First published on Medium
You might not know my village at all and that might be a good thing. We dont have too many tourists visiting us and that is probably the best thing about the ‘gaon’ that was a large part of my childhood and now a safe haven for me as the world is dealing with corona. I can be oblivious to the terrors the world is dealing with , so long as i am ensconed by the hometown .
I was a regular visitor over the last 40 years to Mangalore and over the last 15 years to Miyar but i can say I see it now from a new perspective.
I rediscovered my hometown when I had to leave Mumbai for Miyar as soon as the lockdown opened up last year . Miyar is very close to Karkala in Udupi district. Karkala (and Miyar too) is known for its black rocky landscape — so much so that the place itself is called karia kallu (black rock).
Welcomed by torrential rains when i reached home,I was just glad to breathe in the fresh air and take in the breathtaking greenery, which came alive in the rain. Its almost heady to smell the earth after living locked indoors in a concrete jungle that Mumbai is.
For the large part of last year we were indoors — which had a lot of outdoors — we have a large garden and farm land with palm and aracnut trees, so much space to move around and lockdown, hence didn’t seem like that we were locked in. My hometown has been a solace in these troubled times so much so i plan to make it permanent destination even as the world moves on.
There are conveniences just enough to live in abundance and not the luxury a city can offer. But there is abundant fresh air, greenery and space to move, exercise and explore.
A quick drive can take you to the town market which has the freshest fish from Malpe — which is the nearest port to the village. Fish is dirt cheap, so you can probably have fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner here. The freshest vegetables come to Miyar from the hills closeby — famously known as the Charmadi ghats.
Miyar is at a vantage point — right between Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts — where you have access to a lot of beaches. Some of my favourites are Sashihitlu beach, Padubidri beach and Tannirbhavi — all clean verdant beaches where you sometimes won’t even find people apart from the local fishing community. If you want to visit a beach that is often visited you might want to go visit the Kodi beach, Malpe beach — which are closer to Udupi are a visited by tourists. But if you really want to knock yourself out — my favourite all time spot is St Mary’s Island which is off Malpe beach, half hour into the sea — a piece of land that broke off when Madagascar drifted off from the mainland. It is an island that has the most amazing sand texture and volcanic rock structure and some serious history associated with it.
Miyar is also close to several other attractions that are hidden from the regular tourist crowds. One of my favourites is the Kudlu falls — a perennial waterfall that gushes down 80 feet into a shallow pool. You have to trek about 3 kms into verdant woods to get to this beautiful place, after driving 10 kms into the woods on kaccha roads. Another oft-visited place closeby is the statue of the Gomateshwara — a religious place for many i am only over-awed by the maganimity of the structure and always wonder how it was erected over high rock mountain.
What I love about Miyar the most, is the food you eat here. Everything is fresh, homecooked (even the restaurant food tastes like homecooked trust me!) and nutritious. I rediscovered some of my best loved foods and found some new ones in the time i have been here. While i rediscovered masala dosa and idlis like they should be made and how they should actually taste, I also found the real Ghee Roast chicken, Prawns Ghee Roast! I found dishes that i love now but I never tried before — the biscuit rotty, the gojju, fried butter fish. Some food tastes better in the right environment they say, and nothing beats the environment here to devour this amazing food that i found. I could do an entire section on the food in and around Miyar but that would be a story in itself!
Being in Miyar taught me a few things: That you can be content with little, that slowing down is good for growth and nature can be a healer.
Come to Miyar?