If I’m not on it, near it or
looking at it, I probably am dreaming about it…
Can you imagine a day at the beach doing nothing except trying to bask in the sunlight. It’s one of my favorite things to do. Lounge around on the beach bed, get some Vitamin D take a nap, wake up, open one of my eye, realize I’m still at the beach only to go back to nap. Lazing around is pretty much what I did either by the beach or by the pool during my recent trip to Gokarna – My ‘GO-TO’ Paradise.
Gokarna (meaning – Cow’s Ear) is a quaint little temple town in Kumta taluk , Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka. More often, know for its coastline, pristine virgin beaches, infamous rave parties and hippie immigrants from other countries, Gokarna sure did captivate me with its beautiful sunrise, stunning beaches, picturesque landscape, trekking trails, graffiti street art all over the town, whimsical shacks and the food! OKAY. I’ve got to stop at this. I’m already drooling at the thought of the food the shacks serve.
The best time to visit Gokarna is from October till March. Maha Shivratri is celebrated in grandeur during the month of March. Luckily, my visit was during this festival. I got to witness how the temple town is a world apart from the hippie town of Gokarna even though they are separated only by a mountain.
My husband who is a DJ was playing in one of the clubs in Goa. While we were at it, we decided to take off to Gokarna and spend the next two days there. After an entire night of partying, we took a train from Madgaon station the next afternoon at 2 PM. It took us about 1.5 hours to reach Gokarna. If you are from Hyderabad, one of the ways to reach Gokarna is -> Fly to Goa -> Take a train to Gokarna. You can also take a bus from Hyderababad to Kumta and then, hop on a local ride that will take you to Gokarna town.
It was almost 3 :30 PM by the time I reached Gokarna City Railway Station. I took a cab to reach the resort I was staying in. The cab driver charged about Rs. 250 for the drive . The 20 km drive was a treat to the eyes. If you plan to go, you should definitely stop at places where you can get amazing photo shots!
Most of the stay options at Gokarna are either on the beach or on the hill top.We chose our stay at one of the resorts on Kudle Beach. The other beach stay options are at Om Beach and Gokarna Beach. However, Kudle Beach is one of the best options among the rest. Mind you, most of the the resorts /home stays don’t have direct access to the main entrance of the property. The cab I took from the railway station dropped me at the hill top. I had to walk down the mountain with my luggage. It is always suggested to inform your arrival time to the hotel / resort management, they can arrange for people who carry the luggage downhill. Luckily, I called the resort I was staying at upon getting down from the cab. They were kind enough to send two men to help us carry luggage.
I heaved a breath of relief once we saw these two men. It felt like they rescued us from a deserted island.
Note : Always better to reach this place when there is enough light. The path downhill might be scary after sunset. Here’s how it looks like.
On reaching half way to the resort on Kudle Beach, I was stupefied by the beauty of west coastline. With the wind kissing my face gently and the silence surrounding where all I could hear is the roar of the beach waves crashing, this memory will probably get etched in my mind forever.
After checking in and freshening up, for the beach baby I am, I took a long walk from one end where we were staying to the other end of Kudle Beach. While our part of the beach was deserted, the other end of the beach seemed to be spirited. After walking for about 20 minutes, I was surprised to see people from different countries, hippies, adults, youngsters, teenagers, kids, infants, people with dreadlocks, men wearing nothing but covered with Sandalwood Paste. Phew! You can see it all. MIRTHFUL! People dancing, playing music instruments, meditating, doing yoga, just staring at the beach waves, stoned firangs, mini flea market where they sell vegan cakes, jewelry, accessories, do hair braids and hair extensions. I was so thrilled that I took my shoes off and sat there wondering “What is this place”. I sat, stared widely into the beach, the sky, sunset, people, ate vegan cakes, got hair extensions of a chicken feather from South America, bought a nose ring that I’m totally going to rock one day. After the sun set, it got darker. My husband, at once, asked me to look up. There were gazillion stars twinkling in the sky. Ah! So romantic! With ‘ Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ rhyme running in my head, I lied down on the sand, gazing at the stars. So beautiful! I cannot express it in words. The feeling, it can only be experienced.
Few of the best shacks are situated along Kudle Beach. For dinner, we head straight to Namaste cafe that serves the best food and beverages. The big Thin Crust Pizza costed us about Rs. 110. Being a foodie, I know that this was made to perfection. Namaste Cafe has an interesting menu and an even more interesting crowd during the evenings.
Note : I will list down the ‘Must Visit Shacks’ at Gokarna at the end of this blog.
Very much unlike our usual holidays, we head back to our room by 10 PM and took complete advantage of a beachfront resort, hanging out in our balcony. All we could see is dark space and hear the waves crash so loud! We hit the sack all determined to wake up to watch the sunset. That never happened.
As I woke up to the bright sun rays peeping through the window, I knew I had to quickly get ready for a day long trek.
Note : ‘What to wear in Gokarna’ details at the end of the blog.
After a quick breakfast at the restaurant with a view I’d probably die for, we took a shower, and started our trekking. It is so liberating! We took the trail from Kudle Beach to Gokarna Beach. It is one path with several deviations once you reach uphill. However, no matter what deviation we take from the trek trail, we ended up reaching Gokarna beach. It was Maha Shivratri that particular day. This festival is celebrated with grandeur at Gokarna.
You can also do a Graffiti Trail around Gokarna. Graffiti Art – here, there & everywhere.
Our Trek in the scorching heat!
Pose as soon as you see a beach! That is running in my blood!
Got down from a shady / scary trail and found this temple.
Gokarna Beach – Mad rush during Shivratri!
The Trek Trail
The forest trail led us to a temple in the picture above. We walked for another 3 kms only to reach Gokarna Temple. Being a festival day, the place was crowded. There was a flae market set up on the hot sands of Gokarna Beach. Street hawkers selling fancy stuff. We also saw this 10 year old child doing permanent tattoos so well! We wanted to get darshan of Lord Shiva but couldn’t because of the long wait in the queue that stretched for more than 2 kms.
We walked around the place for a bit. We spoke to a localite who was kind to take us around and drop us off at a nearby auto stand (mind you, it is difficult to find an auto which is the only means of convenient local transport). While we were walking, something grabbed my eyes. It was a small house where they were making hammocks. Basically, the backpackers trek all day, go for a swim, if they are tired – they tie this hammock to a tree to take a nap. During the evenings, most of them go to Kudle Beach or Om Beach. After the sun sets, they play music, they dance, they sing, they pray and do everything and anything that liberates them (you will understand what I mean when you actually see what they do on the beach during the evenings) .
Local Drink of Gokarna – Om Rock!
After downing a local drink ‘Om Rock’ and picking up a couple of these Hammocks, we took an auto to Om Beach which is on the other end of Gokarna town.
So it goes like :
Gokarna Beach -> Kudle Beach -> Om Beach -> Half Moon Beach -> Paradise Beach -> Unexplored Virgin beaches known for hippies and their infamous rave parties which we didn’t dare to go. Those beaches are pretty dangerous (read : rough) and banned by the government.
The auto dropped us off on the hilltop from where we had to take stairs to reach the beach. This is how it looks :
Temple at the entrance of Om Beach
Walk from the entrance towards Om Beach.
You will hate me for this picture of a Lizard. But….
Especially, my co-sister – Pranothi. She might just disown me off in case she comes across this! 🙂
The sight of a beach as you approach it is a great feeling, right?
I wanted to get a picture of me lying on the low lying branch of the tree like a vogue model. But, I settled for this one after I saw BIG RED ANTS around!
We reached this place around lunch time.Water sports and boat rides are best enjoyed at this beach. After having churmuri (better known as Kanndiga’s bhel puri) and Butter Milk, we took a boat ride into the sea. We took a private boat, so it was just the two of us along with the boatman.He promised us a one hour ride. He informed us beforehand that Dolphins might not be seen in the afternoons. Lucky we, we spotted many dolphinswithin ten minutes and that continued throughout our boat ride. We went island hopping to Paradise and Half Moon Beach. We were banned from entering other unnamed beaches. However, we saw some wild and crazy firangs climbing up the rock and jumping into the ocean from a height. Scary! I’d never do it. The beaches are very dangerous and ferocious there. We had to be very careful. I took full advantage in getting my pictures and slo-mo videos in the boat. Few of them below :
Can you see the Dolphins? Not so clearly? I know.. Couldn’t capture it very well.
Went island hopping on the boat!
Hippies live behind those rocks at Paradise Island!
Half Moon Beach during our Island Hopping!
People skinny dipping and cliff jumping.. That same couple who did my hair extensions with a chicken’s feather from South America!!!
After an hour of chilling on the boat, we head straight to a shack on the beach. While we wanted to head to Chez Christophe, we weren’t able to locate it. Hence, we settled for Namaste Cafe (this cafe is on Om Beach, not to be confused with the one on Kudle Beach).
You know that feeling? When you know that your holiday is almost coming to an end? That sinking feeling in your stomach, you say to yourself – “I want to settle down here”. But then, your food arrives, you gorge on yummy food, enjoy the moment and know that the last few days will remain etched in your memory forever. Yes! This was the exact feeling.
Lunch with a view!
I’d probably laze around this place my entire life – Eat, see, run on the beach, repeat!
We had a visitor. Meow !
After a lovely lunch which I would remember forever, we head back to our resort at about 4 PM. Before the checkout, we took a dip in the pool, which we surprisingly missed out on throughout our stay. A nice pool with a view of mountains. After a quick shower, we checked out of our hotel and head out, took a local auto to our Bus Stop (taking a bus is the easiest way to get back to Hyderabad). On the way back, we stopped at a scenic point where we could get a 360 degree view of Picturesque Gokarna!
How do you want me to bid bye to this place? The most beautiful sunset I’ve ever witnessed is at Kudle beach!
Our last pit stop on the way back from Gokarna!
Sigh. I’m still in my vacation hangover. I’m heading out to plan my next trip that will leave me a lot more memories and more information to give you guys.
Until next time then – XO
P.S : Below are some of the Must visit cafes in Gokarna
Namastey Cafe – Kudle Beach. This place is a must visit during the nights.
Little Paradise Inn : This places serves some good food with good retro music playing in the background. Otherwise, the other cafes on the Kudle stretch don’t play music but, is buzzing with people.
Sunset Cafe and Gangaa Cafe
Ol’ La Pizzeria, (Contact : +91 9886674903 , Kudle Beach): This place is at the end of Kudle Beach stretch that is next to the steps where the trek trail towards Gokarna beach starts.
Namaste Cafe at Om Beach
Chez Christophe at Gokarna Beach
Cafe 1987 on the hilltop, on the way to Gokarna Beach trek.
Places to stay at :
We stayed at Gokarna International Beach Resort that was right on the beach. This should not be confused with Hotel Gokarna International. Our stay was pretty decent as we didn’t stay in the hotel room all day. 5/5 for the location.
However, I’d recommend a few more places. There are plenty of comfortable home stays that I would highly recommend rather than opting for a stay at the resort.
- Namaste Sanjeevini Beach Stay
- Little Sea Princess Resort
- Aarav Cottages
- Little Paradise Inn
- Namastey Resort
- Sanskruthi Resort
- Nirvana Nature
- Om beach resort
- Khushi Resort
- Patang Beach Resort
- Kudle Beach View Resort & Spa- This is my favourite. However, I haven’t been able to get reservations for a very, very long time 😦
Things to do
- Sun Bathe
- Eat, Drink and make merry
- Island Hopping from Om Beach
- Hang out with strangers at Kudle Beach
- Watch Sunset
- If time permits, visit Murudeshwar. This place has one of the most beautiful Lord Shiva Statue. Try Scuba Diving at Pigeons Island if you have a couple of days to spare.
What to wear :
Gokarna weather is humid. Try carrying light clothes and flip flops or anything that you will be comfortable in. You can go swimming whenever you want by diving into the sea of go cliff jumping. Have your swim wear ready.
Your reviews / suggestions are welcome. Please leave a comment below. For any queries, please feel free to contact me via email -firstname.lastname@example.org.