Team-BHP

Team-BHP (https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/)
-   Travelogues (https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travelogues/)
-   -   Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping (https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travelogues/205103-wanderlust-traveler-gokarna-beach-hopping.html)

mpksuhas 26th December 2018 23:05

Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping
 
6 Attachment(s)
My previous visit to Gokarna was in Aug of 1999, back then the town was known only as a pilgrimage center. During the visit to temple, I did the mistake of walking barefoot to the beach and had to beat a hasty retreat.

The image I carried of Gokarna after that trip was that of any pilgrimage center - crowded, dirty and no parking space :)


However, off late came across many who were saying about another side of Gokarna, one with beautiful clean beaches devoid of any crowd. So when it became possible to sneak in leaves before whole of Bangalore goes year end holiday, we decided to head to Gokarna for a 4 day trip.


15- Dec - 2018

We start at 04:19 AM from Bangalore, instead of taking NICE road, this time too we decide to drive through town. We reach Tumkur road NICE road entry by 05:00 AM, this was faster than what it would have taken us to drive through NICE road.

Traffic was sparse, though toll booths till Tumkur was time consuming in spite of having Fastag.

Attachment 1834353


We cross Chitradurga at 07:05 AM. Past that there is road widening work ongoing at multiple locations. Compared to our last trip on this road in March, there was visible improvement at many places.

All work in progress sections are well marked with proper temporary roads.

Attachment 1834354

Attachment 1834355

Attachment 1834356

Attachment 1834357


We stop at Kamat Renebannur at 08:10 AM for breakfast.

Location Restaurant was not crowded and we got out by 08:30 AM, though the restaurant is located along with Reliance petrol bunk, I usually fill at BP COCO on northside of Renebannur bye-pass. Though there was sufficient fuel, I decided to top up so as to avoid filling up till the time I reach back Bangalore.

However just as we reached BPCOCO power went off, it took them around 5 minutes to get generator running and pump operational again. By then there were couple of people in queue and it took us around 15 minutes to get out after making payment since card swipe machine and network had gone down during power cut.

BPCOCO location.

Past that we reach Haveri bye-pass and take left towards Sirsi, service road from NH to SH is in real bad shape.

Sirsi - Haveri SH 2 is in good shape, however this is one of the roads which has speed breakers build first and roads later.

Attachment 1835968

mpksuhas 10th January 2019 22:29

Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping
 
14 Attachment(s)
Few KMs ahead, road crosses SH 1 at Nakara cross, past that road condition are bit patchy. However traffic is less and it is possible to keep decent speed.

Attachment 1835969

Attachment 1835970


Past Yekkambi road widens a bit and is in better condition.

Attachment 1835971

Once we cross Sirsi for a while road has more patched section than original section.

Attachment 1835972

However soon road becomes smooth.

Attachment 1835973

Soon we can see NH 17 at a distance

Attachment 1835974

We join NH 17, widening work is ongoing here and traffic flows same side of carriageway for both sides.

Attachment 1835975


Past that we take left on to Gokarna road, this section has the worst road in entire trip with the initial ~5 KMs having multiple potholes. Past that though roads are narrow, surface is good.

Attachment 1835980

Attachment 1835982


We cross salt pans

Attachment 1835979

Signboards are few and far apart, however since traffic is sparse and intersections are less you can slow down and figure out the route from Google maps.

Attachment 1835981


Do note that mobile network is patchy at multiple places, hence its best to have offline maps downloaded.

Past few other intersections, we near our place of stay

Attachment 1835983

Attachment 1835984

Attachment 1835985

mpksuhas 11th January 2019 00:35

Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping
 
8 Attachment(s)
Zostel Gokarna

Location

We had booked our stay at Zostel Gokarna, which is part of a chain of backpacker hotels. While they are primarily into dormitory, they do have individual cottages. This is the first time I am staying at any of their property and would suggest it to anyone visiting Gokarna.

Its 12:16 PM and ODO reading is 502 KM.

View from main gate. Cottages are visible on the left, the thatched structure visible straight ahead is inhouse cafe. The building in between cafe and cottage is dormitory. It houses a female only dorm and also a mixed dorm, first floor of the dorm building houses an activity center.


Attachment 1835994


In house cafe. The place serves decent food and has friendly staff, price is bit on costlier side. Also, they do accept cards, not many in Gokarna do.

Attachment 1835993


View of Gokarna beach from cafe

Attachment 1835990


Activity center

Attachment 1835992


Cottages

Attachment 1835991

Interior pics

Attachment 1835987

Attachment 1835988

Attachment 1835989

mpksuhas 12th January 2019 15:56

Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping
 
5 Attachment(s)
Gokarna Beaches

Gokarna has 6 (or 5 if small hell is not counted) beaches. From south to north, these are the beaches -
  • Paradise beach
  • Small hell beach
  • Half moon beach
  • Om beach
  • Kudle beach
  • Gokarna beach


Zostel conducts 5 beaches (excluding Gokarna beach) trek from the hostel once every few days. There was a trek planned for the same evening, we decide to opt for the same.

They charge Rs 500 per head for the group trek.

For the rest of the travelogue I will list out pictures based on each beach taken across multiple days.


At around 02:30 PM, we head to beach next to the hostel, the plan is to take boat arranged by hostel and head to paradise beach which is the south most beach. From there, we will trek back all the way to hostel by the time for sunset. The distance one side is around 8 KM's.

View of Kudle beach from boat

Attachment 1836425


Enroute we spot few dolphins

Attachment 1836426

Attachment 1836427


Trekkers are visible on hills

Attachment 1836428


We land at small hell beach, the boat in which we came in the background

Attachment 1836429

mpksuhas 12th January 2019 16:14

Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping
 
11 Attachment(s)
Paradise beach

The southernmost beach can be accessible by the beachside trek path, backtracking the route we will be taking back to hostel. Second and easier option is to trek from Belekan beach. You can see the parking option and start of trekking path later in this travelogue along with pics of lighthouse.

Paradise beach is favorite among those who want to camp overnight beside the beach. However, this is not legal and police is known to enforce the rule once in a while.

Bioluminescent plankton can be seen at the beach in the night, however we didn't wait for the same and started our trek back.

Attachment 1836434

Attachment 1836435

Our trek group, small hell and paradise beach in the background.

Attachment 1836436


The trek path from here to half moon beach is tough. Since it was a winter afternoon, we were able to complete it without any issues as such. However, it will be dangerous after sunset or during rainy season.

The path hugs shoreline and is beautiful.


Attachment 1836439

Attachment 1836440

Attachment 1836441

Attachment 1836442

Attachment 1836443

Attachment 1836444



We reach near Half moon beach.

The trek path reaches beach on a narrow lane next to a shack.

Attachment 1836446

Notice the arrows which depicts the path

Attachment 1836447

mpksuhas 12th January 2019 16:43

Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping
 
18 Attachment(s)
Half moon beach

This is the most beautiful beach around Gokarna. Thanks to its remote location, only few people will be present.

We came here again the next day and there were hardly some 15 people on the beach. The crowd you see in below pic is from two trek groups. Also, water is very calm and ideal for taking a bath.

For those less adventurous, you can take a boat from Om beach till here for around Rs 200 per head one side.

Attachment 1836449

Attachment 1836450


Attachment 1836556

Attachment 1836557

After a small break, we continue our trek. The route from Half moon towards Om beach is steep but less dangerous and has proper walking path.

Attachment 1836451

I would suggest those coming to Gokarna to trek till half moon at least just to experience this section of walkway.

We bid goodbye to Half moon beach.

Attachment 1836555

Attachment 1836452

Attachment 1836453

Attachment 1836454

Attachment 1836455

Attachment 1836456

Past this cliff section, there is a small forested section. It is very easy to take the wrong path here. While we did the same route on second day, we had some difficulty in finding the path.


Attachment 1836552

Attachment 1836554

Attachment 1836558

Attachment 1836559

Attachment 1836561


Soon we can see Om beach

Attachment 1836553


The last few meters towards Om beach

Attachment 1836563

mpksuhas 12th January 2019 23:25

Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping
 
19 Attachment(s)
Om beach

This is the most crowded beach here, also it has quiet few shacks around.

Attachment 1836564

Attachment 1836572

Attachment 1836569

Attachment 1836568


Namaste Cafe

Location

This is one of the famous shack around here and the biggest we found. Food was decent and would suggest this.

Attachment 1836571

Attachment 1836570


At the north end of Om beach, there are these steps which takes you towards parking area.



Attachment 1836567


Past that we come across these sign boards which many of you would have seen earlier. Sadly they are defaced.

Attachment 1836566

Attachment 1836565


Om beach parking area

Location


Attachment 1836574


Next to the parking is a refreshment counter and a paid bathroom. Alongwith that there is a bit open seating area.

Attachment 1836573


From the top side of the seating area there is a walkway to Kudle beach.

Attachment 1836585

Attachment 1836584


There are markings on ground to help you with directions

Attachment 1836583

Attachment 1836582

Attachment 1836581

Soon we reach parking lot of Kudle beach. There are two parking areas for Kudle beach. The one in below pic, is located between Kudle and Om beach and the other one is located on north side of Kudle.

Location of Kudle parking shown in pic below.

Attachment 1836580

Past parking lot, steps takes you down towards Kudle beach.

Attachment 1836579

Attachment 1836578

mpksuhas 13th January 2019 00:08

Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping
 
13 Attachment(s)
Kudle beach

There was some video shooting ongoing at the beach

Attachment 1836586

Attachment 1836587

Attachment 1836592


We stopped at Little Paradise Inn for snacks on a later day, however food was just average.

Location


Attachment 1836593

However the seating there give good view of sunset

Attachment 1836594


At north side of the beach is La Pizzeria, though we didn't have food from there, have seen good reviews about the place.

Location

Attachment 1836591

Next to the restaurant building is walkway towards north side parking lot of Kudle beach.

Walkway

Attachment 1836590

Attachment 1836589

Attachment 1836588


Next to this is a popular stay option at Kudle, Namaste Yoga farm.


Past that we reach north side parking of Kudle beach.

Location



The Zostel guides takes us to a view point nearby to watch sunset.

Attachment 1836598

Attachment 1836599

Attachment 1836600


Interesting rock formation, almost similar to the ones in St Mary's island.

Attachment 1836601

Not mentioning the exact location here since it is not a public place, though there is no restriction on visiting there. However if you are interested do PM me for exact location.

mpksuhas 13th January 2019 00:50

Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping
 
17 Attachment(s)
Gokarna Lighthouse

Our third day at Gokarna, we decide to head to lighthouse in the morning. So before breakfast we head to Belekan beach.

Attachment 1836602

Attachment 1836608

Attachment 1836603

About 25 mins drive from hostel, we reach Om Shanti Paradise hotel, they have paid parking and can accommodate about 4 cars.

Location

Attachment 1836604

Attachment 1836605

Attachment 1836606

It is possible to park car next to road also. However in that case you will have to walk some 200 meters extra since the road is narrow towards end.

Attachment 1836607


There is a small stream next to the parking area which you need to cross, on crossing the stream there are two paths. The one which goes straight is the alternate route to Paradise beach I was mentioning about earlier.

We take the path to left which goes to the lighthouse. It is around one KM walk.

Attachment 1836609

Attachment 1836610

Attachment 1836611

Attachment 1836612

Attachment 1836613

Lighthouse opens in evening as per what was mentioned online.

Attachment 1836614

Attachment 1836615

Attachment 1836616

Attachment 1836617

Attachment 1836618


Location of lighthouse.


Apart from the view from lighthouse there is not much to see around here, we head back to parking area and then to our hostel. We reach back within some 1.5 hours of starting from hostel.

mpksuhas 13th January 2019 01:25

Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping
 
18 Attachment(s)
Gokarna town

On the 3rd day afternoon we decide to head to Gokarna town. Town center has narrow roads and can be tough to drive around, hence we decide to walk from our hostel.

Attachment 1836619

Attachment 1836620

Attachment 1836621

Attachment 1836622

Attachment 1836623

Attachment 1836624



Main entrance to Mahabaleshwara temple

Attachment 1836625

Attachment 1836626



Prema Cold drinks

Location

We decide to head to Prema cold drinks for lunch, this is one of the famous restaurant here. The restaurant serves only vegetarian food.

Attachment 1836630

Attachment 1836628

Food was descent, however it was not upto the expectations which we had set based on online reviews.


Gokarna temple parking is near to the restaurant.

Attachment 1836629



Saw these graffitis all around town

Attachment 1836631

Attachment 1836632

Attachment 1836633

Attachment 1836634

Attachment 1836635

Attachment 1836636

Attachment 1836637

mpksuhas 13th January 2019 01:33

Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping
 
4 Attachment(s)
On 4th day of our trip in the morning, we head for a walk at Gokarna beach.

Since it was early in morning, beach was not crowded. This is the non touristy side of Gokarna, frequented by pilgrims mostly. Compared to my first visit in 1999, things have improved in general on this side. Now there is a common toilet cum bath area next to beach and a parking lot which was not present then.

However, garbage is still strewn across the beach.

Attachment 1836638

Attachment 1836639


By 10:30 AM we start back our drive to Bangalore

Attachment 1836640

By 1:43 PM we reach Haveri byepass and then stop at Kamat Ranebennur for lunch at 2:12 PM. After lunch we start at 02:43 PM.



Past that we stop at Sira CCD for a tea break at 04:37 PM for half hour.

Location

We reach Bangalore NICE road entry at 06:32 PM, since this was a working day, it took around an hour to cover the last 5 KMs from NICE road Hosur road exit to home.

Attachment 1836641

mpksuhas 13th January 2019 01:55

Epilogue
 
Goa or Gokarna?

This is a common question one comes across, however apart from geographical proximity, there isn't anything common between both the locations.

In my view, if favorite locations in Goa for you are forts and hills, then you will surely love Gokarna. However, if Goa means shacks and nightlife for you, Gokarna will be a huge disappointment for you.



Epilogue
  • Beaches around Gokarna is rough, do make sure the beach you are getting in to is safe.
  • Gokarna overall felt like a safe place, it still has a small town feel to it.
  • Do check if your hotel has parking space in case you are driving down. Many resorts don't have car parking.
  • In case you are interested in star gazing/ star trail photography, this is an ideal location. Unfortunately I was not carrying my camera tripod, hence wasn't able to do the same.
  • If travelling with kids or you have difficulty in walking/ climbing, its best to avoid beach trek between Half moon beach and Paradise.
  • Om beach to half moon beach can be done if you are moderately fit. Else, you can take a boat for one side and then trek in other direction.
  • During onward drive, we saw traffic police interceptor vehicle parked around here. On return drive, they were parked further towards Sirsi and were stopping only truckers.


TBHP links which helped in planning the trip


Few locations nearby Gokarna which we had planned of visiting, however dropped the plan till next trip since we were lazy :)

ajmat 15th January 2019 15:12

Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping
 
Note from Moderator

Moving to the Travelogue thread. Thanks for sharing!

chandrda 16th January 2019 06:54

Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping
 
Well Written. Like you said, Gokarna was a sleepy Temple town till the mid 2000 and I had visited a number of times just because it was not crowded. Hardly anybody used the beach and the road to the beach itself was through the town.

Everything changed from 2004 onwards as more and more Russians started visiting Gokarna mainly due to rising costs in Goa and Police action. Westerners needed a small and obscure place to indulge in their activity, thus Gokarna was re-born.

Today I hardly recognize the Gokarna.

Regards

Akhileshmdp 16th January 2019 13:59

Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping
 
Well written, brings back my memories from June-18 when a couple of us visited Gokarna for a friend's wedding, drove from Pune taking the route Pune->Gokarna->Goa->Pune. Have often heard this Goa vs Gokarna question and would completely agree, there is hardly anything common except both being beach towns. Gokarna is a quiet place which I would head to for few days of peace and calm, while Goa is of-course the tourism capital of west coast.


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 02:15.