May 03, 2010

Uttara Kannada

Uttara Kannada is a region within the Indian state of Karnataka. Bordering Goa, quieter versions of its famed beaches dot the coastline of Uttara Kannada. Some of my relatives were living in the seaside town of Karwar, the administrative headquearters of the district. I went to visit as I was working nearby in Bangalore. On the coast of the Arabian Sea, Karwar's natural harbour made it an historically important port. Arab, Dutch, Portuguese, French, and British seafarers all anchored here in the past.

Apart from Karwar, other popular attractions we visited in the area were Gokarna and Jog Falls. An important temple town for Hindus, Gokarna is also a popular hangout for dreadlocked hippies. Some temples did not allow foreigners to enter, incurring my wrath and upsetting my stomach. The road to Jog Falls was long and winding, further burdening my intestines. The multiple streams of Jog Falls plunge directly downwards for over 250 meters, making it the highest untiered waterfall in India. I had recovered from my stomach ache but Jog Falls was not yet at full strength, awaiting the heavy rains of the monsoon season to increase its flow of water.


Famed Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore visited Karwar when he was 22 years old, the same age I was when I set foot on its sandy shores:
"The sea beach of Karwar is certainly a fit place in which to realize that the beauty of nature is not a mirage of the imagination, but reflects the joy of the infinite and thus draws us to lose ourselves in it. Where the universe is expressing itself in the magic of its laws it may not be strange if we miss its infinitude; but where the heart gets into immediate touch with immensity in the beauty of the meanest of things, is any room left for argument?"