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The Definitive Gokarna Weekend Itinerary That All Of You Were Waiting For


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Duration: 2 Days
Photos of The Definitive Gokarna Weekend Itinerary That All Of You Were Waiting For 1/16 by Prateek Dham
Credits: Rahul Kaul

It isn't a surprise that whenever someone mentions a beach holiday to you, all you can visualise is Goa. But that precisely is the problem with Goa – it is too popular. This has taken away the laid-back charm of the place completely in the last decade or so, and it's impossible to actually "relax" on any beach in Goa anymore.

But there is no need to be disheartened, for there is still a hippie paradise waiting for you to discover within our country. I'm talking about Gokarna – a very able alternative to Goa.

Gokarna is a tiny temple town in Karnataka and is, thankfully, still away from the effects of absolute capitalism. Originally getting recognition because of the Mahabaleshwara Temple, which is widely believed to house the "original image to Lord Shiva's Lingam", this sleepy town has recently come into the limelight for its unadulterated beaches (the two primary ones being Kudle and Om) and everything else that Goa once stood for.

If you've suddenly developed an urge to go check out this place, here's a complete weekend itinerary for you to fall back on once you're there.

DAY 1

Arrive in Gokarna

Photos of Kudle Beach, Gokarna, Karnataka, India 1/1 by Prateek Dham

The best thing to do at Kudle Beach is to soak up the vibes of the place by breaking the fast while facing the endless sea. Here are two great places to do so:

Breakfast

Photos of Little Paradise Inn, Gokarna, Karnataka, India 1/1 by Prateek Dham

This is a little beach-facing shack serving international fare at reasonable prices. A fixed Israeli or Continental breakfast will cost you only Rs. 250. The staff isn't very friendly, but the overall experience is nice.

Photos of Cafe 1987, Gokarna, Karnataka, India 1/1 by Prateek Dham

Cafe 1987 is probably the best cafe on the Kudle Beach road. The food is a bit costlier than other cafes, but it is worth it. The ambience is casual, the staff is polite, and the music is majorly Bollywood. It's a multi-cuisine cafe so you can order just about anything here. I personally recommend their Chinese fare.

Go sightseeing

Photos of Mahabaleshvar Temple, Gokarna, Karnataka, India 1/1 by Prateek Dham

Once you've rejuvenated from your journey and fulfilled your tummy's demands, you can go check out what's around you. And I recommend the first pitstop to be the legendary Mahabaleshwar Temple. This is the reason why Gokarna came into the eye of the seekers of spiritual emancipation in the first place. The main deity inside this temple is a Shivalinga, which is believed to bring good fortune to whoever catches a glimpse of it. The temple is just a kilometre and a half away from Kudle Beach – a mere 15 minute walk.

Photos of Yana, Karnataka, India 1/1 by Prateek Dham

If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, you can hire a bike or car and drive till the Yana Village nearby. It's 53km away, which means you will be on the road for around an hour and a half. This village is famous for its unusual rock formations (as shown in the picture above) called Karst or Asteroids. This attracts many trekkers here, resulting in economic benefits for this tiny village. This place also hosts an annual car festival during Shivratris, so you can plan your trip accordingly if you wish to witness that. The surrounding areas are populated by dense green forests where you can easily chill for a while and enjoy the view before hitting the road back to Gokarna.

Photos of Murudeshwara Temple, Gandhi Bazar, Shivamogga, Karnataka, India 1/1 by Prateek Dham

Your final pitstop for the day can be the world-renowned Murudeshwar Temple, thanks to its second-tallest Shiva statue in the world. It's really not just the physical stature of the deity that is to see here, it's more the ethereal beauty that takes your breath away. The temple is built on the Kanduka Hill, surrounded by the Arabian Sea on three sides. A 20-storied structure is built close to the statue so that the latter's magnanimity can be enjoyed to the fullest.

Come back to Om Beach

Photos of Om Beach, Gokarna, Karnataka, India 1/1 by Prateek Dham

Om Beach is even calmer than Kudle Beach, and hence it's a great place to end your day. There are plenty of rock pools here to sit at and enjoy. And many boats for hire that can help you explore the sea for as cheap as 100 bucks an hour during off-season. This place is a favourite with Israelis and Russians, who have made this a permanent retreat away from the hustle and bustle of Goa. The beach is named after its actual shape – the word 'Om'.

Dinner

Photos of Namaste Cafe, Gokarna, Karnataka, India 1/1 by Prateek Dham

Namaste Cafe is located right at the beginning of Om Beach and offers a fantastic view of the sea. Famous for its seafood, this restaurant enjoys huge crowds during peak time. This is a great option to admire the night sky with a chilled beer in your hand, unless you're in a hurry to go somewhere else later because the place is also infamous for its slow service. You must try their veg sizzler.

Photos of Chez Christophe, Belehittal Road, Gokarna, Karnataka, India 1/1 by Prateek Dham

Probably the most happening restaurant in Gokarna, Chez Christophe fully comes to life only at night. Although located a kilometre away from the main Om Beach, this restaurant will make up for your detour in a musical fashion. Perennially crowded with people playing various musical instruments inside and around, the hippie culture is at its highest here. You must try their baguettes and croissants for sure, while you sip on the whiskey.

DAY 2

The Day of Chill

Photos of Kudle Beach, Gokarna, Karnataka, India 1/1 by Prateek Dham

If you followed Day 1's itinerary, then you've already travelled a lot. So Day 2 needs to be the day to relax and experience the tranquil demeanour of Gokarna. Hence, just go to Ganga Cafe for your brunch and sit there till late afternoon.

Photos of Ganga Café, Gokarna, Karnataka, India 1/1 by Prateek Dham

Rated the highest amongst all the cafes in Gokarna, Ganga Cafe is like no other in the proximity. Owned by Nagesh and his genial family, this cafe provides great views of Kudle Beach. The best part about this place is that no one will frown upon you for sitting idly for as long as you want. Although it's a multi-cuisine restaurant, but I personally recommend that you stay away from the Indian food, as they might make it spicier than what your palate is used to. Just get a beer and some pakodas and spend the entire afternoon here.

Beach hopping

Photos of Paradise Beach, Gokarna, Karnataka, India 1/1 by Prateek Dham

If you wish to immerse yourself in the true hippie culture, then Paradise Beach is just the place for you. Since this beach is only accessible via either a trek or a boat ride, the population here comprises of people seeking solace from the crowd. Before you jump at the thought of going to this beach, I must tell you that only a few basic amenities are available here – this means there is no electricity and only a handful of shacks selling bags of chips and pakodas. If you are not bothered by such inconveniences, this white sand beach is totally worth your time.

Photos of Half Moon Beach, Gokarna, Karnataka, India 1/1 by Prateek Dham

Just like the one above, Half Moon Beach is also a secluded beach that you can take a ferry to from both Om and Kudle Beaches, or can even trek to from Paradise Beach. You might even be able to spot a dolphin or two here, so I recommend you stay here a while. The number of shacks here, however, is even less than on Paradise, so you might want to carry some eatables with you, if you are planning to be here till sunset. It's a great place for couples.

Dinner

Photos of Prema Restaurant, Gokarna Beach Road, Dandebagh, Gokarna, Karnataka, India 1/1 by Prateek Dham

If after all this time in Gokarna, you've started craving a proper Indian meal, Prema Restaurant will act as an oasis in this desert. The eatery is extremely popular, especially amongst foreign tourists, for a taste of authentic Indian food in a town otherwise mostly known for its western food. Prema's speciality is South Indian, and you'll also get the Udupi-kind-of- food if you care to delve deeper. In all probability, you will be underwhelmed by the facade of this place but let it not deceive you, for it's quite possibly the best restaurant in the whole of Gokarna. Also, it's pure vegetarian.

Photos of Little Paradise Inn, Gokarna, Karnataka, India 1/1 by Prateek Dham

As Justin Timberlake famously sang, what goes around indeed comes around. If you've been following this itinerary from the beginning, Little Paradise Inn was the cafe where you were supposed to have your very first meal. This is also the place where you can have your last meal before jetting off to reality. Little Paradise is known so because of its seafood preparations, and hence if you are a hardcore non-vegetarian, Prema Restaurant just won't cut it for you; it's only the prawns at this place that will satiate your hunger.

So there you go, my friend, a complete weekend itinerary to enjoy Gokarna to the fullest. If you've already been to this little place, do write about your itinerary and share it with the Tripoto community.


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