Why you should choose Gokarna for your Next Weekend Getaway 

26th Nov 2015
Photo of Why you should choose Gokarna for your Next Weekend Getaway by Sanghamitra Bordoloi

The temple town of Karnataka, Gokarna offers something beyond the temples, the beaches and the nature, Gokarna is a spiritual experience. There are two sights to Gokarna, one where you find the Hindu pilgrims visiting the the Shiva temple, that is claimed to be the original image of the god -the lingam, other ongoing religious festivities, cows roaming aimlessly around the city , Brahmins sipping chai on the front yard, not Brahmins per say but few looked more like Russians adorning saffron garments with a sikha (long tuft, or lock of hair, left on top or on the back of the shave), old houses, street shops, narrow gullies in a chaotic setting, and the other, well, imagine you are in the 70s era, a clean empty beach, beautiful water surrounded by thick greenery, few cottages here and there, hippies all around and you find calmness in the sounds of the waves crashing.

Daily 1 to 4 buses operate from Bangalore. It is a 12 hour overnight journey from Bangalore to Gokarna. The experience taking the overnight sleeper bus, is a cautionary tale. Once your bus reaches the zig-zag hill roads, you will find yourself grabbing on to the window or to your fellow traveller because you are slipping from your bed. The roads are bouncy, driven by too-expert of a bus driver that can’t seem to catch a break.

After a 12-13 hours of bouncy ride, we arrived in Gokarna town early morning at 6. The ambience and the aroma of the town was different, it felt like we took a time capsule to an ancient place. Since I was more enthusiastic to stay on the ever so famous Kudle beach, we got hold of an auto, and reached a place from where you have to walk on foot to reach our hotel.

Driving rough through the narrow round-about gullies, honking at the every cow, goat and humans, our driver finally dropped us off at the stopping point. Walk was a descent amidst thick jungles with your backpack. You start to hear faint sounds of the waves and you know you are finally reaching. After couple of minutes walking down, we see the beauty. Magnificent sea surrounded by hills. What a sight! Our walk didn’t end still. We had to walk on foot till we reach our hotel on the beach. You can opt for either staying in cottages (more of a cottage without floors and open air bathrooms under the trees) or the Gokarna International Hotel.

Freshened up and charged, we went for breakfast. We usually stuck to all American or English breakfast, lunch and dinner sipping chilled beer because of the heat. Temperatures soars around mid-day and it’s better to stick to the rooms or in shade to avoid getting burnt.

Evenings in Kudle beach consists of Jam sessions, looking at the sunset, sipping drinks, gorging on seafood, getting tattooed, taking a walk along the beach, meeting people from around the world. As the evening passes, a whiff of a peculiar smell will excite you.

Pic Courtesy: Google News

Photo of Kudle Beach Road, Dandebagh, Gokarna, Karnataka, India by Sanghamitra Bordoloi

You will find police moving here and about, whose main occupation seems to be to hunt the smoker. Its 20000 Rs for a spliff as a fine. They can visit you night and day in your room or on the main beach so beware.

Don't even try to ask the locals or shops for a spliff, if you ain't foreign you ain't getting it.

Om Beach is along the coast from Kudle, and is named for its shape as it is split by a rocky island, giving it a shape of OM. It can be reached by auto. The second half of the beach is packed with restaurants offering cheap accommodation in the form of bamboo or concrete beach huts. This beach is reasonably clean all year round.

Pic Courtesy: Google News

Photo of Om Beach, Gokarna, Karnataka by Sanghamitra Bordoloi

Half Moon beach is smaller than Om Beach, and is reached by walking over from Om Beach. Facilities are limited, there are a couple of small restaurants and a limited number of huts. We opted to take a boat available from Kudle beach.

At the end of the half-moon beach, a small beach trail leads to Paradise beach, also known as Full-moon beach. Its around 20 minutes walk from Half-moon beach.Half-moon and Paradise beaches can be reached by walk or boat.

Gokarna is popular with pilgrims, while Kudle and Om are popular with tourists. You can also try your hand in surfing or can join a yoga class which takes place in Kudle beach itself. To experience Gokarna in a different light, locals say that visiting during Shiva Ratri is a tremendous sight where thousands of pilgrims descend to this town.

If you feel you are a child of the 70s and your soul has still not awaken to this futuristic era , and seem willing to give up on your hectic life, then this is your abode. This is your home.

Best Places to stay:

Gokarna International, Kudle Beach Rs 1500/ for a double bed room with attached bath and air-conditioner.

Namaste Cafe, Om Beach, Gokarna, Run by Namaste Atithya, a group that owns and runs Namaste Cafe on Om Beach, Namaste Sanjeevini. Charges vary from Rs 1000-4000