Saturday, December 22, 2012

Tarkarli Beckons


While the rains played havoc in July, a part of me was longing for the sun. I therefore decided to head to Tarkarli during a long week end. The rain is intermittent here and the sun peeps through the black clouds more often than not. Though we were curious to visit this somnolent town, it wasn't an easy decision primarily because the place is known for its sea food and we were told that veggies don’t have a great time. But then the plan B was in place. The KFC’s (Khakhras, Fafdas  and Chevdas) had a fixed place in the luggage. Soon, the tickets were booked and everything fell into place as far as leaves from work were concerned and on a beautiful Friday evening.. We were off! The idea was to travel by train to get a glimpse of the beautiful Western Ghats and we weren’t disappointed. 



The things that pulled us to Tarkarli were its beaches which I think can easily give the neighboring beaches of Goa a run for their money. Though there are budget home stays and hotels available in Tarkarli, we opted to stay in the MTDC resort located right next to the beach and looked awesome in pictures. The sleepy streets of the town which brought us to the resort did not give even a slightest of an inkling of the presence of the mighty Arabian Sea nearby. We reached early next morning and after a refreshing nap, were out for a stroll on the beach. Huge waves appearing like curvaceous damsels crashed against each other making a boisterous sound. The wind blowing at a great speed carried sprinkles of water along with it.




At lunch time we were anticipating good food. We were well-aware that it was an off season in this part of the world and we had the back-up no doubt but the overnight travel had made us terribly hungry and we wanted to eat something good to substantially fill the vacant stomachs. At the MTDC resort, the food didn’t appear very inviting. Out of apprehension, we ordered only a Thali between six of us to test the waters before the swim. The food wasn't too great but I wasn’t complaining. A few of us (the fellas who can kill for sweet anything..) ordered Srikhand and ate it voraciously with Chappatis to the heart’s content.



Later envisaging a lazy day we lazed off on the hammocks near the beach. A little later it rained but once the grey clouds parted, we headed off to the beach. There were only a few people around, a couple of stray dogs, some mighty birds of prey circling around and serenity otherwise. It took us three couples only a few minutes to separate out on the silvery white beach sands and spend some quite and squirrelish moments in solitude. I have been to numerous personal voyages across the country and whenever I go to a place which I really like, I immediately compare it to Mumbai. My mind kept wandering on this occasion to and started drawing parallels between Mumbai and Tarkarli. The relevant and appropriate difference is that the later is colossally slower than our Karma-bhoomi where we spend days, weeks and months on the brink of collective insanity and where the time simply - flies. But life is a lot slower here. 



Back at the hotel in the evening, we popped a question to the attendant about the famous Tsunami Island which mysteriously appeared out-of-nowhere after the Tsunami hit the world. We were told that since it was not an ideal season and the sea was choppy, there was no option available to reach there. Water sports (Snorkeling) and dolphin watching too wasn't possible for the same reason. Hence doing Absolutely-Nothing was the only option.




After exploring the beach, we decided to explore the beautiful village on foot. The roads are fringed with palms and beautiful paddy fields. Since it was a Saturday, I had to locate a Hanuman temple and was advised it was on the way to Malvan - a few kilometers away. The quest for good food was always there which made us travel to Malvan and on the way I had a satisfying darshan as well. There is something distinctive about this place I felt - the local population. The locales appeared the proverbial do-gooders and were generous enough to offer assistance anytime when asked for directions. At Malvan, we located a nice hotel - Sagar Kinara and had a good vegetarian dinner.  

The Sindhudurg (one of the forts built by Shivaji himself) was just a few minutes away into the sea from where we were. But again there was no alternative to reach the fort owing to the difficult season. We were told that it is one of the most well preserved forts of Maharashtra. I had been to the Pratapgarh fort near Mahabaleshwar which too is supposedly one of the lucky few to be well preserved (sarcastic) and hence I kept wondering how Sindhudurg would be. But we postponed a visit to Sindhudurg till next time.

The good thing about ‘Good Things’ is that they happen. But there is a flip side which is that they end sooner than later. Like every time when the short trip was nearing an end, I kept wondering why. But the consolation was that we added Tarkarli to the endless list of honeymoons we have had so far.

While on our way to the railway station, we passed through Ratnagiri – a place famous for its Alphonso mangoes. And I loved the place instantly. Since Ratnagiri is quite close to Mumbai, spending a couple of days seemed interesting. But while we left for Mumbai, we were entirely captivated by its beauty, honesty and hospitality of Tarkarli.