The Blue Matsya
The Blue Matsya

A self-catering beach house near Udupi, Karnataka

If you are looking for a quiet and laidback beach holiday, then look towards the beaches of Karnataka. The Mangalore-Udupi stretch of the Western Coast has many lovely beaches and, more importantly, is still mostly free of the hordes of tourists who descend upon Goa. Among them is Kaup (pronounced Kapu), just 12km from Udupi. Here, just a seashell’s throw from the sea is Swati Bengali’s holiday home, The Blue Matsya, which she lets out to discerning travellers.

The simple but elegant self-catering beach house gets its name from the blue louvered doors and windows, mainly sourced from British-era buildings and lovingly restored, and the abundance of fish.

The house has two bedrooms with attached bathrooms and the large living area can comfortably double up as a sleep zone for four adults. The bedroom on the first floor comes with a private terrace that is perfect to lounge in with a cup of tea while catching the evening sea breeze and watching the sun set. The verandah/sit out on the ground floor also offers great unimpeded views of the sea. The open plan kitchen is equipped with all modcons needed to rustle up a meal, like cooking gas and stove, microwave, refrigerator and water purification system.

While the house is ideal for those looking for a self-catering holiday, the husband-wife caretaker duo Ramanna and Sarsukka ensure guests are well taken care of. Rooms are cleaned and dishes washed daily and for an additional sum, Sarsukka can cater local homestyle meals.

In terms of things to do, The Blue Matsya is intended to offer a complete break from the stresses and strains of regular life. It is an escape to tranquillity. The best ‘thing-to-do’ here is to sit on the terrace and look out for dolphins during the day or make friends with the stars twinkling down at you at night or go for early morning strolls during which you can watch or help fishermen bringing in their catch. During the monsoons, it is a different magic—you get to wake up to the cries of peacocks and marvel at the fury of wind and the rougher sea. Swati, who lives in Mumbai, says: “The Blue Matsya was built for all these little joys that city life has robbed us of”. 

But if you are the type who gets cabin fever easily, then the beach and the surrounding region offers some fine activities. The beach boasts of a 110-year-old operational lighthouse that guests can climb up. You can go on a spin on a speedboat or enjoy a banana boatride or go dolphin viewing. Swati will connect you to a reliable local operator who will pick you up from and drop you back to your beach home’s doorsteps. There are many other beaches and a few islands too nearby plus the towns of Udupi, Manipal and Mangalore—all offering their own unique mix of sights, sounds and tastes. How can you travel so close to Udupi and not have its famed breakfasts or travel so close to Mangalore and not have its equally famous cuisine, especially its ghee roasted seafood or its sukkas?

Whichever type of traveller you are, the most enjoyable moments here will most likely be the quiet ones when you are in silent communion with the sea, the breeze and the pristine sands!

Price: From Rs 9,000 per day for the full house (can sleep 8) and from Rs 4,000 per room per day (tariff depends on season and number of people).

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<h3>Slow Travel</h3>

Slow Travel

The Blue Matsya runs on the goodwill of locals who benefit from the guests who visit it. The caretaker/local fisherman who hands over the keys, the home cook who provides authentic local meals, the autorickshaw drivers who will do a door pick up, the boatman who will take you into the sea—all of them are neighbours that guests can call at any time. The house has been built using local laterite stones. The inside walls are plastered using a 200-year-old technique that uses a mix of egg white, egg shells and lime that give the walls a lovely smooth finish. The use of egg and lime on the wall meant the walls could be left unpainted (all rooms but one). The egg shells mixed in the plaster work as a natural repellent for lizards.. The teak wood doors and windows have been sourced from old homes and restored. The house has been designed to catch the sea breeze in every room and do away with the need for air conditioners even in peak summer.