Travel during the pandemic is a lot of emotions, worry topping the list. There's always a little bit of panic and the need to be extra safe. But then again, not much can stop a wandering heart right? A bunch of us drove down to Gokarna, our long over due and much awaited beachscape.
Gokarna is roughly a 9-10 hour drive from Bangalore city. We took the Davangere-Haveri route, a peaceful one with good roads almost all the way. At the break of dawn we were on the serene Sirsi-Kumta road, windows rolled down, the beautiful morning breeze, and the sun rays slowing making their way through. Conversations, cheap shots, walks down memory lane, intense life lessons, singing your hearts out.
There's just something so special about long drives with friends, isn't it?
The lush greens of Devimane Ghats welcomed us and we stopped at our favorite view point. The light fog only accentuated the beauty of the endless Western Ghats. As we drove through the forest range, we were accompanied by the sound of chirping birds that echoed through the trees. Nature and her unmatched elements.
We decided to make a stop at the historical Mirjan Fort before we made our way into town. We were among the first people there and it was rather peaceful. There isn't much to do around here, just a stroll inside the fort, read up on its centuries old stories, and enjoy the views of the fields and coconut trees all around.
The Goa highway is the absolute best to drive on and you almost always tend to miss the turn towards Gokarna. These roads have that effect on you. As we headed towards Kudle beach, there it was! The first sight of the ocean that I had been longing for! Water baby for life. We stayed at the tranquil Arthigamya Spa & Resort, just a couple of minutes walk from the beach.
The resort is beautiful, with its perfectly manicured landscapes, a nice big pool (that's open 24/7 :D), super spacious rooms and bathrooms. Sleep deprived and super hungry, we ordered in some sandwiches, fresh juice, and followed it up with a power nap.
A little over noon, we were up and headed straight to the beach. Picked a nice spot in one of the shacks, some cold beers, and just sat there soaking in the endless blue views. Ah, the good life! Some snacks and a few mugs later, the weather was perfect for the water and we decided to enter the pool. After lazing in the pool for a bit, we were back on the beach.
Sitting in the waters, waves lashing, watching the sunset. Had the best seat in the house.
Headed back for a nice long shower and the bath tub in the resort was exactly what I need. Dinner was at the favourite, Namaste Cafe. Trips to Gokarna are incomplete without a visit (or two) to this café. Good food, good vibe, and the view of course. Day or night, walks on Om beach are always so peaceful. Glasses in hand, we spent hours in conversation before we hit the sack.
A lazy holiday morning always calls for a relaxed brunch! Love the food at Sunset café on Kudle. A great breakfast spread and a spot that overlooks the endless waters. I love vacationssss!
After wandering on Kudle till noon, we decided to go exploring. We drove down to Ankola, towards a random lesser known beach. We had the entire beach to ourselves! Climbed up one of the rocks and just stood there watching the waves and the sun glistening on the waters. Just taking a moment to appreciate beauty, pure bliss.
We decided to spend the rest of the evening on White Pearl Cruise, the latest addition to Gokarna itineraries. A seat right on the deck, bird's eye view of the waters and an unmatched sunset. Sign me up, any time!
We were out in the waters for about 2 hours and were served snacks on the deck as well. Boy was it beautiful!
Shades of blue, the hills in the backdrop, and an unmatched sunset to end the cruise. What an experience!
Plenty of visits to Gokarna but there's one thing that's always been on my bucket list - The beach trek! I had been dying to do this trek since forever and finally got to tick this one off my list!
For somebody who loves the outdoors, a good hike, and the beach, this is probably one of the most beautiful trekking routes. 3 hours filled with the most stunning views! Started off from one of the tracks off the main road that lead to Om beach. While many stayed in bed, 3 of us decided to hit the road.
It was around 9am and the beach was fairly deserted as we walked across, just soaking it all in. As we climbed off the beach on to the trail towards Half Moon - The first the perfect view point, Om beach in full glory! That's easily one of the most perfect views of Om I've ever seen.
From there on, its just you and the waters by your side. The trek up to Half Moon is an easy one, beautiful path and the calm waters of the beach welcome you. There were hardly any people so it was just us, the waters, and views. The rest of the trek is slightly more challenging but continues to have incredible views all along.
Some lovely spots at Small Hell and then you reach Paradise beach which is a lot more crowded. There are a bunch of water sport activities happening here as well. We didn't want to stop the trek, so instead of taking a boat ride back to Om, we decided to continue the walk and took the trail to Belekan beach.
Just our footsteps, rustling leaves, and birds chirping, bliss!
What makes this entire trek so beautiful is the absolute serenity and those moments you get sitting on the rocks by the waters, appreciating nature, life, just everything.
Well, the sun did catch up with us eventually and really needed a nice long shower after that trek. We were famished as well! It was our last night in and I had heard a lot about Chez Christophe, a French café on the Middle beach. Decided to give this one a try.
A rustic beach side setup, the café cooks up some seriously delicious dishes! The food is slightly on the pricey side but is definitely worth it. Everything is freshly made so the order takes a bit of time, but is surely worth the wait. We tried their home made pasta and steak and they were delish! The ambiance and the food made it a pretty perfect afternoon.
Walked around on the beach for a while and decided to stay back here to watch the sunset. There are so many beautiful cafés on Middle beach. We decided to spend the rest of the evening in B café. Our waiter was super kind and set up a separate table for us on the beach and we had our own little sundowner. As the sun set, the tiny cafés lit up the night sky. For those that love the stars, Gokarna skies are pretty perfect for star gazing.
After dinner, we picked a spot, leaned back, and watched the stunning night sky. The stars really make your problems and worries feel so small.
For dessert, we went back to Kudle and spent some time sitting by the waters, ice creams in hand. The next morning, we had brunch at Sunset café before our journey back to home turf. Gokarna is a little piece of heaven but, over the years, commercialization has hit so hard, taking away a lot from this beautiful town.
But, away from the tourist hotspots, you can always find that old world charm that makes me fall in love, every time I visit.