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Old 26th December 2018, 23:05   #1
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Arrow Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping

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.

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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.

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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.

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Last edited by mpksuhas : 15th January 2019 at 12:49.
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Old 10th January 2019, 22:29   #2
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping

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.

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

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

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However soon road becomes smooth.

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Soon we can see NH 17 at a distance

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

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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.

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We cross salt pans

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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.

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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

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Last edited by benbsb29 : 23rd January 2019 at 07:51. Reason: Corrected typo for 'decent'.
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Old 11th January 2019, 00:35   #3
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping

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.


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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.

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View of Gokarna beach from cafe

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Activity center

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Cottages

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Interior pics

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Last edited by mpksuhas : 15th January 2019 at 12:53.
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Old 12th January 2019, 15:56   #4
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping

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

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Enroute we spot few dolphins

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Trekkers are visible on hills

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

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Last edited by mpksuhas : 15th January 2019 at 12:57.
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Old 12th January 2019, 16:14   #5
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping

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.

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

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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.


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We reach near Half moon beach.

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

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Notice the arrows which depicts the path

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Last edited by mpksuhas : 15th January 2019 at 13:01.
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Old 12th January 2019, 16:43   #6
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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Soon we can see Om beach

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The last few meters towards Om beach

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Last edited by mpksuhas : 15th January 2019 at 13:04.
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Old 12th January 2019, 23:25   #7
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping

Om beach

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

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Namaste Cafe

Location

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

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



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

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Om beach parking area

Location


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

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

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There are markings on ground to help you with directions

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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.

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

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Last edited by mpksuhas : 15th January 2019 at 13:10.
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Old 13th January 2019, 00:08   #8
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping

Kudle beach

There was some video shooting ongoing at the beach

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

Location


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However the seating there give good view of sunset

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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

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

Walkway

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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.

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

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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.

Last edited by mpksuhas : 15th January 2019 at 13:15.
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Old 13th January 2019, 00:50   #9
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping

Gokarna Lighthouse

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

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

Location

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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.

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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.

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Lighthouse opens in evening as per what was mentioned online.

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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.

Last edited by mpksuhas : 15th January 2019 at 13:18.
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Old 13th January 2019, 01:25   #10
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping

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.

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Main entrance to Mahabaleshwara temple

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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.

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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.

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Saw these graffitis all around town

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Last edited by mpksuhas : 15th January 2019 at 13:26.
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Old 13th January 2019, 01:33   #11
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping

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.

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

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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.

Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping-suh_4766.jpg

Last edited by mpksuhas : 15th January 2019 at 13:28.
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Old 13th January 2019, 01:55   #12
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Default 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

Last edited by mpksuhas : 15th January 2019 at 13:32.
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Old 15th January 2019, 15:12   #13
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Gokarna beach hopping

Note from Moderator

Moving to the Travelogue thread. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 16th January 2019, 06:54   #14
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Default 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

Last edited by benbsb29 : 23rd January 2019 at 09:54. Reason: Corrected typos.
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Old 16th January 2019, 13:59   #15
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Default 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.
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