An escape to an isolated island, Kurumgad, Karwar
If you are one like me, who wants an occasional escapade out of routine.. then this post is for you. I am sharing one such sudden weekend trip where I managed to run into an off-beat location.
Speaking about encountering lesser known places and unknown faces; friends or family that I talk to, are always curious or commenting about my experiences of running into strangers. Most of them do not see the need to speak to any stranger or most fail to understand how random conversations with strangers can affect their lives… Or, it’s like what my little sister (in her early twenties) keeps saying — “please continue meeting newer faces, who knows you might run into the most eligible bachelor for me!” :)
I find meeting strangers both intriguing and refreshing. More like an opening into the different layers of human behaviour. But then the fact is also that people are heavily influenced by their surroundings and the place they inhabit. Over time, some qualities of the place they live in, gets into their behaviour. Perhaps, that is the beauty of travel. You get to know the people, so you know the place.
50kms down south Goa lies a small city called Karwar. Located in the Uttar Kannada district of Karnataka, Karwar is most popular for its beaches, forts and temples. Devbagh beach and Tagore beach are one of the best beaches here. Though these beaches are as beautiful as any Goa beach or Mangalore beach on the western coast, Karwar is not too developed for touristy and thankfully has still retained its rawness and the unpolished hospitality. Away from the main hustle-bustle of the city, is a tiny secluded island named Kurumgad. The very thought of staying on an island itself is thrilling. Imagine, being inaccessible to the outside world in a privy place to just be.
About 5kms into the Arabian sea off the Karwar coast, you can reach Kurumgad island in a half hour motor-boat ride. You can contact — The Great Outdoors Resort for bookings.
I took an overnight bus from Bangalore and reached Karwar on Saturday morning. This trip was planned with Mr. Husband, who joined me in Karwar and we set off to Kurumgad. Similar to how it is described on their website, the place is rustic, absolutely unsophisticated and plain. This resort promises you refreshing tranquillity; but be ready to experience the ordinary.
The stay options are either tents or cottages. Of course, we chose tents! I have never experienced living in an actual tent, so this was exciting. It was small, clean and comfortable with washroom facilities at the back. The resort in itself was spacious with a common pantry area which also became a makeshift dining space, barbecue counter or dance floor. There was just one more couple and one bunch of friends who stayed at the island while we were there. That was the best part for me. Every once in a while, try not to see too many people or vehicles or buildings around. Rather, get to hear birds chirping, the sound of the breeze flowing and look at greenery around. Chances are, you probably must have forgotten how they sound or look.
Mr. Husband is a nature friendly person, so he would set off clicking pictures of rare birds, flowers or insects. While I am friendlier person too, insects are beyond the radius of my interest! I instead chose to just gaze around the sea and try to decipher the waves. If at all I could find some answers!
There are plenty of activities that you can indulge in — Ayurvedic massages, Fishing, Snorkeling, Kayaking, Water Surfing, Banana Ride, etc. I opted just for dolphin spotting. In hindsight, perhaps I was being too ambitious that Dolphins would bless me with their divine spy-hopping. Instead, they barely chose to throw a few glances around. Well.. that was for me, you can try your luck. May be you can carry some breadcrumbs along, if not dolphins, other marine creatures are sure to peekaboo.
The island does not have much places to visit. There is a beachfront which is small and cozy types. It is clean, secluded and remote beach. I suggest do not venture out alone. Being adventurous is good, but there is no fun being foolish. Then there is a short steep trek to the temple atop. We went to visit this temple by late afternoon types and on our way back, got to experience a beautiful sunset. Mr. Husband insisted on sitting by the cliff and just quietly gaze at the horizon. The sun looked as if he was smiling at us, mocking at our folly.. for our attempts to consciously wanting to be with the nature, when it actually should have been simply been a way of life.
The resort was decently maintained with hammocks, seating area, etc. I suggest plan your visit between October to January for the best weather. Karwar is close to heaven for Sea-food fans. But Vegetarians also have plenty of options. While in Karwar dont miss visiting Hotel Amrut or Shweta Lunch Home, both are quite popular. Back on the island, just ensure you instruct the Resort caretaker of your requirements. I am a big sea-food fanatic, so I had an awesome time. We also had a barbecue set up at night with chilled beer!
On our way back, we visited an aquarium (not that great and you can give it a miss) and also happened to visit the Warship Museum on the Tagore beach. If you have a fancy for Warships or have kids along, you should not miss this. It is interesting to know how our brave Indian Navy folks spend their life in these.
So, just like that after a peaceful and happy brush with nature, I set off back home. Back to being me.. or losing me.
Till next time.. just travel!