Saturday, September 29, 2012

In God’s own country


Exotic Surya Samudra in Kovalam is the destination for the perfect vacation. 


By Sandhya Mendonca

I was longing for the panorama of soothing green countryside, blue skies and waters; the sensual feel of soft sand and the balmy sea air. I was pining for Goa, not having visited it for over three months.
And there, out of the blue, came an invitation from an old friend to visit God’s own country. Rather foolishly, I demurred at first – we have been burning the midnight oil at work to get another book off to the printers- but I was persuaded to take a break. The universe must have ordained it.


It was a typical day in Kerala when I arrived, with a bundh having shut down everything. But cabs to the airport were permitted to ply, and I began soaking in the sight of the emerald green foliage on the ride to Kovalam. I was still unprepared for the sight that met me at my destination.

Suryasamudra – the name had evoked a magical image and I had heard that it was fabulous; yet, I was rendered speechless by its beauty. As locations go, one can’t ask for anything better. 


The resort sits above a natural cove with a wonderful view of the pristine blue waters and the skies. Gentle waves lap at the softest sand and banks of coconut palms adding a delightful fringe.
The palette of colours is breathtaking. I had my camera out in seconds, clicking away at a recumbent stone Ganesha (who looked like he had just had a relaxing spa treatment), the cleverly landscaped garden and walkways.
A Planter’s chair in the verandah outside my cottage, was the spot to stretch out and look at the pristine beauty of nature that the skilful architects have showcased.


The interiors sent me into another round of rapture with the pretty four-poster bed and bright silk cushions, and the charming semi-open bath area. Half of it had no roof and when a light drizzle began later in the day, I perched on the granite sill to enjoy the sight and sound of the rain.
That was later; I must confess that initially, despite the overwhelming beauty around me, I found it difficult to relax. I was too restless to read, too keyed up to nap, the mid-day sun made it too hot for the beach.
On the spur of the moment, I changed into my swimsuit and headed to the infinity pool. An inspired choice, if I ever made one. The temperature was just right, and a few lazy laps were enough to get me in the vacation mode. 

I hung on to the side, getting my fill of the stunning view of the sea and the cove. A lone eagle swooped down occasionally as I floated on my back and rejoiced in the moment.
 I really needed nothing more, but of course there was a fabulous repast – a plantain leaf meal in the local fashion for lunch. Then came a tantalizing Thai dinner; the next morning it was idiappams for breakfast and a brilliant pasta for lunch.


A visit to the Sri Padmanabha Swami temple, a kathakali show, a boat ride through the backwaters and a spa treatment –there was time for all this without feeling rushed. 
There must be something in the air in Kovalam for sure. That, and the simple, genuine warmth of the staff at Suryasamudra, (owned by Niraamaya Private Retreats), puts it at the top of my list of favourite getaways.

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