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What to See in Tarkarli - On The Eve's Guide

As an avid traveler who loves exploring offbeat destinations in India, I recently visited Tarkarli, a pristine beach town located in the Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra.

Nestled between the Arabian Sea and the Karli River, Tarkarli offered me a rejuvenating beach holiday with its palm-fringed coastline, malnadu cuisine, and water sports opportunities.

Why I Chose to Visit Tarkarli

I first heard about Tarkarli when researching some of Maharashtra's hidden coastal gems. As someone fascinated by beaches and seafood, I was instantly curious about this relatively underrated destination.

Beyond the sandy stretches and backwaters, Tarkarli also has historical sea forts, scuba diving sites, and the backdrop of the Western Ghats to explore.

The chance to kayak in the Karli River, spot dolphins along the coastline, and feast on mouthwatering Malvani dishes made me eager to plan this trip. Compared to overcrowded beaches like Goa, Tarkarli seemed more isolated and serene - ideal for a peaceful vacation.

Reaching Tarkarli from Mumbai

I was traveling from Mumbai, so I opted to take an overnight bus from Mumbai Central bus stand. This 10-hour bus journey is quite comfortable and economical. You can also consider taking a train to Kudal station and then a rickshaw or taxi to Tarkarli village, which takes about 6 hours in total.

If you're looking to save travel time, I'd recommend flying into Belgaum or Kolhapur Airport and then driving for 2-3 hours to reach Tarkarli.

Where to Stay in Tarkarli

Tarkarli has budget homestays to upscale resorts along its coastline. I chose a mid-range resort located right on Tarkarli Beach for ultimate convenience. Falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves and waking up to beach views was rejuvenating.

Other stay options I came across were:

  • Homestays in the old Tarkarli village area

  • MTDC Beach Resort for a budget stay

  • Seaside resorts equipped with pools/restaurants

  • Village hutments for an authentic rural stay

Make sure you do your research to find a place that matches your budget and interests. The resort-lined beach stretch is the ideal location though, at least for first-time visitors like me.

Top 7 Attractions and Activities

Here's a snippet of how I spent my 5 days in Tarkarli along with the top things you absolutely must include in your Tarkarli itinerary!

1. Kayaking in Karli River

One of my first activities was kayaking in the pristine, still waters of the Karli River which meets the sea at Tarkarli. This relatively untouched mangrove ecosystem is home to rich marine life, migratory birds, and the odd crocodile.

What to See in Tarkarli

Paddling a kayak offers both adventure and serenity while birdwatching. Try to time it with sunrise or sunset - it's magical.

2. Beach-Hopping

What's a Tarkarli holiday without some dedicated beach bumming? From the main Tarkarli Beach to the smaller Devbaug beach abutting a fishing village, I made it a point to chase sunrises, fly kites, build sandcastles, and gorge on local snacks.

Do carry a hat, shades, and sun protection as the tropical sun gets harsh. Remember to carry your waste back too.

3. Scuba Diving

I also indulged my inner diving enthusiast by going for a scuba session in Tarkarli. Glad I did it. Descending into the underwater world and spotting vibrant coral reefs, sea turtles and schools of fish was surreal.

The waters are clear, warm, and rich in marine biodiversity, making it ideal for beginner divers too. Do try scuba diving or snorkeling even if you're visiting just for a few days.

4. Sindhudurg Sea Fort Tour

No trip to Tarkarli is complete without visiting the 17th-century seaside glory that is Sindhudurg Fort. Built by Chhatrapati Shivaji, this naval fort stands testimony to Maratha's reign and makes for an offbeat day tour.

I took the ferry from Malvan port and absolutely loved exploring the intact fort ramparts, temples, and reservoirs and wandering through its history. Definitely a highlight of my holiday!

5. Nivati Beach Picnic

After all that adventure, I needed some quiet beach time which Nivati Beach provided. With sparkling sand, gentle waves, and beach shacks serving the tastiest Malvani fare, Nivati turned out to be my favorite spot for whiling afternoons away over books and food.

The sunsets here with fishing boat silhouettes on the horizon paint an ethereal picture too.

What to See in Tarkarli

6. Local Cuisine

Gorge on the complex flavors of Malvan while in Tarkarli! This lesser-known coastal stretch has its own native cuisine with influences of Goan as well as Maharashtrian recipes.

I lost count of all the prawn curries, fish fries, and cashew-laced delicacies I gorged on. The kokum sol kadi drink also provides the perfect cooling, tangy foil to these fiery dishes.

7. Dolphin Spotting

Last on my Tarkarli bucket list was a boat ride into the sea for dolphin spotting! Witnessing pods of frolicking dolphins emerging from waves near our boat made for one special memory.

The joy of seeing these intelligent mammals in the wild rather than in enclosed spaces was incredible. Tarkarli's waters host many dolphins owing to the abundance of prey fish which I learned attracts them here. Definitely a high point of my trip.

Potential Challenges in Tarkarli

While I thoroughly enjoyed Tarkarli's tropical vibe and laidback pace, here are some tips for other travelers about certain challenges you may face:

  • Monsoons can disrupt outdoor activities with stormy weather and rough seas. Avoid visiting between June and August.

  • As a small town, Tarkarli lacks lavish accommodations or mall-like conveniences. Set expectations accordingly.

  • Lack of ATMs - Only 1-2 available. Carry sufficient cash for your trip duration.

  • Electricity supply can be erratic in parts. Most hotels have backup power options though.

  • Get network SIM cards in Goa or major metros before arriving. Signals are weak in pockets.

  • Moving around relies heavily on buses, rickshaws, and taxis. I'd advise having your own vehicles for flexibility.

However, these are minor blips compared to the tropical escape Tarkarli offers! Go with an easygoing attitude and you'll have a great time.

Why Tarkarli Has Tourist Potential

After my holiday, I sincerely believe the Tarkarli region deserves a spot on every beach-lover and offbeat traveler's map due to:

  • Pristine beaches are far from commercialization

  • Diverse adventure sports like scuba diving

  • Untouched mangrove rivers and creeks for boating

  • Delicious, little-known Malvani cuisines

  • Sindhudurg Fort adding Historic appeal

  • Warm locals with a hospitality mindset toward tourists

  • Options for all budgets - luxury to budget stays

As infrastructure and connectivity improve, Tarkarli is definitely on its way to becoming Maharashtra's next sizzling beach destination while retaining its small-town charm.

Final Thoughts

I left Tarkarli with a recharged soul, sandy feet, and a vow to return someday. Beyond just a beach destination, it offered me a chance to immerse in coastal life, connect with raw natural beauty, and indulge in water adventures against the Western Ghats backdrop.

I highly recommend adding this lesser-known destination to your bucket list if you love places brimming with tropical peace minus overwhelming crowds. Let the sea breeze relax your mind as you craft special memories in Tarkarli.

I've only captured my best experiences here but you may discover even more magical gems about Tarkarli on your visit! When are you planning this rejuvenating holiday?


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