Known for its white sand and adventurous water sports, Tarkarli in southern Maharashtra is a popular beach destination on the coast of the Arabian Sea. It's a 295-mile (475-kilometer) drive from the densely populated streets of Mumbai, and you can get between the two in a day by car, bus, or train. Because driving in India can be intimidating to tourists, most people travel to the laidback oceanfront village by rail.
|Train||9 hours||$14 to $18||Traveling cheaply and quickly|
|Bus||14 hours||From $14||Making stops along the way|
|Car||11 hours||295 miles (475 kilometers)||Going at your own pace|
What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Mumbai to Tarkarli?
The cheapest way to get from Mumbai to Tarkarli is by a combination of train and taxi. Tarkarli is 21 miles (34 kilometers) from the nearest train station, in Kudal, but several Indian Railways trains go straight there from Dadar Station—one of the major transit hubs of Mumbai—in less than nine hours. The direct routes are the 10103 Mandovi Express, departing around 7 a.m. daily and arriving in Kudal between 5 and 6 p.m.; the 10111 Konkan Kanya Ex, departing Dadar around 11 p.m. and arriving the next day around 8 a.m.; or the 11003 Tutari Express, which departs at 12:05 a.m. and gets in at 9 a.m. Train tickets cost $3 or $4, and the taxi from Kudal railway station to Tarkarli—a 37-minute journey—should cost between $11 and $14. If you take the night train, it'll save you money on accommodation, too.
What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Mumbai to Tarkarli?
The train is also the fastest way to get to Tarkarli, even with having to change from rail to taxi in Kudal. The fastest route is the 10103 Mandovi Express, which takes about eight and a half hours, but if you're looking for an overnight journey, take the 10111 Konkan Kanya Ex as it stops less frequently than the 11003 Tutari Express. Altogether with the taxi, the trip should take about nine hours.
How Long Does It Take to Drive?
The drive from Mumbai to Tarkarli takes roughly 11 hours. The shortest route, at 295 miles (475 kilometers), is via National Highway 66, but the fastest is by Asian Highway 47. Instead of going directly south, the road veers southeast from Mumbai to Pune, then heads back westward at Kolhapur. It's about 330 miles (530 kilometers) and, like National Highway 66, includes tolls totaling about $50. But going by Asian Highway 47 should take 11 hours as opposed to the 12-hour, 15-minute trip on route 66.
Is There a Bus That Goes From Mumbai to Tarkarli?
Khapreshwar Travels operates a direct route from Mumbai to Tarkarli, but it's slightly slower and more expensive than taking the train. It departs Mumbai at 3:30 p.m. and takes about nine hours, 45 minutes, dropping tourists off into the streets of Tarkarli in the middle of the night. The starting rate is $14, but extra money will buy you more comfort on Khapreshwar Travels' AC/non-AC sleeper buses.
Alternatively, there are several trains, operated by Redbus, that go from Mumbai to Kudal and Malvan (2.5 miles, or4 kilometers, from Tarkarli).
When Is the Best Time to Travel to Tarkarli?
The best time to travel to Tarkarli is during winter, as summers can be unbearably hot and humid. Besides, July through September marks the monsoon season. During the winter, temperatures remain warm to hot—ranging from 63 degrees Fahrenheit (17 degrees Celsius) to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius)—and optimal for beach time. And your ground transportation shouldn't get derailed by the heavy rains characteristic of other seasons.
What’s the Most Scenic Route to Tarkarli?
The most scenic route to Tarkarli from Mumbai is via the coastal route, State Highway 4 (SH4). It's about the same distance as other routes—310 miles (500 kilometers)—but much slower than driving on the National Highway because of the country-like roads.
SH4 provides some dramatic backdrops of surf and sand from atop steep cliffs, where it hugs the coast. However, the road also runs inland for a significant part of the way, across barren hills and through pleasant villages. The condition of the road is extremely variable: Some parts are pitted with twists and turns while others are straight and well-sealed.
SH4 begins around Dapoli, 141 miles (227 kilometers) from Mumbai. The fastest way to get there is by NH66, and then hop onto the coastal route from there. This is a popular motorcycle route that takes 16 to 17 hours, so it should be split up into several days.
What Is There to Do in Tarkarli?
Tarkarli is known for its idealistic location on the Arabian Sea. Tourists flock to the coastal village for its white sands, clear water, and dolphin-inhabited Karli River. Here, you can snorkel or scuba dive to see coral reefs, parasail, venture out on a boat, or go wildlife spotting (chital and gawa can often be seen roaming nearby Bison National Park). One of the most well-known landmarks in the area is Sindhudurg Fort, occupying 48 acres of a small island off the coast of Maharashtra. Its 12-feet thick, 29-feet high fortified walls stretch for 2 miles.