Decidedly the most well-located metro for accessible weekend getaways, Bengaluru is a treat for those who drive. Silvery-grey highways take off in all directions, ferrying travellers to dense national parks, coffee-bush draped hills, breezy corniches and crumbling atmospheric temple towns. From a robust inventory of destinations that lie less than 400km away, I knew exactly what the perfect choice to test my new car would be—Kaup, a low-key beach with a promising reputation.

It was not hard to convince another vagabond soul to join me for a four-day trip. Fittingly for a long weekend, we also threw the coffee hills of Sakleshpur, and the fishing villages off Mangaluru, into the itinerary. The draw lay in the topography’s tourist-free, uncluttered avatar, the mélange of green along the way and the delicious roadside dhaba (eatery) delicacies.

A small bridge over the Hemavathi river ushered us into the busy town of Sakleshpur before an estate road left the cluttered streets for Hanbal village (15km from the main town). Most of the home-stays and resorts are in this vicinity, located in the middle of dramatically wild and unmanicured coffee estates.

The next morning, we were ready to drive towards Mangaluru. We swerved past the coffee estates to visit a local temple, stopped at the weathered Manjarabad Fort on the outskirts of the town to view the dense Bisle reserve forest from atop, and inspected the driftwood shops along the way. The fort, primarily a backdrop for regional movies now, has nothing much to offer. There is just one sturdy part of the rampart that offers a high perch to see the span of forest around.

Light rain demanded a few tea breaks before we hit the red-hued tiled city of Mangaluru (130km from Sakleshpur).

It would have been preposterous to miss the highly recommended Hotel Sadanand for a local speciality, Kori Rotti (chicken roti), in Surathkal (13km from Mangaluru), before making a quick stop just 10km ahead at Mulki’s Mantra Surfing Ashram Retreat.

The ashram is wedged between bright green paddy fields and the Shambhavi river. Samanth, a young surfing instructor, related the story of American surfers Jack Hebner and Rick Perry, who established the Mantra Surf Club in 2004 for the youth of the village to immerse themselves in yoga and meditation apart from, of course, riding the waves. The ashram now has many visitors through the year who come for long- and short-term courses to manoeuvre surf breaks and learn kayaking, bodyboarding and wakeboarding.

Finally, it was time to take my foot off the pedal for the next two days and let my feet sink into the sandy courtyard of The Blue Matsya, a beach house in Kaup. The self-service villa lies at the edge of the Arabian Sea, a short distance from the Kaup lighthouse, its bright yellow walls and blue windows offering a dash of colour in the otherwise bleak backdrop.

Yet, though it’s conveniently tucked away from Udipi’s bustle, a perfect retreat to enjoy the sight and sound of waves just an arm’s length away, it is close enough if you want to visit the famous Krishna Temple, St Mary’s Island or Malpe beach, and attempt a tryst with water sports in the non-monsoon months.

The defining landmark at the beach, of course, is the 100ft-tall lighthouse that was built in 1901 to guide boats around the rocky coast. Now developed as a sightseeing spot, the base of the lighthouse is swarming with locals.

After sinking my toes in the sand for an hour, I’m ready for the long walk home.

Weekend Vacations offers suggestions on getaways that allow for short breaks from metros.

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