Thursday, December 24, 2009

Om-Half Moon-Paradise Beach Trek, Gokarna.

We started Day 2 watching an invisible sun rise at Gokarna Town Beach, followed by breakfast (Hotel Nisarga) at the very same beach watching the fishing boats and the odd dolphin. From there we walked to our-now-favourite Kudle beach, spent a couple of hours and from there we kept walking to Om beach. The phoren-ers had given us the exact path to take to Om beach and also told us about markings on the ground which lead to Om beach. They also warned us that the rickshawallahs would try to mislead us by saying that we must take the rickshaw to Om beach. As it turned out, we dint even need the markers on the ground as there were enough people walking towards Om beach.

It took us about 20 minutes to reach Om beach. A somewhat demanding climb in the sun, I must say. As expected the beach is in the shape of an Om or more aptly the shape of 3. Unfortunately, Om beach does not have the same appeal as Kudle Beach, but at least looks a tad better than Gokarna Town Beach. It was way too hot for us to even think of venturing into the waters. From Om you could take a ferry to Half Moon and Paradise Beaches. It’s an expensive affair though. Initially the boatsmen demanded Rs. 500 for a roundtrip for a person. After bargaining, we decided to take a one way ferry for Rs. 100 each. The plan was to walk back from Paradise to Om and then back to Kudle and finally to Gokarna. A tough ask, but an exciting one.

The ride to Paradise was pretty much uneventful and short except for some Dolphin-spotting on the way. Ten minutes later we were at Paradise Beach – if you can call it a beach in the first place! Paradise Beach could be compared to a small Oasis in the middle of great Desert. The shore at Paradise beach cannot accommodate more than 25 people at any time. But of course there are at least four shacks that provide food here!!.

After buying some soft drinks and Water Bottles to keep us hydrated we started walking back – towards Half Moon Beach. The trek up till Half Moon is very exciting with lots of rocks of all shapes and sizes and all that at mostly sea-level. The key to keep going on the right path is to stick to the well-trodden path. 15 minutes later we were at Half Moon Beach. If Kudle beach was breath-taking, then Half Moon is a killer. Very quiet and serene and hardly crowded. We found not more than five tourists in the more than three hours we spent there.

Half Moon is truly a paradise of a beach. After a relaxed lunch we hesitantly decided to continue our journey back, since we wanted to be in time for the sunset at Kudle which was breathtaking the previous evening. The path to Om climbs higher from Half Moon, which results in some breath-taking view of the sea. The whole path is right along the edge of the cliff, with absolutely no safety barrier. One wrong step and it’s an open invitation to the Abyss.

Thirty more minutes of breathtaking (literally and visually) walk and we were at Om beach. By now we so eager to reach Kudle that we did not even stop to catch a breath at Om and proceeded straight to Kudle and crashed there.

Getting-there: You could walk all the way from Gokarna Town Beach to Om to Half Moon to Paradise and back. It is physically very demanding but worth every drop of sweat. There’s always the ferry if you think you cannot make it.

Must-Do: Keep a full day aside for this trek. Try to start as early in the morning as possible and walk back as late as possible before getting dark.

Must-Don’t: Saying Yes to the outrageous prices quoted by the boatsmen for the ferrying. Littering.

My Rating: 8.5/10. (I’d give a 9/10 for Half Moon Beach too)

1 comment:

  1. Impressive article on the beach-line near Gokarna.... I had followed the same trail in Monsoon and loved it...Halfmoon is my favorite..