The azure waves of the Arabian Sea wash up the golden beach. As you look up towards the land side, rows of verdant hills greet the eye. The gulls ride the winds, occasionally letting out a plaintive cry. During sunset, land and water is awash with a soft light. But not many people know how the natural beauty of this beach had a profound effect on then an unknown young poet, Rabindranath Tagore.
Even today, the beach is relatively uncrowded compared to other popular town-side beaches of India. So it is not surprising that over a century ago, it must have been lonelier, with hardly a soul around. It was to this tranquil corner that a young Rabindranath Tagore was drawn to while he was visiting his elder brother Satyendranath Tagore, who was posted here as the district judge of Karwar (in 1882). The natural beauty of Karwar beach roused the philosopher in him.
Contemplating on the realities of life, he penned his first verse drama Prakritir Pratisodh (meaning the Revenge of Nature). Although, Rabindranath had already embarked on literary writings, his communion with nature in Karawar had an intense effect on him, which was evident in his later writings. “This Nature’s Revenge may be looked upon as an introduction to the whole of my future literary work,” the Nobel Laureate poet said later, “or rather this has been the subject on which my writings have dwelt –the joy of attaining the Infinite with the finite.” (‘My Life in My Words’ by Rabindranath Tagore, selected and edited by Uma Das Gupta).
Well-connected by road and rail, Karwar is easier to reach from Goa (less than two hours’ drive from Margao) than from Bengaluru, the state capital (over 10 hours’ drive). The beach is known for its sunset. Go on a boat ride into the sea or check out the waves on a water scooter.
The INS Chapal Warship Museum on Tagore Beach is a must visit, especially if have children in tow. INS Chapal (K94), a Chamak class missile boat of the Indian Navy, which had served in the 1971 Indo-Pak War, has been converted to a museum. Mannequins dressed in naval gear and representing the various people who serve aboard such ships are arranged strategically. Besides, there are also replicas of missiles. It is usually open between 10am and 12.30pm and again between 4.30pm and 6pm (but check before you visit).
Earlier, one could climb to the top of the ruins of 18th century Sadashivgar Fort from where one could enjoy a panoramic view of the surroundings, including the Kali River, which drains into the sea near Karwar. Jungle Lodges and Resorts (Karnataka Tourism) is operating a resort here now.
When in Karwar, do not forget to check out the seafood served at local restaurants here.