Thursday, May 14, 2015

Gokarna- A piece of Heaven on earth

A trip to Gokarna with my husband was many a dream come true. I had missed couple of chances to visit Gokarna in the past. After a series of road trips  to Ooty, Waynad, Madikeri etc ,this time we set off to Gokarna for a completely relaxed vacation where we were exempted from the driving stress hence we decided to travel by bus.
It was around 12 hrs drive covering around 500km distance to reach our dream destination. Once we got down from the bus we looked around for a rick to reach the Kudle beach. We were charged 100rs just to travel 3 kms but trust me ,driving the rick in those narrow criss-cross roads seemed like a roller coaster ride to me. With our heavy back packs we had to walk down an extra mile to reach the spot. My ears started sensing the sound of the tides and my heart started pounding with excitement. There we reached the Kudle for our 4 day escape plan!:)
Day 1:
Kudle is a picturesque with everything that nature can project, ranging from smashing green trees to lofty hills and pristine white sands to blue sky. This is no luxury place with extra vibrant restaurants and hotels around.All we could find were the cosy beach huts also called shacks. We bargained for one of those at the 'Shanthi café'. It was small yet clean and comfortable. The cafe had food ranging from Indian-Italian-Israeli to Chinese-Continental and what not. We started our day with awesome breakfast with masala chai( served in the beer  glass though).
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We sprang out of the café with our camera to capture the magic moments around. Kudle, a stunning stretch of sand backed with tall cliffs providing ultimate pricing for those who wish to partake amidst nature in the incredibly laid back beach. As the sun got milder, it was time for me to try my swim strokes first time in the sea. We went for a walk on the bay in the evening  waiting to watch the sunset.
Around 6:30 pm we starting capturing the changing hues of sun and stood stunned watching the beautiful sunset ever like a magic show getting engrossed in its sheer magnanimity. It was bright yellow first, then pink then orange and crimson red finally.
As it began to get dark there was an entirely new world getting created there. The dark sky was lit by millions of stars. This was a spectacular mesmerizing view. One moment I felt we have got so busy in life that we forget to notice the magic by nature happening around us every day. I started reminiscing my childhood days when my dad showed me stars and told tales about them. Laid on the sand ,watched the falling stars ,made wishes which are believed to come true.
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I could hear my breathe, the gushing water, the cool breeze washing off my face saying nothing. The calmness and serenity of water that night made me thank my husband millionth time for the vacation. We had a sumptuous dinner and we were done for the day.
I was never an early bird but at Kudle we got up around 6 am with our camera ON. The plan for the day was a trek to 'Om' Beach. 'Om' or 'Omkar' beach is another famous beach of Gokarna. It gets its name because of the '3' shape of the sand. The trek midst the forest was made easy by the navigation marks laid on the rocks(definitely not by the Karnataka tourism board :-P) As we reached Om we caught the amazing and incredible sight of the ocean and coastline. The bhel puri and lemon juice at the nearby stall  re-instilled our energy levels after a dreary trek.
We went on boat to visit the other beaches namely the 'Half-moon' and the 'Paradise' beach.The half moon beach was yet a simple one with seasonal shacks laid there. Paradise or the Naked beach is only about 70 meters and became infamous due to too much illegal activities.Forest department had broken down few shanties so it was remained secluded, remote and inaccessible.
We missed the dolphin spotting activity at Om as usually these trips are conducted in the early hours of the morning as the dolphins are closer to the shore during this time of the day.With little bit of disappointment yet carrying the boating experiences in mind we trekked back to kudle. By then, we had become the trek experts b/w Om and Kudle (P.S- credit to the faint navigation marks  laid my some tourists on the rocks).
We then saw something more exciting on Kudle as we found some local guys arranging for the water sports .We decided to try them all .It was time for  us to test our strength, grit, spirit & balance. We played banana boat, where the mission is to stay on the boat and balance against the waves lashed by sea. We are repeatedly thrown off but we always got back up to start again. We also played bumpy ride, jetskie and others. The rest of the day went on getting soaked in the sun, swimming, lazing, relaxing, hopping and sipping in solitude.
I adore the food at  shanthi café. Everything was made to order yet so fast, tasty and cheap as well.All around the beach we found bikini clad girls ,hippies, people smoking and yes smoking up too.The rest of the day was spent interacting with the other beach bums all over  the world.I told myself there is so much to see, so much to learn and experience over the globe.
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We swam like the glowing creatures made some local friends to play, read some books, listened to Bob dylan’s songs and did nothing and repeated this cycle again and again. In the afternoon, we went on fishing and caught no fish:(
We visited the famous Malabaleshwar, Lord shiva’s temple .The temple is located on the shores of the Karwar coast of the Arabian sea in a green environment in the holy town of Gokarna on the West Coast of India in  North Kannada district. Gokarna lies between the Gangavali and Aganashini rivers. Gokarna means cows ear. It is believed that shiva emerged from the ear of the cow (prtihvi , the mother earth).
'Cover the earth before it covers you' a quote that struck me at that moment.
We waited for the magical sunset to happen again followed by the light show in the night and to the ordering of elaborate menus to shib, my chef.
Day 4:
It was actually a not a very happy day as we realized that it was our last day in the paradise. We swam as much as we could, settled our shack and food bills.
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Midst all the packing up, I visited Shib's kitchen with huge curiosity that he might have an akshaypatra inside to serve such delicious food in no time and perfect taste.
It was the last sunset we could see of our trip looking even more elegant  that evening,envying the people who were staying longer there. We knew that we will be missing the sun, sea, sand and serenity in this piece of heaven
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than the ones you did. So throwoff the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails explore, Dream,Discover.  -Mark Twain
All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.  –Martin Buber

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