Friday, November 11, 2016

Tarkali/Malvan-Achare-Tondivali-Scuba-Vijaydurg-Ratnagiri-Aarrey-Ware-Ganapatipule-Jaygad-Velneshwar MSH-04 sea road trip

Planning phase:

Original plan was to have 5days trip spending each day in one destination. Here is detailed plan for 5days which we didn't make due to limited time.

Places to cover:
  • Day1:Start from Pune
Satara, Kolhapur
via Radhanagari NH179+NH116, Gaganbawda NH277, Amboli NH134+180 to Talere, Kankavli or Sawantwadi
Opt1: IMO: skip if no time.
Goa evening drinks and optional. ?
Anjuna/or in northen Goa region.
Vengurla - should go. red beach
stay@ Goa/Vengurla/Devgad
  • day2:Scuba - must do if haven't - 3hrs from Malvan beach
Tarkarli / Tsunami island. / Dolphin arc view - good to go - local tour
stay@ Tarkarli beach homestay/
  • Day3:Sindhudurg - take a day. Not worthy for time. To/from jetty and round to fort takes 3-4hrs day time from Malvan ferry. IMO: skip
Tondavali - Must visit
Vijaydurg fort - SH115 dead end. Ferry to Madban beach? bypass this if go SH04 . IMO: skip
Devgad = mithbumbari / Tarabumbari IMO: skip, dont know
Jaitapur bridge -
Purnagad - fort
stay@ Bhatye
  • Day4:Bhatye beach - Titanic point IMO: Go
Kurli beach
After Shirgav mangroves, Basni, Are. Take left via Arrey-Warrey road. Joins SH04 later.
Aare-warre beach IMO: Go
2-3 resorts and enter in Ganapati-Pule
Ganpati pule -
stay@ Ganapati-Pule/ Jaigad
  • day5:Malgund beach - lot of resorts nearby
Anamik beach,Kachare - lonely. near JSW plant.
Jaigad fort
For ferry ref: to Vijaygad by ferry/ to Tavasal Jetty SH04 cross Jaigad river ===> take exit via NH105 to Sawarde -> Chiploon --> Koyananagar. -> Patan -> Umbraj , Satara.

Its typical to see actual execution differs from planning. Same happened in our case. Time was limiting factor as one of us had to join office on 8th.

  • Manoj - Main driver
  • Anoj (its not typo of Anuj :P) - Adviser
  • Mahen (blog writer) - Navigator and technical. 2nd driver.
You will notice Anoj is part of Manoj but don't get confused with names, they are fairly opposite.

05th to 07th Nov'2016 . Just after Diwali.


  • Pune to Malvan: via Satara, bypass Kolhapur, Kagal, Radhanagari, Kankavli, Achare.
  • Malvan to Pune: Tarkali/Malvan-Achare-Tondivali-Vijaydurg-Ratnagiri-Aarrey-Ware-Ganapatipule-Jaigad-Velneshwar-Kaynanagar-Patan-Umbraj-Satara.

Note: Google map Route

Google acts weird sometimes, it doesn't allow to show road joining from Dajipur/Radhanagari to Phondaghat. May be becasue, its reservered area and is open in specific day hours for travelers. Gaganbawda-Vaibhavwadi is another route. FYI: Both routes are more or less bad to drive but scene if you go in rains.,+Maharashtra/Kagal,+Maharashtra/Radhanagari,+Maharashtra/16.3379053,73.8880724/16.3581839,73.8285079/Malvan,+Maharashtra/@16.4019811,73.5374229,9z/data=!4m43!4m42!1m5!1m1!1s0x3bc2bf2e67461101:0x828d43bf9d9ee343!2m2!1d73.8567437!2d18.5204303!1m5!1m1!1s0x3bc0fbe3ea86aacf:0xed8af5a130723d95!2m2!1d74.3099863!2d16.5884342!1m5!1m1!1s0x3bc044eec90c1d15:0x8490ce131b11435!2m2!1d73.9976946!2d16.4151164!1m15!3m4!1m2!1d73.8656074!2d16.3509818!3s0x3bc040c00694ad47:0x778e342ef907103c!3m4!1m2!1d73.8637817!2d16.3837853!3s0x3bc0474810886c1f:0x51c6bc2beeb2c52e!3m4!1m2!1d73.8614381!2d16.3880418!3s0x3bc04746ba399d2f:0xd03c24cebe15b3c0!1m0!1m5!1m1!1s0x3bc01d5bb3176f0d:0x7400dce0b3eaa2aa!2m2!1d73.471054!2d16.0630693!3e0

Refer google maps for details.

Bag packing?

I always prefer to start bag packing early so I can keep adding stuff which I might forgot. Well, that doesn't stop me from forgetting things ;)
Must carry:

  • - Water bottle: 2 liter per head. So, you dont have to buy so called "packaged drinking water"
  • - Enough clothing: 4 shorts, 2 3/4th ie larger short, T-shirts, casuals, innerwares, etc.
  • - Shoes if planning to trek. Floaters/sleeper is good in sands.
  • - Towel, hankies. Hotels usually provide towel but better keep your own.
  • - Swimming goggles, cap, costume short. Sea water is salty and cause eye irritations. Better be prepared.
  • - Sun goggles, thin cloth for humid and sunny weather. Konkan is mostly humid.
  • - Warn cloths- Jacket or sweater is good. Other side of mountains is pretty cold. (optional)
  • - Hat/cap (optional)
  • - Camera (optional)
  • - Mobile and mobile fast charger (optional Joking, its mandatory these days. ;) )
  • - Navigation system. Dedicated or app on mobile is OK.
  • - enough cash
  • - suns cream. If you have very sensitive skin, better stay home :P 

However, in packing i forgot to take: waterproof camera from one of my friend, goggles (it was all sunny in route) and water bottles.

Tools and navigation?

Its always better to have reliable navigation system with below features:
  1. Offline maps functionality - No range in many parts of route
  2. Route finding and voice announcement in route
  3. Less power usage
  4. with GPS but without network need.
  5. No need of real time traffic like google maps. Sometimes its hard to find a single vehicle on road.

I had this wonderful tool called HERE maps which I have been using since few years. 
Android app:
You may find similar apps for iPhone or other OS. Better have good battery life and charger. This thing really saved lot of time and energy for us during traveling. Which turn to take right or left and after how much distance. :) . It worked like charm!

Let's get to trip execution. Manoj was ready to drive his Fiat Punto for long drive. Let me clarify, he alone wanted to drive the whole trip, which he indeed did with all fatigue he had got in driving. Believe me, even hired driver would have taken some extra rest. Other two of us enjoyed the route and scenery :) !

Day1: 05th Nov'2016 Saturday

4.30am: Manoj was up to start journey. He woke me by calling up at 5am. I had spend last evening in bag packing so was hard to get up early. Somehow, I asked him to reach my place by 5.30am.
5.15am: He was at my society. I took extra time to get ready.
6am: We somehow started. Called up Anoj to get water bottles as we had forgot to carry water.
6.30am: Picked Anoj on way around 6.30. We were on Bangalore highway NH04 towards Satara. We reached Kolhapur area by 9.30.

We did breakfast at Joshi wadewale which is just before Khandagni ghat area. I strongly suggest NOT to go there. Place is just like another Joshi wada hotel. But very costly, stale bread/paav. Misal taste was just Ok type. There are lot of hotels around khed-shivapur area. Choose any of them.

This was statue outside hotel:

We decided to bypass Kolhapur as it takes time to cross city and reach on other side. So, we went straight by NH04. Took right turn from Kagal towards Radhanagari-Dajipur. Initial part of road was OK but it started getting worst we moved in jungle area. We reached around Kankavli by 1pm.

For lunch, we decided to go for sea food at Nikhil lunch home. It's best local food Inn suggested by local contacts. Food was awesome. They served Nachani roti along with Surmai. We left around 3pm toward Achare.
Our hotel location:  1500/- per day for AC room.'36.5%22N+73%C2%B028'20.2%22E/@16.19348,73.4717198,187m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d16.19348!4d73.472267

There was nice hut on left open side of hotel building. I asked the hotel care taker for what is this for? He said, its for "paying guest". I was little confused as I supposed all guest here are paying for stay. Typically people call paying guest for home stay as well. He later clarified that "paying" in marathi is for drinking. Work coined from pine = drink so drinking = paying as he understood.

Also note, if you are looking for "wine shop", do ask specifically for drink you are looking for. If you just ask wine shop, you will end up at desi liquor shop where you won't get any foreign liquor.

It was small holiday home. Place had 3 flor building. We got nice room on top flor with AC and nice view. Place is right on MSH04. We checked in by 4pm. We wanted to do Scuba but many suggested it won't be fun to do it in afternoon. So, we decided to visit Tondivali beach. Place is recommended to visit for lonely beach and nice view of sunset.

Tondivali beach have few resorts on lonely road. It joins with Talashil beach on South and Achare beach on north of it.

You can see some resorts at :'36.5%22N+73%C2%B028'20.2%22E/@16.0998636,73.4597064,375m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d16.19348!4d73.472267

There is nice rock point in sea where you can go in day time. It was exotic location when seen from sea shore.
For resorts:

Appa's Coconut garden resort:  Onkar Keni: 8275781067,  Ajit Keni: 9421191499.
There are few more resorts on that thin peninsula line of beach. You get water sports by Sagar on left at almost end of road. Pls make sure you have booking before visiting the place.
There are also nice sea resorts on Achare beach. Eg: Prajwal resort, Jamdul resort, Om shanti resort.

We returned by 8pm and had specially made surmai in hut as paying guest.

Day2: 06th Nov'2016 Sunday

We had checked about scuba on the way. If you are in group, its better to directly reach at Malvan jetty, you will find plenty of people asking for scuba. Don't book in advance. You may get better deal if you reach there without agent.
We reached on Malvan jetty by 8.15am. We found this guy call Hemant who was ready to start his first booking. We got deal for 700/- per person. We might have got it lesser if bargained. Anyways, we wanted to complete scuba and rush for next destination asap. Whole process of arranging cylinder, compressor and scuba diving experts took almost an hour. We finished our breakfast in available time. Scuba place was near Sindhudurg fort on just North-east side of jetty terminal. You can call Hemant on 9975556485.

After I had scuba with Hemant's guys with suite and cylinder. We choose float around boat. Boat guys were good and they allowed us to do so. Normally, they don't. And that was time I did my own dives and scuba. I had deep water pressure goggles and it wasn't deep. Take a deep breath and go down. You have to really push hard to go down as you don't have heavy weight scuba belt. This is way harder compared to swimming pool dives. Water density is higher in sea water. I was able to take dive enough to touch the base, see some corals and come back up. It was great. Idea of night diving crossed my mind. We could have done that on last night. Not sure of clarity but surely it would have been new experience and adventure.

Scuba and swimming pics:


Floating next to boat:
Anuj and me. Thanks for Manoj for stay up in boat and taking pics :) 

Close encounter with Jelly fish. After 2 min at same place: poor jelly fish came looking for food. local guy caught him but release him again. I guess, he had lost his way.

Sunrise after long time:

btw, you should also see Rock garden in evening, Ganesh temple on way to rock garden, Tarkarli area specially MTDC resort, dolphin point, Tsunami island while at Malvan.

Scuba was nice but after scuba it was too humid and warm. We went to hotel to get bath. Checked out from hotel to proceed for next destination: Kankeshwar temple.
It was almost lunch time. We wanted to visit Nikhil lunch home at Devbag but time was constraint. We reached Kankeshwar temple around 1.30pm. I rushed to take quick blessing and started searching for food outlets. We found a local hotel/Inn offering good sea food. We opted for same. Food was awesome and we were damn hungry.
Crossed Wadatar bridge, nice view from this place. Padel canteen and to Vijaydurg for fort around 4.30pm. Place was simple. We saw nice fort, well maintained. We took local guide to get more details on history of fort. Fort was build by Raja Bhog. It was also called Gheriya literally means rounding in Hindi for fort's specialty to be very strong. There were not much battles/wars happened on fort due to its great protective walls and tunnels for in and out. Fort got 3 wonderful tunnels made for bringing in food supply and going to village area. Place is well equiped with most of old time structures. Its same fort filmed in Marathi movie "Killa". ,
We took coffee/tea at nearby hotel. Vijaydurg is famous for squid fishing. Most of fishing boats have specially tactics to hunt and get squids. They get around 50 to 100 kg of squids in single run. Its better for fishers compared to getting king fish/Surmai or Pomplets. Guide also told us that fisher to encounter Dev-masa Whale fish. Its custom to offer coconut to whale fish so the fish doesn't come near your boat. If fish takes breath tilt near your boat, there are high chances of sinking.
Another wonderful thing found was, lord of fort Dhulap were strong protectors of fort. Prior to them were Angre. Angre and Dhulap joined Indian Navy after Independence. They had created a inverted V shape wall in sea around 10-15km inside sea. This was seen in sea survey by Archaeology teams. This wall was made to stop foreign boats which had plunk below to move. Plunk use to get stuck at wall. Local boats were made without plunk which was bypass the wall. It was like road stopped in sea! Indeed great Firewall!

Pics at Vijaydurg:

We had to come south for around 10km to catch MSH04. We could have saved 30km run if there was jetty facility at Vijaydurg. Hope they do in future. Next destination was to reach Ratnagiri for stay. Manoj's contacts helped us to get a room at specially guest house. It was super cheap and wonderful place. We had to pay just 420/- for stay+dinner. We let the helper keep change of 80/-. We had spent 250/- per surmai place so it was fine. 2nd day stay was 100/- only!
We reached Ratnagiri by 9pm, it was on time.

Day3: 07th Nov'2016 Monday

Jaigad to Vijaygad by ferry/ to Tavasal Jetty SH04 cross Jaigad river  ===> take exit via NH105 to Sawarde -> Chiploon --> Koyananagar. -> Patan  ->  Umbraj , Satara.

This was suppose to be last day of trip. We had to reach Pune by EoD. We started, well infact Manoj wake up and pushed all to wake up and get ready by 7am. We tried and did it somehow. Manoj was so excited that he actually dressed for interview. Full sleeve formal shirt, light blue jeans, sports shoes.

We started towards Ganapatipule. This specific route is wonderful to see. Specially Aarrey-Ware beach area. We stopped at couple of place for photo shoots.

Manoj in all formals for interview at Aarrey-Ware beach area:

Here go the blogger:


We reached at MTDC for breakfast. Food was nice. It's huge resort. Place is bit busy compared to earlier part of Konkan. We finished breakfast and went to checkout the resort and beach area. Afterwards, we reached to famous Ganesha temple entrance for blessings. All of us removed footwear to keep in stand. Problem was, Manoj was wearing super sports shoes. He was scared someone will steal them if it takes too much time to complete formal rituals. We checked for waiting line, it wasn't too long but would have taken 20-30min. Manoj opted to stay out for his shoes. Two of us checked in for temple. It hardly took 30min. When we came back at car, Manoj was dressed in casuals as seen in below photo. :)

On way to Ganpatipule, car started producing weird noise. It was like breakpad issue. However issue wasn't consistent. We were not sure if its blocker or minor issue. Driver nearby said, being Monday all garages are closed in area. If lucky, you might find something in Guhagar. Issue was definitely with breaks. It was making sound even when not touched breakpads. It never made noise on high speed (say >30kmph). But was making noise typically on low speed and turnings. We didn't wanted to waste day for car repair. We decided to keep issue minor/trivial and proceed to return journey.

Jaigad Karhateshware temple and lighthouse:

Jaigad is mostly of huge JSW plant. Take early left or check direction to light house OR Karhateshwar temple on map. Its beautiful temple near sea shore. You will see special jetty terminal made for JSW for this place. Its peaceful view. Do visit the bottom area by staircase to see fresh water stream from gomukh. Lighthouse is open in specific time in evening so be sure of when you will reach there. Local staff won't bother if you see place around. But lighthouse door to go up is locked. There is nice view from this place.

On way back:

This was second trip to Malvan/Tarkarli for me. So, I wasn't looking for new things in Malvan. But rest of trip except Scuba was all new.

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