There was a time when S and I used to travel on every long weekend, even if it meant travelling every week of a month or at least every alternate week. But then our baby, G came along and we took a break from our travels. We did travel close to home and wherever we could get home-cooked food for G or could carry food but not otherwise. Now that he's 2+ and actually more mature and independent (:P) than his age, we have started travelling once again.
Our first major trip took us to Murudeshwar, a scenic beach in North coastal Karnataka about 400 kms from Bangalore. We travelled by train to Shimoga and took a taxi from there to take us to Murudeshwar. We left from Bangalore on the night of 12th August & returned early morning on 16th August.
G was super-thrilled about the entire journey. Firstly he didn't have to go to sleep at his usual 9 p.m. and secondly, he was actually going to sleep in the train !!! We were supposed to board the train at 11:30 p.m. but it arrived at our boarding station at the stroke of midnight ... so G's glee was unimaginable. We boarded the train and said our Hi's to S's friend & his family who were also accompanying us to Murudeshwar. It was quite difficult to put G to sleep because he had a lot of questions about his surroundings, so finally I just switched off the light & he automatically fell asleep. The next morning we reached Shimoga at 6 a.m. G was still fast asleep, so B (S's friend's wife) woke him up & he immediately sat up & much to everyone's amusement, said "G's going to play with sand but not put it in his hair or in his eyes". The background to this statement is ... I was preparing him mentally for the trip and since he likes to play with sand, I told him that we'll be going to a place where there'll be a huge body of water & lots of sand. And since he still refers to himself in the third person almost all his sentences begin with his own name. :)
So, we came out of the station at Shimoga & A (S's friend) who can speak Kannada, haggled with a taxi driver & we booked a Sumo for Rs. 8/- per km and charging for the journey to & fro to take us to Murudeshwar. So although the distance from Shimoga to Murudeshwar is about 200 kms, we had to pay for double the journey, but that's the usual norm & we couldn't argue with him about that. So we started off, stopped after about an hour for a quick breakfast & then continued on our journey to Murudeshwar, where we reached around 12 noon.
Murudeshwar is monopolized by the R.N. Shetty group and all the hotels over there belong to them. They have three properties RNS Residency, Naveen Beach Resort and RNS Guest House. RNS Residency is a five storey building about 5 minutes on foot from the beach and adjacent to the Murudeshwar temple. It offers a beautiful view of the beach as well as the temple. We stayed here and had a corner room overlooking their swimming pool, so we had a wonderful view of the open sea in the front, the beach on the right side and the Shiva statue inside the temple on the left. Naveen Beach Resort is right on the beach and has individual cottages. RNS Guest House, their first property in Murudeshwar is sandwiched between the temple and the RNS residency and is in a slightly rundown state. Anyway, it's wise to re-confirm your bookings before travelling because although we had booked two months in advance and they had confirmed a month later, when we reached there we were told that there was no booking in our name. They finally gave us two well-appointed rooms with amazing views but some unpleasantness could have been avoided if we had re-confirmed.
After checking into our rooms on 13th August, we freshened up and went for lunch at the Naveen Beach Resort which has a multi-cuisine non-veg restaurant. After lunch & a nap, we went to the beach for our first dip in the sea. G looooooves to play with water in the bathroom but the sea was a little fearsome for him. Both S and I love a dip in the sea and wanted to initiate G into it too but after a while we realized that he was feeling too scared and so G and I settled down on the beach to play in the sand with his sand tools while S and our friends went into the sea.
Next morning after breakfast we went to the temple. However, we did not go into the main temple. Instead we went up 18 floors by an elevator to the top of the Gopuram to see the view around and then came down and watched as fishermen returned with their catch from the sea. The sun was beating down hard on our heads by the time we finished taking a round of the temple premises and G was almost dozing off with sheer exhaustion, so we decided to go back to the hotel for lunch. RNS Residency has a vegetarian restaurant only, so we decided to feed G his staple khichdhi (without any chillies but quite tasty) over there and then go to a small eating place called Fish Land which turned out to be a boon for us fish lovers.
That evening we went for our 2nd dip in the sea & this time I went into the waters while S camped on the shores with G. Sadly though we were shooed away from the sea after about 10 mins because only that morning two people, incidentally from Bangalore, had drowned over there and the authorities didn't want to take any chances. So we came back to the hotel and decided to get into the swimming pool. Here, G was a little more comfortable and although he shrieked a little to begin with and didn't want to stay in the water for too long, he was comfortable to sit on the side with me and splash water with his feet. Strangely enough he didn't want me to swim either and cried his eyes out screaming for me to come out of the water when I went in for a swim. :)
On 15th August, we left from Murudeshwar after lunch and decided to visit the Jog Falls on our way to Shimoga. Since the monsoons have been quite generous to Karnataka this time, we saw the waterfall in its full glory. However, all our sightseeing took so long that by the time we reached the Shimoga station it was 9:30 p.m. and since our train was at 10:20 p.m., we decided to have our dinner at the railway canteen itself and board the train.
Overall, we had a very enjoyable trip though the beach is quite dirty and the tides are tricky & treacherous so it's better to watch out and heed the authorities while taking a dip in the sea. G had a great time and was reluctant to go back to the school/day care routine but well, that's life. All good things have an expiry and routine has to return.