So it happened. We made it to Gokarna and came back with the glorious landscapes and horizons of the place, barely touched by the world, etched forever in our memories. The experience was so surreal that we just halted in our way a lot of times, in utter disbelief and awe, to take in all that the view had to offer.
We were there for three days (technically two half days and one complete day. Our journey was a long one, okay?). The first day started with us locating our hotel which was on the Kudle beach and dumping all our things in our rooms. We set out to go have fun at the beaches at around 3:30 pm and we were in for such a treat! As our hotel was on Kudle beach, we figured we’d trek to Om beach, which wasn’t even a proper trek to be honest, but our out-of-exercise selves took about 45 minutes to get there. No one complained because it was the most glorious time of the day to be on the beach. Everything was so golden and so precious to look at at, I barely went into the water. There were just countless stills of the view that I had to store in my mind! Oh and numerous pretty shells to find! I saw so many fresh shells being washed onto the shore because the of the clear water and I think that is one of the purest things I ever got to witness.
Soon after the sunset, all the shacks and the cafes on the beach lit up and we were in what looked like fairy land at night.
We stayed on Om beach for as long as we could without it getting too dark (there are not a lot of street lights in Gokarna) and we made our way back using our cell phone torches and walking in a single file back to the hotel and this is not even the craziest part of the entire trip. We came back to Kudle beach later at night and had the very famous Kudle cake, which of-course tasted like heaven.
Tip for travelers: Take a reliable and powerful torch with you if you intend to stay out late.
The next day was dedicated to going to see Murudeshwar Temple and the Mirjan Fort, both some distance away from Gokarna. We booked a Tempo Traveler that could accommodate the 13 of us and we set off at 6:00 am to check off the list of things to do and places to visit for that day. The Murudeshwar Temple was located right on the beach and the sound from the waves and temple bells together is not something one gets to hear everyday.
The sea somehow looked so much prettier and bluer from the temple than from anywhere else and I would have been ready to believe it if someone came and told me that the place was brimming with magic.
After coming back from temple and the fort, we had time to visit the temple sheltering the Athmalingam which is the primary reason that Gokarna found its place on the tourist maps. We went to the temple the day after Shivarathri where we were told that we were very blessed to even be in Gokarna during the auspicious time. So dear God, if you are seeing of all this from above, can my accumulated good karma cancel out all the times I spend hours of my time procrastinating on the internet? No? Okay.
We later hoarded the local market near the temple and went back to the hotel broke and cashless. There were no ATMs that we could find so we had to wait till the next day to have some money that we can use again.
Tip for travelers: Carry a LOT of cash. Trust me, you’ll need it.
The most wonderful and exhilarating part of the trip was Day 3. We woke up at 5:00 in the morning to trek from Kudle to Om beach, Om to Half-Moon and Half-Moon to Paradise. We thought the trek would be similar to the one from Kudle to Om so we thought we should give it a try. Had anyone told me it involved all that we did, I would have said no, thank you and would have sat on Om beach, drinking tea or something. So kids, you should always be well aware of everything in store before doing anything but during certain fate-driven times, not knowing what’s ahead is the best thing to happen to you. Whatever pictures we took during our trek came out beautifully but what our phone cameras could not capture was a thousand times better than what you are going to see on this blog.
We set out when there were still stars in the sky and even stopped for a few minutes to see the twilight like the cities never show us. We arrived on the Om beach when it looked like this.
We waited for the sunrise and this is probably the most beautiful morning view that a beach can have.
Then we started our trek to Half-Moon which involved following a trail on a hill. We took the wrong trail quite a few times but the view that we got to see because of the wrong turns left us dumb with awe.
The last part of the trek on the hill involved walking on a narrow path on the edge of the hill but fear was long forgotten because I was too much in denial and kept asking myself if this was really happening and if I was really getting to experience so much beauty.
The most nerve-wracking experience, however, was the trek ( I’m not sure if we can even call it that) from Half-Moon to Paradise beach. Why? Because there was no land to walk on. The only way to get to that beach was to hop from one slippery rock to another.
Yes, the rocks were very pretty. But that did not make them any less slippery.
Many heart-stopping moments later, we ran into a group of German tourists and seeing human beings again gave us a lot of hope to keep climbing all those rocks. We reached the Paradise beach at a time when the sun was becoming almost too much to bear and we found it very true to its name.
The whole experience was me being spell bound by everything and anything I got to see and do, though Gokarna set the bar for beaches way too high for me to properly adore any another beach anywhere else. The sea was gentle, playful and never intimidating and I think I fell in love with it there. It’s a pity long distance is hard. Pictures and videos are never really enough.
We came back to Om beach in a ferry and WE SAW DOLPHINS WHILE COMING BACK JUST WHEN WE THOUGHT THE DAY COULD NOT GET ANY BETTER!!! I don’t have a picture of that but here one picture of the beautiful waters seen from the boat.
Everything was amazing. Everything was incredible. So much so that I am sure I will go back there very soon and will keep going back after that. What made the entire trip even more amazing was the fact that I had 12 awesome human beings with me who were as eager and enthusiastic as me to explore the place as much as humanely possible.
For everyone reading, go on and execute that plan of a trip with friends that has been on the back of your mind for a long time now. You will learn so many things and will have so many experiences to share which may or may not bore people after repeating them quite a few times. Also a big thank you to my parents who fed me nutritious food from my childhood without which I would not have made it out of that trek.
50 years from now, you guys can find me living in a hut by the Paradise beach and talking about Nirvana. Just letting you know, in case you want to come find me.
Credits: All the pictures taken by the one and only Spurthi Tallam and her godly phone. Video by yours truly. I promise I’ll get better. A person called Aasritha Pisupati helped me edit it though I barely know her. Must be a nice human.
Notes: I decided to be a little less lazy and finally started a blog. This space will have regular updates, if I use whatever little discipline that is left in me to incorporate some kind of a schedule.