Having only had the chance to trek mountains before, I had never anticipated the concept of a beach trek till I heard it from Abhiyana. I asked Sagar about it and he explained that the trek is about 25 km long stretch comprised of both beaches and hills. I had been dying to visit Gokarna for quite some time but somehow the plan never got cemented with friends. So the day arrives but unfortunately a team outing from office is scheduled on the same day which makes me so tired that I am almost about to cancel the trip. Not to mention that going to Domlur to board the bus felt like a mini-travel in itself. But all woes aside, I did somehow manage to reach on time and join the group. Quite a few new faces, and a very new experience of having two just married couples on board – their romance and jokes and fights can make this blog stretch to day long reading so I shall skip that part. Reaching Gokarna early morning, it was a blissful showered welcome from the skies above and having rain drops wash your face through the tiniest opening of the bus window was a refreshing start to the trip. The previous beach experiences have only constituted playing in the water, some little running around or sitting on the beach for hours. But this trek made us walk along the beach, taking in every bit of nature at our own pace.
Well, after crossing Kumta beach, we covered a private beach called Honalli after mounting a hill-top which again blessed us with an awestruck view of the paddy fields on one side, beach on the other and boulders in the sea on the third side. The sight can be best viewed in this pic. The next 2-3 kms of the trek were on the normal land and that short time away from the beach drove me really crazy – being a hardcore water fan.
Continuing on our trek, it felt majestic to walk along the mountain trail where you can see the sea-waves crashing on the rocks nearby, prompting us all to jump to those and get some good pictures. And did I mention that the mountains were lush green with grass? Never could I imagine a grassland on a mountain near the rocky shores of Arabian sea.
The adventure continued to multiple rounds of ringa-ringa-roses in the sea, tricking people to actually “fall down” in the salty sticky water, bharatnatyam on the beach and guys dancing like girls just for the sake of a funny moment captured via lens.
Sagar’s gazes made us continue the walk towards Holanagadde Beach, crossing which we took a right turn towards a village just before Gundenagadi Beach. Into the village, we moved towards our stay for the night, and guess the place! It was Holanagadde Ramajaneya Temple dedicated to lord Hanuman.We had been a little surprised at the prospect of staying in a temple but the hospitality of the priests and their families overwhelmed us all. Hot drink, snacks, bananas – unlimited quantity and us trekkers being extremely exhausted after the long walk and trek were no less than gluttons at that moment. Hot bath and a very hearty dinner later, we all retired for the day on the beds laid down by the temple folks – really, some people are too selfless and generous when it comes to serving guests. All they did for us, for nothing in return, with utmost happiness and content at their hearts.
With a fresh start to the next morning, we boarded our bus again and reached the dock near “Sangam” of the Aganashini river with the Arabian sea. Usually, the river dominates the flow of the water over sea, but that day being a rainy one, salt won over sweet. Here, we took a ferry towards Tadadi port, a fishingbank. Seeing fish being caught live is one experience in itself, not a very happy one for me though.
It was raining cats and dogs but that hour-long scratchy and hectic expedition landed us at the Paradise beach also known as the Mahadeva beach. Climbing atop the rocks, sticking our feet in the crevices to prevent slipping, all of us sat tight, holding hands, waiting for the breakers to drown us. This went on for quite some time till a tide made a few of us land on their asses and break a few knees. Retiring back to the soft sand, Sagar suddenly got this fetish to dig up a three feet deep pit while the rollers came in full-might and ruined his creations. That’s when an idea ( a very stupid one – you will know why in five seconds) strikes me to just go and stand in the pit, to feel the warmer sand and what happened next was beyond my imagination. As soon as I stepped in, one very intelligent human shouted to bury me in that and next I know, half of the group is pushing me to keep me in the pit, while the second half of the crew is filling-in sand around. Waist-deep I was buried, immovable, left to the mercy of the tides and sand washing me off, from head to toe. Well, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade and when friends bury you in sand, become a mermaid! Nothing could top the adventure we had at the paradise beach, but oh boy! Gokarna doesn’t fail to prove you wrong. Little did we know that climbing atop the mountain past this beach would serve our eyes with the mesmerising view of the Om beach and to actually see where it got its name from. Clinging to the one-and-only coconut tree atop that hill, watching the tourists from top on one side at the Om beach, the mighty breakers at the shores below and in the front, nothing but the vast stretch of the sea. The horizon itself was invisible since the boundary between the sea and the sky had been faded by the grey of the clouds. One could only try to imagine where the end was.
Knowing that I was nearing the end of this amazing trek, I just wanted to take it all in, one more time, one last time. I sang, I laughed, I cried and I thanked God, for making me realise one thing I had been asking myself for the past few weeks – what do I really want to do in life ? It may sound silly because I am sure many of us think this umpteen times every day but I had been forced to prod on it very seriously, very recently. And that’s when I realised, that whatever I do in life, wherever I am, if there is one thing that I have to keep on doing, to never stop doing ever, it’s travel. Far or near, easy or difficult, cheap or expensive, to keep walking along many other shores, to keep trekking many other peaks, to keep exploring many other cities, to keep meeting amazing set of people, gaining friends for life all the way…