Instead of going to overcrowded beaches and highly commercialized tourist locations, why don't you explore a very serene place in Southern India?
I stopped at Karwar for an overnight stay on my trip from Udupi in Karnataka recently. I chose Devbagh Beach Resort, a unit of Government owned Jungle Lodges and Resorts Ltd. It is located in the Uttara Kannada District of Karnataka.
I was told by the staff in the resort that the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore stayed in Karwar between 1882 and 1883 and his poem 'Prakritir Pratishoota' was based on that visit.
A quote form Tagore prominently mentioned in the brochures of the resort. It said as follows:
"The beach of Karwar is certainly a fit place in which to realize that the beauty of nature is not a mirage of imagination, but reflects the joy of the infinite and thus draws us to lose ourselves into it"
I reached the hotel office around 12.30 pm and showed my internet booking receipt. Within a few minutes I was escorted by a short jovial middle aged staff to a small boat parked nearby. I was a bit scared seeing the old boat and the deep water. He helped me to get into the boat and told me not to get scared. Once settled inside I enjoyed the travel towards the resort situated in an island full of dense trees.
|Forest in the Devbagh beach resort|
A few staff were waiting at the other end to receive. They took my luggage and asked me to go ahead to the cottage. They said they will bring the luggage in a cart along with luggage of other visitors who were expected to reach that time. I went in search of the cottage through the narrow pathway. I was expecting that the cottages were nearby. Seeing no human beings anywhere, I thought I took a wrong route and started walking back. Then I understood that the path was the correct one as I saw a few guests returning after their stay there.
The single room cottage allotted to me was clean and elegant. I went to the dining hall (called 'Gol Ghar'- an open to-two-sides circular gazebo) to have the buffet-style lunch along with other guests. After relishing a good spread of vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes and fruits, I went to the cottage to send some official mails through the BSNL dongler. The absence of TV was a good change. Tourists can spend the afternoon for water sports like rafting, canyoning, para-sailing, speed boat cruises etc.
In the evening one could visit the nearby fishing village. Around 7.30 pm I went to the beautiful beach where Bonfire and Barbeque were organized by the resort for guests. No music or microphones allowed to preserve the serenity, though the guests could sing, play or dance. Guests in the resort sat in their own groups and had quiet conversations.
After a coffee at the Gol Ghar at 6.15 am in the morning, the guide took all guests for a nature walk till 8.30 am. After breakfast there was a boat ride in to the Arabian sea! The check out time is 11.30 am.
|Karwar Beach (Photo: Sibichen K Mathew)|
Best time to visit is October to March when the climate is pleasant and suitable for various activities. Nearest airport is Dabolim (Goa) about 2 hours away. Nearest railway stations are Madgaon (Goa), Mangalore (Karnataka) and Karwar (only a few trains stop here). One could travel by road from Bangalore, Udupi (major part of the road is bad), or Madgaon.
One can book the cottage at www.junglelodges.com. Average tariff for a cottage for 24 hours for one person is around Rs 4500/- (including food, boating etc. Alcoholic beverages are charged).
Here are a few rules mentioned in the notice board:
a. Do not talk loudly or play music
b. Do not smoke
c. Do not wear strong perfumes
d. Do not tease animals (I didn't see any!)
e. Wear forest friendly clothes
f. Be punctual for all activities
|Karwar Photo: Sibichen K Mathew|
Sibichen K Mathew