"The sea beach of Karwar is certainly a fit place in which to realise that beauty of nature is not a mirage of imagination, but reflects the joy of the infinite and thus draws us to lose ourselves into it.Where the universe is expressing itself in the magic of its laws it may not be strange if we miss its infinitude; but where the heart gets into immediate touch with immensity in the beauty of the meanest of things, is any room left for argument?"Rabindranath Tagore,1916. It is said that Rabindranath Tagore had visited this beach and was inspired by its tranquil beauty to write his first play.
With Labor day approaching(an extended holiday) we were looking for a decent destination with all the hill stations being full we hit upon "Karwar" and after reading excellent reviews we planned a trip down to Karwar. There are a several ways to reach Karwar from Bangalore , we took the Hubli route. We reached Bangalore city railway station at around 7.15 Pm to board 6589 Rani Chennamma Express which leaves at 9.15 PM. I was very hungry and since we had couple of hours before the train was to leave we entered "Shree Raghavendra Hotel" at the Majestic bus stand. I had set dosas. The train left at right time 9.15 Pm from Banglaore City Railway station.
It was scheduled to reach Hubli by 5.30 AM but was late and reached at 6.45 AM after getting down from the train we started enquiring about way to Karwar and we were directed to take a bus from the 'old bus stand' of Hubli. We took a Auto though the guy asked Rs. 30 initially but when we told the actual price Rs.15 he agreed. Thanks to the shop owners who not only directed us but told the real fare as well. In Hubli the primary language spoken is Kannada but people speak Hindi also very well so we didnot have much communication issues. On reaching the bus stand which is maintained NWKSRTC we were told that buses are available for Karwar or we can hire a car/taxi but it'll be costly and they are run by travel agents. Since it was 7 AM in the morning none of the travel agents were open so we opted for the bus. We were told by the guy at the enquiry counter to wait at platform 8 and 9. At around 8 AM a bus for Karwar came and we scrambled to get in to secure a seat for all of us. There's bus every half an hour to 45 minutes from Hubli to Karwar. The fare is Rs.110 per head for a distance of about 160 Kms and it takes 4 hour 30 minutes to reach karwar with 2 stops at Yellapur and Ankola.
Map of North Karnataka district with Hubli, Yellapur, Ankola and Karwar
As it was month of May it was hot but the road from Hubli to Karwar passes through the lovely Western Ghats. The ride through thick forest was very pleasing and my friends slept but I was constanly looking out of the window. The trees were dry and dull but still they were blocking the sun and it was quiet cool. A almost dried river was also flowing along side the road for some portion of the road. One remarkable thing I noticed on the way was that there were a number of broken down trucks alongside the way also a number of tire retreading/vulcanzing plants beside the road. The road to Karwar from Ankola is up the Ghats alongside the Arabian Sea but the Navy's "Project Sea Bird" has blocked the breathtaking view of the Sea from the ghat road.
We reached Karwar Bus stand by 12.30 PM, It was really hot and humid and we decided we can't do without A/C rooms. The auto took us to Hotel Navarathna on Karwar Main Road. It was a good hotel and we were charged 1250/- per A/C double room(this was way beyond our budget but the weather didnot allow anything else). After check-in we freshened up and went for lunch at Hotel Sai International just accross the street. The food was quite nice with lots of variety from North Indian and chinese quisine. We returned to our rooms and thought of resting a while before going for local Karwar sight seeing.
Around 4 we got out of the Hotel it was still hot and hired an Auto Rickshaw for Devbagh beach which is about 5 Kms. from hotel but the Guy started asking for Rs.150/- he told "you see the place where I'll take you and then give whatever you like". He took us to a place from where we walked about a kilometer and half through the beautiful casuarina grove to reach the Log huts of the Devbagh Beach Resort from there we went on to the Devbagh Beach it was really serene with a few people bathing in sea we walked through the white sand in the backdrop of casuarina trees and clicked pictures of the setting sun.
Casuarina Grove of the Devbagh Beach
Sun set @ Serene and calm Devbagh Beach
Lone boat @ Devbagh Beach
The driver asked we want to watch the sun set from there or from a "better" spot near the Kali River Bridge. We agreed to him and he speeded up the Auto as the sun was decending rapidly and the driver was racing with the sun so that we reach vantage point before sun god calls off the day. We reached Kali river's bridge when sun was above the horizon but was hid behind the clouds so we could not see a 'perfect' sun set but clicked the pictures of the picturesque River Kali, the bridge in the background of the western ghats and houseboats in backwaters (yes they do have a kind of backwaters). Then we ate the local ice-creams u know like the baraf-ka-gola sort of thing.
River Kali Bridge
Backwaters of River Kali near the bridge
Then the Auto Driver took us to the Karwar beach or the Rabindranath Tagore Beach by now Sun had set and dusk had set in. We paid the Auto Driver Rs.200(50 extra for his excellent service) The beach is nothing special almost a mini version of Marina Beach of chennai but much cleaner. Small children were enjoying the sea water and we got down till knee-deep water to feel the Arabian sea. Then we sat on shore to watch the vastness of the Sea. Sitting there I was trying to figure out exactly where Rabindranath Tagore might have sat and seen such a beauty which was non-existent now. Gazing at the sea, we didn't realize When the watch had turned to 8 Pm , we then walked back to our Hotel which was close to the beach. Actually the main Karwar town is quite small you can literally walk around.
It was very warm and humid we were sweating like hell, actually my body had forgotten what sweating was after staying 3 yrs in Bangalore. I was reminded of my hometown the way I used to sweat profusely there. Then after cooling ourselves at the Hotel we returned to the Hotel Sai International for dinner with super chilled beer. After dinner we walked along the main road for ice-cream but all the shops were closed by then so we returned to our Hotel to find they have ice-cream and we had our fill. I also enquired with the staff for a cab to Go-karna for next day and they refered us to a cab driver who agreed after some bargaining for Rs. 1500/- including a trip to OM beach. So after fixing the cab we retired for the day exhausted.