Gokarna – through Travellers Lens

I used to say that I have been to Gokarna two times earlier, but I had to take my statement back after this trip. This time, I got to explore Gokarna beyond famous Om and Kudle Beach, where all major accommodations are available along with iconic Namaste Cafe. A great trek to explore traveller’s Gokarna, fun of staying at basic accommodation on the beach side which could easily replace the comfort of a grand resort, a scenic sunset from a place over a hill top which was so serene and close to the nature, amazing food and music made this trip memorable. This trip made me realize the difference between Goa and Gokarna and definitely sold me for another visit.

Company

It was a big group of 10 people which is usually very rare in our trips. I would name three important people :
Puneet Bhai : A guy, who consider Gokarna as his second home with his countless trips and have some good friends there. He was playing the role of our guide for the trip.
Ashish (Chacha) : who left his job in Bangalore and decided to shift to Gokarna to learn shack business and it was actually his farewell trip.
Chotu : flatmate of Chacha who also left his job to pursue his passion of music. He is a great guitarist and he kept us all high for two days with his magic on strings.

Keep Calm and Trek On

I am not a big fan of trekking activities but few things are worth putting your efforts. After crossing two hils along with two long stretches of Kudle and Om beach, which filters out the travellers from tourists, we reached a place which is a gateway to the heart of actual Gokarna, Half Moon Beach. Another half an hour trek from Half Moon, takes you one more step further to another hidden gem, the Paradise Beach. This complete trek, from Kudle to Paradise, has to be in your bucket for Gokarna.
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Stetch 1 (Kudle to Half Moon)
First stretch from Gokarna Bus stand to Kudle Beach was really easy. Local autos can take you from  Bus stand to the hill top of Kudle Beach. You can also choose to walk which is a short half an hour hike as shown in map above. We took an auto till the hill top and then climbed down to Kudle Beach. We walked along the sea to other end of the beach for our first stop, Moonlight Cafe, owned by an awesome guy and Puneet Bhai’s friend named Suresh.
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After a nice breakfast and a quick dip in the sea, we started again for our next and final destination for the day, Half Moon Beach.
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There is a nice cafe which comes on the way to Om beach over the hill, which provides a nice panoramic view of whole Kudle Beach. It is a great place to appreciate the beauty of the beach in complete solidarity with a good beer as your only company.
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We finally reached Half Moon beach, after crossing two more hills and Om beach, to surrender for the day.

Stretch 2 (Half Moon to Paradise)
Only two things can push me for a trek : a hope of getting a nice shot, which in turn makes me forget all the discomfort reaching that point and my wife, Anu. Both of them forced me next morning to push myself from the comfort of beer, music and laziness of Hammock.

This stretch was a bit more difficult due to varied terrain, but it was a nice trek with multiple great view points along the way.
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Looking back to the Half Moon side (on the way to Paradise Beach)
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A platform on a hill prior to the Paradise Beach gives a nice view and good place to chill.
As a popular saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. If I will have to choose one image of mine to describe what Paradise beach is then it has to be this one.
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Sunset at one tree hill

After reaching Half Moon on our first day, we got into the Gokarna mode of vacation i.e “Doing Nothing” mode. We didn’t realize where rest of the day passed away with awesome food, beer and music from Chotu.

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However, in the evening we trekked to a popular sunset point called One Tree Hill, an extended section on a hill between Om beach and Half Moon beach. Luckily, we were the only one there which is usually not the case as per Puneet Bhai.

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Nothing can beat a combination of mountain and sea, when you sit on the edge of a cliff watching the sunset over vast endless sea. This place was so serene to spend an evening close to the mother nature. If there was any scope of improvement left, it was wiped out when God started painting the sky with all possible color variations and this place fell into my bucket of all time favorite sunsets.

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Half Moon

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This is the complete stretch of Half Moon Beach

Half Moon beach is a perfect tranquil hideout to spend a weekend far from the city life. The beach is really small with only one shack having basic accommodation option (Half Moon Beach Garden Cafe). The stay here has its own charm, it was kind of a beach resort for us with our private beach at cost of 800 rupees /night. Facilities are very basic and it may not go well with all types of people, but it was fun for me. Waiting for your turn at that common (read single) toilet or chatting with others and cracking jokes around the common tap while brushing; all this took me back to the hostel era when this used to be a common activity everyday.

Food

You have endless options to choose from the menu of different cuisines like Indian, Italian, Spanish, French and many more. The only thing you have to do is to keep patience for your order, as they prepare everything from the scratch. I remember, we ordered Aaloo Parantha in the breakfast and after one hour when I went inside the kitchen to check the status of my order, I realized that he just boiled the potatoes. So, it may take more than an hour to get your food but that nice quality and taste of the food deserves all that patience.

Toofani Boat ride

To add another flavor in the trip, we decided to take a boat ride back from Half Moon to Kudle Beach at a cost of Rs 50/person. Initially it was a nice boat ride, then as we went far from the beach, tides were getting higher and ride became more bumpy. At one point, even those boat riders who don’t give a fuck about your security started passing life saving jackets to us. We took it as both of us (my wife and I) don’t know swimming and we were in no mood to  learn the same in the middle of a sea but few people with roadies inspiration chose to refuse it.

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Photo Courtesy : Amans Fotugraphy

Asta La Vista with a great Sunset

I could have concluded the trip once we reached Kudle beach, with a great experience and some good potential clicks from last evening sunset, but who minds the extra perks. Usually one nice sunset over a weekend long trip makes our trip awesome but it was one of those rare ones when God bless you for two consecutive days. Once we got down from the boat and looked back at the sea, there were multiple landscape shots with colored clouds waiting to be clicked.

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There are these rocks at one end of Kudle beach which are great front end objects for your long shutter shots.

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Panorama with two ends of Kudle Beach and a colored cloud trail in between

A charming sunset followed by a heavy dinner at Moonlight cafe concluded our amazing two days long trip of Gokarna. We wished good luck to Ashish (Chacha) for his new chosen path in life and headed back to Bangalore leaving one comrade behind.

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