We were getting restless after Maneesha’s exams got over. I had been thinking of going to Coorg or somewhere that I can find peace and tranquility. She finally agreed that she will come for the trip. Now we had to just make Archana agree to our plan. She eventually did, after an hour of conference call and lot of arguments of where to go and when to go. The trip was then planned to go to Gokarna, a northern town of Karnataka. I instantly started looking out for hotels, buses and what not. Archana asked me to relax my soul and do the research in free time. I had to agree.
A week before the trip we three started looking for the buses and hotels. Most of them were so expensive that we were thinking to save some money for few months and then never go. But no! I was too much into it. So we booked a cheap hotel, thinking we wouldn’t have to stay in it in daytime. And for nights, it looked okay. The buses were booked as well. Archana was to meet us at Kumta which is about 40km from Gokarna.
The bus ride was epic. The Western Ghats turns were making me sleepless in a sleeper. I was not able to sleep straight and when I slept on one side, I would just keep sliding. The whole night was full of toss and turn. Maneesha slept for a while but even she kept feeling uncomfortable. I think the best bus travelling experience is in the semi-sleepers. They offer you good head rest and the turns don’t make you slide off your seat.
Early morning, around 5:30am we reached Kumta Bus stand. There was still time in Archana’s arrival so me and Mani hogged on to some idlis and bananas. A cup of tasteless coffee was just cherry on the top of the experience we just had in bus. Archana came around 6:30 and our selfie sessions began. I love her phone. The hotel was nearby so we didn’t have to hire an expensive auto. Walking was enough. As we reached the hotel, we saw its name written in such huge letters. But there was something else written on top of it and bigger than the name itself. BAR. What have I booked? A bar or a hotel or a hotel with a bar. It wasn’t clear. So we just eh!
The first room’s latch didn’t work, the second rooms’ sheets were smelling and the third room finally had a good view. We checked into that, took bath and after getting ready, took so many selfies and pictures. Archana took her phone away from me.
A religious tour……………
The first destination was Murdeshwar temple: This has been built on the hills of Kanduka. It has a twenty storey Gopura and a huge Shiva statue build which is second highest statue of Shiva in India. There are counters at the entrance where you can buy the Prasad and flowers for offerings. And you must pay for the offering as well. That is a growing culture in temples now which are well known. We ended up not paying the guys and got our stuff back with us because that’s what we wanted to do, nobody can force money out for religion.
The Gopura is beautiful and if you look up, you can see how intricately each part of it has been made by the workers. Though we didn’t enter and tried to go to the top. There was less curiosity about the interior than the exterior. The weather that we went in was not apt for the place as the ocean was slapping the walls of the premise of the temple. A huge statue was standing there, of Lord Shiva. The story behind this place is quite interesting. Apparently, Ravana was happily carrying the SHIVLING (a stone of immense power) and God has asked him not to drop it on the ground. He was determined not to do so but he was tricked by God himself which made Ravana very angry and he broke SHIVLING into pieces and threw it around. Because of his might, he could throw it to distances and one such place was Mrideshawara which they named later as Murdeshawar. Bored yet? Well visit the place then.
After two hours of roaming in the temple, we went out for a good south Indian meal. Loved every bit as now I have gotten used to the taste of rasam and sambar. We didn’t even risk trying new food.
There is something unique about autos everywhere. Their prices are high, no matter where you are. We asked one auto guy, “Bhaiya(bro), how much for Honnavar?”
Echo Echo Echo……………
His reply made us run away. For a mere 25km he said 900. Don’t pay so much unless you have a gun pointed at you. Because that’s a crazy price. We settled one guy for 30rupees to reach the main gate which was 1km away. From there we took a bus to Honnaavar where there is a beautiful beach. It’s called ECHO beach. It was silent and open so I don’t know why it was named Echo!!
The water was coming till the shore and tides were high, wrong weather that we had planned to go. Still, we enjoyed picking up shells and one such shell was thrown way too far because the snail was still in that, screams followed it. Girls! Echo beach is not a highlight as much as the garden next to it is. It has swings, funny cutouts to put your head in and lot of seesaws. We enjoyed it thoroughly and then it rained like crazy.
At around 5 we got back to a restaurant and had snacks. We didn’t want to go back to hotel so soon so we asked the waiter if there was anything nearby that we could visit. Out of three choices of a theatre, a church and a small beach called Vannalli, we chose Vannalli.
Vannalli is the most beautiful beach in Kumta, as per me and my friends. So good that in our three days of trip, we visited it twice. The beach had less people strolling around. An old couple was walking, some guys were fishing and then we were running and picking shells, my shell picking starts as soon as I see a beach. It was fun till the cloud just burst on us and drenched us. After that it was awesome because of our funny actions, involving umbrellas almost flying away and me trying to make umbrellas open in the right direction but failing miserably at it. Everything seemed so much fun. Then we waited for watching sunset while we sat on the rock which was surrounded by sea. The scene got printed in our eyes.
The night at BAR/Hotel was not fun. I had fever and my friends were not stopping to discuss the budget. Soon we saw spiders on beds, small cockroach babies trying to sneak in. it was cold and we asked the room service if they can bring some blankets. They behaved as if they haven’t heard of such word and brought us sheets instead. For three pillows, they said we can get only one which was another bust. As we stepped out to collect all the stuff, we saw people drinking right on our floor and then it hit us, we can’t stay there any longer. At night, we booked another place and early morning we headed off to that hotel, leaving this one deserted of our presence. The guard was sleeping and receptionist was not at all shocked about our departure. He must have seen many people regret and leave like this.
After checking into Kinara homestay, we realized we should have searched some more hotels before heading for the trip and we could have stayed for two days at this place. It was nothing short of a small heaven. The uncle who takes care of the place is cool. We liked him instantly, he offered coffee, a warm welcome and two huge blankets. The bed was so warm and fluffy. Beauty!!
After getting ready, we headed for our destination, Gokarna. But on the way there was a fort that we wanted to see. It’s called Mirjan Fort. Queen Chennabhairadevi of Gersoppa was initially credited with building the Mirjan Fort in the 16th century. She ruled for 54 years and lived in the fort. The fort is covered in mosses now which makes it look more beautiful. The guide showed us and told few important information about the fort and he followed us till we figured out the whole place. Recently I visited Manjarabaad Fort in Sakleshpur. Both the fort has resemblance, not that it is of any use but to my amazement it felt like I am in Mirjan again. After a blissful walk in fort, we headed out for Gokarna
As already mentioned, we had gone to Gokarana in off season. So the coasts had coasts guards and we were not allowed to touch the water. When we saw Gokarna beach, it was bad and not just because we couldn’t touch the tides with our feet but the whole feel of the place as it was littered and not clean at all. You can probably enjoy the place in on season.
We headed for the famous Namaste Café on Om beach. At first you can’t see the café and at second as well. Only when you go down all the way to the stairs and think that would you must swim and go somewhere, then look at left, it is right there with tides hitting its wall. We crossed that track like warriors with screams as though screaming will push the tides away. Just to be sure, do not go to Namaste café in July if you have a soft heart and don’t know swimming. We had rounds of food while we enjoyed the view in front, also scared that if sea gets angry it might push tides to us. The entire experience was thrilling.
We started walking on the beach once when it got quieter. The trees on the beach were just adding up to the beauty of it. We walked till the very end. And was now bored with it. So we headed back to Kumta instantly. Within an hour we reached Kumta and then went to our favorite place, Vannalli beach. We walked a bit more on the rocks and trekked to higher ones. They were never ending. There is a seating place made for people like us who are not content with seating at home so they must sit on the rocks and enjoy beaches. The view from this point is a bliss. Nothing so beautiful, unless it rained on our heads again. This time we were prepared and opened umbrellas in right direction and Archana wore her raincoat.
Lot more laughter and lot more gossips, we headed back to our homestay. At night we had a hot dinner. And some coffee. We had planned to talk all night but one by one, we slept into the night.
Next morning, Mani was again up early. In my trips, there is always a friend waking me up. Next time, no such alarms clocks. We got ready, checked out of the homestay but kept our luggage. Oh, where we were heading? Jog Falls! The famous Jog Falls. It was three hours away if one goes by bus. We got a bus at the Kumta bus stand.
Jog falls is beautiful when it has water and to our amazement, this time nature didn’t disappoint us. It was so beautiful. I was clicking pictures of Mani and Archana with jog falls in the background. But the happiness didn’t last long. I was appreciating the clouds that were hovering over our heads. And in a second, it rained leaving us awestruck. But the enjoyment didn’t stop. We laughed at our lucks and then headed for lunch. There are few hotels nearby but all are costly. The one we went in was a bit cheaper as we were almost out of money now. There was one issue though. Someone told us that the next bus to Kumta is at 7 and our bus was at 9 from Kumta to Bangalore. So we were panicky. But the waiters told that there is a bus that leaves at 3 for Kumta. We literally hogged the whole food in and headed for bus stop. Soon the bus arrived and we left beautiful Jog falls.
After we got into our stay, the sweet uncle offered us tea again and he brought us dinner. We had long talks with him about the establishment of this homestay and his life story. He is really a good man and we wished him a life of happiness.
Me and Mani headed back to Bangalore and Archana to Pune. We three were teary but no one showed it or that’s what I imagine even though these girls don’t have an ounce of feelings about separating! Just kidding. We left all happy as we had one hell of a rainy trip. Too much of it.
See you next time on another trip. Till then, Ciao adios and enjoy the pictures.