Gokarna: Secret Tales by way of the Sea: After virtually a yr of being confined to Bengaluru’s town limits, the theory of a beach sojourn felt life-changing. However this wasn’t going to be simply any seashore vacation. A couple of hours from Goa’s madding crowd is the coastal the town of Gokarna in Karnataka. Gokarna has two very other identities. One, as crucial vacation spot for non secular pilgrimage, courtesy the centuries-old Mahabaleshwar temple and the sacred Kotiteertha water tank.
However no much less considerably the temple the town’s stunning seashores had been attracting a gentle circulate of global in addition to home vacationers within the fresh years.
Gokarna: Secret Tales by way of the Sea:It used to be towards a pristine backdrop that we made our means from Goa airport to Gokarna, using down the winding roads of the Western Ghats, previous a naval base in Karwar, crossing the river Gangavalli or even a vibrant village marketplace enroute. Our vacation spot used to be Kahani Paradise—a luxurious boutique villa perched atop a cliff overlooking the milky-white Paradise seashore, a hug and a cuddle clear of the raging Arabian Sea.
3 hours into our force, the auto went off street onto a stretch of filth monitor that finally resulted in a picket gate flanked by way of domed kiosks. As we waited for the gates to be opened, our driving force dramatically declared, “Sir, Madam…welcome to Kahani Paradise!” Already, a way of journey had set in.
Gokarna: Secret Tales by way of the Sea: On all sides of the stoned pathway had been stunning gardens with a dizzying array of plants, shrubs and bushes—from banana to betel nut and coconut to cashew—a labour of affection by way of UK-based panorama dressmaker Sarah Syborn, as we learnt later.
As we drove as much as the primary front, a cream-coloured construction with a tiled roof got here into view. Stepping over the edge of a heavy vintage picket door, we had been greeted with recent coconut water and a wide ranging view of the encircling hills, the Aghanashini river and the Arabian sea retaining palms within the distance. This mesmerising view took a second to sink in.
Gokarna: Secret Tales by way of the Sea: A reclaimed Nagamese spice blending desk stuck our consideration as we took notice of the quite a lot of objets d’artwork and vintage items casually strewn around the open sitting room. A sea-green infinity pool one stage down has been cleverly situated to find the money for one a view of the ocean and greenery round. lanking this construction are a suite of villas on one aspect and the eating space and kitchen at the different.
With most effective six suites, each and every achieved in a unique genre however with the similar sense of understated luxurious, there’s a certain air of exclusivity to where. London-based businessman Anthony Bellm, whose oldsters stumbled upon this slice of paradise whilst vacationing in India over a decade in the past, narrated the tale of Kahani Paradise over champagne and hors d’oeuvres later the similar night time. 13 years within the making, the historical past of Kahani spread out when his oldsters discovered an attractive vintage picket door.
Gokarna: Secret Tales by way of the Sea:“They sought after to construct a area round that door,” says Bellm. By the way, the door didn’t finally end up gracing the doorway as supposed at the beginning; it now hinges on an under-construction construction within the assets that’ll area a spa, health club and screening room.
Gokarna: Secret Tales by way of the Sea:This 20-acre assets had no longer a lot on or round it when the Bellms began setting up in 2005. From roads to electrical energy, the whole thing used to be constructed from scratch. “It used to be supposed to be a vacation house for the circle of relatives, however we knew we couldn’t let it stay vacant for massive portions of the yr on this humid local weather,” says Bellm, who ditched college in Paris to spend 3 years in Gokarna overseeing the paintings. In 2018, once they opened their doorways to public, no longer strangely, majority in their visitors had been global vacationers.
It used to be most effective submit the pandemic that home travellers started to find Kahani. The Bellms’ love for nature and indigenous artwork and craft bureaucracy the basis of Kahani. Bespoke textiles designed by way of Delhi-based dressmaker Saloni Sharma of Design Isle and vintage items sourced by way of Christine Rai of Indian Inc beautify each nook of the home. The doorway to each and every suite—even the bogs—is framed by way of vintage doorways sourced from Gujarat and Rajasthan.
Gokarna: Secret Tales by way of the Sea:The rooms, albeit fresh in really feel, had been cleverly juxtaposed with length items sourced from India, Myanmar, Thailand, and Columbia. And it’s this consideration to element that remains with us.
Within the Panoramic suite, for example, we stumble throughout an historic trishul-shaped door latch (sourced from Kerala) on a corner within the wall. Within the eating corridor, a couple of virtually life-size stallions stand guard in a single nook. Within the Peacock suite, the place we had publish, propellers had been repurposed right into a ceiling fan.
Gokarna: Secret Tales by way of the Sea:cording to social distancing norms, the environment friendly personnel contributors shape a WhatsApp staff with each and every visitor the place one can be in contact and position orders for foods. All foods are served on a communal eating desk set in an open corridor overlooking the hills and numerous plants. In our line of imaginative and prescient had been few cashew bushes which can be identified to draw packs of playful langurs.
Gokarna: Secret Tales by way of the Sea:There’s a restricted menu providing a mixture of Indian and Western fare with hen and seafood as the one non-vegetarian choices. They’re, on the other hand, open to winging it. Do ask for the selfmade bread crowned with avocado and cherry tomatoes or wild mushrooms).
After tasting the very good local-style fish and hen curries, we opted for a fast cooking lesson the place an area chef demonstrated a couple of simple recipes revealing secrets and techniques such because the citrusy-peppery teppal (Sichuan peppers) used within the coastal fish curry.
Gokarna: Secret Tales by way of the Sea:There’s sufficient to do at the assets itself—from strolling within the gardens the place we spied strutting peacocks, to getting a therapeutic massage whilst paying attention to birdsong. There’s additionally a tennis court docket and cricket pitch at the premises.
On one in all our meandering walks, we got here throughout an open tank within the lawn the place the personnel had lately organised a romantic dinner for a pair with one thousand candles organized across the tank’s stepwell. For the extra intrepid traveller, Kahani gives myriad reviews out of doors the valuables as neatly.
Gokarna: Secret Tales by way of the Sea:A stroll to the lighthouse and perspective from the place one can see each Paradise and Part Moon seashore is price waking up early for. Enroute is the Belekan seashore the place we stuck a trip on an area fishing boat to one of the vital different well-known seashores within the space—Om, Kudle, and Nirvana.
If you select to hop off at such a seashores, there are shacks the place one can get a meal, or if you’re up for it, you’ll additionally trek from one seashore to any other alongside the cliffs. Whilst we didn’t spot any dolphins all the way through our reasonably uneven boat ride, a fleet of flying fish did stay tempo with us for just a little.
Gokarna: Secret Tales by way of the Sea:The most productive a part of the valuables, on the other hand, needs to be the Sundown Ridge. This hidden corner—a brief stroll or buggy trip from the villas—is about at the fringe of a cliff at once overlooking Paradise seashore. A plunge pool, a couple of deck chairs and a old fashioned little open hut covered with Tibetan prayer flags (sourced from one in all Bellm’s journeys to Ladakh) completes the gap.
On our ultimate night time, we whiled away time looking at the solar set at the Arabian Sea whilst sipping gin & tonic crowned with recent orange juice. Simply after we concept it couldn’t recuperate, the solar set and the celebs got here out. Spying a taking pictures big name, we made a fast want for a go back to Gokarna’s paradisiacal blues, on this beautiful land of secret reports.