G for Gokarna

Thankfully we were able to get food last night on our arrival from Udupi. However breakfast of fresh and well prepared Idli, sambhar and chutney convinced my big heart to forgive the hotel for last night shocker. Now we had a full day reserved for this small town of Gokarna known for its beaches and temples. Gokarna meaning cow’s ear is a sacred pilgrimage town noted for Mahabaleshwar Shiva temple. But we were there for some offbeat experiences as well.
With pristine beaches and acclaimed temples, Gokarna is quickly coming as an alternate to Goa for beach lovers and those seeking salvation or relaxation. One can hire a bike/ scooter to go around Gokarna. (But please check the condition of vehicle, as rental agencies do not focus on servicing and the rented vehicle may end up spoiling your plans).
We opted for a scooter and started to Vibhuti waterfalls (42 km. from Gokarna). Once you have come out of Gokarna town, though the road though is good condition, but is quite deserted and only a few travelers will come your way. But in between you will get lot of spots for taking pictures as the road is blessed with amazing natural beauty.
It took us around 50 minutes to reach the entry spot, from where a 30 minutes trek was in the way to take us to the Vibhuti waterfalls. That is how I started the trek, with my kid! 
Vibhuti waterfalls, a secluded attraction near Gokarna is a beautiful spot for a day trip. We found a few people enjoying and soaking the fresh waters of the fall. For the first time I felt repenting for not carrying an extra set of clothing. Another learning for travelling offbeat.

After spending one hour on the waterfalls, we started back. On the way we stopped a couple of times to click pictures of these beautiful farms of Sanikatta. These are traditional Brown Salt fields, engaging local people. 

By late afternoon, we were at the most popular spot in Gokarna, “OM Beach”. As locales were telling about OM beach that beach is in the form of divine word of “ (OM)”. However, we did not take it too seriously. However, once we reached at the beach, we were surprised to see the beach shaped in word “”. No doubt ambience in Gokarna is for salvation as well. 

Neat and clean beach and gradually sloping waters allow you to go up to 50-60 meters inside the seas from within. However, there are water marker balls placed on the water surface; please do not try to be extra adventurous. Since the beach is all rocky terrain, one extra step may take you 10 feet down in the water.
This beach is also a much sought after spot for shooting of movies. With such beautiful panorama setting, no doubt!

Approx. 4 km. from the OM beach is the Kudle beach. It took us 10 minutes to reach the entrance from where we wondered about way to reach the beach. Only a staircase was visible, so we started descending, hopeful of making to beach.

Idling behind a hillock, perfect seclusion for lovers (nature):

And then we turned to the right-hand side - With lot of restaurants, Kudle beach is a heaven for sea lovers who may want to observe and enjoy the vastness of the sea from the front rather than being a part of selfie obsessed crowd.

Many foreign tourists come to Gokarna and prefer to stay on one of the 4 beaches just south of town. Kudlee Beach is the first, about a 20-minute walk, followed by Om Beach, Half Moon Beach and the secluded Paradise Beach - the beaches get more remote and less populated as you head south. Full of coconut and palm trees, the ocean and clean sands, Gokarna is a 'one of its kind place' in the country.
Gokarna is also a much-revered place for devotees, with sacred Shiva temples. Hindu epics states that "Atma-linga" of the God Shiva is in the shape of a cow's ear in the Mahabaleshwar temple and that is how the town got its name as Gokarna. Read about legend of Atma-linga of Lord Shiva at Gokarna.
We reached the temple around 7 PM and were surprised to see a long que of devotees at this time. We stood in the que and got a chance to pray to the Almighty around 8:30 PM. This was an experience seeing devotees coming from far off places, dressed in their striking costumes. Temple was heavily crowded, but the crowd management is good. With my kid I never felt a moment of being uncomfortable and in fact enjoyed every moment of our presence.

While standing in the que, we got to know that the most popular time to visit Gokarna is during the Shiva Ratri festival. Celebrations go on for 4 days, this is time when 2 giant chariots are pulled down the main street and up to 20,000 pilgrims visit this town. Please note that Gokarna is a small town, so most of the hotels offer basic amenities and also card payment is not accepted at many hotels and eateries. 

After non-stop exploration of Gokarna, next afternoon was our pit stop at Gokarna Railway Station, from where we had to board Madgaon Passenger to Goa for onward transfer to Delhi. Do try the wonderful Masala Tea on this small, neat and clean station.

When we boarded the train, we found our seats were already occupied, however people vacated as soon as we reached our seats. We requested them not to leave, we can share but they politely said Thank you and moved on. Stark contrast from some other parts of India, where at times you may have to fight to get your reserved seats.
This train journey too provided some wonderful clicks, check out. 

Half a day was all we had in Goa, so we decided just to sit back and enjoy local Goan cuisines and by the evening were on our way back to Delhi with fond memories of this Udupi to Gokarna trip.
Keep exploring Guys…

Gaurav Verma

A passionate Traveler who wants to see the whole world before hanging his boots. Always ready to explore offbeat and hidden spots. MBA + Engineer from Ivy league colleges, Gaurav is much sought after for his choice of lifestyle activities and Brand promotional campaigns.

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