.30AM by then. The normal village life had started. Kids were going to school.

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In the morning sunlight, Tarkarli village was looking very soothing.

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While coming back to the hotel via village road, I located the Tarkarli beach parking lot and accessed the beach through that and stayed there for few minutes.

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By the time, I reached hotel, it was almost 8 am.

Last evening, after reaching hotel, I requested the hotel staff to put me in touch with some local car mechanic. They told that car mechanic would be available in Malvan town only. In morning, they put me in touch with a local car mechanic named Mahasin Khan. Mahasin has a garage in Malvan town. He requested to get my vehicle there.

We were schedule to go to Dandi beach in the same morning for some water sports. Dandi beach is adjacent to Malvan town. So the plan was, after having breakfast, we would first go to the garage of Mahasin, would drop our vehicle there and then go to Dandi beach by an autorickshaw.

There are two centres of water sports at Tarkarli and its adjacent area – Dandi beach at Malvan and Tsunami island at Devbag Sangam beach. The offering includes scuba diving, para sailing, jet ski, banana ride and bumper ride (two variants). Apparently, Tsunami island is better for scuba diving. For the rest, Dandi beach is better. The reason is that at Tsunami island, the water sports are done in Karli river where water is relatively calm. At Dandi beach, it is done on sea which offers waves and therefore causes more adrenalin rush. Further, the price tag at Dandi beach is slightly cheaper than that of Tsunami island.

However, our decision to go to Dandi beach was not directed by all these technical and financial reasons. It was just a matter of convenience. Malvan town and Devbag Sangam beach were in opposite direction from Trakarli. We were supposed to go to Malvan anyway to get the brake our vehicle repaired and therefore it was convenient for us to go to Dandi beach from there as it is adjacent to Malvan town. Further, in the previous evening, one representative of one of the water sports agencies of Dandi beach came to our hotel and we had made an arrangement with him.

So, after breakfast, we started for Malvan. I was driving the vehicle at snail’s pace so as to ensure minimal use of break. Once we reach Mahasin’s garage, he checked the vehicle and found that the problem is with the break shoe of the rear left wheel. It was completely worn out. Those break shoes were not available at Malvan and had to be brought from Kolhapur. So, the vehicle would be delivered on the next day. About cost, he told that he would inform us about the same only after procuring those break shoes because he did not have any idea about price of the same.

We left our vehicle at Mahasin’s garage and reached Dandi beach by an auto rickshaw. It was a short distance. However, the auto rickshaw fellow charged Rs. 50/- realising that we had no other option. It was around 11.30 am then.

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Our water sports packaged comprised of para sailing, banana ride and two variants of bumper ride. We decided not to go for scuba diving because we had concerns about the safety standards. We do not enjoy Jet Ski that much and that’s why we exclude that too. The package cost was Rs. 1,000/- per person.

First, we did banana ride and bumper rides. Those were very exhilarating. Parasailing was at last. We along with 7-8 members of another group were taken little bit inside the sea. There, we got transferred to a speed boat which took us for para-sailing. I was the first one to go.

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After that, while waiting for others’ turns to be over, I took some random photos.

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Once water sports got over, we came back to Tarkarli by auto rickshaw. Reaching Tarkarli, instead of going to the hotel, we decided to go to the beach. It was not a prudent decision. It was around 1.15 pm. By that time, beach sand was too hot. Nobody was there. We came back from the beach to our hotel within 5 minutes.

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We had our lunch at the hotel. We ordered for two Surmai Thali and one Pomfret Thali. Each thali costed Rs. 300/-. Food was ok type.

Our plan for the afternoon, rather late afternoon, was to go to Devbag Sangam beach. Since our vehicle was at the garage, we requested the hotel staff to arrange for an autorickshaw. They obliged. The driver Nilesh Padkad was at hotel by 4.10 pm. We started for Devbag Sangam beach at sharp 4.15 pm. The fare was settled at Rs. 150/-.

Devbag Sangam beach is at a distance of approximately 6.5 km from Tarkarli Nyahari Niwas towards south. After the first 1 km, it is basically a narrow extension of the mainland with water bodies on both the side – Karli river at east and Arabian sea at west. Karli river flowing from the east towards the sea takes a southward turn and flows close to the sea for about 6 Kms forming this narrow peninsula. The serpentine road passes through this narrow parcel of land from north to south with village houses on both the side. Many of those village houses have been converted into hotel/home stays.

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We took a stop when we saw Karli river for the first time.

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Few people asked us whether we were interested in boat rides. We said no and resumed our journey. Since the road was serpentine and narrow, the auto rickshaw was going at a moderate speed. We were also enjoying view of green village. In between, group of youth was enquiring whether we were keen to do water sports at Tsunami island. Obviously, our answer was negative. Finally, we had to stop at a place almost 1km away from the final destination point – the tip of the peninsula. They told that the main attraction of Devbag Sangam beach is Tsunami island. That can be accessed by boat only. Instead of taking boat from Devbag Sangam beach, if we took boat from that particular place, we would also get an experience of boat ride on Karli river. We found the logic appealing and got down from the auto rickshaw.

Nilesh took Rs. 120 instead of agreed rate of Rs. 150 since we were getting down 1 km before the destination. Honesty does exist. Since auto rickshaws were not readily available on that rough, we took Nilesh’s number so that we could call him for returning to Tarkarli.

The charge for the boat ride was Rs. 600/-. It would be a 40 minutes’ boating. We would be taken to Sangam Point, Bhogve beach, Seagull island. Then we will be dropped to Tsunami island. As and when we would wish to return from Tsunami island, the boat would bring us back to the starting point.

From my earlier experiences, I knew that list and number of points did not matter. The 40 minutes’ boat ride was the main attraction.

The boarding points was few hundred meters away from the road towards east.

We started the boat ride at 4.45 pm towards the confluence.

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After sometime, we crossed Tsunami island but we did not get down. As per the plan, we were supposed to get down on Tsunami island in the return leg of the boat ride.

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After sometime we reached near Bhogave beach. Bhogave beach is a nice secluded beach. It is at the opposite side of Devbag Sangam beach. It’s part of Vengurla Taluka. We requested the boatman to take near to the beach and allow us to get down there. He refused to do so saying it was not allowed. Instead of arguing with him, we preferred to enjoy the beauty of the beach and surrounding from the boat. It was beauty of tranquility and seclusion.

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However, we managed to get down on Seagull point which is essentially a tiny island full of seagulls, by paying him additional Rs. 100/-. The island is at the confluence and in all probability, goes under water at the time of high tide. We got down at the eastern tip of this tiny island and saw a number of seagulls at the western tip. So, we walked towards the western tip to get a closer look. But more we moved closer, more birds started flying out. So, we started taking photos from a distance.

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We spent around 10-15 minutes there. It was a nice feeling.

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Then we started for Tsunami island which is at bit upstream.

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We reached Tsunami island around 5.45 pm.

Locals say that Tsunami island got formed by 2004 tsunami. The island is a center for water sports. It has 5-6 counters of various water sports agencies. It also has 2-3 tea & food stalls. The most part of the island gets submerged water during hightide. We went there during low tide so couldn’t experience that. We spent there around 20 minutes and had tea. Since we did water sports in the morning, we were not interested in water sports there. We were just soaking the ambience.

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We came back to the mainland around 6.20 pm. By that time, the Sun has started hide and seek game behind the trees. Sunset was approaching fast.

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We had called Nilesh almost 15 minutes back. So, he was there. We started our return journey. Instead of directly going back to the hotel, we got down at the Tarkarli Beach Parking lot. The objective was to capture the picture of the sunset. We didn’t have much time. We literally ran to the beach from the parking lot. We were partly successful.

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We spent some more time in the beach and returned to our hotel when it got completely dark.

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Thus, the day 3 of our trip came to an end.
 
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