Sindhudurg is the southernmost district of Maharashtra, just north of Goa. Sindhudurg is supposed to have some of the best beaches in India and Tarkarli beach in particular is mentioned by many as a particularly lovely beach to go to. Tarkarli’s reputation is one of clear waters that allow one to snorkel and scuba dive, which is interesting because to the best of my knowledge there is no other mainland beach in India that is good for watching the world underwater.
Goa does offer Scuba, but even the operators themselves agree that Goa’s murky waters are not the place for it. The best snorkelling & diving in India is in Lakshadweep, where Mitali & Prahlad Kakkar run Lacadives (the other option is to dive with Goa diving in Agatti Island; I have come across some vague rumours of safety here, so do check well before you go) . After that is the Andaman Islands, particularly Havelock Island. I haven’t been there and so do not have first hand experience – but many members of HolidayIQ swear by Havelock which is very reassuring.
Anyway, to come back to Tarkarli beach. I do know that a few years ago, a couple of well known boutique cruise operators (Seabourn, I am almost certain was one of them) had an interesting halt offshore at Tarkarli beach from where they brought guests by boat to the beach and then took them on a cycle tour of the local Konkan region. My impression is that this is not done anymore – certainly not at Tarkarli beach. Not sure why.
MTDC has a resort at Tarkarli beach, which has been reviewed and rated by many members of HolidayIQ. Everyone is unanimous in their opinion of Tarkarli beach. Tarkarli is an awesome beach and the MTDC property at Tarkarli beach is a classic government-run place (which let me assure you is NOT a compliment). This unfortunately is the karma of all intrepid travellers in India. The greatest locations have been hogged by government properties which then do their dammest to put people off. Sorry for that rant, but it is a pet peeve of mine.
Here is another oddity of Tarkarli beach. Every Friday, very well-heeled (mostly) foreigners who pay over 10,000 US Dollars per couple to ride on the Deccan Odyssey for 7 nights, land up in Tarkarli beach. Sounds straight-forward? Now comes the curious part. Every Friday, the MTDC property at tarkarli beach tosses out a few unlucky guests who might be checked into one of the 10 rooms reserved for the Deccan Odyssey to accommodate the rich foreigners. Once they go, the guest are allowed back in. Crazy huh? When will we get over this kind of colonial hangover?
(Photo of Tarkarli beach from MTDC)
Rohit, one of HolidayIQ’s contributors from Delhi has an excellent review of MTDC Tarkarli Beach, on the site. Since it was the best review of Tarkarli beach I could find, here is an unedited, verbatim reproduction of his review. There are at least 10 reviews on Tarkarli beach in HolidayIQ, so check it out here.
Comments: Tarkarli has to be Maharashtra Tourism’s and ITDC’s best kept secret. How else do you explain the fact that even the average Mumbaikar has not heard of it?
What do you get there? Gentle waves of crystal clear water, powdery silver-white sandy beaches which stretch for miles, lovely boat cruise on the tranquil backwaters of the Karli creek, the most awesome sea food at ridiculous prices, lovely beach-facing cottages in an idyllic setting. If you are lucky, some dolphins too.
The MTDC resort is nestled in the midst of a casuarina grove with each of the 20 ethnic-looking cottages facing the sea. Hammocks and beach umbrellas are generously strewn all over the resort for those whose idea of a perfect holiday is a book. The aesthetically designed cottages look like huts from the outside. There are a few air-conditioned cottages which cost only Rs 400 more. The rooms are clean and functional as are the bathrooms. It is great value for money.
Since there are only few rooms, you may need to book well in advance particularly if you plan to be there during the kids’ holidays.
Efficiency is not the forte of Mr. Mithbaukar who runs the restaurant which is contracted out by MTDC. Nor is the quality of food. It is well worth your while to drive the 7 km into Malvan town for every meal (except breakfast). The food in Malvan (for the uninitiated, Malvani food can give Thai a run for its money as far as richness of flavours is concerned) is to die for. In particular, try Saiba which offers a great view of the sea and a really wide selection of food. Bamboo, Ruchira and Chaitanya are homely and have a limited spread. But the food is great as usual. Seer (Surmai), Pomfret (Paplet), Macherel (Bangra), Crab (Khekra) and prawns are staple diet in Malvan and Tarkarli. They don’t come better or cheaper than this.
Every Friday, a large group of people traveling on the Deccan Odyssey descends on the resort for a few hours in the morning. Every Friday the resort dresses up for these train travelers. Ten rooms are perpetually reserved for half a day every Friday. If you book late, you might be among the ones who need to vacate their rooms for a few hours. Another thing to expect is frequent power cuts but the power was invariably back by 6.30 pm. The staff is friendly and helpful but the service usually slow.
Did I mention that cellphones don’t work here, so chill. There are a few mosquitoes, but MTDC has thoughtfully provided repellants in the rooms. However, if you want to party outdoors, carry your own spray/cream.
The Sindhudurg fort nearby, built by Shivaji in the 17th century, is also a must see. On your way back, don’t forget to buy Zantye’s cashews (very cheap), kokum and Malvani masalas at Deulkar’s or Anuradha. You can even visit the Zantye’s factory if you are interested.
As long as you know what to expect, absolute nothing will disappoint you. Don’t know if this review was such a good idea after all. Next time I am there I don’t want to be run over by the hordes who will soon stop going to Goa!
Useful, wasn’t that? HolidayIQ gets the most amazing reviews.
As most of you know by now, I am kinda fond of beaches. Click here for all my Beach posts.