Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Sathwik Homestay – A Nestle Away from Daily Hustle and Bustle

When someone is born in modern times with all the qualities of being an entrepreneur with an option to indulge in commercial activities more than preserving heritage, nature and tradition, I have found someone, who is different. He is much different than others from his own generation. Much different in attitude, passion and love for nature, who has invested and developed his ancestral property for the joy of travelers who would like to indulge in pure bliss of pristine rural atmosphere amidst lush greenery shrouding a resort, planned and commissioned with a traditional title ‘Sathwik Homestay’ in a quiet place, not so distant from the hustle and bustle of the urban commercial hub of Uttara Kannada, Sirsi. 
I am talking about Vivek Divekar, a youngster in his Thirties hailing from this small village called Devanalli(Devanahalli), 21 Kms from Sirsi. Vivek’s family owns 25 Acre farm land in Devanalli situated amidst thick Malnad forest. They have planted mainly arecanut trees along with by-crops like pepper, betel leaf, kokum, cardamom, vanilla, nutmeg, lime, lemon, agarwood, cashew and cocoa. 
Vivek, like any youngsters is well qualified with BCom and MBA in business. He runs a BPO firm in Sirsi town since last 6 years. His interest in travel, tourism and books made him aspirant about developing a piece of land adjoining their farm into home stay. Shankar Divekar, his uncle in Sirsi who is a businessman also gave him idea about how to go about it, and he has always been inspirational to Vivek in developing his entrepreneur skills. Besides, surrounding places like Yana, Vibhuti Falls and Venkatramana Temple at Manjaguni made him think about providing clean neat and safe facility with pure vegetarian homely food to the travelers. Thus Sathwik Homestay came into existence.
Today, Vivek is supported by his entire family in running the place, his father Vittal Divekar being the guiding force and uncle Narasimha Divekar(co-owner) and aunt Sheetal Divekar the main pillars of support, his wife Varsha Divekar and son Vismay Divekar are his inspiration.
Though Vivek is a distant relative of mine who is cousin of Shridhar Isloor of Sirsi, I never had any contact with him before. Shridhar is nephew of my brother in law Dr Suresh D Isloor of Shivamogga hailing from famous Isloor family of Rayarpet Sirsi. I was invited by Dr Arun Isloor, another nephew of Dr Isloor to visit Arun’s farm Sahyadri Greens in Devanahalli on April 9. Arun arranged for my overnight stay at Sathwik Homestay. 
I started by train to Kumta and then on by bus from there to Sirsi. From Sirsi I caught a bus going to Mattighatta which has the picturesque Vibhuti Falls. On the way, after covering the 21 Kms winding up the new State Highway under construction, I reached Devanalli. Devanalli has a few shops and restaurants on the main road. Buses frequent almost hourly from Sirsi towards Mattighatta or Yana. Sathwik Homestay is at a stone’s throw distance from Devanalli bus stop. I met Vivek there, who welcomed me and led me to show the accommodation.
There are in total 5 cottages in Sathwik Homestay with a landscaped garden and an open dining hall cum recreation center. The facility is well designed with ample parking space in front and a veranda with fixed stone benches as well as chairs to relax and watch nature. Tile roofing with false ceiling, self contained rooms with wall fans, coffee table and plush sofa, dressing mirror, soft cotton double beds and pillows, warm and cool blankets and Indo-Western toilets with hot and cold water, hand wash and clean flooring and insect screens and beautiful clean curtains on windows are the main highlights. Surprisingly I didn’t find a single mosquito in Devanalli during my overnight stay!
Tariff is Rs 800/- per person per night, which includes breakfast and dinner, morning and evening coffee/tea. Children below 5 years are accommodated free, and those between 5-12 years are charged Rs.500/- per head. Simple South Indian traditional breakfast with idli, shyavige uppittu, chow chow bhaat or neeru dosa and dinner with chapati curry, rice sambar, playa, sweet and curd are served. Lunch is served on demand as extra, and is charged Rs.100/-. 
Since I was Arun’s guest and it was not high season to visit Devanalli, Vivek offered me whatever they prepared for themselves at their home. The taste of awesome soft rava and rice dosas and rice mumbris with tambuli chutney and baingan bharta still linger on my taste buds! Sachin the friendly room boy attended to me with zeal and made my stay more comfortable and homely. Narasimha and Vivek were very much concerned about my necessities and they monitored from time to time to see if I needed anything. 
After dark, the ambiance turns into a quiet isolated haven with occasional buzz of insects and passing by scooters or pedestrians with torch lights. By 9:00pm, one is into total bliss with silent nature and a romantic feeling!  
Early morning mist welcomes you into the vast farm scientifically planted with arecanut trees and other plants. After morning tea and biscuits followed by breakfast one hour later, Vivek led me into the garden but normally Narasimha takes care of the travelers, as he is much more experienced and knowledgeable about the plants and agriculture. 
Vivek showed me most of the plants that are listed above in this article, and told me, Kokum is a fruit found mostly in all the forests of Uttara Kannada and there are industries extracting Kokum juice for commercial marketing. I saw many Kokum plants in their garden. However, due to scorching summer, the natural spring water stream had dried up. Vivek said, from August until March the water keeps flowing nonstop and travelers may rejoice bathing and playing in the stream. Heritage walk into the farm is part of the home stay package. A drive into the forest or other local village farms is optional, and experienced guide is provided at extra cost.
My quick round in the farm rejuvenated my breathing and blood circulation and I felt good. After spending almost 14 hours at Sathwik Homestay, I started off to Sirsi, while Narasimha, Vivek and Sachin stood at the entrance to bid me farewell.
I appreciate Vivek’s objective about home stay, the clean and neat setup, the pristine beauty of the tastefully decorated landscaped garden and of course the beautiful green farm with hundreds of plants and trees. Of course I was there in off season; otherwise I would have also enjoyed the flow of cool stream of spring water that runs 24x7x365 through the farm from August to March, attracting birds and other lovely creatures. I heartily wish Vivek, Narasimha and their family at Sathwik Homestay, a long mileage in hosting travelers with the same level of enthusiasm, while upholding the rich cultural and traditional heritage of Uttara Kannada.

Watch this video(Kannada Version)
Contact info: 
Sathwik Homestay,
Devanalli 581403
Sirsi Tq
Contact Phone no.: 
Vivek 09481818154
Getting there:
Distance from Sirsi - 21Kms(via Sirsi Mattighatta Road)
From Kumta: 49Kms(via Kumta - Manjaguni on Kumta Sirsi Road) 
From Karwar: 114Kms(via Kumta Manjaguni) 
Best season:
September to February
Further info: 
Travel website listing:

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