It was time for a romantic getaway and so we decided to go to the Om Beach Resort in Gokarna which is an overnight journey out of Bangalore by bus. Just pack a few tees and shorts and preferably flip flops or floaters. Even at this time of year it can be warm, but we were lucky, it was lovely and cool.
The Om Beach Resort is a heritage resort and a prime property in Gokarna. “Alert me before you get off at Gokarna,” advised Mudappa the genial and helpful managerof the resort, “ and I will see that a car is there, ready to collect you and bring you to our resort.”
Sitting out in the resort restaurant, which is strategically built overlooking a thickly forested valley we took our first sip of filter coffee, while taking in deep breaths of fresh air. Immediately one is assailed by the freshness of the air as the resort, built over 2 acres of prime property is far from the madding crowd.A flock of snowy white egrets flew in a V formation over the valley while a deep red dragon fly sat motionless on a branch, almost watching us from its vantage point. A feeling of peace and quiet just drifted over our habitually madly racing urban dweller minds, making us switch off and relax.
After an indulgent breakfast of idlis (rice cakes) and Vadas ( fried lentil cakes) which were dunked in a spicy sambhar we headed for our room 1001, intriguingly called Gangavali.
“ There are 12 cottages built in the colonial style 18 years ago by the Indian government for the Indo Danish Fisheries department. Later it was taken over by Jungle Lodges and Resorts and from 2004 the Kairali Ayurvedic Group has leased it and we upgraded to the standards of an international resort,” explained Mudappa as we were curious about the age of the resort.
For the romantic, just sit out on the lawns and listen to the birds and breathe in the ferny scents of the gardens. Those who are more energetic, a game of badminton will definitely work off the excesses of breakfast. The forests around are teeming with bird life and sudden flashes of yellow in the trees or the deep coop coop call of the russet coloured pheasant is fascinating for bird lovers.
But what Kairali is famous for is its Ayurvedic massages, a pioneering venture of Mr K V Ramesh and Mrs Gita Ramesh. The couple hail from a family of traditional Ayurvedic physicians. Don’t leave with enjoying an Abhyangam (General Massage) where two trained masseurs will stand on either side and massage out the kinks in your body, starting with the head. It is meant to rejuvenate your body and tone your muscles and you come out with a feeling of total euphoria.
Gokarna is a small town where a lot of people visit the Om Beach for religious purposes. The word Om is paramount in the Hindu religion and the sign symbolizes the most profound belief in Hinduism. So this natural wonder has crowds of the devout visiting. When we first viewed the beach which is curiously shaped like an Om sign, we were taken by surprise. Looking at it from a high vantage point, as the driver suggested, left a lasting impression on our minds. No wonder there were teeming crowds who had come to walk on its sands and bathe in its waters.
The chef revelled in bringing out an interesting menu for dinner with Alu Chaat( potato salad) Fish naked fry, which is essentially slices of king fish fried with minimal spice enjoyed with a delicious vegetable biriyani. If you like crab and it’s in season, order their Chilly crab and wash it down with a chilled lime soda. Vegetarians can enjoy an Aloo Gobi Masala, a masala Mushroom or a veg stir fry along with local Indian breads or a fragrant jeera pullao (rice cooked with anise seed). Keep room for dessert which could be an interesting payasam ( milk and vermicelli sweet) or a fruit salad. Not too heavy to round off an unusual meal.
Towards evening we sat around the little pond watching the enormous toad family, that have made it their home. Strangely they are very quiet and do not get disturbed by human intrusion. They live sublimely alongside a whole host of purple water lillies and even when the three pin fountain was activated, they placidly sat enjoying being splashed by the jets.
Pack a bag and head for the Om Beach resort for two days with your camera. I can assure you,in its green and salubrious climes you will relax and come home refreshed.
For details contact: Pawan Kamra, Kairali Ayurvedic Group, D-120, Andheria Modh, New Delhi – 110074. Phone: +91 11 26801805, mobile: +91 9999231117,+91 9448579395 email: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.kairali.com