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The International Writers Magazine:Gokarna - India

The Kairali Om Beach resort, Gokarna, South India.
Marianne de Nazareth
The bus rattled and groaned all the way to Gokarna as the road is not too hot and the pot holes are a killer. However taking a trip at this time of year to the Om Beach, Gokarna is the best choice we made. The weather was marvelously cool and we immediately fell in love with the Om Beach resort buildings, which are completely colonial right down to the interiors and furniture.

Heritage “The 12 cottages were built 18 years ago for an Indo Danish fisheries project, and that’s why the genuine colonial style,” explained Mudappa the resort manager while we walked around and admired the old, will kept buildings. “Of course we have refurbished the buildings from the time Kairali took over the property in 2004 and we have added all the modcons like a fancy tiled bath, airconditioning and of course the TV.”

Sitting out in the restaurant eating breakfast we started to shed our city slicker itch to hurry. In Om Beach learn to relax and the room service, will even bring that morning cuppa with a smile to your room. We let our eyes wander out over the virgin forest covering the hills, while stray bulls which seem to populate coastal areas snorted along a path under the trees. In the distance a family of golden langurs sat amidst the branches of the trees, grooming one another quite oblivious of our curious stares. The coffee and idli/vada are divine, but I preferred the masala omlette with the ‘desi’ tasting bread. The bread is toasted quite simply on a tava (griddle) so the softness of the bread is retained below the crisp exterior.

Then we ambled around the resort and found ourselves at a lilly pond which drew us inexorably towards it everyday. In the pond were a large family of toads who seem to be quite impervious to our human intrusion. They stared at us unblinkingly floating on the surface amidst the lilly pads. Of course I had to shove one with a slim stick and in one swift motion he just jumped away to the other side of the pond. Lovely being a toad at Om Beach resort - you just sit all day letting the water of the fountain tinkle down on  you, while you lazily daydream all day.

The garden in the resort is particularly nice as it is not the typical manicured place we have gone used to. There are plenty of old casurina trees and a couple of African Tulip trees, on whose buttressed roots, variegated succulents grow. Higher up in the branches a variety of birds twittered and foraged and the resort is a veritable birders paradise as it has a natural forest abutting its boundaries.

Later we took a stroll down to Gokarna Beach which everyone kept saying, “Gokarna Beach? Oh! it’s just there!” and the ‘just there’ was a 2 and a half km walk! We walked past fruit shops and medical stores, locally made curio shops and ofcourse stopped to have a fresh coconut at a very busy vendor. Never paid 20 rupees for a tender coconut before, but then I guess that’s enterprise for you! The beach was a terrible dissapointment as its quite dirty and the teeming pilgrims don’t make it any easier.
OM Beach

But that said, take a trip from the resort to the Om Beach. That is one sight you would not want to miss and its much cleaner than the Gokarna Beach. Here there are rules for littering and so the place is fairly plastic free and we enjoyed a great game of frisbee with a complete bunch of strangers!

Don’t go away from Om Beach without indulging in one of the famed Ayurvedic massages on offer. A pioneering venture of Mr K V Ramesh and Mrs Gita Ramesh, the couple hail from a family of traditional Ayurvedic physicians. I enjoyed 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. There’s magic in their masseur’s fingers and I walked out tingling from head to foot!

We enjoyed the buffet which was served everyday and it was hard not to pig out on everything. Coastal Chicken Curry, Paneer 65, Mushroom Masala and Crab Pori Chathu were some of the chef’s specials. Being vegetarian by choice, I particularly enjoyed their Alu Chaat and the Aloo Gobi Masala washed down with a fresh lime soda. Since we were there over the Dassara weekend, the whole resort was packed and even had a large contingent from the Rotary House of Bangalore.

What is the biggest USP of the Kairali Om Beach, is its pricing. So if you are looking for a holiday, away from the beaten track where you just want to relax and let your hair down which is inexpensive, this is the place for you. Jump into your car and drive down if you are from Bangalore, or get a bus to Gokarna. And then relax in the arms of the resort’s old world charm.
For details contact: Pawan Kamra, Kairali Ayurvedic Group, D-120, Andheria Modh, New Delhi – 110074.
Phone: +91 11 26801805, mobile: +91 9999231117,+91 9448579395

 © Marianne de Nazareth November 2011
(freelance media professional and adjunct faculty, St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore)
The perfumes of Madras
Marianne de Nazareth

So, taking the Brindavan Express which left Bangalore at 2:30 in the afternoon we set off, ostensibly reaching Chennai at 8:30pm.

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