Well almost close to tripping, if you actually trip from the trippy place, you’ll fall into another small not-so-trippy place, but still trippy enough to get you trippy!
Yes, I was referring to Gokarna and the small town happens to be a place called Karwar, just an hour from the Goa border on one side and the earlier mentioned town. It falls right in between these two places, so that makes it less crowded, less commercialised and all that goes with an unorthodox tourist location. The town is filled with a sense of warmth and welcoming-ness as though one was part of the place.
So it all started when I said I want to do something alone, so I travelled alone. But personally I don’t see ‘travelling’ and ‘alone’ fit in the same sentence because the whole intention in travelling is to get rid of any loneliness. So, I booked the bus tickets on http://www.RedBus.com just a day before leaving. I still hadn’t decided on which Hotel to stay in. So I searched for a couple of sites which had the required Hotel information, called up the Hotel and asked for vacancy. Savan Deluxe Hotel is a decent boarding abode, not too luxurious or also on the other extreme ( the OCD class). It is like I said earlier, decent. So I was all set to leave. I took along with me a couple of DVDs, books and of course my camera to satisfy some more of that lust.
Karwar is a good 12-14 hour bus journey from Bangalore, with some stretches of roads actually having the courage to throw you off your seat. So depending on the road, you should reach in 12 hours. This coastal town, like any, is humid and hot. Savan Deluxe Hotel had a great cooling system to help me cool off in my AC deluxe room. The room costs are reasonable and the AC deluxe room (my presidential suite!) costs Rs. 650 including taxes (as on May 15, 2010). Checking in was not really formal and you don’t see a lot of people around (or in) the hotel, especially in MAY! I dared to go for it at such an odd time, even when the likelihood of rain was high. One thing you should remember is that all activities close during the months of June till end of September. Supposedly after the monsoon onslaught, is the best time to go. Hence, being the hottest month of the year, there was obviously no problem with getting the room.
The hotel has a bar and restaurant but it was a little too shady. If you’re travelling alone, you might want to be safe because it can get crowded with not the best kind of crowd. I suggest you order food/drinks to your room or just get out of the hole and go exploring. Being the person I am, I chose the latter. I wandered through the streets of Karwar, mostly parallel to the beach and that’s it to the city. The restaurants close pretty early, compared to the Sagars and the Darshinis in Bangalore or Mysore. So you might want to head for dinner at around 7.30-8-ish to be on the safer side, also before it can get too crowded. After a filling dinner at one of the few restaurants, I walked back a good kilometre or so to my hotel and settled in for the night with a good movie.
Getting up in the morning is probably the easiest things in Karwar. There is the thought of the fresh tea/coffee and breakfast. But much before the breakfast, one will get up and head down to the beach. So did I. It is almost that temptation, a sort of urge that needs to be fulfilled and if you’re wise enough, you’ll head down early to avoid much of a crowd. After just sitting there and doing my first bit of introspective rounds for over an hour or two, I had to attend to my next urge. My Stomach.
This time I head to another restaurant serving some piping hot south Indian coffee and some chow-chow bath. Ecstatic was the word. Such a small town can produce such amazing amount of happiness, for the stomach of course. I filled myself with as much as I could to keep me happy till lunch. Once I got out of the restaurant, I couldn’t help but curse myself for choosing such a time of the year to visit Karwar. The humidity hits you so hard, that you’d either want to jump in the water or jump in the bus back home. I chose none. Instead I took the long walk back home, switched on my air conditioner and off I went into paradise again. After all I was on VACATION!
There is honestly not much you can do in Karwar and go ga-ga about, but why I’d like to recommend this place to each person is because of it’s simplicity, the warmth of the ‘real’ kind, not commercialised and corrupted by ‘hospitality’. Since I went at a time when the rains were on their way, most fun outdoor activities were cancelled, something that I was looking forward to sincerely. about a half an hour auto-rickshaw ride from Karwar, gets you to a place called Devbagh. Technically, Devbagh is an island, so one has to reach it only by boat. The boat to Devbagh seems to have been privatised to one of the premier resorts in India, who also happen to own a resort on the Island. The Devbagh Beach Resort conducts many outdoor activities, mainly water-based. (DUH!) A day package could cost you a little over Rs. 1000 (as on May 15, 2101). The price includes meals, activities and transfers to and from the island. If you wish to stay back at the Resort, depending on the availability of the rooms, you will be given accommodation and of course charged. I missed out on all these activities as the Resort closed down for Monsoon a couple of days before I arrived. After an enquiry, the Resort said that they could arrange something, but all the outdoor activities would remain closed. Disappointed for obvious reasons, I decided stay back and end my day with another tasty dinner.
The following day was my last day at the place.
Since my bus was late that evening, I wanted to sleep in but I happen to be up early and thought I’d go for a walk on the beach before it gets too hot. I did go for a stroll after a hot cuppa tea just outside the hotel. I was back pretty quick and as expected the sun began to get scorching enough and I couldn’t wait to come back to to the comfort of my air conditioned paradise. I got some food from the restaurant below but it was pretty awful and I wished I’d gone out for lunch. With absolutely no such intentions, I put my legs on the bed, decreased the temperature and off I went to sleep in no time. I checked out late and the guy at the reception charged me extra although there wasn’t anyone else in the hotel. But I still did have an amazing trip and I cleared the bill with a sense of satisfaction 🙂
The bus journey back home wasn’t bad and the next thing I knew I was back in Bangalore with the claustrophobic feeling creeping back in after such freedom and miles and miles of just sand and water. I’m going back. Someday. Soon…