February 13, 2018
GOKARNA , I had only heard about the place. All I knew was that it is an awesome place to visit. One of my friends told me that, it is one of the places in India that has a dramatic cliff beach. Well, why not visit this so called cool place.
This was what led me here.
I am at Trissur Railway Station waiting for my friend Naasim. I have bought two General tickets to KUMTA. It seems that there is only one or two direct trains to GOKARNA from here and none of it is at this time. KUMTA is like 32 km from GOKARNA.
The station is well crowded. Everyone is busy. The waiting room is filled too. I have bought some snacks from a vendor on the platform. The safest food to eat on platforms is packed foods. Other foods like Poratta, Idli etc. sold by vendors are not safe, believe me. But there are people around me now eating those things, I hope they don’t get sick like me. I ate Poratta once long before and I was sick for 3 days. After that I never eat such food from railway stations. You can call me paranoid but it’s better safe than sorry and afterall I haven’t even started the journey and I didn’t wanted to take chances. 😁
We’ve boarded the train. It is so crowded, packed with people and luggage. I have found some space at the door and Naasim is sitting on the floor behind me. Most of the people are Tamizhans (Tamil Nadu natives), on their way to find work at Kannur. The guy sitting next to me ( forgot to ask his name 😋) at the door is on his way to Thallassery along with his family and fortunately they did get seats. The wind is getting cooler and I am feeling sleepy. Sleeping at the door didn’t seem like a great thing to do. So, am writing this up, to keep me awake 😁. The guy next to me had asked me about where am going. I happily told him about Gokarna. He didn’t knew about the place and now these thoughts are filling my head with doubts. What if the place is not that awesome?? Will the next two days be a waste of time?? I could surf the Internet now and see for myself what Gokarna had in store for me. But I want to experience the place raw. No searching about the place in Internet 😁. Anyway lets hope for the best. 😊
February 14, 2018
Good morning 😊
Writing a journal isn’t that easy like Ithought. I just can’t bring out everything that I have experienced. Afterall this is my third entry and I am relieved that I haven’t given up… Yet 😁.
So, back to the journey.
I couldn’t sleep well last night. Till 2 am I had to sit at the door and I had to keep myself from falling asleep. The guy next to me was sleeping soundly at the door 😐 and me, scared to fall asleep 😶. Fortunately, by 3 am the train was less crowded and me and Naasim got some space on the the upper decks. There was only enough space to sit. Two guys were sleeping like 69 ( not in a bad way 🐵). I tried to sleep and it was one hell of a task. I would wake up now and then by the jerking of the train. I had to shift my sitting positions for a millionth time. This went on til 4 or 5 am. By then we crossed Thallassery. Me and Naasim got real seats where the family had sat earlier. I slept soundly for like 1 hour and woke up to the sounds of a vendor selling tea and coffee. I wasn’t sleepy after that.
We bought coffee and now I am sitting at the door drinking coffee. We are passing through MURDESHWAR and one more hour to KUMTA. There isn’t much to say about the view, it is as usual. Still sitting at the door is quite an experience, looking at the landscape passing us fast.
We are at the hotel. I am the happiest person now😎. I kind of feel different too. All my “hope diminishing and negative” thoughts have vanished.
GOKARNA is a place worth visiting. 👌👌👌 It is one of the best pilgrimage spots in India.
We reached KUMTA at about 9 am. The station was quiet and empty, except for some dogs and a group of guys. They seemed to be of our age. We all introduced ourselves to each other and just like us,they too had come to see GOKARNA. One of them had already been here, and according to him, the main things here were beaches and temples 🙄. Well, these two weren’t new to me and the thoughts that – the trip is not gonna be that awesome – was creeping up. What more can beaches show me than that I haven’t seen before? 😐 I pushed all thoughts back down and walked along with the others.
Within 15 mins, we reached KUMTA bus station. We took a bus to GOKARNA, which was just living the station. I don’t remember much from the bus journey because I slept for the most part. 😁
The journey must have been an hour long, because we reached GOKARNA by 10:30 am. The stand wasn’t that big,but it was well crowded. We looked around for the way out of the station. There were two ways, one was behind the station and the other to the left of us. It seemed to be main entry/exit for the buses and people. We went that way. At the exit, the road went in left and right directions. To the left, the road disappeared at a turn to the right. One or two shops were open and there wasn’t much crowd. To the right was a street market that stretched for a long distance. The shops were gay, filled with all kinds of colours. As we walked a little farther, a hotel came in to our view. We had lost the other group, so we decided to book a room here, freshen up and then continue our trip. My hopes were back high, the place had a unique feel and I was starting to like it.
By 12:30 pm, me and Naasim had freshened up. We went out again on to streets. Even under the hot sun, the streets were crowded. Taking in the view of the streets, the open markets and the people made me forget that I was walking with an empty stomach. The shops had all kinds of items in wide varieties. The locals and the global tourists buy all the essentials they need at a reasonable cost from these markets. Most of the shops were textile shops and they sold thin and loose cloths. The rates at these shops were reasonably high but they did have foreign customers. For them the costs were reasonable 😁. There were tattoo shops too. People were getting their permanent/temporary tattoos. Most of the tattoos were of Shiva and other Hindu symbols.
About 2 km from our hotel we came upon a vegetarian restaurant “Pai hotel and milk parlour”. The thoughts of empty stomach came back 😏. We ordered some chapati and pea curry. I don’t know whether it was because I was hungry, but the food was tasty and felt fresh. We had our brunch and moved on to the beach.
The streets brought a sense of relief even when the sun ☀ was burning right above the head. There were many temples along the streets. From the hotel to the beach we passed about 6 temples. Each temples were of different gods. There were 2 GANAPATHI TEMPLE , a MAHABALESHWAR TEMPLE, and others. After a 20 minute walk through the streets, the beach came into view. We moved faster towards the beach and there was a small but wide bridge to cross and there were people sitting on both sides of the bridge begging for money. The line of beggars went on till the street’s end. It wasn’t a beautiful sight but they were in a good place. The tourists were giving them money and there are free food at the temples too. These thoughts brought relief.
We reached the beach by 1:00 am. The view was breathtaking. The beach, clean and well maintained, lay stretched endlessly on one side and on the other side there was a cliff blocking the view to that side. The locals and the tourists are carefull, not to throw around wastes. At the beach entrance, a recorded voice of a women was requesting everyone to reduce the use of plastics and to bring water bottles from home rather than buying from shops to keep the place clean. We moved on to the beach taking in the view of the sea laying stretched to infinity. We moved through the hot sand, getting closer to th sea. The beach wasn’t that crowded. At the beach entrance there were locals bathing and playing in the water.
We walked along the stretched side feeling the wind. As we moved further, there were fewer people except for foreigners, sunbathing. Some were doing yoga and others playing with Frisbee. Most of these foreigners had long threaded hairs (men and women).There were no locals, except for the occasional vendors passing with balloons, sunglasses and other things. The atmosphere was quite peaceful and the place did bring a positive vibe inside me 😇😇. We sat in the hot sand, watching the waves and the people around.
We didn’t sit much long, the sea was quite tempting 😁, we got undressed and ran into the sea 😂.
Time did fly fast when in the waters. After swimming and enjoying the salty waters for what felt like an hour, we sat along the shore feeling the wind. Even when the sun was burning above, the wind had a coolling feel. I took my phone to take some photos and the time had me shocked. It was 4:30 am 😮. We were in the water for like 3 hours 😌🐵. Time did run like a flash.
We got dressed up and traced our steps back to the beach entrance. On the way back, the high cliffs blocking the beach kind of called us to its top 😄. We moved towards it. As we got closer, we could see a temple at the bottom of the cliff. The way to the temple was a cemented path from the beach entrance. As we moved closer, the sound of wave after wave crashing against stones was getting louder and louder. The view of the waves crashing at the bottom of the cliff is breathtaking. After a 5 minute walk we reached the base of the RAMA TEMPLE. Right in front of us was a big square pit. There were steps descending to the pit bottom from three sides. Water flowed into the pit from one side and eventhough the temple seemed deserted, there were people bathing under the water flowing in. We came to know that the flowing water was from the mountain stream and it was fresh and pristine. Where the mountain stream emerges from the hill, a tank is built and the water flows from there to the pit. I understood the reason why people were bathing here rather than bathing in the sea. Why bath in salty water or the municipal water at homes when such fresh water flows? I hope it stays fresh for the years to come.
We moved past the pit and up some stairs to the temple entrance. It was a simple temple – a small shrine, a wooden structure with an idol of Rama with his brother Lakshman and his wife Sita.
It is breathtaking to watch the beach with the waves rushing to shore eager to merge with the sands👌👌😘.
After enjoying the view for sometime, we moved up the hill. There were steps cut into stone up the hill. After a 3 minute climb we reached the top. We were quite tired from the walk along the beach and the climb up, but looking at the beach from that height was worth every ounce of energy used to reach here.
Anyone would stay still for sometime enjoying the view and I took more time to make sure I had the view well seen. I didn’t want to forget something this spectacular and awesome. No one knows how long they would live and I don’t know whether I would live long enough to see anything this mesmerizing again. To the left of where we stood there was a hill facing the sea and the first thought that crossed my mind was, “sunset 🌅” but the time was 5:00 pm, nearly 2 more hours till sunset. We decided to climb the hill at about 6:15 or 6:30. After taking some pictures of the beach, we turned around and that was when we noticed a small single floor building in the middle of the really wide and bare mountain top. There was a structure in front of the building with a roof (like that of huts) supported by some poles and we could make out some chairs and tables under the structure from this distance. We decided to rest there and so, moved towards it. Reaching near the structure, we found out that it was a restaurant. We ordered some drinks and sat there, enjoying the drinks “with a view” 👌✌️😁.
Sitting there and watching the sea was addictive. I could sit there all day and I wouldn’t need a phone or anything else to entertain me. For anyone who visits Gokarna, this is a must visit place 👌👌 and Gokarna should be a must visit place for any travel enthusiasts. It is worth every moment.
I turned my attention towards the building, there were nice drawings on the walls. We came to know that it was a dormitory hotel. The rate was 400 per bed. I regret not knowing about this place before. Imagine waking up in the morning and the first thing you see – as you come out of your room – is the vast sea and a beach 😍😘👌👌. It would be one hell of a blessing 😘😍😍. But all I could do was “imagine”, we had already paid in advance for two days at our hotel and there was no refund 😐.
I went towards the hotel to see the artwork more clearly. There was a drawing of a big dreamcatcher covering the whole wall between two adjacent doors, a big hookah, and a ohm symbol with a flower like design at its bottom.
Each of the three drawings were between adjacent doors. I noticed a girl drawing something on the right end wall of the building. She seemed to be in her 20s, maybe one or two years older than me. She was a foreigner, so wasn’t sure about the age 😁. I went to her to see what she was drawing and she was drawing GANAPATHI.
We got to know each other and it was her who did all the drawings on the wall. She was from Australia and had finished Hotel Management from there, and now living a cheap life here to, quoting her, “learn about oneself”. She had travelled through most part of India and she said that life has never been this interesting and adventurous ever in her life before. We said our goodbyes and I walked back to the restaurant.
Walking back I couldnt stop thinking about what she said, I couldn’t agree less. Life has never been interesting for me back home like it is now. I envy her life. She is living her life as she loves, unlike the vast majority of this world and it is a blessing to be able to live like that.
Me and Naasim sat at the restaurant for half an hour more and left off to climb the hill for the sunset. After a 5 min walk we were at the top. When I say top, I mean the highest point there and yeah 👌 everything was fantastic from that height !!!! 👌👌😍😘, the sea sparkling with a orange shade from the sun’s reflection, it was just like the ending scenes from PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES, where Henry Turner (Bretton Thwaites) is looking at the sea for his father Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), except there was no pirate ship here at Gokarna.
The view is unforgettable and I am one of the luckiest of human beings to witness something this spectacular. We stood there till the sea drowned the sun spreading a reddish glow to the sky for sometime 👌👌😘.
We came down the hill and decided to visit the Kudle beach on the other side of the mountain. After a 20 minute walk over and down the mountain, we reached KUDLE BEACH. The time was past 7. The beach wasn’t dead, there were still people. We moved along the beach. There were rarely any locals, almost everyone were foreigners. Some of them were selling handmade bracelets and necklaces with rare stones attached to it. The bracelets were so beautifully crafted and the lowest rate was Rs.1000/-. There were fortune tellers and palm readers. Some where seelling herbal tea. The beach was busy. Nearly half way through the beach, there was a group playing a guitar, flute and a tapping thing and a girl was singing. We sat there enjoying the music and the song. After the girl, another girl started singing and this went on and on. In front of this group, there was this guy doing awesome tricks with lit balls. They were attached to short rubber ropes (which wasn’t exactly visible in the dark) . He had two of these things in both hands and was rotating them around him in different ways and the darkness and the changing lights were making ball movements really great to watch.
The guy was really good and after him a lady started doing the same thing with her own moves. We sat there enjoying everything for a long time. I wish I could live on a beach like this always. I forgot all my worries and tensions sitting there and I didn’t want to go anywhere else from a place like that. Somehow with a lot of effort we turned back to our hotel, and when I say lot of effort, I mean it, it wasn’t easy to get up and move away from that place. It was like, there was this something that was pulling us back and it was pulling hard. Somehow we traced our steps back till we reached a road. We walked back along the road instead of going over the barren lands of the hill at night. After a 15 minute walk, we reached the open market. We had entered the market through a different part and it took us sometime to find the route to our hotel. The streets were so busy at the time. There was a small festival going on, on the streets. It was part of the four day Shiva Ratri festival.
Here Shiva Ratri is celebrated with grant fanfare. There was a band beating on drums and they were going towards one of the temples. A small chariot was moving behind the band. In front of the band there was a pathway made by a row of poles standing perpendicular to the ground with its upper end on fire. It was a beautiful scene. We watched the possession pass by, went past them, had dinner from the PAI restaurant and reached our hotel.
Writing about the journey is fun. I get to rememeber and relive those beautiful moments once again, but I regret not being able to fully explain how I felt during each memorable moments of today. What I have written is just a small fraction of what I felt about the places I visited today. I believe that, anyone who visit GOKARNA after reading this, would definitely want to add more about this place. I can promise you that, this place won’t let you be disappointed.