Situated approximately 500 km from Bangalore City, India, is this small but beautiful town called Gokarna. This place is one of the sacred towns in the state of Karnataka worshipping the Hindu Deity Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is believed to have loomed from a cow’s ear and hence the name Go- Karna(Cow’s – Ear). I happened to visit Gokarna in the month of January 2017 with a couple of my friends and this was so far the best trip I have been.
THINGS TO DO IN GOKARNA
Gokarna mainly covers four beaches in the Arabian Sea. Namely, they are Om Beach, Kudle Beach, Half – Moon and Paradise Beach. These beaches are all situated few km close to each other and you can either take a ferry or take the trek across the four beaches( which is definitely what I would suggest!). Apart from the beaches, you also have the famous Mahabaleshwar temple in the middle of the Gokarna Town.This temple with his ancient architecture is a treat to one’s eyes. You will also find a couple of tourists practising Yoga at the beaches as well.
DAY 1: KUDLE BEACH
We left Bangalore via the local bus around 10 pm and reached Gokarna at 9 am the next morning. Since no stays at any of the beaches accept pre-booking, we were uncertain where we would be staying that night. We decided to make Kudle beach our midpoint and hence took the local rickshaw to Kudle.
Kudle Beach is simply amazing with its quiet and peaceful atmosphere.You will find a number of shacks and restaurants stretched across the shore.On our first night, we stayed at Sea Rock Cafe and the second night at Little Paradise. At one end of the shore, you will also find a small shop selling you the local wear and some other necessities.Since we had planned an early morning trek the next day we decided to stay back at Kudle that evening and enjoy the beach to its fullest.There are all types of cuisines available at the beaches and hence travellers from outside India need not worry about their food!
DAY 2: TREK ACROSS THE FOUR BEACHES
TREK FROM KUDLE TO OM BEACH
The next morning we had this long trek planned across the four beaches. From Kudle we left around 9 am and headed for the Om Beach.There are absolutely no directions or navigations available.Nor will Google Maps help you as there are multiple routes and hence you just need to rely on your instincts and move on. You will also meet a couple of other trekkers in your direction and they are the only guys that can help you.The trek consists of narrow paths, dry forest areas but all the more very exciting.
Kudle to Om Beach was a short trek, probably 30 minutes.Om Beach is considered as the most sacred beach here due to which you will find it is mostly covered by a lot of pilgrims.The shape of the beach is that of the Hindu Symbol ” Om ” and hence the name. You will also find a couple of shacks and restaurants similar to that of Kudle across the shore.Since we had gone during the weekend, Om beach was pretty much crowded and we decided to leave for the next beach immediately after lunch.
TREK FROM OM BEACH TO HALF -MOON BEACH
Om Beach to Half Moon was a beautiful trek with a lot of mindblowing views of the sea .This was a slightly longer trek than the previous one but all the better.At one point of the trek, we were in the middle of a forest quite confused to decide on the directions.We had to explore a couple of routes before deciding the most likely one! It was scary but very exciting as we guys were the only ones there and we had to figure out everything by ourselves.
We reached Half Moon Beach after what seemed an hour.This beach is the shape of a Half- Moon and hence the name again.But unlike Kudle and Om beach, Half -Moon did not have any shacks or restaurants.It was small, quiet and isolated and was probably considered as a halt for the trekkers. We decided to rest there for a while and that’s when we found this old lady carrying pineapples and watermelon.Though we did not know the language, she smiled and sat with us and happen to enjoy the fruits with us, soon after which we left for the final trek to Paradise Beach.
TREK FROM HALF-MOON TO PARADISE BEACH
The trek to Paradise Beach was the most challenging trek.Being amateurs it took us more than an hour to reach Paradise.On route to Paradise, we stopped at this small place which was in the middle of nowhere.We could clearly see the beginning of the gorgeous sunset from this point after which we continued our trek.
Paradise Beach is literally like an island and it is my favourite of the lot. This one was quite small but with a lot of solo travellers. This is the only beach in Gokarna that permits camping and hence you will find a lot of tents and hammocks here.The closest restaurant to this beach is another 1km trek which makes this place all about nature.You will find a lot of people practising yoga simply enjoying the silent breeze. Since it was almost sunset, there were quite a few preparing for a campfire as well. We took a ferry back to Kudle as it was almost dark to return back via road.
DAY 3 – GOKARNA TOWN
The next morning we packed our luggage and left for Gokarna Town.As there was a huge queue at the Mahabaleshwar Temple and it was almost time for our bus we were unable to explore the temple. However, we did happen to go to a couple of shops selling beautiful accessories, dreamcatchers and some local beach wear.By the time we covered the entire town, it was time for our bus back home.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER
- No stays at any of the beaches accept prebooking.Yet except for New Years, you will definitely find a place to stay.
- The beaches remain closed from April – August due to Monsoon.They are again open from September.
- The town is pretty far from all the beaches and hence it is advisable to carry all the basic necessities required for your trip.
- No shacks/restaurants accept Card Payment, hence it’s a must to carry cash with you (All currencies are accepted ).
Keep these few tips in your mind and I promise you will have a wonderful time at Gokarna!