Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tarkarli Travelogue

Hi ! This is part 2 of my Tarkarli Travelogue.Part 1 was my Photo essay  on Tarkarli .Can peep in for a quick reference.In  this part ,I would like to narrate our  experience and details about the different places we visited.

Warning!-This is a lengthy post.So I permit you :-) to take breaks and  allow you;-) to take your own time to complete  the post.
This Travelogue is designed ;-) as a datewise collection of events and places.Ok? Now Please Proceed!

31 Dec 2010- Kolhapur was our first halt.We visited the famous Mahalakshmi temple of Kolhapur.This temple is magnificient and has exquisite carvings on the outer part of the temple.In the interior,there are numerous granite pillars with geometrically designed girths.This temple is famous for its architectural splendour and spiritual magnetism.We had blissful darshan of the goddess and stayed in Hotel Opal.Restaurant in this hotel is famous for its Kolhapuri spicy food which brought tears in my eyes ;)because of its excessive chilli content :) and the net result was revolt by my foodpipe and bowels:) But all other members in our group enjoyed the food there :(

1 Jan 2011- We started the Newyear with darshan of Goddess once again and started to Tarkarli.
Exit from kolhapur was through Rankala.We zoomed towards Gaganbawda ghats.This ghat section was very beautiful,rugged and offers a lovely sight.We stopped the car at the top of this ghat for a break and a small photo session.My photography skills took to their heels when admiring(!) looks of  two unfriendly monkeys  made me to flee ;-) from that place and forced me to take shelter inside the car;-) Roads were very good except for some in between rough patches.
We took Gaganbawda-Vaibhavwadi-Kankavli-Kasal-Malvan-Tarkarli Route..
We stopped at a roadside Hotel 'Mahalakshmi Homely Meals' at Vaibhavwadi.We had a delicious lunch there.30/- for veg plate and 55/- for Non veg plate.Had to pinch myself  for such deflated rates in this inflation.
From Kolhapur,Tarkarli is 160 kms.Route was very good and scenic.Our Logan and Ravindra's Alto were giving company to each other in this beautiful route.We reached Tarkarli MTDC resort  before Sunset
MTDC Resort Tarkarl's scores 100% for its location.Bang on the beach.All cottages have Sea view but only few have the perfect SeaView.Restaurant also faces Sea.Truly a beach lover's paradise.
MTDC cottages are nestled in a mini Casuarina grove ('suru' in Marathi and 'savukku maram' in Tamil).Hammocks are tied in front of each cottage.Taps  and ropes for drying clothes is provided in front of cottages.Thoughtful design.
MTDC Cottage,Tarkarli

 As far as interiors are concerned,MTDC gets just 60% marks from me.False ceiling is OK.Dark brown tiles in Toilet cum Bathroom is a big NO for me because every time I ventured inside,:-) I had to convert my eyeballs into a magnifying lens to ensure that there were no friendly  reptiles inside;-).Come on! It is a resort located amidst Nature.So,Nothing wrong in my fear.Right?:-) and here I like to confess that I have a severe Reptilo phobia :(
But Staff were good,courteous and helpful. But Renovation for Interiors is a must.Cleanliness -Very Good.
Food in Restaurant-Delicious.  Staff in Restaurant -Quite slow but friendly.

2-Jan-2011 - Morning Sleep was disturbed by the excited cry of the senior citizens of our group ."Dolphins on the Shore!"  Oh! No! Not again!
Confused readers can read  fourth para from last in Karde Blog.;) I was not interested in getting the title of an idiot again ;-) :-)
But,decided to join them in their excitement.

Joined the excited Public in watching Dolphins.Wow! They were real!  Hundreds swirled,jumped in Sea just 35 to 50 mts away from the shore. We could watch them from the beach itself. What more could we ask for? When dolphins dived happily,we watched them from the restaurant sipping coffee.Lovely moments.
We asked the MTDC staff about the safe and unsafe waters of the beach.Portion of  the beach  just in front of MTDC is safe.
Crystal Clear waters of Tarkarli
We went to the beach and played in the crystal clear waters.Tarkarli beach is blessed with white sand and clear waters.According to me it can be crowned as the Queen of Konkan.

You can find lots of  houses in Tarkarli providing homely meals.Especially the stretch between Malvan Tarkarli is full of such eatouts.Couldn't see a single restaurant which offered veg food only.They offer both veg and nonveg.Cuisine is Malvani whose main ingredient is coconut.Solkadhi is a famous drink in konkan-Goa region.It is made up of Kokum,coconut milk, spices and tastes yummy.
In the afternoon,we went to Jai Ganesh Mandir in Malvan.Here Ganpati Idol is made up of gold.A very clean temple and well maintained.Next,we went to Rock gardens which was nearby to spend the evening.It was just like anyother park.It was near the sea,So we decided to spend the Sunset there.Sea is laced by different rocks here.Many rocks were vertically cut here.A freelance photographer who took some of our snaps told an information about these rocks.But yet to confirm the validity of information.Anyway sharing it.
Square hole drilled in a rock

 When Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj built nearby Sindhudurg fort,some rocks for construction were taken from here.5 inches deep square holes were drilled in a straight line and were filled with bamboo pieces airtight.Water was made to drip on this holes continuously for seven days.When bamboo pieces absorb water slowly,they acquired enormous strength  which could crack the rock.Since the holes were made in a straight line,rocks could be cut properly.Amazing!

3-Jan-2011 : After consultation with MTDC people,we decided to go for boating in Backwaters.We took the road towards devbag and within 2 kms we found a  Jetty which arranged boats for sightseeing.Boats were covered with a green canopy to protect us from sun and plastic chairs for comfortable seating.Package was 1800/- for our group.Duration- 3hrs including halts.
Backwaters bordered by coconut trees on both sides,very calm and peaceful, I think this boatride was both PAISAVASOOL element and surprise package of Tarkarli Trip.So,those who want to soak in Nature are advised to take backwaters route than sea route to visit Nivati Beach.
Small islets in backwaters with marshy lands on which rest the trees planted by the Master of Nature,all these reminded me of Alleppey in kerala which is also known as Venice of India.On the way to confluence,we see the vitthal mandir of Devbag which is the narrowest strip of land between Karli and Arabian Sea.
Trees in  small groups in Backwaters

 Once we cross the Backwaters,We proceed towards the confluence.Journey in Backwaters was very quiet because wavelets in backwaters behave like a matured person,whereas in the Sea the waves become playful like a kid or sometimes rough like a brat ;-).So,the experience in the exact place of Confluence of River and Sea was awesome.We could feel the magnificient difference between the Wavy Sea and  Sober Backwaters and our group suddenly became silent due to this beautiful change.Sometimes,It's better to salute the Extravaganza of Nature with Silence than Sounds.Right?!

Nivti Beach-Different angle
 Boatman cum guide showed us all the important points like Bhogwe beach,Devbag beach and took a slight left turn to reach Nivati Beach. Nivati beach is very unique for its exotic rocks with multiple colours which reflect lovely hues in sunlight on one side and black,rugged rocks on other side.Our guide told us that these rocks are like the ones which are seen in Bollyflick "Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai" .This one statement was enough to trigger the latent madness of our group ;-) and we started dancing for Marathi fishermen folk songs to our guide's dismay ;-):-).Choreography,Music was ours with the accompaniment of  natural rhythm of waves.

Exotic Rocks of Nivti Beach
Don't worry! Beach was entirely ours.No other soul was there .
Spent some quality time roaming around seeing the rocks and returned back by the same route.
Nivti Beach -Another view
Next Halt was at Tsunami Island, a small piece of land amidst the waters,on which a Snack Stall was run by nearby residents.There we had Ghavan,Chutney as lunch.Ghavan is a type of dosa which is made up of fermented rice flour.During hightide water levels go up and cover this land piece so that the stall owners stand there in knee deep water.When we asked them whether they go back to their homes during high tides.'No! we just stand here,if there are no tourists,then we go back'.They have one or two boats to cross over to their residents to bring some extra food if number of tourists are more.'We are not afraid of water and we know all the ins and outs of this Sea'
They told us! Real Nature lovers!

Tsunami Island seen from a distance
One thing I noticed about the locals here is,they explain to you each and everything,dangerous spots,quick sands,unique places.In fact Rajendra and Baba were continuously chatting with our friendly guide who gave them lots of valuable information and side by side he was continuing with his fishing activity with a long string.
After Tsunami Island,they dropped us in a convenient place.I wanted a long drive by car to see Devbag village.So five of us drove  towards Devbag which is a thin strip of land sandwiched between Sea and River.Beautiful Ride it was.We were wondering about the peaceful lifestyle of the residents here.But they do have their share of problems during Monsoon,My Father in law explained.True!But these people have different lifestyle and different problems which we urbanites may never understand.

4-Jan-2011-We decided to visit Sindhudurg Fort in nearby Malvan which was built by  Chhatrapati Shivaji before Hot Sun plan to mar our Fun.Boating Jetty to Sindhudurg fort is just behind State Bank of India,Malvan Branch.Per head Charge was 37/-.
Jetty for Sindhudurg
After landing in Sindhudurg,a guide took the charge of us.Unlike other forts which are in ruins,21 families live inside this fort.There is a temple for Chhatrapati Shivaji inside the fort.Fort is built on a sprawling area with many small temples,small houses with Tulsi Vrindavans in front, and 3 soft water wells dug under Chhatrapati's Supervision.It has a proper pathway inside and a flag hoisting mound.We had Tea in a Stall there.On our way back,We enquired about snorkeling.There are many stalls inside the fort and  near the jetty which offer snorkeling services.Anyway we wanted to enquire in MTDC for the best place for snorkeling,because there are 2 or 3 points for snorkeling in Tarkarli.
Sindhudurg fort seen from a distance

MTDC people told us that points near Sindhudurg fort have better corals.They suggested to do snorkeling in Hot Sun so that corals can be seen well because of direct sun rays.So again we went to one of the stall near the Jetty behind State Bank of India,Malvan and booked 2 guides for Snorkeling.
They charge 250/- per person for snorkeling.I was quite apprehensive about my snorkeling adventure because of fear of water snakes ;-) If at all any water snake kisses me,I would not be in a position to run ;-) on water surface.Anyway I gathered some courage to do snorkeling.They took us behind the fort to a point and each guide could handle 2 persons.Even a non swimmer could do it because they provide a bloated rubber tube around the waist with ropes tied on shoulders.The snorkel or the breathing tube had to be fitted inside the mouth and held tightly with jaws with pouting lips ;-) :-).Hygiene Monster inside me ;-) was against this because of snorkel's multiple users,so I started washing the snorkel with mineral water 100 times till one of the guides started  gnashing his teeth with anger ;-) and  his fury:-) made me to put a fullstop for my cleaning frenzy :-) and jumped with Rajendra along with the guide to see the corals.Undoubtedly,it was a new experience for me.I was amazed by the sight of different types of corals and small fish roaming carelessly beneath me .Beautiful Marine Life! Thank God!One small,lazy black snake was having a fine siesta ;-):-) and was ignorant of my presence ;-)so I was bit relieved.
After Snorkeling,We went back to MTDC, played in the beach,danced to different filmy numbers sung by our own members and freaked around till Sunset.
5-Jan-2011- Check Out Day.We wanted to start early  from Tarkarli and checked out at 10 am. It took 10 hrs for us to reach pune with a halt in Kolhapur for lunch in Opal :-) and near Satara for Tea.Felt tired after the long journey but lingering memories of us sitting on Mother Nature's lap for 5 days is worth the tiredness.Ok! folks! bye! CU in next post!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Photo Essay on Tarkarli

Hi! After a long time,I am resuming my blogging activity.December is over.So time for my Travelogue:-)
This Travelogue I ve planned to write in two parts.First, a photo essay on Tarkarli,next will be the detailed write up on our lovely experiences .
As I ve already wriiten in my blog on Karde, Konkan region of Maharashtra is blessed with beautiful landscapes.
Tarkarli is one more strong testimonial for my statement.If I have to express it in simple words"Tarkarli is the Real God's own Country".

Western ghats is known as Sahyadri Range in Maharashtra.Gaganbawda ghat section is one of the gateway from Kolhapur to Konkan region.
Beautiful,lovely and magnificient mountains really make us feel like ants.This is the topmost point of gaganbawda ghat section.
Gaganbawda ghats

Mtdc cottages and Tarkarli  is the best combination,because it is MTDC which has developed Tarkarli into a hot tourist destination.Cottages are good. Ambience excellent.Detailed review will follow up in my write up.
MTDC Duplex Cottages.

Tarkarli beach is known for its crystal clear water.Before going to Tarkarli I thought that it was a marketing gimmick,but water is really clear, peaceful.

Sunset at Tarkarli Beach

Jai ganesh Mandir in Malvan(7 kms away from Tarkarli) was built by Jayant Salgaonkar of Kalnirnay group.Ganesh Idol is made of Gold.Blissful.

Golden Ganpati
Karli Back waters in Devbag can give Kerala a run for their campaign,stunning ,idyllic.
Boating in Karli Backwaters

Karli Backwaters

Devbag Sangam or Confluence of Karli river and Arabian sea offers a spectacular,panoramic view. Excellent Experience.
Devbag  Sangam
Note the Sand mound in above photo.This sand mound is very loose,unstable and dangerous.Almost Quicksand which can pull objects inside.During Tsunami of 2005, a small piece of land got cut off from this main land and comfortably settled in backwater area near Sangam.That is now known as Tsunami Island.
One of Nivati Beach Rocks

Nivati Beach
Nivati Beach is situated near one more Bhogwe beach on the Vengurla side of  Confluence.This beach is serene ,tranquil and feast to a nature lover's eyes with its magnificient multicoloured rocks which reflect various hues of Sunlight.
Tsunami Island(around 1 and 1/2 acre area)  is an Oasis of calm amidst the Turbulent waves of the Arabian Sea.This piece of land was cut off from mainland during Tsunami.A Snack Stall which caters to the tourists is run by the nearby Residents in this Island now.
Snack Stall in Tsunami Island.
Sindhudurg fort is another major tourist attraction near Tarkarli.This Magnificient structure was built by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj with the rocks cut from nearby shores.This fort just makes you speechless and only thing you have to do is silently appreciate the grandeur.Majestic!
Sindhudurg Fort
But I would like to confess  that Photos have not done real justice to the actual beauty of this wonderful place.Tarkarli and its adjoining areas are far more beautiful than they appear in these photos.
So...Folks!Bye for now! This Photo Essay will be followed by a write up on our Experiences.C U Soon!