On my last visit to Karwar (see here), I did miss out on the islands off the coast, namely, Devbagh and Kurumgad. This time however, my destination was Kurumgad and decided to give Devbagh a miss. An overnight journey from Bengaluru got me to the beautiful coastal town of Karwar. After being picked up from the jetty below the Kali river bridge it was a 25 minute boat ride to the island. As the boat moved away from the Indian mainland, many islands and islets propped up in the vicinity. Of these only Devbagh and Kurumgad have proper habitation. The other islands are Sanyasi island (uninhabited), Lighthouse island a.k.a Devgad island (2 government employees stay on the island and take care of the lighthouse) and Anjadive island (undertaken by the Indian navy).
Kurumgad island get its name from the fact that it looks like a Kuruma (tortoise) from a distance. The island is owned by an individual and has a beautiful resort, The Great Outdoors nestled on it. After disembarking from the boat, it was nice little climb to reach the top of the island. The vistas were stunning as I went higher and with the mainland at a far distance, the island seemed totally isolated with just the blue waters all around. The island has a beach and a Narasihma temple apart from the resort. The resort offers tented huts, children's play area and numerous hammocks to slip away into a dream. The sunset view from the dining area is a stunner as it has a panoramic view of the Arabian sea with the other islands in the distance.
After checking out my tented hut (it was only my second experience inside a tented hut), I headed to the beach which was a trek of 15 minutes through the wooded pathways. En route to the beach I also saw the Mystery creek, which was formed due to an earthquake ages back. With very few visitors on the island, the beach was devoid of the usual touristy crowd. The beach was quite small and with tides hardly touching my knees, it seemed more like the banks of a river rather than a beach. After having a splash in the waters for an hour I decided to go tube surfing. Even though it can termed kid's stuff, it definitely was fun. I decided to give other activities like banana ride and speed boat ride a miss. After treading past the creepers, the outgrown bushes and the small rocks in the hot sun, I headed back to the resort and all that I wanted was a bottle of beer.
|The beach at Kurumgad
The expansive view of the azure sea and the setting sun from the dining area was truly a blissful sight. I could see the flashing light from the light house island in the distance.With music playing in the background and a bottle of beer being gulped down, it was indeed a splendid evening. The night stay inside the tented hut was fun with the sound of cicadas and crickets everywhere.
My next day began early with a guided island tour. A long trek through the forest pathways with exceptional sea view on one side took me to Narasimha temple and a beautiful view point. During the month of January the temple takes a festive mood and that brings in a lot of devotees from Karwar and Goa. As the small group followed the nature's trail, we also had a chance encounter with a glimpse of a reptile that snaked past us and also saw a few small turtles taking the same pathway as ours. We also spotted a ruined fort wall and a canon during the trek. The island was ruled by many dynasties including the Vijayanagara empire during the earlier centuries.
After breakfast it was time for dolphin spotting and the same small group hopped on to a motor boat in search of the dolphins. From Kurumgad island, the boat moved towards the Sanyasi island and all pair of eyes on the boat went searching for that elusive jump from the dolphins. After a long wait the dolphins showed up and that too in good numbers. Even though that jump remained elusive throughout, they did appear above the waters on many occasions. A beautiful sight indeed. Capturing them on my camera was a tough affair as they dipped back into the waters within a flash of a second. Spotting them was tough and capturing them on my lens was tougher. Post the dolphin ride it was time for fishing. With the rods available at the jetty, many went fishing and I climbed back to the resort. It was hot and sultry after the boat ride and with the sun right above my head, it wasn't getting any better. After lunch, I lazed around the resort and then had a peaceful sleep on one of the hammocks. With the trees helping me from the blazing sun, it was a nice siesta.
With the setting sun in the background, the boat ride back to the mainland was absolutely magnificent. Shades of red spread all over the horizon, the sea transformed from blue to orange and the picture looked as perfect as a Michelangelo creation.
Island escapes from India need not always be the Andamans and Lakshdweep as there are lesser known and relatively less explored islands like Kurumgad, Devbagh and many more which can definitely make holidaying a memorable experience. Even though Kurumgad island didn't offer many activities on its menu card, it definitely stands out as one of the best options for a not so expensive island holiday.
Signing Note- A stunning place to keep gaping at the horizon forever...!!
Route- Bangalore- Tumkur- Shimoga- Karwar- Kurumgad