It is Sky Watch Friday again! Or there are 40 minutes left of it actually! The day went in a whirl. One thing is certain, I do not like to pack. We are leaving for a short mountain trip tomorrow and as usual nothing is packed. But then we are going in the evening. So there is time to do a sky watch post quickly. While I was thinking about the post, I realized that I do so many mountain collections but I hardly ever do beach collections for Sky Watch. So I am setting it right today.
Isn’t it a thing of beauty? Havelock was a memorable destination for me. The first where I went scuba diving. Even otherwise, it is stunningly beautiful. This was just behind my hotel, Sea Shell. I remember that they used to put coconut water in water containers! And what fun it was. I will also remember Havelock because it was the place where my camera met a very watery grave!
I visited Heysham and Morecambe because they were close to Lancaster where I used to go for work. UK is the only place I have visited where beaches are cold! All my walks were done wrapped up lightly even in what they call summers! But those were pretty walks!
I saw a stilt fishing photograph on the cover of a HR text-book first! And then I went to Koggala where stilt fishing is done. It is quite touristy. The fisherman ask for money upfront if you wish to take pictures. But I still enjoyed it a lot.
I saw the beauty of coastal Karnataka on my recent trip to the region in May. This was also a first, when I saw sea meeting the backwaters.
My most exotic beach vacation has been to Maafushi Island, Maldives. It was stunningly beautiful. I wish I get to go back to that enchanted land once again!
When I realized at the Delhi Airport that the Air India aircraft that was supposed to fly from Delhi to Mangalore was not cleared by the maintenance, I was worried about my trip. However after two hours of delay they found another aircraft to take us to Mangalore. And that is how I had a fabulous time at Sai Vishram Beach Resort in Byndoor, Coastal Karnataka. It is a resort that serves only vegetarian food and it doesn’t serve alcohol. And yet they are so popular for family vacation!
I arrived at the Sai Vishram Beach Resort by evening. it was an overcast day. I was so tired that when Adarsha the resort manager asked me if I would come by the beach for the evening tea, I replied in the negative. I had my tea and samosa sitting in the balcony of the earth cottage. I could gaze at the sea in far distance and I was content. Later I shifted to one of the sea cottages by the beach.
Both have their own advantages. In the Earth Cottage there was a rose apple tree right in front of my room and I could eat the fruit straight from the tree! I loved the outdoor bathing area of the sea cottage. In the end I would take the sea cottage because I could go to sleep to the sound of the sea out there.
In the evening there was a yakshagana performance happening in the open theater within the premises. Yakshagana is the folk art of Coastal Karnataka, it is usually held from dusk to dawn. The resort performance was of one hour. As it was in the local dialect, Kannada, I could not understand the language much. But it was a privilege to watch the act of Arjun and Sudhanva and Lord Krishna being played out in elaborate costumes.
The story is about Sudhanva holding the horse of Arjun so that Arjun and Lord Krishna would come to his kingdom and he would get to see the Lord. In the end you don’t need words to enjoy the art. I thoroughly enjoyed my time watching the performance!
From the open theater I straight headed to the dining area. Sai Vishram serves excellent vegetarian food, night, morning and noon! They have a variety of food, including noodles and at least one North Indian dish.
There would be many South Indian dishes. I liked the idea of having a nice fruit section for dessert apart from traditional desserts. The best was that they kept an ice cream fridge for the guests where you could go out and take out any ice cream that caught your fancy. It was hugely successful with the kids.
The artists who performed the yakshagana were having dinner at a nearby table in their normal clothes and I could hardly recognize them as the same who were performing in the elaborate costumes!
They would serve the evening tea and snacks by the beach, which I loved. They would put pitchers of fresh juice on the beach during the day which was another lovely idea.
I crashed early after dinner and took my own sweet time to wake up the next day. That way I quite fresh in the morning again. After a heavy breakfast I went to the sea. I met Prashanth and his family and together we went on the banana boat ride.
That is when I discovered Chandravati, the dare devil female water sports instructor of Sai Vishram. I then went on the jet ski with her. She rides like really fast! She truly is an inspiration. Then I tried my hands at kayaking and it was fun too. There are many other water activities that I could not try dues to lack of time.
A guest who was visiting Sai Vishram Beach Resort for the fifth time with his family told me, “We love coming here because they encourage you to go out in the sea. Not many resorts do that!”
The next day I woke up at 6.00 am to take a walk to a vantage point and see the sunrise. We must have walked for about a kilometer to reach the point. The view was excellent, after all I do not get to see the sea meeting the backwaters everyday! But the sun played truant, there was no sunrise, the clouds ruled. After going there, I would recommend that you go to the vantage point even on an overcast day as the views are still stunning.
The Beautiful Evenings
I love sunsets by the beach. The location of the resort is such that there are only the house guests on the beach. I spotted an occasional other person from the fishermen families living nearby. I could see a few houses nearby otherwise the whole place was green and silent. The sun was merciful the second evening and gave much cheer to people on the beach!
This was my first tryst with Coastal Karnataka and I never imagined it to be so beautiful. I wonder why tourism has not developed around the coast like Kerala!
PS. I was invited by the Sai Vishram Group on this vacation.
I am more partial to sunsets than sunrises! At sunset I am almost always awake, however, it takes such an effort to drag myself out of the bed at a sunrise! It is so natural to be biased towards sunsets then! I was lucky to witness a beautiful sunset at Sai Vishram Beach Resort on my second evening there.
The day I arrived at Sai Vishram Beach Resort, clouds ruled. I had a 2 hour delay in my flight from Delhi and my whole schedule had gone haywire. On top of it I felt very tired. When Adarsha, the resort manager asked me if I would like to go to the beach, I replied in the negative! I am not proud of the fact but I was that tired. However, if there was a possibility of a sunset, I am sure I would have found the energy somehow!
The next day was a different affair. If you have noticed, at sunset, the sea catches the colors of the sky. And I love it! I noticed it for the first time in a trip to Goa back in 2012. Since then I wait for it. And I was not disappointed.
I wonder if the father and son knew how beautiful the scene around them looked! From sand to the sky, everything was gold! I have clicked many people at the golden hour but I also wanted to feature in one such picture myself!
I then clicked the mother and son happily taking a walk by the beach. The desire to feature in such a scene myself was growing enormously now! I hardly care to get my own picture clicked but this evening was different!
I played around with my camera for a while, clicking the many beautiful shades of the sea! The resort serves coffee/tea and snacks by the beach in the evening which was very welcome!
The solution for getting featured in such beautiful waters was simple in the end! I handed the camera to the fellow blogger Prashanth and ran to pose! So I now have a picture that I cherish!
Finally, the sun decided to call it a day somewhere above the horizon. It went to take rest a few minutes earlier behind the clouds! In a little while it started growing dark. This was a fabulous evening by the beach which I will cherish for a long time!
PS. I was invited by Sai Vishram Group on this trip.
Meet Chandravati from Sai Vishram Beach Resort- the water baby, the talk of the town! My first interaction with Chandravati happened at Sai Vishram Beach Resort, Byndoor. She was driving the Jet Ski that took us to the sea on our banana boat ride. After a small bump in the beginning, it was a thrilling ride. It was a riot when she flipped us gently in the shallow end of the sea. I shared the banana boat ride with fellow blogger Prashanth and his family.
I decided to go on the Jet Ski next. She was the driver again. It was such fun to have a female driver with me while we zipped to the sea. Let me correct myself, while she drove the Jet Ski at what felt like jet speed and not we, I was a mere pillion rider, completely at her mercy! She would confidently attach the ‘kill switch’ to her wrist and zoom through in the water. She is the true water baby, supremely confident, always in control.
She must have done at least 5 rides before she had a moment of calm. That is when I tried to talk to her. I was intrigued about her unconventional choice of career, I was curious to discover her story of rebellion, for I was sure it would involve some rebellion. It was then I realized she spoke only the local language, Kannada which unfortunately I do not speak! Her fellow water sports instructors and life guards pointed out her home to me, which was a short walk away from the resort!
With help from Prashanth and the Adarsha, the manager of the resort, I pieced together her story! Prashanth also told me that Chandravati is a local girl who lives a short distance away on the same beach where the resort is. She belongs to a family of fishermen. She could study only till class 10th as she had to work when she lost her father early on in life. Her family consisted of her uncle, aunt, two male cousins and her mother all living together. However, another calamity stuck when her uncle too passed away. Her cousins went to the sea for fishing. She too helped them. Her mother would sell the fish locally. The aunt takes care of the home as she is the oldest.
Adarsha told me that he was impressed when he saw her swimming in the sea without any life jacket. I was told by many people that Chandravati is a strong swimmer. Sai Vishram then offered to sponsor her licensing as a water sports instructor if she was willing to complete it and work with them.
And there she was driving the Jet Ski at a speed that scared me completely! When I saw her I could not have imagined that she was simply a girl next door. She is as local as it could be! I told her to pick up another language! The motive was selfish, I wanted to talk to her! Her rebellion, for I am sure it still involved some of it was of such a different type from what I imagined!
I can only guess how many stereotypes she broke when she became a trained instructor! It is such a comfort to have a lady instructor on that ride to the sea, an affinity to another woman! I was told that most of the life guards and other people working at the resort are locals too. I cannot tell you how impressed I am with Sai Visharm Beach Resort for this, particularly for giving Chandravati a chance.
Adarsha said he told her to tell her future husband that she would continue working after marriage but he said only time will tell. He added that the village people were not at all happy by her unconventional career choice. I said, “But then I am sure there is a little girl somewhere in the village who looks up to Chandravati and will step in and demand that she be trained too.” It was truly heartwarming to find Chandravati at the resort, going about her business of driving the Jet Ski, being a life guard and giving a hand in tugging that boat back to the shore, going about business as usual!
In the evenings she can be seen asking guests to have another coffee. Chandravati along with other life guards double as hosts at tea time! I am truly impressed my Sai Vishram Bech Resort for making locals the focus of their recruitment strategy.
PS. I was invited by Sai Vishram Group on this trip.