It was noon and the hot sun was beating down on us as we headed towards a dock on the river Sharavati. It’s a majestic river that paints a pretty picture as it winds its way through the Western Ghats in the south of India to meet the Arabian Sea. We were in Honnavar – the port town of old – a beautiful green haven on its own. We breathed in the sultry air as we traversed the dusty lanes through fishermen dwellings. The houses by themselves were picturesque; made with local laterite stone that glistened like garnet with many a coconut palm as canopy.
I was skeptical though, the day was really hot and heavy with humidity as only coastal days can get! The thought of being out on the water with no protection from the sun was daunting to say the least. But Gaurav who’d grown up on these banks rubbished these doubts. “It’s going to be the most beautiful day of your life”, he said – and it was.
Our boat (see cover image) was a beautiful wooden craft painted a lovely blue that stood out against all the greenery.
We scrambled onboard and so began the most wonderful four hours I’ve ever spent. Since we were with a local, the boatman took us in to inner channels that don’t usually form a part of the tour.
We felt like explorers, every turn was like discovering a new world! The green rippling waters with birds flying low over them and tops of coconut palms so bent that they almost touched the water were mesmerizing. It was a journey that soothed the soul and brought us peace. Time had no meaning, we had nowhere to go, nothing to do, just be in the moment. I don’t believe I’ve ever felt that much in tune with myself!
We’d packed lunch from a local shop – rice, curry and fish – and we stopped at a small island in the middle of the river to eat it. The island wasn’t really above water, just a few inches below it, and when we got off the boat it felt like we were walking on water. It was extraordinary!
But the best part was yet to come – the sunset. We caught it on our way back just as a train was crossing the bridge from the famous Konkan railways. The fiery red engine reflected in the orange glow of the sun was the loveliest sight. It was almost as if the chariot of the sun was crossing before us!
With heavy hearts we left the boat – no one wanted this ride to end. I wish we could go back again 😥