Naveen and I have been taking trips together for the past three years now and for the most part, we have always traveled to the forests, the woods or the mountains and the time had come for us to give the coastal side a visit. Luckily, India is a peninsula which means the landmass is covered by water on three sides; the East, the West and the South. And living in Bangalore, Karnataka, made it easier because the nearest coastal town is a half-day drive away.
Our first instinct was to look for options in Goa; I am not sure why. We have an entire line of coastal towns and the most popular choice is always Goa. We spent a minute wondering if it would be worth driving all the way to Goa (565 kilometers from Bangalore) only to be surrounded by the year end holiday crowd that would have started to settle in and pay inflated prices just because it was season time. It was then we started browsing for more options and we came across the small town of Kumta (467 kilometers from Bangalore). A fisherman’s town about 12 kilometers away from Gokarna. The reviews were good, the photos of the beaches looked clean and it didn’t seem crowded. We found a nice place to stay in and the prices fit into our budget. We were so excited to see the beach, to feel the grains of sand between our toes that we booked our stay, started packing our bags, charging our equipment and getting ready to leave almost immediately.
I cannot emphasize enough on the childish urgency we had to leave for the beach, we were rearing to get on the road so badly that we missed out on doing one of the most important information checks we usually do before heading to a new place: a weather check. I mean, even as I type it out now, I feel a little foolish. Who forgets to do a weather check before going to a new place? Especially since we’ve been traveling so frequently, doing weather checks should have been a reflex action – but, here we are. We just assumed that since it was late November, maybe winter would have started to trickle in. Maybe, we’d be lucky. What we should have done was read about Kumta’s hot persisting weather all year round because it’s 2 meters above sea level. Insert an exasperated face here!
We were so blissfully ignorant; we left Bangalore at 5 AM, aiming to reach Kumta by 2 in the afternoon. Here was the beautiful, mental image we had: we’d reach Kumta in the afternoon, maybe have a quick bite and beer, take a well needed nap, wake up, shower and head to the beach for the sunset. Such a wonderful picture. But as we got closer to the coastal town, the quicker the temperatures rose and the thicker the air got. By the time we reached Kumta, it was a crisp 35 degrees, clear sky and the blazing sun. Even the most picturesque of views felt like death breathing down our necks under that heat. We lugged our bags over the sand and finally made it to our stay, sweating through every pore on our skin. It was a little worrying that our holiday had not started the way we had expected it to go. But every cloud has a silver lining and I believe our silver lining for Kumta was the stay. We stumbled across Sandy Shores while we were aimlessly browsing for options. In fact, it was because of the pictures and the raving reviews of Sandy Shores, that we decided to head to Kumta, without even glancing at the weather situation. And believe you me, Sandy Shores saved us.
Naveen and I don’t function under literal heat. We can’t seem to concentrate on anything else except for the burning sun rays on our skin. But Sandy Shores, located right in front of the beach – one of the cleanest I’ve ever seen in India – with shady tree groves, hammocks tied from one tree trunk to another, cool rooms with high ceilings that saved us from melting away. they also provide tents if you want to enjoy a nice bonfire and experience a little camping by the beach. A huge shout out to Pradeep who runs the place, Rajesh who takes care of everything and Milan, who cooked delicious seafood for us. And a special shout out to Maya, the little puppy they had adopted who would totter around with curiosity while being no bigger than our palms.
We spent our days in Kumta waking with the sun, walking by the beach when the sun was on either end of the horizon, swaying in the hammocks at Sandy Shores, getting sand everywhere; that’s a beach prerogative, isn’t it? You just have to be okay with getting sand everywhere. I would take a shower, wash the sand off from every nook and cranny in my body and step out of the bathroom and not a moment sooner, sand on my feet all over again. But I didn’t mind it all. The non-stop sweating, however, is altogether a different story. But, much love to the people of Sandy Shores who were the cool, silver lining to our otherwise sweaty cloud
Every life lesson may not be a road trip but every road trip is a life lesson, or at least, that’s how I would like to look at it; even if it is a lesson that we have to relearn and which includes – but doesn’t limit to – checking and researching on the weather conditions and also to learn the art of patience; it’s good to be excited, it’s not great to rush through some things.
I need to mentally prepare myself for visiting Kumta again or any beach, for that matter. Maybe a cold beach? Not a rainy beach, for sure. Beaches during monsoon are a nightmare. Best beaches during winter, maybe? Have you visited any cold beaches? Please do drop us some suggestions or recommendations, I would love to make a ‘To-Visit’ list.
Thanks for dropping by!