On the final day of our Konkan adventure we started as early as 08:00. Since Savli Resort would offer only tea in the morning, we had pre-arranged for our provisions for breakfast. Our Konkani gentleman with golden necklaces came with his auto rickshaw in the right time. The first destination was the Tara Mumbri beach. Situated south of Devgad, the beach was 4 km from Kunkeshwar. We reached the Tara Mumbri village at around 08:30 a.m
The fishermen’s village was on our left and on our right was a road lined with palm trees which led to the beach. There was a local boat-building yard in the village covered with a shade. in the foreground, there was the backwater with several fishing boats sailing on it towards the sea – a familiar scene which we have seen earlier in Nivati village.
Tara Mumbri Beach
A walk of ten minutes took us to the horseshoe shaped Tara Mumbri beach. There was a hillock at the end of the beach, beyond which I could faintly see some white poles which looked like windmills. Not surprising, as I knew one could see some windmills from Devgad beach. It was not difficult to guess that Devgad was beyond that hillock.
Apart from us, there was not a single soul in the beach. No fisherman’s cottage, no boats, nothing at all. The sand was clean and the sea looked like a vast mass of blue ink. Tara Mumbri beach is famous for viewing phosphorescence at night. This phenomenon makes the surf of the waves glow after sundown. Scientifically, this phenomenon occurs as a result of bioluminescence of organisms in the surface layers of the sea. Visitors gather here after sunset to view this feast of nature. Unfortunately, we did not have any plans for such venture in this trip.
From Tara Mumbri beach you can view porpoises (small whales) playing in the sea. I felt that from the beach it would be difficult to spot any such animal. So as soon as we reached the bottom of the hillock, I announced that I was going to walk up to the top to have a look. My friends were not interested so I decided to do the venture solo.
I reached near the top in no time. There was a distinct pathway and uphill walking brought me to the desired spot from where I got a good top view of the sea. I stayed there for some time but I could not spot anything except some fishing boats.
Suddenly my mind went to the windmills which I saw earlier lurking behind the hillock. I thought of walking further uphill to have a closer view. I looked down and saw my friends resting at the beach. “This would not take much time” – I said to myself and walked up.
However, it was not a straight road up to the top. I had to negotiate two Alphonso mango gardens. After crossing four walls with few acrobatics and I landed up in front of a golden grassland with quite a number of windmills in the horizon.
In the foreground, there was lying a huge rock which looked somewhat like a helmet. My imagination ran wild and I fancied it to be the helmet of fictional character Don Quixote. It felt as if Don was nearby, and any moment he could come back to reclaim it and charge at the windmills.
I decided to go closer and have a look. Within 10 minutes after crossing a small boundary of rocks I came near the tall structures. There were about 15-20 windmills in the vicinity. In the middle, there was a small pool of water. In totality, it made a pretty picture. However. I was not sure whether they were functional. One of them was broken too.
Windmills have always fascinated me. I looked at those long towers with the curiosity of a child. The wind vanes which holds the windmills are pointed towards the wind and those huge blades which rotate as the wind blows results in the generation of electricity by the generator. Standing at the edge of a cliff they looked like sentry towers guarding a city. At the edge of the cliff, I viewed the Devgad beach with a hillock in its background.
Setting my imaginations to rest, I hurried back in the way which I came. I crossed the walls with much enthusiasm and came down the beach. My friends were nowhere to be seen. I tried them through my cell phone, but there was no network. Concluding that they must have gone back and waiting for me at the auto rickshaw near the village, I started walking back, when a voice interrupted me.
A Secret Beach
I turned around to see a Konkani Gentleman wearing a T-Shirt and a short Lungi.
“Did you liked my gardens?” – asked the person.
I was embarrassed, as I had definitely trespassed into this gentleman’s property. I replied trying to look as casual as possible – “Yes, they are fine”. Pausing a bit, I said “Actually I was looking at the windmills. I like them”.
”Oh… you went up to the windmills? I saw you getting down from the gardens. You are a tourist?” He enquired. I replied in the affirmative. Then I added that I primarily came to see the Tara Mumbri beach.
I saw a twinkle in his eyes. He said “You look very enthusiastic. Since you like this beach, let me show you another beach. Mind it, this is a secret one. Many times foreigners come and stay overnight with tents and food.”
Although I knew I was pretty late and my friends must be cursing me by now, still I could not resist the temptation. A five minutes walk, a right turn and I saw a small yet beautiful beach in front of me. This was inside a small cove in the hillock, which was impossible to detect from the Tara Mumbri beach. This was ideal for a secluded romantic gateway. The owner requested me to get down on the beach, but I declined the offer politely. It was 09:35 and I thought my friends, unaware of my adventures must be getting worried by now.
I said goodbye to my Konkani friend and walked back hurriedly towards the village. I reached the auto rickshaw in about 15 minutes, where my friends were not in their best moods. After listening to my adventures, they said the windmills can be reached also from our next destination – Devgad beach. However, for that, we will have to take a 15-minute auto-rickshaw ride through a circular path.
We reached our destination in no time. On your right, a flight of stairs takes you to the scenic Devgad beach. On your left, you could see the windmills. However, they were standing opposite to the sun. Moreover, the small water body was not visible and it did not look all that great as it did from the other side.
Devgad Beach and Fort
The Devgad beach looked different from all other Konkan beaches we have seen so far. This was because we got a top view of the beach. Also, the scattered brown colored rocks on the beach with deep blue water gave it a pretty picture postcard look. It was fun to stand on the rocks and feel the waves landing on your feet. Several casuarina trees could be seen in the vicinity. I did a bit of rock jumping and then went back to the auto rickshaw. It was around 11:15 and we were feeling pretty hungry.
We finally landed up in a vegetarian restaurant at Devgad. In the process I learned that that lunch in Konkan language is known as “Jeban”. The food was good though. We took some Kokum juice to get ourselves refreshed. Post lunch I asked our Konkani gentleman to take us to Devgad fort. After a brief ride he brought us in front of a picturesque jetty surrounded by hillocks. I thought he was mistaken as this was definitely the Devgad Harbour situated inside the Devgad Creek. However I saw ruined walls ahead and understood that this was a part of the fort as well.
Devgad fort was built in 1705 under the guidance of Maratha Admiral Kanhoji Angre. Located in the meeting point Devgad creek and Arabian Sea, it was known as “Janjire Devgad”. Although Janjire in Arabic means island but since Devgad was surrounded from all sides by sea, hence the name was given.
We had a brief interruption in our photo session as one port officer rudely behaved with us saying it was illegal to shoot photographs here. We challenged back saying that there was no signboard with such instructions there. The belligerent guy got angry and made a phone call to police station. However the policeman on the other side did not seemed to be interested in wasting his time on tourists taking picture of an unimportant harbor.
Ultimately the officer became cooperative and said this was a part of the fort, but the main gate is on the top of the hill. There are lots of smugglers romping around here and he was just doing his duty. He allowed us to take photographs of ruined bastions, small cannons and the walls.
Except for a portion of the huge rampart with bastions, there was nothing much left of Devgad fort on the top of the hill. There used to a small canal outside the fort, which still exists. Inside there was port office and officers quarters. There was a lighthouse, but it was closed at that time. Somewhat crestfallen we left for our final destination – Vijaydurg Fort.