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.
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:
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.
As we climbed the hill, I was no longer 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.
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.
As we continued our search for a stay, we were hardly convinced of 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 an attached bathroom).
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.
The next day we were all set to discover more. We headed towards Om beach, a small trek across the hill which was rejuvenating.
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.
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 the Brahminy Kite which now falls under the category of rare species.
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).
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 and Ganesh temple in Gokarna to seek blessings and thanked 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.
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.
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!”
P.S- All pictures are clicked from mobile.