Gokarna- Trekking to the sun kissed beaches

It was Friday, and I had a long weekend ahead (Monday, 5th sept was a holiday on occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi). I was sitting at my desk wondering if there is any other way to reach Gokarna as our train tickets did not confirm. Saddened by the fact that even bus tickets were sold out I was biased with the plan and was thinking to return home as usual. But the quest to travel and see new places did not allow me to do so.

Me- ” yaar jane ka to bahot man hai, kese jaye ab? ”

Translation: “I am willing to go there.Is there any other possible ways?”

Friend- “man to mera bhi bahot hai, chal station fir jaate hai jese laakho log train me travel karte hai”

Translation: “ Same here. Let’s go in the way millions of Indians travel”

A nudge was needed at that time and he always motivates me by being more positive. Happily convinced and agreed with his decision here we were at Thane station waiting for the train.So, we were 3 friends set out on a journey to Gokarna with no concrete plan as for where to go and what to do. Let the circumstances and our mood decide the places to visit. We boarded the train, sat down in the aisle for the whole night. We knew the adventure had already begun.

Journey to Gokarna
While one of my friends hated every single moment of the journey, I was laughing, giggling, talking to strangers. That’s the beauty of things you like. You stay happy, no matter what!

To add little more to the adventure, the train was late by 4 hrs. We met a travel enthusiast on our way and shared our travel experiences. Later, we came to know that she is exploring rural India along with her team and have their website for people to experience Indian culture, local food, and stays. You can visit the link as below:

www.nativefolks.com

Gokarna:

We reached Gokarna at 3.30pm. Tired and hungry, and since the first half of the day was consumed in traveling, we were looking for a cheap stay in Gokarna so that we could freshen up, have some food and hit the nearby beach. Now all I could imagine is good food. I wished to stay in shack facing the beach. Since no shack was available in Gokarna, we explored Gokarna beach and started to climb the hill to reach Kudle beach.

streets of Gokarna
Cows lazing around, the smell of cow dung, ringing bells in nearby temples, Brahmans/Pundits sitting in veranda/walking on the streets, few stalls selling handicrafts welcomed us to the small town of Gokarna.
Gokarna beach
Gokarna beach
Shivling at Gokarna beach
There are many such small shivlings carved out of rock throughout the Gokarna beach.

As we climbed the hill, I no longer was feeling hungry. My body was recharged with the greenery, the view of the beach from the hill and the noise of the waves hitting the rocks. It was enough to satiate my hunger. As we continued our climb, the sun was gradually setting, moving more closer to the sea as if wanting to romance with the sea.

view of Gokarna beach from hill
View of Gokarna beach while climbing the hill.
Natural water, Gokarna
This natural water is considered as holy and is said to cure several diseases.
Carved stone, Gokarna
Carved stone
View of Gokarna from hill
View of Gokarna beach from the hilltop.
Enroute Kudle beach
Enroute Kudle beach.

Kudle beach:

It took us no more than 30 mins to reach Kudle beach. This was my first experience where I could see the beach’s end on both sides. Generally, the beaches I’ve been to are quite long and seems to be never ending. Kudle beach gave me that exact feeling of reaching the island shore.

Kudle beach
As we descended to Kudle beach, look who is here to welcome us. Holy Cow!

Kudle beach in monsoon

As we continued our search for a stay, we were hardly convinced with the price for a night stay that most of the shacks were charging (Rs. 1000- 1500  for a room). Finally, we found a stay at Sunset cafe which charged us 400rs (just that it did not have attached bathroom).

Sunset cafe, Kudle beach
Sunset Cafe.
Sunset at Kudle beach
View from our shack.

We were informed by the localities to not go deeper into the sea as wave currents are stronger during monsoon. Taking this an excuse to devour food, I walked briskly towards nearby cafe to order my dish. The cafe played wonderful beach music. I sat there sipping my drink and watching the sunset while the other two were happy playing with waves, taking a dip in the sea water and I whispered to myself, “Life is beautiful !”. The day concluded by midnight with some great food, a long walk on the beach, listening romantic Bollywood music, singing in chorus and some more food.

Dusk at Kudle beach
Sunset, Kudle beach.

The next day we were all set to discover more. We headed towards Om beach, a small trek across the hill which was rejuvenating.

Morning at Kudle beach
Morning at Kudle beach. Clicked while heading towards Om beach.

As we climbed, we took a wrong path which led us to the hill’s cliff only to realize it had a breathtaking view of the sea. We sat there for some time, clicked photos and soaked in the peace it had to offer.

trek to Kudle beach
Look what we found…Gold!

Om beach:

Soon, we were on our way to Om beach and reached the beach in half an hour. It was less crowded as compared to Kudle beach. Few youngsters, 1-2 families, fishermen folding nets after catching fishes, a foreigner lazing on the beach with his tent pitched up in a distant. We even got a glimpse of Brahminy kite which now falls under the category of rare species.

trek to Om beach
Enroute Om beach.

Colours of Om beach

Tranquil Om beach

Brahminy Kite
Brahminy Kite. (Clicked by my friend from his DSLR)
Om beach
This beach is in the shape of ‘Om’ and hence the name.

Half Moon beach:

We finally marched towards the half moon beach. I would rather call this beach cute than calling it beautiful. It was the smallest beach amongst all and my personal favorite. As if this beach is the youngest sibling of all the other beaches we visited. Beach sands were shining like the pearls like no one has ever touched it before. The sound of the waves hitting the shore was even louder as if letting us know that I am free and mischievous amongst them all (the other beaches).

enroute Half moon beach
En route Half Moon beach.
Half moon beach
Half Moon beach.
Wall Graffiti at Half Moon beach
Wall graffiti.

As we returned to our room, it was already noon. We still had time to explore before we catch our midnight train. We decided to go to Murudeshwar which has a huge statue of Lord Shiva. Heading towards the bus depot we first visited Mahabaleshwar temple and Ganesh mandir in Gokarna to seek blessings and thank Him for bringing us here.

As we marched towards the bus depot, I watched the streets of Gokarna. Calm and serene with coconut trees by the roadside, the temple at every corner of the road (Gokarna is also known as temple town), Brahmins/Pandits residing here in vast numbers. I realized that the importance of knowing the culture of the countryside is equally important to connect emotionally with the place.

Also read: Mythological importance of Gokarna, Murudeshwar

Temple town, Gokarna
Street of Gokarna.
Art museum, Gokarna
Art museum building in the shape of a shivling.

Murudeshwar:

2 hrs later we reached Murudeshwar and as we reached closer to the temple, we could see a huge statue of Lord Shiva. I still cannot forget the smiles on each of our faces. Rushing through the temple door, we visited the temple and soon got to the 13th floor of the temple building to get the most astonishing view, the huge statue of Lord shiva with the Arabian Sea at the back. We sat at the Murudeshwar beach for a long time. This time I was facing the statue rather than looking at the sunset. We spent hours on the beach sitting, watching Shivji before we caught our bus for Karwar from where we had a confirmed return ticket to Mumbai (thankfully). The place was so charming, I felt like I was meditating with my eyes wide open. The calmness of the beach made me speechless and the divine statue made me stare at it for a long time, thinking about absolutely nothing and admiring the beauty that I was witnessing.

Temple gate, Murudeshwar
Entrance gate of Murudeshwar temple.
Statue of Shiva, Murudeshwar
123 ft. tall Shiva statue with the Arabian Sea at the back.

Wherever we roamed, on the streets, the beach, we had Lord Shiva on our back. I turned often to look at the statue as if He was smiling looking at me saying, “I am there with you, always!”

Selfie with Shiva
Selfie with lord Shiva!

P.S- All pictures are clicked from mobile.

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