September 24, 2017
When it comes to choosing a holiday destination or going for a beach holiday in the south, people zero in only on Goa without realizing that there are pristine and exhilarating beaches in Uttara Kannada district which is just an hour’s drive from Goa. Karwar, the headquarters of Uttara Kannada is just an hour’s journey by train.
For reasons which are inexplicable Uttara Kannada district which has everything that makes it tourists’ paradise with its exquisite natural beauty and diversity, rich flora and fauna and shimmering beaches, has failed to market itself to the tourists. It has deprived an opportunity for nature lovers to explore and exploit its natural beauty and splendidness. Tagore Beach, Devbagh Beach, Majali beach, Om beach, Ladies’ beach, Kudle beach, Nirvana beach, Karwar Beach and Koodibagh beach are some of the gorgeous sandy beaches of Uttara Kannada that can satiate the thirst of beach and water sport lovers.
Majali beach in Karwar, is one of the most beautiful beaches of Uttara Kannada and is one of the top places to visit in Karwar. It is unique because it is the only beach where one can find the jet black soil and it has been attracting a lot of tourists. As the black coarse sand looks like popular condiment sesame seed the beach is known popularly as Tilmati beach. When translated in Konkani, which the prominent language of this region, sesame become til and and mati means sand and hence the name Tilmati. The beach is a favourite destination of tourists who come to Karwar and Uttara Kannada districts.
I got an opportunity to visit the beach recently. The beach is surrounded by abundant flora and fauna adding to its natural beauty and adding to its attraction. While the black sand is an added attraction to visit the beach reaching the beach itself is nothing less than adventurous and audacious. It is a beautiful picnic spot for those who love trekking and have an adventurous streak in them. Though rainy season is not the best period to visit a short spell of sunshine is enough to prod any discerning nature lover to visit it soak in its beauty and lovely charm. Despite dissuasion from locals (because it is rainy season, rocks can be slippery and beach is deserted) the lush green hillock skirting the stream was too alluring and I could not resist the excitement. At the end, it proved to be a rewarding and memorable experience.
Tilmati beach can be approached from Majali village across the national highway about 10 kms from Karwar. One can just ride along the Devbagh beach road towards the end and take a detour towards a mud road. Drive or ride another two kms through the narrow roads of the village to reach Majali beach. A few fishermen boys near the Majali beach guided us to approach the hillock and that emboldened our spirits. To go to the Tilmati beach one has to climb a hill after crossing the stream in low tide. However during the rainy season and when the tides are high crossing the stream will be dicey. But there is a way out. The stream narrows down towards a small bridge and on crossing it one comes across a thick forest. Crossing the forest is the first major challenge to reach the destination.
As it had rained heavily the previous night there we had to cross a slushy patch of land filled with grass and bushes before venturing into the thick forest. At first it looked as though there is no way to move forward as the trail had had gone missing in the absence of visitors but with a gut feeling moved ahead. Crossing the forest to reach the foot of the hillock called for an enormous effort as the hillock was dotted with grass and moss and was slippery. One had to cross the black volcanic rocks and hike a distance of about 1 km with utmost circumspection as any wrong move can be fatal. There was not much of climbing and we had to only follow the trails and these trails alternatingly culminated in small gorges requiring us to clamber onto the rocks and down and move forward. Fortunately some gorges had dried up enabling easy passage through them. While moving it was refreshing to stop to take a look at the surrounding enjoying the stunning beauty of the Arabian Sea and its shimmering blue water.
After trekking for another half a kilometre or so it was a wonderful feeling to be greeted by the a small stretch of the beach completely surrounded by black granules of sand contrary to the white sand usually seen in beaches. The beach looked like a heap of sesame seed deposited on the shore spread over 150 metre stretch. It is said that the black sand is formed when the waves hit the black basaltic rocks that dot the shore. The spot is just ideal for a short picnic as the clean and the pristine environment of the secluded beach is enough to soothe a tired body and mind.
The beach was quite deserted as it was noon and as the sun was just above us walking barefoot on the soil was impossible. With the clouds hovering over, the return journey was quite easy and less challenging and that gives enough time to enjoy the invigorating atmosphere of the blue waves and the lush greenery competing with each other to arrest visitors’ attention. Returning becomes still easier for those willing to take a chance to cross the stream which should be done only after measuring the depth and the flow of the water.
With its abundant flora and fauna and numerous water walls, sky kissing peaks, lush green landscapes, gorgeous sandy beaches, fascinating culture - thanks to the different ethnic tribes that have enriched its cultural diversity Uttara Kannada district is sure to beckon discerning travel freaks who want to make best of their holidays. It is time you pack your bags and travel to this Elysium as your next holiday destination.