Wednesday, January 29, 2014

In Photos: A typical day in Auroville, Tamil Nadu

Over the last three years, I have found myself woven into the sentiment of Mr Chesterton who once said, "The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see." 
"The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see." 
The dreamy dawns, a million shades of the sky, pristine water, the silence of the evenings broken by the roaring waves, an exemplar of co-existence, prolonged meals: this beach guest house in Auroville is all this and much more. With an intention to stay there for two days, we ended up staying for four and still haven't got enough of the splendor.


1. Witnessing magic
of nature by running down to the beach when the sun emerges from the sea and sitting wide eyed through the changing shades of the sky.



2. Reading a book on the hammock
while the tree above sways in a trance and the sea breeze caresses your hair. 




3. Discovering the concept of co-existence
by respecting the presence of all living beings and giving them their well deserved space. How difficult is that to understand, I often wonder.




4. Sipping on the best tea ever
after a stroll along the deserted stretch of the beach. 




5. Prolonged meals while staring at the huge expanse
Unlike our part of the world where meals are ncomplete without a television set or a phone in hand and are mere activities to be done away with. Each meal is celebrated here.





6. Sharing meals and experiences with the host
who has a cask full of inspiring stories from her well lived adventurous life back in Italy, India and her countless journeys.





7. Revisiting innocence
after meeting the village girl who might not have tasted the city life but she sure knows how to find pleasure in identifying objects in a travel magazine, climbing trees and befriending the strangers she has just met. It doesn't take much to seek happiness.



8. Turning strangers into friends
in a matter of seconds, spending the rest of the days cracking jokes and the late night exchange of serious facts about the world  that we were currently far away from. 



9. Rediscoving madness
by dropping the plans to leave for Pondicherry in the morning for a two hour long dip in the water and extending the stay till the boarding time.





















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Friday, January 24, 2014

Kudle Beach: The hidden little Sojourn


An Interesting Fact About Gokarna


One has to be really lucky to discover a beach that is far from being commercialized in a country of 1.2 billion people. Our road trip took us to one such beach that is less popular hence more inviting. 

We drive past the spiritual town of Gokarna and follow the narrow road that leads to Om Beach. Abruptly, off the road we see a sign directing us to our hideout for the next two days. Bending a little, we take a closer look at the trail that appears to meet the forest with no hint of any accommodation in the vicinity. Bewildered, we call up the care taker to guide us. He emerges from the very trail fueling our apprehensions.
"Bewildered, we call up the care taker to guide us. He emerges from the very trail fueling our apprehensions."
We carefully drive down the muddy descend to land in an open space interspersed by hand built wooden cottages. Built on a slight height, this cottage with a bed and an attached bathroom is the best way to spend some quiet time in the wilderness away from the maddening crowds. I sit on the steps, slowly sipping the hot tea and listen to the constant chirping of birds. A dog at a distance wags its tail as though to welcome us to his space. As I walk further towards the edge of the hill, I see an isolated boulder half submerged in water, a silent witness to the fierce waves crashing against the Western Ghats. Like Gulliver gazing over the Lilliput beach occasionally marked by its tiny inhabitants, I stand there in awe .


This wooden cottage at the Kudle Beach in Karnataka was cozy enough to spend smoe quiet time away from the madness.
Wooden Cottage in the wilderness


The breath taking view of Kudle beach from the hills of the resort was jaw dropping.
The boulder stands isolated
We brush off the fatigue from the five days of travelling and set out to find our way to the beach underneath. A 10 minute rugged trek takes us to the base of the hill from which, a while ago, I had witnessed the huge expanse of the white powdery sand sandwiched between the Western Ghats and roaring Arabian sea. It doesn't take long to realize that a love affair has just begun. 

After a stroll along the shore, we settle down at a spot throwing curious glances at a group engrossed in learning a martial art, another group at some distance is practising yoga. It is a refreshing site to find people uninterested in what others are doing. THAT is the real charm of this place. We join a bunch of hippies playing bongo, dance along and enter in a state of trance. 
"It is a refreshing site to find people uninterested in what others are doing."
After shaking a leg, we browse through the cafes sharing the space on the beach. The irresistible aroma from the kitchen pull us to Sunset Cafe. We nibble on our pasta and beer watching a kid playing and challenging the rising tides. The Cafe serves generous quantities of delicious continental breakfast.

The meal in the Sunset Cafe at the Kudle Beach and a beer.
Our long meal: Pasta at Sunset Cafe


Watching the sunset at Kudle Beach was one of the experiences that will stay etched in my memories.
The setting sun casts a spell
As the crowd starts returning to their shacks, we warm ourselves with a shawl and watch the ball of fire cast a spell on the water. As the sun meets the sea, we lie down and let a million stars shine down on us.

Have you ever found such hidden heaven?
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