A luxurious boutique villa perched atop picturesque cliffs, Kahani Paradise is a gateway to lush, blue desires.
Shivani Kagti | POSTED ON: April 9, 2021
Made up of whimsical tales and suave objects of the previous, Kahani Paradise stands, enchanting, by the Arabian Sea. Photo courtesy: Kahani Paradise
After virtually a yr of being confined to Bengaluru’s metropolis limits, the thought of a seaside sojourn felt life-changing. But this wasn’t going to be simply any seaside vacation. A number of hours from Goa’s madding crowd is the coastal city of Gokarna in Karnataka. Gokarna has two very completely different identities. One, as an essential vacation spot for spiritual pilgrimage, courtesy the centuries-old Mahabaleshwar temple and the sacred Kotiteertha water tank. But no much less considerably the temple city’s stunning seashores have been attracting a gradual stream of worldwide in addition to home vacationers in the latest years.
It was in opposition to a pristine backdrop that we made our manner from Goa airport to Gokarna, driving down the winding roads of the Western Ghats, previous a naval base in Karwar, crossing the river Gangavalli and even a vibrant village market enroute. Our vacation spot was Kahani Paradise—a luxurious boutique villa perched atop a cliff overlooking the milky-white Paradise seaside, a hug and a cuddle away from the raging Arabian Sea. Three hours into our drive, the automotive went off street onto a stretch of grime observe that finally led to a picket gate flanked by domed kiosks. As we waited for the gates to be opened, our driver dramatically declared, “Sir, Madam…welcome to Kahani Paradise!” Already, a way of journey had set in.
On both aspect of the stoned pathway have been stunning gardens with a dizzying array of flowers, shrubs and bushes—from banana to betel nut and coconut to cashew—a labour of affection by UK-based panorama designer Sarah Syborn, as we learnt later. As we drove as much as the major entrance, a cream-coloured constructing with a tiled roof got here into view. Stepping over the threshold of a heavy vintage picket door, we have been greeted with recent coconut water and a panoramic view of the surrounding hills, the Aghanashini river and the Arabian sea holding fingers in the distance. This mesmerising view took a second to sink in. A reclaimed Nagamese spice mixing desk caught our consideration as we took be aware of the varied objets d’artwork and vintage items casually strewn throughout the open sitting room. A sea-green infinity pool one degree down has been cleverly positioned to afford one a view of the sea and greenery round.
Flanking this constructing are a set of villas on one aspect and the eating space and kitchen on the different. With solely six suites, every accomplished in a unique fashion however with the similar sense of understated luxurious, there’s a particular air of exclusivity to the place. London-based businessman Anthony Bellm, whose dad and mom stumbled upon this slice of paradise whereas vacationing in India over a decade in the past, narrated the story of Kahani Paradise over champagne and hors d’oeuvres later the similar night. Thirteen years in the making, the historical past of Kahani unfolded when his dad and mom discovered a fantastic vintage picket door. “They wished to construct a home round that door,” says Bellm. Incidentally, the door didn’t find yourself gracing the entrance as supposed initially; it now hinges on an under-construction constructing in the property that’ll home a spa, fitness center and screening room.
This 20-acre property had not a lot on or round it when the Bellms began setting up in 2005. From roads to electrical energy, the whole lot was constructed from scratch. “It was supposed to be a vacation house for the household, however we knew we couldn’t let it stay vacant for giant components of the yr on this humid local weather,” says Bellm, who ditched college in Paris to spend three years in Gokarna overseeing the work. In 2018, once they opened their doorways to public, not surprisingly, majority of their visitors have been worldwide vacationers. It was solely submit the pandemic that home travellers started to find Kahani. The Bellms’ love for nature and indigenous artwork and craft types the basis of Kahani. Bespoke textiles designed by Delhi-based designer Saloni Sharma of Design Isle and vintage items sourced by Christine Rai of Indian Inc adorn each nook of the home. The entrance to every suite—even the bogs—is framed by vintage doorways sourced from Gujarat and Rajasthan. The rooms, albeit up to date in really feel, have been cleverly juxtaposed with interval items sourced from India, Myanmar, Thailand, and Columbia. And it’s this consideration to element that stays with us. In the Panoramic suite, as an example, we stumble throughout an historic trishul-shaped door latch (sourced from Kerala) on a nook in the wall. In the eating corridor, a pair of just about life-size stallions stand guard in a single nook. In the Peacock suite, the place we had put up, propellers have been repurposed right into a ceiling fan.
There’s sufficient to do on the property itself—from strolling in the gardens the place we spied strutting peacocks, to getting a therapeutic massage whereas listening to birdsong. There’s additionally a tennis courtroom and cricket pitch on the premises. On considered one of our meandering walks, we got here throughout an open tank in the backyard the place the workers had just lately organised a romantic dinner for a pair with a thousand candles organized round the tank’s stepwell. For the extra intrepid traveller, Kahani provides myriad experiences exterior the property as nicely. A stroll to the lighthouse and viewpoint from the place one can see each Paradise and Half Moon seaside is value waking up early for. Enroute is the Belekan seaside the place we caught a experience on a neighborhood fishing boat to a few of the different well-known seashores in the space—Om, Kudle, and Nirvana. If you select to hop off at considered one of these seashores, there are shacks the place one can get a meal, or in case you are up for it, you can even trek from one seaside to a different alongside the cliffs. While we didn’t spot any dolphins throughout our fairly uneven boatride, a fleet of flying fish did maintain tempo with us for a bit.
In accordance with social distancing norms, the environment friendly workers members kind a WhatsApp group with every visitor the place one can talk and place orders for meals. All meals are served on a communal eating desk set in an open corridor overlooking the hills and numerous flora. In our line of imaginative and prescient have been few cashew bushes which are identified to draw packs of playful langurs. There’s a restricted menu providing a mixture of Indian and Western fare with rooster and seafood as the solely non-vegetarian choices. They are, nevertheless, open to winging it. Do ask for the selfmade bread topped with avocado and cherry tomatoes or wild mushrooms). After tasting the glorious local-style fish and rooster curries, we opted for a fast cooking lesson the place a neighborhood chef demonstrated a number of simple recipes revealing secrets and techniques similar to the citrusy-peppery teppal (Sichuan peppers) utilized in the coastal fish curry.
The greatest a part of the property, nevertheless, must be the Sunset Ridge. This hidden nook—a brief stroll or buggy experience from the villas—is about on the fringe of a cliff instantly overlooking Paradise seaside. A plunge pool, a number of deck chairs and a quaint little open hut lined with Tibetan prayer flags (sourced from considered one of Bellm’s journeys to Ladakh) completes the area. On our final night, we whiled away time watching the solar set on the Arabian Sea whereas sipping gin & tonic topped with recent orange juice. Just after we thought it couldn’t get higher, the solar set and the stars got here out. Spying a taking pictures star, we made a fast want for a return to Gokarna’s paradisiacal blues, on this attractive land of secret tales.
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Kahani Paradise is a 7.7 km/25 min drive from Gokarna city centre. (kahaniparadise.com, doubles from Rs 17,700 together with breakfast)