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Old 13th November 2013, 12:19   #1
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Thumbs up Beached at Tarkarli Beach, Sindhudurg (MH)

Here goes my first travelogue. It all started with what to do with 4days of holidays 1st to 4th Nov and then began the hunt for a good destination, it went from Chickmangalore to Pondicherry to Shimoga and since it was super long weekend most of the popular and desirable places were already booked. We dwelled a lot about Shimoga, explored a couple of Homestay options and then some hotels in Shimoga. Then suddenly thought about Sawantwadi where I had made some enquiries in the past and wanted to visit this quiet place with forts and beaches. In fact in 2010 had made a booking at one of the homestays at Sawantwadi combined with a train reservation and had to cancel it for some reason, but deep inside I had the will to definitely make it to that place and that too drive down from Bangalore. The champions of the trip were me, wife, and son, and sister, bro in law, nephew and niece and of course the main reason for a trip was our recently acquired dream machine Innova which is a Dec’06 model clocked about 40589 on the odo and with us from March onwards.

So just mentioned to bro in law about Sawantwadi and then he too was excited about the long drive and then the research and hunt for a place to stay and all this with just about 5 days before the actual trip, then zeroed in on MTDC and checked and decided on Tarkarli beach which is rated highly on Tripadvisor and is ranked 13 as travelers’ choice 2013. The whole of Sunday was used to browse and research and book the place, mtdc website was down the whole day and late evening when checked it was full,( that was a blessing in disguise) then looked at alternates and booked Tarkarli Niwas Nyahari which had some good reviews, and the place is cheaper and cleaner than mtdc.

On 31st Oct night we are all excited and had decided to do a night drive since Google map had displayed 11 hrs to reach the place which was 645 kms and since there were 2 of us to drive was confident and excited , we started from north Bangalore at 11pm and after driving for an hour the trip meter read 9.5 kms , we were stuck right at Jalahalli cross junction with so much traffic moving out of Bangalore, then took a left and managed to take the elevated road which proved to be fine. The first five tolls were taking a minimum of 10 minutes and more to clear and drove through on NH4 past Tumkur – Sira – Chitradurga - Davangere- Harihar – Hubli – Belgaum- Amboli- Kudal- Tarkarli. The roads were excellent except for a small stretch before Belgaum where the road is a two way. Refueled at a COCO Bharat Petrol pump on the service road somewhere after Hubli and then there was some stretch of super smooth concrete road. The smaller kids slept very peacefully in the last row, me and bro in law drove in turns and had a thrilling drive, decide on a night drive only on the assurance that most of the night would be driving without oncoming traffic. Stopped at Milan hotel in Belgaum at 7.30 had a light breakfast, rest rooms not so clean, food was ok and probably excited about our onward drive chose to ignore the quality of the hotel. After Belgaum, the roads are not so great with many sudden patches of broken road and pot holes. We stopped over at Amboli just to shoot some pictures of the scenery and then again near sawantwadi stopped at a small stream where the water was shallow and allowed the kids to have a dip and spent about 45 minutes there and finally reached out resort at around 1pm and found the place to be more than satisfactory with very clean rooms and well-kept rest room. Post lunch which was a thali lunch of Malvani cuisine with Solkadi , we had a nap and after 4 we just walked for a few minutes up a small hillock and we had the beach unto ourselves, not a soul around apart from our family, beyond we could see about 50 odd people near the mtdc resort. The beach was very clean and the kids had a great time.

The person at the resort Kamlesh was very helpful and had arranged a boat the next morning to go to Devbag and go into the sea to spot Dolphins, we left at 730am and went into the sea , we were informed that dolphin sighting is only by luck and they had not spotted any in the last few days, the kids were very eager to spot them and I told them to desire strongly to spot them and LO in just few minutes we spotted a couple of dolphins and all of them in the boat were in euphoria, then we spotted many more and finally we saw a dolphin all around the boat within a distance of around 300 feet , it was a real sight to behold , they were in groups and diving away to glory in unison. We passed through a small hillock called Golden Rocks, they appear golden on sun rays reflecting off the rocks.

Then we stopped at Devbag tsunami island where the boat stopped in the river/sea and there were some shelters on stilts, we were wondering what kind of flooring was there, then we all got off the boat and planted our foot on sand, the entire one square km was shallow with about a feet or two of water and as during low tide the water further recedes and forms an island. The kids were thrilled and lashed around in the safe water and took up water scooter, Jet Ski , kayaking , bumpy ride.

We also had a very sumptuous breakfast Ghawan chutney (similar to neer dosai in south) and modaks which was very delicious and followed by Kokum juice all served near the boat. We must appreciate the culture of the local people all across, none were money minded and none in a hurry, we took our own time to play in the water and the boatman asked us to take our own sweet time to enjoy in the waters.

The next best thing was post lunch to malvan boat jetty where there is a club and you can decide to do snorkeling at rs 400 per head and scuba diving rs 1500( no need to know swimming) make the payment and you are given a ticket , wait at the jetty for the boat which arrives and takes you around Sindhudurg fort just about 15 minutes from the jetty and stops at the shallow water, all of us did snorkeling and me and wife did the scuba (first time ) we were guided by them underwater and saw corals and a few varieties of fish, all in all a fantastic and thrilling feeling to be underwater and breathing through your mouth, the moment you wear the goggles , your nostrils are closed and we have to breathe through our mouth.

We had food at Chaithanya hotel which was tasty and had good quantity as well for non-veg food, also just before Chaithanya hotel is a small parking lot ( an open space to park about 4 cars) and beside that there is a white push cart chatwalla who makes real good chats, in fact we liked it so much that we returned the next day to eat there, another day we had dinner at Atithi Bamboo which has a lot of tables but the waiters were in a hurry and ambience was not so great.

Next day had booked at JRD international at Amboli ( but none wanted to leave Tarkarli) so checked if we could cancel the booking at JRD but was informed that since it was online booking , not possible so with a heavy heart we left Tarkarli and stopped on the way at the Rock garden which is a simple garden beside the sea and one can sit on the rocks and feel the waves lash them, ideal time would be to sit on the rocks and watch the sun set.

We left to Amboli via Sawantwadi since we knew nothing much to do at Amboli and hence passed through Sawantwadi where we visited a private palace and did a roundabout around the Moti Talao lake. Sawantwadi is famous for their wooden toys similar to Channapatna near Mysore. We had lunch at Bhalerao Hotel which is an old run down place mainly for fish lovers, they serve different kinds of sea food thalis ( shark, shell fish etc. ) and the place was crowded. We also captured some wonderful artwork in the form of very colorful rangolis in front of many shops on account of Divali.

Drove to Amboli just in time to see the sunset at the view point and that was a good sight.

There was nothing like a waterfall at all and heard that only during rains, but seeing the sight of the place where water used to flow , it is best to be avoided and we can go to some better place for a waterfall. The hotel where we booked the rooms was not up to the mark and had filthy toilets, then they showed us the cottages which we felt satisfactory and moved in for the night. Only after reaching there we realized they had a swimming pool but it was late and cold for the kids to enter.

Next morning after breakfast hit the roads back to Bangalore, started at 9.40 am and when we saw the deviation board to Dharwad thought to hunt for the famous Dharwad Peda, finally found the original Babusingh Thakur Peda shop at Line bazaar which has been running the business for the past 175 years. After a satisfactory acquisition began the hunt for our lunch and could not find any on the net at Dharwad and then hit upon Rasoi at Hubli and thanks to Google with some maneuvering through some narrow and busy streets ( it was like driving through Avenue road of Chickpet in Bangalore on a busy day) we reached Rasoi and found that the effort was well worth, the hotel had a very nice veg thali very similar to the Rajdhani thali of Mumbai/Bangalore but at a fraction of the cost. It was INR 180 for a thali and it was unlimited rotis and rice and side dishes, thoroughly enjoyed the meal. Then it was only a drive all the way home with nearly a 100 kms being clocked every hour for 2 hours and from Tumkur onwards got busy with traffic, reached home at 9pm after a wonderful holiday. The trip meter showed 1400 kms.

The different kinds of food that we had was Ghawan at the Devbag beach, Poha and Misal Pav at the restaurants along with a general helping of Solkadi and Kokum juice which was very refreshing. Special mention is to the attitude of the people of malvan region, we found them to be very simple friendly and not at all money minded. The whole place is set in a very relaxed mode.

I must thank a fellow bhpian (could not recollect his name) for warning us about an unmarked depression on the road after harihar, that was very useful , sure would have hit the depression if we had not been warned. This unmarked cut in the road is after crossing two bridges across a river near Harihar.

Few more pictures added, some error while uploading in photo within the text body.
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Old 20th November 2013, 15:02   #2
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Default Re: Beached at Tarkarli Beach, Sindhudurg (MH)

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 21st November 2013, 08:44   #3
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Default Re: Beached at Tarkarli Beach, Sindhudurg (MH)

Quote:
Originally Posted by majumon View Post
Refueled at a COCO Bharat Petrol pump on the service road somewhere after Hubli and then there was some stretch of super smooth concrete road.
Where did you deviate to Amboli? Because I think roads in Karnataka are tarred. The concrete stretch lies in Maharashtra mostly in and around Kolhapur. But I must say even Hubli-Belgaum is a very good road.You must have exited the 4-lane at Belgaum for Amboli

Quote:
The different kinds of food that we had was Ghawan at the Devbag beach, Poha and Misal Pav at the restaurants along with a general helping of Solkadi and Kokum juice which was very refreshing.
Looks like there is more than one Devbag. There is one is Karwar too.

Quote:
This unmarked cut in the road is after crossing two bridges across a river near Harihar.
That river is Tungabhadra. Around Harihar they have not been able to make a full 4-lane. The road towards Bangalore goes into Harihar town and joins 4-lane further down. This is quite surprising that authorities could not fix this! Nice vacation. And having 2 folks who can drive really helps; especially for night driving.
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Old 21st November 2013, 12:48   #4
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Default Re: Beached at Tarkarli Beach, Sindhudurg (MH)

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Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Where did you deviate to Amboli? Because I think roads in Karnataka are tarred. The concrete stretch lies in Maharashtra mostly in and around Kolhapur. But I must say even Hubli-Belgaum is a very good road.You must have exited the 4-lane at Belgaum for Amboli
Amp, we deviated at Belgaum, got off a very nice road and went through a service road and entered Belgaum city and there on single road with rough patches in between. The concrete road is definitely after Hubli and they are being done fantastically, en route we get to see a replica of our Vidhana Soudha to our right on this route.

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Looks like there is more than one Devbag. There is one is Karwar too.
Yes, the one near Karwar has been familiar to us with the famous Jungle lodges property being a popular and superb destination and which is spelled devbagh (an extra h), whereas the one we went is devbag.

Quote:
That river is Tungabhadra. Around Harihar they have not been able to make a full 4-lane.
Oh yes, the same river passes through Hampi, had visited the dam many years ago, really endless expanse of water.
Quote:
This is quite surprising that authorities could not fix this!
I really wish they cover up that ditch.

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Nice vacation. And having 2 folks who can drive really helps; especially for night driving.
Thanks, yes it was a very wonderful and exciting vacation and a first night drive, mainly decided on the night drive since double driver and road with median.Cheers maju
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Old 21st November 2013, 13:00   #5
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Default Re: Beached at Tarkarli Beach, Sindhudurg (MH)

Thanks for the log. Tarkarli is really beautiful, so much that when I visited Goa after Tarkarli, it seemed really dull! For people not interested in booze, Tarkarli and surrounding areas offer a much more enjoyable experience, I feel.

How long did the snorkelling/scuba diving last?
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Old 21st November 2013, 19:20   #6
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Default Re: Beached at Tarkarli Beach, Sindhudurg (MH)

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Originally Posted by ani_meher View Post
Thanks for the log. Tarkarli is really beautiful, so much that when I visited Goa after Tarkarli, Tarkarli and surrounding areas offer a much more enjoyable experience, I feel.

How long did the snorkelling/scuba diving last?
Thanks for reading, yes we all thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and wanted to stay over the third night too. In fact we liked everything about the place, special mention to the attitude of people, never in a hurry and very cool.
Our experience at snorkelling took a some extra time since we were at the jetty around 2 and they close at 2.30, also the boat arrived late, after which they say the water will not be very clear for snorkelling. Since it was low tide the boat took us on a little round about to reach the spot, since there was another group of people in our boat they first completed scuba diving, about half hour per couple, so there were 2 couples including us. Then they took us for snorkelling another half hour. Finally we returned to the jetty at around 5pm. Ideally all should get over in about 90 minutes but it was delayed for us. Overall a very differnent and thrilling experience.cheers maju
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Old 22nd November 2013, 17:23   #7
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Default Re: Beached at Tarkarli Beach, Sindhudurg (MH)

Thanks maju for sharing!

Looks to be an interesting place! I am also on the look out for places which aren't 'tourist infested' . How did you manage to find this place and decide to go? Especially the place being quite far, I guess you might have got some good feedback from someone else?
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Old 22nd November 2013, 22:30   #8
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Default Re: Beached at Tarkarli Beach, Sindhudurg (MH)

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Thanks maju for sharing!

Looks to be an interesting place! I am also on the look out for places which aren't 'tourist infested' . How did you manage to find this place and decide to go? Especially the place being quite far, I guess you might have got some good feedback from someone else?
Hey Samm, in the past had read or heard about Sawantwadi and had also made a reservation and train ticket booking in 2010 but was cancelled due to some reason. Had decided then that I will make it there after a big car comes home. We had two people and a super car to move us, so distance was not a big concern and we did an overnight drive to save on time. The search went through from Sawantwadi to Vengurla and then Tarkarli seemed the best. Lots of researrch by me, Bro in law and fine tuned by suggestions from friends nailed the place.
We thoroughly enjoyed the place and kids are ready to repeat. Surely you must go, satisfaction guaranteed, can guide you anytime. cheers maju
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