The sun is at his mightiest best this summer but we decided to dare the sun that too at a beach this time. We shed our travel inhibitions like oh it’s too hot at the beach during summer and simply left those skin care tips behind for a sunny adventure with some wild water sports in the waiting.
The destination was a place called Sai Vishram Beach resort at Byndoor a small town 130km away from Mangalore. It is 500km from Bengaluru, approximately an 8hour drive. Since it was a long drive we decided to split the journey.
We took the Bangalore-Mangalore NH-48 route via Nelamangala, Hassan, Sakleshpur, Uppingagadi, Kundapur road.
We started off from Bengaluru at 10pm and after covering 185km halted at Hassan after a 2.5hour journey. The traffic was comparatively less during the night.
Next day we sprang back in action at 8am and headed straight to Mangalore. The stretch of Western ghats where NH48 runs is called Shiradi Ghats, it is a good 3hours of curvy ride. Make sure you eat less.
Sowthadka is synonymous with the Mahaganapathi temple, this 800year old ancient temple is the main attraction here. The elephant deity Ganapathi is in the open and can be visited round the clock, as there is no Garba Gudi or sanctorum. It is said that many attempts were made to build a sanctorum but was rendered unsuccessful as the lord chooses to remain in the open.
The locals believe that tying a bell here fulfils their wishes hence the temple premise is full of bells tied at every nook and corner. It is located in a cucumber field and hence the name. ‘Sowthe’ in kannada means Cucumber and ‘adka’ means field.
We had lunch at the temple at 12.30 as prasadaa and then continued our journey.
Around evening we drove along the Nethravathi River bordered by tall coconut trees that bow at unusual angles across the river making a picturesque sight reminding you and welcoming you to the Coastal land of charismatic Coconut grooves and splendid beaches.
On the stretch of NH 66 there is a point where you can see the auburn Arabian Sea on one side and the unruffled Sowparnika River on the other side of the road, this point is called Marwanthe beach. We stopped here for some time enjoying this rare view amidst the roaring truck traffic.
I wanted to stand in the middle of the road and take a shot of this rare combination covering both the sea and the river but the never ending traffic robbed me of this opportunity.
We reached the resort just before sunset and headed straight to the beach.
We were welcomed with hot Mangaluru Bajjis and some tea by the beach side. The beautiful sight of the sunset and the hot bajjis relieved all our strain and I felt that the hectic drive was worth every bit. Soon the sun slid into the sea wishing us good night.
The next day morning we trekked up a nearby hill to view the sunrise, en route the hill the sight of the surroundings clad with Acacia trees in the backdrop of the Arabian Sea was enthralling. After an ascent of 120 steps we were at the top but the sun had already risen, we took some shots of the backwaters and walked back slowly enjoying the beach view from the hillock.
Returning back from the small trek we walked around the resort
After an elaborate breakfast it was beach time again. At the beach there were a fleet of life guards, as I stepped into the waters I realized that the beach was pretty steep when compared to Goa’s shores and hence the big team.
The life guards were very helpful and highly vigilant. It is compulsory here to wear a life jacket even if you were to stand dipping your feet only in the first wave.
When it comes to water I am like the Diego of Ice Age and tremble in fear even in 3feet.
For somebody like me who had never crossed the 3rd or 4th wave all my life it was a great experience floating and drifting amidst huge waves. Initially I panicked at being hit and thrown by the waves but when I went deeper the sea was lot calmer, the waves worked like a perfect massage for our backs.
I then went kayaking which was a complimentary ride with the package. Slowly we befriended the sea and got little comfortable with the waters shedding our fears, now was the perfect time for the much awaited Deep Sea boat ride to watch the Dolphins and also do some mid sea swimming.
This ride was very expensive hence we clubbed with another family. It costs Rs.7500 for a boat with 10 persons.
Speeding on the water bikes we reached the motor boat that was anchored a little away. The breezy boat ride was balmy and the kids were very excited to spot few dolphins here and there but we were not lucky enough to see them nosedive.
As we drove past the white trail of foamy waters we reached a place where we could only see water all around us. We then got down in the sea and tried some swimming. Although the sea was calm when we got down we didn’t seem to have any control on ourselves as we were at the mercy of the currents.
Water! Water so very blue
Fun and fear the ocean did brew
Rising and falling all around you
Where they end you have no clue!
Up in the air the sea gulls flew
Fetching their finned marine crew
In the middle of the sea as we drew
Unfazed the sea god blew
With such might that always grew
Only to subside at the shoreline anew
It was a one off experience getting into the sea that I will cherish all my life.
After the incredible experience we sailed back to the shore where some fresh fruit juice was served bythe beach side to make sure we were not dehydrated. After gulping down loads of juice we again raced into the beach and spent time floating in the waters unmindful of the brutality our skins were exposed to until we could take no more of the scorching sun.
We showered and had lunch after which we spent some time at the office which had a small library, a pool table and lot of art work activities.
The resort is divided into two parts which is cut across by a road. Above the road are the cottages and below the road are the tents that are much closer to the beach.
Post lunch every day the untiring kids were taken care of by the resort guys in a very creative way. There was an art session that took place between 2.30-5.00pm keeping the children busy and leaving the parents in peace to rest in their ac rooms.
The art teacher must have taught some amazing stuff as the kids didn’t come back knocking at the door. It was a mix of sand art, mask making, free hand paint imprinting etc.
It was sunset time again and I enjoyed watching the sea turning into various hues along with my samosa.
After dinner and the campfire, that was the end of day one.
The second day began with the beach again we did some kayaking, biking and relaxed at the shores making brilliant sand castles, fishing out lot of shells, writing our names on sand and waiting for the waters to swallow them off.
After lunch and the art class we became a little religious and visited the Kolluru Mukambika temple which was 32km from our resort.
The third day again we thronged the beach like crabs and this time when I saw the next ride in store for us I went bananas out of the sheer fear of toppling into the rough waves. Yes it was time for the banana ride. I agreed to go on this ride if only he didn’t topple us. The ride was fun and thank god! we didn’t topple but once we came back I thought we should have tried it.
After the ride we again floated and freaked with the waves. By now we were terribly tanned and looked like those rare variety monkeys in the zoo with a peeled red nose and badly burnt cheeks.
In the afternoon we drove to Idugunji and also visited Murudeshwara a Shiva temple that has a 17 floor Gopuram and the deity Shiva is in the form of human face.
The last two days we simply spent time at the resort and relaxed.
Dinner was excellent with a wide variety of north, south and local delicacies. It is a completely vegetarian and a non-alcoholic resort. In short a great destination for vegan and vegetarian families.
The entire team at Sai Vishram was very hospitable, diligent and always ready to go that extra mile to serve you.
We bid good bye to the wonderful resort and headed to Udupi. The next day we offered our prayers to Lord Krishna and headed home. Make sure you have your lunch in Udupi before you start your journey because there are no good hotels on the Bangalore-Mangalore road (although Mangalore is en route you will not find anything on the highway).
It was a splendid experience flirting with the Arabian sea and would love to go back again.