Sandwiched between Mumbai to the North and Goa to the South is a stretch of picturesque coastline which provided us with some delicious, deserted, unspoilt beaches as well as a fair share of complicated and uncomfortable transitions.
I’m going to apologise now for a deficiency of drama and a shortage of humour in this post – The sleepy fishing villages we visited are just not a suitable breeding ground for either (shame the same couldn’t be said for the mosquitos).
First up was Murud-Janjira. A 500m road, fringing a beach, with a handful of hotels/guesthouses and half a dozen ‘eateries.’ Murud’s raisin d’etre is an imposing fort out in the Arabian sea.
The beach here was fantastic. Unusually warm waters, a mixture of black and golden sand and surrounding green hills made Murud a perfect place for us to unwind for three days and enjoy a good book.
On our final night we tried to experience what Lonely Planet describes as a ‘million dollar sunset’ when the gaseous golden orb descends behind the imprenatable Fort. This was to be our third failed attempt to capture a sunset at a picturesque location: 1) Hampi hill top 2) Lonar Meteor crater 3) Janijira Fort. While the weather has been unbelievably kind to us all tour, clouds seem determined to thwart us at 6:30pm on a regular basis.
After Murud we made our to Ganpatipule on a short but uncomfortable four and a half hour train ride – the track alternating rhythmically between hill top bridges over rivers and tunnels through said hills.
On one end of Ganpatipule you have the crowded epicentre where holidaying Mumbaikers (Not sure about this collective noun) stay and enjoy standards akin to the shabbiest British camp sites. Camels make their way up and down the beach here with faces mirroring the rancorous look you find on donkeys at Blackpool. You get the picture. We stayed at a NON AC (I felt brave) homestay 6KM North of the main tourist area. While it was a little bit of a pain travelling to and fro for food, the beach on our doorstop was far superior than its neighbour.
6 hours of happy fun bus time shuttled us from Ganpatipule to Tarkali. The crescent beach at Tarkali was easily my favourite so far – long, empty, white sand, evening games of cricket and a sea otter to chase along the surf.
What more can you ask for? A sunset, maybe?
Thanks Tarkali. The beaches of Goa are calling us now…