Beaches in Gokarna

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This post has been published in Club Mahindra blog. This is my 3rd post on Gokarna. Here’s my 2nd post and 1st post.

About Gokarna: An ancient beach town in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka, Gokarna has great religious significance as well. The town has 5 beaches – Gokarna, Kudle, OM, Half Moon and Paradise – in that order and with hills between the beaches. As such, it offers extremely good opportunity for beach treks. None of these beach treks surpass 30 minutes duration and provide exotic views of the sea from the hillocks. World seems to have stopped when you are here – beach hop, lay on the beach, jog, walk, eat at beach cafes, buy, drink, dance, write – do whatever but don’t rush. This is a place that rewards laziness. All these make Gokarna a great two day weekend getaway from Bangalore, Goa, Mumbai and Pune during Oct-Apr.

 

Carefool at OM Beach

Carefool at OM Beach

 

Each beach in Gokarna is a lazy man’s paradise. Stay and eat at a beach side hack/cafe/hotel/resort. Lie on the  beach – on a bed-sheet with a hat over your face to avoid sun/eye-contact, or with the sun scorching your back. Or, read a book lying on a towel and in your bare minimum. And the best part, wear almost anything that you want (just that you have to wear something) – barmudas with sleepers, Alibaba pants and top, or a skirt of any shape and size.

There are five beaches in Gokarna – Gokarna, Kudle, Om, Half Moon and Paradise, in that order.

 

Gokarna Beach at Dusk

Gokarna Beach at Dusk

 

Gokarna Beach – It lies close to the town and is frequented by locals and tourists alike. The beach is close to the Mahabaleshwar Temple, a very old Lord Shiva temple that has an associated legend as well. At the beach, you can spot families, young and elderly couples, single and group travellers. It goes without saying – several fast food joints and the groundnut/balloon sellers adorn the shoreline. In the vicinity, you will find plenty of hotels, food joints and garments/puja shops. A word of caution here for tourists:  Avoid wearing skimpy clothes in the area. Since the ancient temple is nearby, this part of Gokarna is more of a pilgrim town than a beach town. You wouldn’t want to be an eye-sore for the locals just for your choice of clothes.

 

Kudle Beach

Kudle Beach

Kudle Beach – Is mostly frequented by foreigners and is almost a kilometer long, pretty wide as well. This gives you ample space to engage in the usual beach games, bonfires etc. Rocks, and plenty of them, adorn the sea shore. You’d find foreign tourists (mostly, but some Indians as well) staying in the shacks – sleeping, eating, drinking and reading.  I spotted the “Shantaram” being read atleast atleast thrice! King Fish delicacies are very tasty and are reasonably priced, in fact cheaper than most restaurants in Bangalore. The eateries play continental/Israeli music all the time. You could also beach trek from Kudle to Mahabaleshwar Temple.

OM Beach

OM Beach

OM Beach – This beach is around 20 minutes of an auto ride from the Gokarna bus stand. Certainly the best of the five Gokarna beaches, the beach derives its name from the Hindu religious symbol – OM, since its shape resembles that of the symbol. The ‘OM’ shape is pretty evident when you see the beach from the hillocks on the either side. However, the right side gives a better view than the left. Consequently, the picture you take would be mirror image of the OM symbol. The beach is the longest among the five beaches and is frequented by Indian and foreign tourists alike. You can stay at the Namaste Café which overlooks the OM Beach, or at any of the several shacks that are scattered around the beach. There is also the Swaswara resort as well, a hundred odd meters away from Om beach. There are three equidistant rocky patches at the beach. Two things you shouldn’t miss at OM – sitting atop each rock patch and the morning jog.

Half Moon Beach - Panorama

Half Moon Beach - Panorama

Half Moon Beach – It’s a tiny beach and can be reached by beach trekking from Om, or by paying INR 200 on a ferry boat. But the ferry ride wouldn’t allow you to spend much time at the beach. The beach has huge rocks as well. There’s a hut and you may as well get some food there. Once here lose yourself and merge with the tranquil surroundings.

Paradise Beach – The fifth and the last beach in the series, and it befits its name. You have to beach trek for about 20 min from Half Moon beach to reach Paradise beach. There are a couple of beach cafes as well.

Tips…

  1. Be careful while swimming, as the sea is shallow at some places and there are several cases of death due to drowning reported every year here.
  2. As usual, bargain hard with the sellers – beads sellers, clothes and accessories sellers, musical instruments sellers etc.
  3. Take mosquito repellent and a bed-sheet with you.
  4. Try beach trek – there are at least four options. If you can’t beach trek at all, you can see the beaches on a ferry boat – at INR 200 per head.
  5. Take your swimwear with you – there aren’t too many beaches in India where you can wear them without being ogled. So, don’t miss this opportunity.
  6. Don’t wear bikini at the Gokarna Beach – this may offend the local people and the police. But you may wear them at the other four beaches.
  7. Don’t miss the morning jog at OM beach.

Skywatch Friday – Karwar

I went to Goa last September, from Bangalore via sleeper bus. It is an overnight jouney and usually takes 14 odd hours. Predictably, you would sleep at night and in the morning, you would pass through coastal Karnataka. En route, the most beautiful place I believe is Karwar. The town is in Uttara Kannada district and is 15 km south of Karnataka-Goa border. Interestingly, a spot here has Rabindra Nath Tagore’s name. I didn’t stay there so if you want to pay this place a visit, the links below will help you.

This picture is headed for Skywatch Friday. Thanks Vamsee for the idea. So, here you go.

 

Karwar Skyline

Karwar Skyline

Further Reading

TGIF Photo # 3 – Rameshwaram

Well its Friday and it time for TGIF Photo. Here’s a picture of Rameshwaram (or Rameswaram) Beach at sunrise. The place is located in Tamil Nadu and is only 40 km from Sri Lanka. We reached Rameshwaram at close to 3 am, checked in into a hotel and left for the beach at around 4:30 am. To our surprise, there were already quite some people there – taking holy dip. And as usual, there were cows and bulls roaming on the beach. Here’s the photo of sunrise:

tgif-rameshwaram1

Just push it – Murudeshwar Beach

This is my 3rd post on Murudeshwar. Here’s my 1st post and 2nd post.

I loved Murudeshwar (also called Murudeswara, Murudeswar, Mrudeswara) Beach. The Beach has visibly two parts – one flanked by the tourists (not large in numbers though) and the other visited by only those who want some ‘private’ space. This private space is just 400m off from the where the beach starts. During the beach walk, I saw few children (presumably of local fishermen) pushing a boat off the beach. Here’s the 1-minute video:

After this video, I asked two kids whether they would like to be photographed. They agreed but were really shy. Clicked them though.

Dont be shy my Honey

Dont be shy my Honey

Other children sniffed the opportunity to get clicked and rushed towards me shouting ‘Photo, Photo’. During the next few seconds, I managed another click. Here you go:

Me too

Me too

The fisherman was on his boat sailing through the waves. The scene reminded me of ‘The old man and the Sea’.

Old Man and the Sea

Old Man and the Sea

Acknowledgment: Post idea courtesy Mridula

About Murudeshwar: A sylvan beach by the temple, some beach-side eateries, beach activities (boat ride, snorkeling, banana ride, diving, eating fish fry etc – no bikini beach tan though), an island (Netrani) and some shopping (items made of local root) pretty much sums up the place. A good weekend getaway from Bangalore during Oct-Feb. More.

Related Posts:

  1. Murudeshwar: Understated but Exhilirating
  2. Murudeshwar Guest House: Hotel review

TGIF #2 – Chikmaglur

I went to Chikmaglur (also called Chikmagalur, Chikkamagaluru, Chickmagalur) a year back – Christmas week of 2007. In Kannada, the name means ‘town of the younger daughter‘. The place lies in Baba Budan Hills in Karnataka. The trip entailed overnight travel, backpacking, trekking, campfire (at rooftop of a hotel!), sleeping in a tent etc. Here’s a pic from that trip. You can read more about the place here.

Baba Budan Hills - Chikmagalur

Baba Budan Hills - Chikmagalur

Namaste Cafe, Gokarna – overlooking OM Beach

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Namaste Cafe Entrance

Namaste Cafe Entrance

About Gokarna – An ancient beach town in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka, Gokarna has great religious significance as well. The town has 5 beaches – Gokarna, Kudle, OM, Half Moon and Paradise – in that order and with hills between the beaches. As such, it offers extremely good opportunity for beach treks. None of these beach treks surpass 30 minutes duration and provide exotic views of the sea from the hillocks. World seems to have stopped when you are here – beach hop, lay on the beach, jog, walk, eat at beach cafes, buy, drink, dance, write – do whatever but don’t rush. This is a place that rewards laziness. And yes, it is one of the very few places in India (other than Goa of course!) where you can find bikini babes – and that too in good numbers. All these make Gokarna a great two day weekend getaway from Bangalore, Goa, Mumbai and Pune during Oct-Mar.

About Namaste Cafe – Lies on the shore of OM Beach. In fact it lies so close, you would feel OM Beach is the private beach of Namaste Cafe. Ph – 08386 – 257141, Address – Near Om Beach, Gokarna, Karnataka – 581326

Namaste Cafe from Om beach

Namaste Cafe from Om beach

Rates: Range is INR 150-600 for double occupation. Mind you, I’m talking on Oct 2008.

Services: You wouldn’t need much for your room. But you would spend quite some time at the restaurant – eating, drinking, smoking, talking or just, passing time looking at the sea and people around. At the restaurant, service is prompt and accurate.

Best Experience: The cafe lies just on the shore of OM beach. This takes away all the distractions that you may have while on a beach vacation. Just leave your room and hop on to OM Beach – jog, walk, just lay lazy, write, observer the sea and people, sit atop the rocks at the beach. Also, you can beach trek from beach to another.

Worst Experience: The room was stuffy and the bed-sheet dirty. But this was inconsequential given the advantages.

From Namaste Cafe Balcony

From Namaste Cafe Balcony

Summary: The location of the cafe is the best part – overlooking OM beach. Thus, you can have your breakfast, lunch and dinner and simultaneously watching the sea and people around. The cool breeze, the sound of the sea, the lingo of the people around you and of course, the little shop selling beach wares and accessories makes it a perfect place to spend time. The only catch, small rooms.

Tips & Tricks

  1. The room was really small and the bed-sheet dirty. So, bring a bed-sheet with you in case you want to sleep on a clean one.
  2. You may need a mosquito repellent. I didn’t need one though. But then, better safe than sorry.
  3. Take the rooms in the first floor – you’d spend a quality time on the balcony.
  4. Try the Continental food at the cafe – the price, taste and ambience is a good bargain.
  5. Have heavy breakfast at the cafe – the sea view with the breeze caressing your ears and hairs is a charming experience

Further Reading:

My review at HolidayIQ, Namaste Cafe @ Flickr,

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Christmas in Bangalore – St Patricks Church

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About – The church is second oldest in Bangalore (St. Mary’s being oldest). Originally built for Irish soldiers, the church is now frequented by numerous during weekends. It is located at the junction of Brigade road and Residency Road. Apart from the church, its premises has a shrine, plenty of open space – for parking and strolling.

Inside St. Patrick's

Inside St. Patrick's

Ambience – Inside the church, three columns of seats (5 in a row) were teeming with people. Most were dressed in their best. Men were in usual dark suits. Women were more colorful, wrapped in flamboyant saris, frocks, skirts (of all possible lengths) and salwar-kameez. Every seat had a booklet – of lyrics of Carol Service and Holy Mass. We arrived pretty early (10:15 pm) in the hope of getting a front seat only to find that numerous others thought on similar lines and arrived earlier . This meant only a few seats were left unoccupied. Unable to find a front seat, we settled at whatever was available.

On Left and Right sides of the church, live feeds of the sessions was screened. Seating arrangement was really good. In fact, those who were standing at the back, several church volunteers managed seats for them, especially women and children. Standing the back center position inside the church gave a majestic view of the proceedings. We left our much coveted seats and stood at the back.

Theme – ‘Persecution’ was an all pervasive theme at St. Patrick’s Church. Destruction due to Tsunami, WTC attack, Church attacks (at Orissa, Karnataka and elsewhere) and Mumbai attack was portrayed. It felt good that despite the threats, so many (Christians and non-Christians alike) gathered at midnight to celebrate festive spirit. But after more than two decades of terrorism in the country, this theme has become oh-so-cliched.

I leave you with some more Christmas pictures. Merry Christmas.

Christmas amidst Persecution

Christmas amidst Persecution

Waiting for Baby Jesus

Waiting for Baby Jesus

Baby Jesus Arrives

Baby Jesus Arrives

Announcing the arrival of Baby Jesus

Announcing the arrival of Baby Jesus

Further Reading