Idyllic tropical sands, centuries old forts and unassuming rural fishing villages are the main highlights of Coastal Maharashtra. Never having travelled in this region before, I was excited to be part of the ‘Wheels of Wander’ campaign by Maruti Suzuki Alto and Outlook Traveller, for a 4 –day self-driving trip with three friends from Mumbai. To my surprise, the journey had a lot more to offer than I had imagined.
Even though all the towns had a unique charm, everyone loved Tarkarli the most, which was the last stop of the trip. The picturesque town is perched at the edge of the Arabian Sea, and is known for its water adventures in the sea – the perfect place for an all boys trip. It offers snorkelling, scuba diving, jet skiing, parasailing and banana boat rides as some of the options for an adrenalin-packed time.
Naturally, this has resulted in it being an often-frequented weekend getaway for people in Mumbai and Pune. And if one wants to cut off from the chaos and excitement, there is always a scenic spot to unwind in the unspoilt surroundings. For history lovers, the Sindhudurg Fort on the Malvan beach of Tarkarli holds ample heritage allure.
Here are some of the top reasons why Tarkarli makes for a great weekend getaway.
Tarkarli is a revelation, with its pristine beaches and peaceful surroundings. It could make you forget Goa, which is only a short distance away. For the less adventurous, this is the best place to relax by a beachside shack and take in the slow pace of Tarkarli. Complementing the relaxing ambience are seafood joints with a Malvani touch. One can find slow-travellers and photography buffs who like their holidays paced and infused with local experiences, tune their rhythm to the village of Malvan.
Beach lovers of the adventurous kind can ditch the shacks and head for the activity areas where water sports hold sway.
Expect reasonably good adventure outfits offering jet skiing, parasailing, scuba diving, dolphin spotting and snorkeling. Nervous first-timers or seasoned water lovers can be seen enjoying these, and at much lower costs as compared to other popular beach destinations of India.
While one would think that the daily ritual of the sun reaching the horizon and slowly vanishing into the sea would be same from anywhere on the west coast, being in Tarkarli has its advantages. There are a number of lesser-feted beach strips that allow for the opportunity of being absolutely alone. The combination of solitude and the dramatic colours of the sky are worth remembering forever.
A remnant of Malvan's rich history, the Sindhudurg fort is a majestic 17th century fortification that stands along the Arabian Sea. Though an authentic relic today, it was once a stronghold that safeguarded the Maratha Empire from the enemies entering from the sea. The fort stands near the Malvan port and overlooks the water sports area.
If you are travelling from Mumbai or Pune then the best route to reach Tarkarli is the National Highway 48, which will take approximately 10 to 11 hours. Either way, it is a beautiful drive, full of twisting roads which takes one through green and rocky Western Ghats.