When I realized at the Delhi Airport that the Air India aircraft that was supposed to fly from Delhi to Mangalore was not cleared by the maintenance, I was worried about my trip. However after two hours of delay they found another aircraft to take us to Mangalore. And that is how I had a fabulous time at Sai Vishram Beach Resort in Byndoor, Coastal Karnataka. It is a resort that serves only vegetarian food and it doesn’t serve alcohol. And yet they are so popular for family vacation!
I arrived at the Sai Vishram Beach Resort by evening. it was an overcast day. I was so tired that when Adarsha the resort manager asked me if I would come by the beach for the evening tea, I replied in the negative. I had my tea and samosa sitting in the balcony of the earth cottage. I could gaze at the sea in far distance and I was content. Later I shifted to one of the sea cottages by the beach.
Both have their own advantages. In the Earth Cottage there was a rose apple tree right in front of my room and I could eat the fruit straight from the tree! I loved the outdoor bathing area of the sea cottage. In the end I would take the sea cottage because I could go to sleep to the sound of the sea out there.
In the evening there was a yakshagana performance happening in the open theater within the premises. Yakshagana is the folk art of Coastal Karnataka, it is usually held from dusk to dawn. The resort performance was of one hour. As it was in the local dialect, Kannada, I could not understand the language much. But it was a privilege to watch the act of Arjun and Sudhanva and Lord Krishna being played out in elaborate costumes.
The story is about Sudhanva holding the horse of Arjun so that Arjun and Lord Krishna would come to his kingdom and he would get to see the Lord. In the end you don’t need words to enjoy the art. I thoroughly enjoyed my time watching the performance!
From the open theater I straight headed to the dining area. Sai Vishram serves excellent vegetarian food, night, morning and noon! They have a variety of food, including noodles and at least one North Indian dish.
There would be many South Indian dishes. I liked the idea of having a nice fruit section for dessert apart from traditional desserts. The best was that they kept an ice cream fridge for the guests where you could go out and take out any ice cream that caught your fancy. It was hugely successful with the kids.
The artists who performed the yakshagana were having dinner at a nearby table in their normal clothes and I could hardly recognize them as the same who were performing in the elaborate costumes!
They would serve the evening tea and snacks by the beach, which I loved. They would put pitchers of fresh juice on the beach during the day which was another lovely idea.
I crashed early after dinner and took my own sweet time to wake up the next day. That way I quite fresh in the morning again. After a heavy breakfast I went to the sea. I met Prashanth and his family and together we went on the banana boat ride.
That is when I discovered Chandravati, the dare devil female water sports instructor of Sai Vishram. I then went on the jet ski with her. She rides like really fast! She truly is an inspiration. Then I tried my hands at kayaking and it was fun too. There are many other water activities that I could not try dues to lack of time.
A guest who was visiting Sai Vishram Beach Resort for the fifth time with his family told me, “We love coming here because they encourage you to go out in the sea. Not many resorts do that!”
The next day I woke up at 6.00 am to take a walk to a vantage point and see the sunrise. We must have walked for about a kilometer to reach the point. The view was excellent, after all I do not get to see the sea meeting the backwaters everyday! But the sun played truant, there was no sunrise, the clouds ruled. After going there, I would recommend that you go to the vantage point even on an overcast day as the views are still stunning.
I love sunsets by the beach. The location of the resort is such that there are only the house guests on the beach. I spotted an occasional other person from the fishermen families living nearby. I could see a few houses nearby otherwise the whole place was green and silent. The sun was merciful the second evening and gave much cheer to people on the beach!
This was my first tryst with Coastal Karnataka and I never imagined it to be so beautiful. I wonder why tourism has not developed around the coast like Kerala!