Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gokarna, Uttara Kannada.

This was one trip that JUST did not go according to the plan. But then who’s complaining? The initial intent of the trip was to go to Karwar, check out all the beaches from Tilmatti to Kodar and then if time permits move on to Gokarna the next day and check out the beaches there. But as it turns out, when we boarded our NWKRTC bus from Hubli to Ankola, the conductor told us that the bus goes to Gokarna after reaching Ankola. In a split second we decided to go to Gokarna first and then Karwar. And hence begins our saga of changing plans at the last minute – thankfully for the better. The end-result being we liked Gokarna so much, that we did not go to Karwar at all.

After a 4-hr dusty ride in a rickety NWKRTC we were at Gokarna. After alighting at Gokarna I realized that I did not have much clue what to do next. Most of my plans were around Karwar, and Gokarna was secondary – a back-up to fall upon if there was enough time. All I knew about Gokarna was that there were six main beaches one could visit - the Gokarn Town Beach, the Kudle Beach, the Om Beach, the Half Moon Beach, the Paradise Beach and Kumta Beach. Once we got down from the bus, we walked around the city, never once bothering with the rickshaw guys – one of my principles while traveling. With the Sun taking a toll of our energies already, we decided to have an ice-cream. After ordering for the ice-creams we started a conversation with the shop-wallah about the place – another of my traveling principles. The shop keepers are usually very receptive to anything you ask if you give them business. We slowly started accumulating all the info we need about Gokarn(a). Our entire idea of this trip was essentially one of a beach trek, where you could walk from one beach to another and so forth. And we got just the right kind of information from this shop keeper.

We were told that one could start a beach trek from Gokarn Town Beach, to Kudle over a hill, and from there over another hill to Om. From Om you could take a ferry to Half Moon and Paradise. This was all we needed to get started. We first started walking towards the Gokarn Town Beach, since we wanted a hotel that was close to the beach. We found a comfortable little hotel called Savitri, near the Ganesh Temple and less than a kilometer to the beach. At Rs. 350 for a 24 hour occupancy with no A/C and no TV, this was just the kind of budget hotel we were looking for. After dumping our bags in our hotel room and a quick shower we were all set to go beach-trekking in Gokarn.
Wikipedia Corner:
Gokarna means Cow's Ear. It is believed that Lord Shiva emerged from the ear of a cow(Prithvi, the Mother Earth) here.
Mahabaleshwar Temple (Maha: great, bal: strength) is a famous Shiva Temple and it houses the atmalinga. Named so after Ravana referred to the linga's great strength. Till the government handed over the temple to a public trust, all the public of Gokarna - supposed to be the office bearers of the temple - were managing the temple.
It is situated at the western end of the main street. The main deity here is two-armed, standing and at least 1500 years old. The idol of Lord Ganesha also is ancient. In the sanctuary is a stone linga, encased in brass, placed on a coiled stone serpent. The floor of the hall in front has an intricate engraving of a giant tortoise.
Getting-there: Direct buses are available from Hubli to Gokarna or Hubli to Ankola and then Ankola to Gokarna. Also accessible from Karwar, Shimoga, Sirsi, Madgoa and other major cities.
Must-Do: Get ready to spend at least 3 days here. Also check-out Kumta beach (which we missed). Beach Trekking.
Must-Don't: Trashing these heavenly beaches and spoil others' vacation experience.

My Rating: 7.5/10 (The overall experience)

Next in the series:
Gokarna Town Beach
Kudle Beach
Om-Half Moon-Paradise Trek


  1. Pretty interesting read...this region is amazing...

  2. Thank you Rahul. It definately is an amazing place

  3. Nostalgia attack for me, I've cherished our 3yrs stay at karwar and gokarna beach is our fav

  4. You are lucky to have stayed around these places...

  5. aah...gokarna..this is one plc, i really want to visit!!!