We have been planning this for ages and finally when we landed there, it was a pity we couldn’t make the most of it .Health became a deterrent, but I am not complaining. It was still one of our best holidays where we did nothing but relaxed and relaxed..Sometimes, holidays need to be holidayed too..
Karwar is beautiful . Just 8 kms to Goa, its quite different from Goa. Neither a party destination, nor vibrant, Karwar is what idyllic beaches are meant to be. On one side of the road is the narrow coast hugging the sea, while the Western Ghats loom across the other. Miraculously straddling both mountain and sea, Karwar is a nondescript little town perched in between, oblivious to its own beauty. It is like a hill projecting into the sea with five islands – Anjudeep, Kurmagad, Devgad, Sanyasi and Sadashivgud protecting the port from heavy winds. Im going to spare all verbose descriptions here and let the photographs speak for themselves.
Our first view of Devbagh was in the dark. It was quite late when we got there. After several stops enroute to Karwar, we got stalled by a traffic jam near the port as well, where iron ores to be exported gets dumped by lorries. The roads at some stretches seemed red. We were staying at Devbagh and we quickly called the manager at JLR to inform him of our delay.A boat was waiting for us in the dark as we made our way to the jetty,which looks like a dilapidated boat house . And in the dark, we sailed to the island. With the sea roaring , we sat on the beach nibbling pakodas and gulping down some beer . This is bliss .
Karwar is said to have inspired Tagore to pen his Prakritir Pratishodh. A beach here still remains in his memory. It is said that the 22 year old Tagore stayed with his brother , Satyendranath Tagore, who was the district judge in Karwar. The confluence of the rivers, the moonlight night when he went rowing solo promoted him to write his ode to Karwar. The quote I read somewhere says – “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.”
I was told that the name Karwar itself is a misnomer.It was originally “Kadwad” and one theory is the British mispronounced the “d” and replaced with a “r”. Kadwad is actually a village where the English had a factory which opened out to the sea – from the point where Karwar town now stands, to the south of Kali river.Besides monuments from the colonial era, this ancient beach town flaunts several attractions such as the Sadashivgad Hill Fort with a Durga temple, the one-of-its kind octagonal church and the 300 year old Venkataramana temple with some fine ocher paintings. Well, this post is not about any of them as I could not go anywhere due to health reasons…but sometimes holidays are also meant to simply laze around and see dolphins.
While the British made this their headquarters , Karwar has been claimed by several Europeans such as the Portuguese, French , Dutch. But the influence that remains here till today is that of the Arabians , who have had trade with the localities even before the European invasion. There is an ancient port where commodities were exported and the port is called “Baithkhol” which in Arabic means bay of safety.
Devbagh — the name literally means the garden of gods.A hazy blue covers my eye lids as the waves frolic around my feet. The foam merges with the sand . I leave my footprints on the sands of time and look straight into the blue and white waters, wondering about the timelessness of the moment…
Five tiny islands ring the Devbagh island — Kurumgad, Oyster-rock, Anjudeep, Sadashivgad and Sanyasi. A tale rings around all these islands. The Sanyasi island for instance owes its name to a sage who sought refuge here . The Devgad Island or the Oyster Rock is where the boat ride takes us..It has one of the oldest lighthouses atop .
The Anjudeep or Anjudiv island is the largest of the five islands and it is now home to the navy.Its interesting to note that there is a linguistic connect here ,as we were told that the word “Anju” comes from tamil meaning five and it is supposed to be the fifth island. I am a little surprised to understand the Tamil influence here .
The island has some remains of the bygone Portuguese era, some old houses and ruins of a church .
The Kurumgad island in the shape of the tortoise (Kuruma means tortoise )was once ruled by several dynasties from Vijayanagar to Bijapur and Sonda. The 18th centurt fort here that lies in ruins here speaks of the battle fought by Basalinga Nayak of Sonda dynasty against the British
The island is also renowned for its Narasimha temple atop the hill, which attracts several devotees during the annual jatra, held on Pushya Poornima every year in early January. According to a legend, Lord Narasimha made his way through a long creek leading to a cave near the temple. Geologists, however, certify that an earthquake formed this interesting rock formation over 300 million years ago. Now it is an ideal place to spot seals.There is also the Naganatha temple where an anthill is worshipped. I dont know the reason as yet. But I will go back for sure and this time come back with more pictures of these sites and more stories.