Solo Travelling: Gokarna

Hello Friends,

I was reading about solo travellers around the world, for a second, thought of trying it and Tadaaa! It ended up in the most amazing trip I have ever been in my life. This post is all about my solo travelling experiences. Hope you might enjoy and plan one for yourself.

Beautiful sight On my way to Gokarna
Beautiful sight On my way to Gokarna
beautiful sight on my way to Gokarna 2
beautiful sight on my way to Gokarna 2
An hotel named "Yes Sir" on the way to Gokarna
An hotel with a funny name

I wanted to meet myself for the first time ever. This time without any hesitations I planned my first solo trip. Started looking for the best place where I could relax for a day or two. Finally I found the most affordable (mainly as I don’t wanted to spend more money this time) and the perfect place for peace. It’s on the sides of Arabian Sea and the place is called Gokarna.

I read about this and knew that it’s a pilgrimage place where they perform pooja’s and havan’s. But second side of the coin which many are not aware is this place has got some exotic places to explore, trek and relax listening to the shores.

I would now go on explaining chapter wise as I have to say more and also it would help you guys to plan a trip.

Solo Travelling experience:

It was a truly amazing experience for me. The most important thing I read in the travel blogs is travelling alone benefits you as listed under:

  • It makes you confident and helps you to be outspoken to get the things done. It also makes you speak with the strangers.
  • You will surely learn a lot and you will be good observer.
  • It makes you feel adventurous, somewhere in your mind you feel proud of yourself as you are the Hero of a movie.
  • Significantly you will be the care taker of your own. You will have no one to please, no one to blame. Responsibilities lie with only you.
  • As my main intention was to meet myself. As a solo traveller, you get more opportunity to know yourself and you may fall in love with yourself.
  • You pull off the blanket from your covered desires and you actually feel the nature as you are too close to it. I got this splendid feeling of hugging the nature and also a feeling that nature is only mine.
  • When you end a solo trip, you will be proud of what you have done which helps to grow your self esteem and also makes you feel that, “hey, come on I did it, I am something special” in other words, it brings the greatness in yourself.
  • Last but not the least, solo travelling is also socialistic sometimes and find you great friends.

The Place:

Gokarna is a small temple town located on the western coast of India in Uttara Kannada district in the beautiful Indian state of Karnataka. Main temple and deity is Lord Shiva, also known as Mahabhaleshwara. This temple houses what is believed to be original image of Lord Shiva’s lingam. There are many other temples all over this small town. Ankola and Kumta on Highway 17 are the main towns near Gokarna.

Gokarna is historically known as one of the seven important Hindu pilgrimage centers. Gokarna is located on what was once pristine unspoiled beach near estuary of river Aghanashini with its beautiful palm trees, other colorful tropical fruit and flower trees. Of late due to the numbers of tourists the character of this town has changed. This town is no longer just a center of pilgrimage though massive numbers of devotees still visit the town for the purposes of offering prayers and worship to Lord Shiva.

Due to its laid back unspoiled and rustic nature many younger western tourists started visiting Gokarna about a decade ago. The beaches around Gokarna were hardly used by the locals until these mainly Western tourists started coming to undeveloped beaches around Gokarna. Many enterprising locals started stores restaurants and now fully fledged resorts cater even to the well heeled tourists.

The Temples:

There are majorly three temples/religious attractions which are the below:

Mahabaleshwar Temple is a famous Shiva Temple and it houses the ‘Atmalinga’. Named so after Ravana referred to the linga’s great strength. It is situated at the western end of the main street. In the sanctuary is ‘Athmalinga’ in between the Saligrama Peethaa. The idol of Lord Mahabaleshwara is called Nagabharana. It is so named because of the Lord rests under the head of Naga (serpent). The floor of the hall in front has an intricate engraving of a giant tortoise.

Maha Ganapathi Temple built in honour of the boy Ganapathi, who deceived the demon Ravana. The deity here is two-armed, standing and at least 1500 years old.

Kotitheertha is a man-made tank that is used for immersion of idols and ritual bathing. It is surrounded by temples.

What I did:

Soon after reaching the hotel, finishing the freshening session, applying some necessary cosmetic stuff, I started off to Mahabaleshwar temple. It is a pretty old temple with some history on the walls. At the doors, you will find the flower vendors forcing you to buy the flowers. I saw a very old lady sitting in a corner holding the flowers and to my surprise not forcing anyone. I bought flowers from her which costs about 10 rupees. As you enter further, the security guard pointing towards a notice board asks you to remove your shirt and vests. I did as he suggested me to do. The que for the darshan wasn’t long as I expected. I got inside and near to the atmalinga too soon. I was told to touch it putting my hand into the widely spread milk and other religious stuff. I got to some prashad from the priest and walked out of the temple.

The second visit was to Ganapati temple, just opposite to the main temple. The same thing needs to be followed, no shirt and no vest. You have to visit these temples bare chested. The temple is small and to get near to Ganapati idol, you need to buy a ticket of Rupee 1.

I decided to ignore Kotitheertha as there is nothing much to see.

Important points which I saw on the notice boards are the ladies and girls should only wear traditional dress to get inside the temple. Our Foreign friends are not allowed to get inside any temple. Please make sure you know this before you plan to visit the temples.

The Beaches:

Gokarna is also known for its beautiful beaches and landscapes. The main beaches in Gokarna are the Gokarna beach (also known as Indian Beach), Main Beach, Kudle Beach, Om Beach, Half moon Beach, Paradise Beach (also known as Full moon) and Nirvana beach (3 km long with fine white sand). The Gokarna beach forms the coast of the town and is followed by Main beach in northern direction while the other four beaches lie to the south of Gokarna. Gokarna Beach is mainly used by Indian pilgrims. Main Beach is a long open beach, also known for surfing. Kuddle and Om are around 6 km from Gokarna town along a muddy hill; they are accessible by rickshaw or foot. Half moon and Paradise are beyond Om beach and are accessible only by foot or boat; Nirvana beach is accessible by boat and road from Kumta town. Om beach is named so because it is shaped like the auspicious ॐ [Om] symbol. Om beach is the only naturally Om shaped beach. Three other beaches are the Paradise, Half Moon and Nirvana beach.

Kudle Beach:

South of Gokarna beach and accessible by a short downhill walk from auto drop off points at the northern and southern ends of this beach. The northern drop off point is closer to Gokarna town, but the southern drop off point is suitable if you are planning to stay at a place in the southern stretch of Kudle beach. The long sandy beach has ample accommodation ranging from more expensive attached rooms with balcony to cheaper huts attached to the many restaurants. During the rainy season (including August 2013) this beach is quite dirty and options for food are also very limited.

Kudle Beach 1
Kudle Beach 1
Kudle Beach 2
Kudle Beach 2
Kudle Beach 3
Kudle Beach 3
Kudle Beach 4
Kudle Beach 4

Om Beach:

Om Beach is further along the coast from Kudle, and named for its shape as it is split by a rocky island. It is the most popular tourist beach in Gokarna and may be visited all around the year. It can be reached by auto rikshaw or by trek; the nearer half is dominated by the Namaste Cafe and an expensive hotel development. The second half of the beach is packed with restaurants offering cheap accommodation in the form of bamboo or concrete beach huts. Internet and travel booking are available on the beach, but there are no ATM facilities. In the rainy season there are very limited options for boarding and lodging. This beach is reasonably clean all year round.

Trek to Om Beach
Trek to Om Beach
Trek to Om beach 2
Trek to Om beach 2
in the midst of the trek to Om beach
In the midst of the trek to Om beach
Om beach 1
Om beach 1
Om Beach 2
Om Beach 2
Om Beach 3
Om Beach 3
Om beach 4
Om beach 4
Om Beach 5
Om Beach 5
Om Beach 6
Om Beach 6
Om Beach 7
Om Beach 7
Om Beach 8
Om Beach 8
Some steps needs to be take alone, Its the only way to really figure it out where you need to be"
Some steps needs to be take alone, Its the only way to really figure it out where you need to be”
Ships & Boats are the nearest things to dreams that hands have ever made.
Ships & Boats are the nearest things to dreams that hands have ever made.

Half Moon Beach:

Half Moon beach is smaller and less developed than Om Beach, and is reached by walking over the headland from Om. Facilities are limited; there are a couple of small restaurants and a limited number of huts.

Nature sight while on the trek to Half moon beach 1
Nature sight while on the trek to Half moon beach 1
Nature sight while on the trek to Half moon beach 2
Nature sight while on the trek to Half moon beach 2
Nature sight while on the trek to Half moon beach 3
Nature sight while on the trek to Half moon beach 3
Half Moon Beach 1
Half Moon Beach 1
Half moon Beach 3
Half moon Beach 2
Half Moon Beach 3
Half Moon Beach 3
Half Moon Beach 4
Half Moon Beach 4

Paradise Beach:

Paradise beach is the furthest from Gokarna town, but does not offer any facilities. The lodges and restaurants have been demolished by land owners and the police visit this beach at times to evict any residents and extort large bribes from anyone seen smoking charas. There are absolutely no facilities available here anymore except a man selling melted chocolate bars.

on the way to Paradise Beach
on the way to Paradise Beach
Paradise Beach 1
Paradise Beach 1
Paradise Beach 2
Paradise Beach 2
Paradise Beach 3
Paradise Beach 3

What I did:

Day 1:

After coming from the temples on the first day, I started off on a trek to Om beach. It was an awesome experience for me. The first time I am travelling alone. If I feel like talking to someone, it should be with me. It was a tiring trek of 8 kilometres; however it was a wonderful experience hiking up the hill to find the beautiful beaches. It was hard to find the end of sea and sky as both seemed hugging each other. I started walking on the beach to find a shack for some refreshments. Here is where I made a friendship with a nomad. He was from France, who is been travelling from years. We started talking about India, places in India, people of India etc. It was a good discussion of about 2 hours.

Me with a Nomad, Vinny from France @ Om Beach
Me with a Nomad, Vinny from France @ Om Beach

After this I started walking on the beach to reach a shack called “Rasta”. Had a good time with a young owner talking about the risks involved to put up the shacks and also the advantages like how an English couple taught him computer during their month’s stay. Being a management student, I suggested few ideas to run his shacks better and also gave him tips about marketing his Shack online as people go by the reviews these days. For all this, he did something unexpected for me. He waved off the bill and took only 100 rupees. He didn’t even allow me to look at the bill.

After having my not so heavy lunch here, I started off to go back to the hotel and have some rest. In the evening, I walked to the Gokarna main beach, which unfortunately had nothing special. This beach is very dirty. Needs some urgent attention to clean up the dirty stuff, well you can ignore this beach if you are looking other than a holy dip. While coming back to the room, I met an auto rickshaw driver, who agreed me to take to the left out beaches for a fare of Rs. 250 (good deal for three beaches, usual fare is Rs.150 for one way to single place)

Day 2:

My morning started with a south Indian breakfast, Masala Dosa and a hot cup of tea. The phone said some is calling when I just stepped out of the shower. It was the auto rickshaw driver. I got ready and went on for a beautiful ride through the midst of the nature, enjoying every moment. The auto rickshaw was halted at a hill top; we passed through the thick trees, running down the hill with the help of some village kids. It was an awesome experience when you come all way from jungle to find the peaceful gorgeous beach called the Half Moon beach. It is truly a must visit. It is a very small beach but feels you are out of the world.

We started trekking towards the paradise beach. The trek was about 4 to 5 kilometers climbing the rocks, getting down holding the stem of the trees, a blissful experience for a lone traveller like me. Once we reached on the top to see paradise beach, got some breath taking views. Reminded me the movies “Cast Away” and “Kaho Na Pyaar Hai” (a 2000 Hindi movie) looking at the palm and coconut grooves crossing along the beach. I was lost with the beauty of this beach. It looked like an old civilization site for me, it is because the local police had raided this place long back and they do not allow anyone to put up shacks to avoid rave parties and drug dealing happening here. I would say it was the most amazing trek to discover the beauty of nature for me. I spend some real good time in the half moon beach after coming back from the trek.

Then we headed towards the Kudle beach, which is easily accessible with just a run down through the rock cut ways to reach the beach. I went to a shack again for relaxing and also had good food over there. Met some more foreign friends here and had a splendid time discussing about the travels they have made and their future touring plans. I even enquired about the flags of different country on her huge travel bag, she said “Oh well, I have travelled these many countries so far”. I suggested some places and they in return suggested some good places where they have travelled in India. The feel of the moment is when the nice breeze of the waves hit you when the sun is so hot. I loved this.

I said bye to all the beaches & friends I made in Gokarna, got back to room to sleep for some time. I had a bus at 7 back to my lovely city “Bangalore”.

The Food:

You get Indian food in the city of Gokarna. You can get good multi-cuisine food like Spanish, English, Chinese, Lebanese (Arab), Chinese, Filipino etc at the shacks. Here are some pictures.

The yummy egg cheese toast @Rasta
The yummy egg cheese toast @Rasta
Masala Dosa at a small restaurant next to my room. Loved the chutney!
Masala Dosa at a small restaurant next to my room. Loved the chutney!

The Stay:

Here is my review of the hotel where I stayed on Tripadvisor.

http://www.tripadvisor.in/ShowUserReviews-g651646-d1576877-r206034328-Hari_Priya_Residency-Gokarna_Karnataka.html

Tea @ Hari Priya Residency
Tea @ Hari Priya Residency
My room @ Hari Priya Residency
My room @ Hari Priya Residency
Room view 2
Room view 2
Balcony of my room @Hari Priya Residency
Balcony of my room @Hari Priya Residency

The Shack:

Please do visit my friend’s shack on Om Beach for great food and accommodations. I have promised him that I will stay at his shack in my next visit to Om beach. Here are the pictures and contact details of my friend.

RASTA
RASTA

 

 Naga, my friend and
owner of RASTA
The Owner and my friend of RASTA. His name is Naga
My cute little friend @ Rasta
My cute little friend @ Rasta

Contact “Rasta”

Naga: +91 7829123164

The Rickshaw Driver

He is really a very good guy, who doesn’t plunder the tourists like others. I spent good time with him and know him better, so don’t hesitate to call him if you require an auto rickshaw.

Yenku, my friend and the auto driver
Yenku, my friend and the auto driver

Contact:

Yenku: +91 9972102818

Well, it was a new and grand experience for me to travel alone and make new friends. I shall come up with more of my travel stories very soon. Till then start planning one for yourself and enjoy!

Travel Tip (Tried & Tested by Me): If you want to keep your back cool while you are hiking up the mountains, empty your backpack (Small one), fill the bag with 2 or 3 chilled water bottles. Start trekking.

“Travel for your Passion”

Extracts Courtesy: Wikipedia

Lots of Love,

VK

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5 thoughts on “Solo Travelling: Gokarna

  1. Wow, vikas!!! I’m so envious of your solo travels. I really enjoyed reading this, so precise and informative 🙂 you are a good person, vikas. Keep it up!

    Like

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