Chivla beach is sandwiched between Kolamb beach and Rock Garden. If you choose to stay here, you can cover all three places together. Chivla is also good for scuba diving due to clean water and lesser number of divers. I would advise you not to try scuba diving near Sindhudurg Fort as this spot is very crowded and unclean.
We always relate beaches to vibrant colours. This time, I put my photography skills to test by clicking few photographs of Chivla beach, which I knew would probably look better in greyscale. Thanks to the dynamic range of Lumix GH5 and sharpness of Leica 12-60 mm lens, I could get few stunning image to my surprise without much of post-processing.
Where to Stay?
If you are looking for a homely place or planning to stay in Malvan for longer (more than 2-3 days), you can straightaway head to Chetna Homestay (near Chivla beach) offered by Sagar Jadhav, who is the nicest host and person I have ever met on a trip. More than the comfy rooms he provides, you can get all the local knowhow and insider info from Sagar to enjoy this place to the fullest. He is also very resourceful and can practically arrange for anything that you may need on this trip, be it rental bike or discounted rates for scuba diving. It is indeed an experience staying at his house than booking a mainstream hotel. If you are planning to stay towards Tarkarli or Devbag, you may consider Visava Beach Resort (Lonely Planet Recommendation), MTDC Tarkarli Resort (Maharashtra Govt. Tourism Stay).
Where to Find Best Food?
- Hotel Chaitanya (Lonely Planet Recommendation)
- Hotel Atithi Bamboo
- Hotel Sunita
- Hotel Silver Sand
Malvan is my favourite beach town for so many reasons. Firstly, it always makes me feel very homely where I can just stay for days and days as if I always belonged here. Secondly, you can take a lazy stroll at Chivla beach even late in the evening, without any safety concerns. Most importantly, Malvan is the centre point for exploring many picture-postcard beaches, scuba diving, spotting dolphins, and relishing authentic Malvani coastal food.
- Chivla Beach for idyllic beach-side stay, morning walks and scuba diving;
- Kolamb Beach for the feel of watching sunset from your own private beach;
- Devbag to witness confluence (sangam) of Karli river and the Arabian sea, and if lucky, spot dolphins and seagulls too;
- Bhogwe Beach to witness one of the cleanest beaches of India, awarded with blue flag certification in the year 2019;
- Tarkarli to enjoy yet another picturesque beach of Maharashtra;
- Sindhudurg Fort to get a 360 degree view of the Arabian sea from a historic fort;
- Rock Garden to enjoy sea waves crashing through the rocks and have delectable Indian snacks.
- Marine Wildlife Sanctuary, which is one of the six marine national parks in India, if you have interest in marine ecosystem and biology.
How to Reach?
From Mumbai: Catch a train to Kudal (7-9 hours). From Kudal, getting an auto-rickshaw (+91 94232 86075) to Malvan should not cost you more than INR 600 (as of April 2021). Alternatively, you can also catch a bus to Malvan, if travelling light or without family.
From Rest of India: Take a flight to Goa which is the nearest airport. Get a taxi to travel 130 Km (3 hours) north to reach Malvan or catch a train from Madgaon (Goa) to Kudal (1-2 hours).
What to Try?
- Malvani Cuisine, in particular, typical fish (Surmai/Bangda) thali;
- Kokum sharbat made from a fruit scientifically known as Garcinia Indica, to keep you cool;
- Sol Kadhi, made with Kokum and coconut milk, popular in Konkan region for its soothing taste and digestive benefits;
- Devbag Mango which is popular export quality mango produced in this region.
If you prefer to have a private beach to yourself and watch a romantic sunset from there, then Kolamb beach will surely live up to your expectations, offering a picturesque view of the Arabian sea fringed by beautiful silhouette of coconut palms in the left. It is hardly 4 km away from Chivla beach and should not take you more than 10 minutes by bike. If you are a fitness freak, you can also reach here by taking a walk for 30 minutes (2.5 Km).
Kolamb beach also offers a beautiful view of the sunrise, where you can spend your entire morning doing nothing. If you still have time and want to explore further, you may consider making a quick 3-5 minutes drive to Sarjekot where you can get a bird’s eye view of the sea from Sarjekot Fort and Suvarn kada.
Located about 12 km from Malvan, Devbag offers the best of everything in one package. It is most popular for its stupendous ‘Sangam’, i.e., the confluence of Karli river and the Arabian sea. You can actually witness river water mingling with the sea waves here. It is indeed a rare sight.
This place is also known for spotting dolphins. However, you need to be a bit lucky and watchful to spot them just like the tigers in the jungle. You can increase your chances by taking an early morning boat ride to dolphin points. Alternatively, you can also check with Mr. Ganesh Kumthekar (+91 94212 62811) who offers these boat rides to confirm whether dolphins can be spotted on the day you visit Devbag. A typical boat ride here usually covers four points, viz. Tsunami Island (unexpectedly small but popular for water sports), Seagull point (a very tiny stretch of land in the middle of the sea), Devbag Sangam and Bhogwe beach and costs INR 600 per couple (as of April 2021). If you also want to see dolphins, it costs another INR 600 per couple (as of April 2021). A quick tip, if you are taking this boat ride, you must insist for making a quick stop over at Bhogwe beach (by paying INR 100 to the sailor separately), which is otherwise far by road.
Stretching directly north of Devbag is picturesque Tarkarli beach which you can cover on the same way as your return to Malvan from Devbag.
Stories from my first trip to Malvan
The idea of my trips is always to explore more than a typical tourist and have a more personalized experience as much as I can. This trip to Malvan was also mostly about finding those hidden gems and feeling at home.
Morning, A Short and Sweet Detour: After I came out of the railway station, I heard a soft voice of a girl, asking me, if I knew about shared auto-rickshaw to reach bus stop. Few moments later, we were sharing an auto-rickshaw and waiting for our buses together. This gave us some good time to strike a candid conversation. As my bus was not coming for a while and hers had just arrived, she asked me, “why don’t you come with me till Kankavali and then catch a bus from there to Malvan, as it comes on the same route?“. This made sense. While on bus, we had some fun conversation along the way. It is only when we reached Kankavali to grab a quick bite, I checked Google map, only to realize that my supposedly on-route journey was actually a detour of almost one hour. Nonetheless, as we thoroughly enjoyed talking to each other and became friends on the way, it was definitely an unforgettable short and sweet detour. One good part of travelling solo is your plans can be as fluid and uncharted as the waves of the sea. It can be changed at any moment if the journey offers something beautiful.
Afternoon, Just Checking: This was more of exploring outskirts of Malvan from where I could capture sunrise or sunset at its best. Thanks to my local friend Sagar, who knowing my taste for obscure locations, took me to the right places. In this quest, we finally reached Devbag Sangam, where the river meets the sea. This place looked quite interesting and I immediately decided to come here again.
Evening, In Quest for Sunset View: Starting from my stay near Chivla beach, I took a long walk along this beach to reach Rock Garden Sunset Point to watch sun setting against the rocky sea shore. However, if you love less crowded and peaceful places, this is definitely not the place for you, although it offers a good park for children to play and enjoy evening snacks.
Thanks to my friend Sagar again who came for the rescue and took me to a much better sunset point, Rajkot. Mostly rocky, Rajkot offered a better view of the sunset with popular Sindhudurg Fort at one side making it more picturesque.
Few clicks later, I changed my mind and decided to capture sunset from another point that Sagar was suggesting and thus began our race for whether the sun sets down first or we reach there first. And guess what? We lost by a good margin! By the time we reached Kolamb beach, we were left with only the leftovers of a complete visual delicacy.
Morning, A Perfect Sunrise at a Perfect Beach: If it has to be one beach in Malvan that I love the most and can call it my personal favourite, it would be Kolamb beach. I loved this beach for its clean white sand, and most importantly, backwaters and fresh green mangroves welcoming to its courtyard.
Afternoon, The Adventure Begins: Scuba diving was the center attraction of this trip as my friend Sagar runs this adventure sports near Chivla beach. I had met Sagar for the first time during my last trip to Ganpatipule, where we became friends and he offered me a more personalized scuba diving experience back in his town, Malvan.
Despite my initial inhibitions and fear of dying in the sea, I gave it a go. No prize for guessing, my family obviously did not know where I was and what I was doing. However, my fear got subsided when I saw few other people doing it successfully without glitches. This was my second attempt in life at something adventurous and possibly life-threatening at the same time. But, that’s what life is all about; experiences, overcoming your fear, doing things that you have never done before, and living life as if there is indeed no tomorrow. I simply stuck to the clear instructions given to me by the instructor, and viola, I had completed it successfully.
Evening, River meets the Sea: A journey is not always about the destination. It is also about the paths you take and the feeling of getting nearer to where you seek to be. More than catching sunset at Devbag, I enjoyed driving through narrow curvaceous roads fringed by coconut palms and small houses offering a side view of the vast sea off and on. Once at Devbag Sangam, you can witness the best of both the river and the sea. You can also enjoy ferry rides and water sports here.
Caution: one must be extremely careful while stepping into certain part this water, as even a seemingly shallow area may be surrounded by bog or unexpectedly great depths up to 25-30 feet. A brief conversation with the life guard revealed that this water claimed 6 lives around 2 years back.
Morning, Equanimity: Day 3 started with a laid back morning walk from Chivla beach to Rock Garden Sunset Point, catching the sunrise on the way. As I had almost exhausted my limited camera battery by then, I decided to just relax and soak in the beauty of sea shore, listening to the musical chorus of the sea waves and occasionally capturing the beauty of the tide pool created last night from my phone.
Afternoon, Scuba Diving? One More Time Please: As afternoon was anyway going to be dull and boring in this hot weather, I decided to go for scuba diving again. This time at a different location conducted by someone else. The ferry took me near to Sindhudurg Fort surrounded by sea from all sides. Although the view from the sea bed was more diverse here, I did not like the overall experience for three reasons, (a) not so clean (read, murky) water; (b) much lesser depth (probably short of a well), and (c) too much of crowd. However, this just made me appreciate the value of my earlier scuba diving even more just the day before.
What you see is exactly the kind of murky water scuba you get near Sindhudurg Fort, which I would highly recommend you not to try.
As per Lonely Planet, Indian Institute of Scuba Diving & Aquatic Sports (IISDA) offers the best scuba diving experience in this area, calling it “state-of-the-art PADI 5-star diving centre“. PADI stands for Professional Association of Diving Instructors. It is a great initiative of Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation to ensure that you learn it right (first in a 20 meters pool) and do a safe diving, instead of risking your life in the hands of inadequately trained divers. Located 7 km from Malvan towards Tarkarli, IISDA is also a marine life conservation centre, run by marine biologist and diving professional, Dr. Sarang Kulkarni.
While you are here, you may also consider travelling back in the timeline of 1664 to see the ruins of Sindhudurg Fort built by Shivaji.