Road trips have always enchanted me with new destinations and geography of our incredible country.The versatile scenery with different forms of landforms always keeps me anxious to continue further and explore my beautiful country.After a marvelous road trip till Ratnagiri I was eager now to set off in discovering the history associated with the Konkan .I wanted to visit the forts along the pictorial beaches.
After bidding goodbye to the elegant Ratnasagar beach resort I commenced my third day of the road trip towards Goa in the late morning hours.With lots of spectographs through my lens I prepared myself for more adventures towards Vijaydurg Fort.I imagined this day trip as visiting the floating forts before reaching the vibrant beaches of Goa .It was only after a few kms drive from our resort, when suddenly my eyes caught a glimpse of Casuarina forest and eucalyptus trees on a lonely beach.Immediately I stopped the car and rushed with my camera towards this unknown beach.
Waves were splashing on the sea shore which was filled with shrubs of mangrove leaves all along the entire stretch of the beach.On the two longitudinal ends of the beach, hills were standing high creating a rocky periphery around the foothills on the shore.To my surprise what I could see was a vast space of empty sand drenched by the crystal clear blue colours of the Arabian sea and fenced by a forest and two hills on its other sides.The beach was devoid of a single person which was the most fascinating experience for me to start off my journey towards forts and beaches.As a traveller I was overjoyed to see myself as the only tourist in the vast stretch of this scenic beach.The beach had every geographical feature of my entire trip till that date.Yellow clean sands, mangrove shrubs, forest and hills painted the shore as the waves were being dispersed due to cosmological efects from the clear blue sky, onto the shore.
As my car traversed the coastal villages further towards south , we took a diversion from the state highway towards Vijaydurg fort.I had never seen a seaside fort before ,so my mind was stimulated to know the history about this historical 12th century fort.Amidst the cool sea breeze with the paintily fishermen boats floating in the Arabian Creek, I took help of a native villager to get some useful facts about the fort.Although later I found out that the required information was already present in Wikipedia.
Vijaydurg fort is the oldest fort in Sindhudurg ,constructed by Raja Bhoje 2, which was later extended by Shivaji. This is the only fort other than Torna where Shivaji hoisted the saffron flag.The fort got its name after Shivaji won it from Adil Shah in the Hindu Solar month called “Vijay“(Victory).The original name of the fort was Gheria. In pre-Independance era the fort was known as the “Eastern Gibralter” since the fort was unconquerable.The large enemy vessels couldn’t enter the shallow water of the creek while Maratha ships would be anchored there, always ready for the onslaught.According to some data there also lies an under water tunnel which if proven can also serve as an important part in the tourist and historical significance.Though most of the structures inside the fort are in ruins now but the remains still serve as classic examples of the Maratha culture.
During the British rule it was also believed that English astronomer Normal Lockyer observed helium for the first time on the surface of the sun from the observatory which was set up in the fort.Thus , every year on 18th August , since 2009 the world helium day is celebrated in the fort.The fort is now under the protection of Archaelogical Survey of India and they have undertaken the restoration work.
We commenced our journey further towards the sea food delicacy town in the konkan known as Malvan.As the road deviated from the shore line the journey again meandered through the plateaus of the Western Ghats.The vast highlands with strectes of yellow long grasses mesmerised me to imagine like a free bird.The roads were empty ,intersecting the arid landscape along the centre to lead us towards the sea shore.
Malvan is a famous tourist destination in the konkan coast that boasts of some picturesque clean beaches , offering kaleidoscopic sunsets to the tourists. Chivla beach is one such pristine clean beach, which is a must visit to experience a romantic stroll by the seaside .It took me 2.5 hours to reach Malvan from Vijaydurg fort.On the way the Konkan coast kept me engaged with numerous beaches over the backwaters of the Arabian sea and plenty of plantations in the countryside.When the road was not along the seashore , it was intersecting huge plantations of mango and coconut trees.
After arriving in Malvan we decided to have our lunch since the coastal town is famous for seafood in the konkan.I took help of one of the locals from the area and he adviced me to visit Chivala beach.It was already late afternoon and since I wanted to spend more time in visiting Sindhudurg fort, I decided to appease myself with only one beach in Malvan.
Like all the Konkan beaches it offers some breathtaking view of the weekend coastal landscape with absolutely clean sand by the seashore.The beach had huge lines of coconut plantations on its right side .The right side of the beach was rocky while the left side had vast stretches of clean unpolluted sands that enhances romantic walk by the seashore .
Tourists can also try out scuba diving activities here ,which is organised mainly by the local fishermen.In the era of trawllers and motorboats people can still see numerous fishermen boats on this beach with which the fishermen catch fish manually in the early morning or evening.The fishermen still follow traditional methods in catching fish manually through fish nets in this beach.The huge contour of coconut trees, the pristine yellow sands and the delectable Malvani sea food were relevant enough to give me the jovial feeling of my presence in the konkan coast.
When I was planning my golden coastal route in konkan,I was ever so anxious to visit the Sindhudurg Fort in Malvan. Sindhudurg Fort was built by the great Maratha warrior Shivaji in the 17 th century on an island away from the Malvan shore.Tourists need to avail a motorboat ride for 10 minutes in order to reach the island. Sindhudurg Fort has a significant place in the history of the Maratha warriors as it was build to stop the advancement of the foreign forces and the Siddhis of Janjira. The fort is now a protected monument where some inhabitants still live.
The landscape around the fort consists of a rocky shore occupied by numerous sea gulls.The geography around the shore consists of numerous shapes of rocks creating rhythmic ripples,as the waves of The Arabian sea splashes on the surface of the rocks.A distant beach with numerous coconut trees is visible from the fort that adds to the delight of a photographer.
Learn history and enjoy the pristine blue Arabian sea with the splendid geography around by availing an adventurous bumpy ride in a long Trawler boat to this enigmatic fort of Maharashtra.
Last but not the least before the sunset and entering the vibrant city of Goa, I went to Tarkarli beach,my last pit stop in this coastal route. Tarkarli beach like any other Konkan beach is well guarded by a picturesque wall of casuarina and coconut trees along the length of the beach.The locals here charge Rs 50 for parking cars near the beach.The sand is clean and yellow and the beach is very less crowded
Perhaps Tarkarli offers a secluded vacation in the MTDC resort on the beach.As we move towards Goa the beaches become crowded with numerous shacks and resorts.The sunset on this beach has relevantly concluded the golden coastal trip with the golden hues of the magical refractions in the sky.Similar to the many konkan beaches a lonely standing wooden fishermen boat can be seen on this beach waiting for the high tides to sail it away.Capturing numerous photos of this scenic beach I commenced my journey with a fresh jovial feeling to spend my valentine vacation in Goa.