image Go-Karna

Gokarna, Karnataka
March 2014

The inexpensive Goa of the common man, and the college students struggling through a month end like always. In short, when you have Goa withdrawal and you really can’t afford it, well more than you your lungs and liver, you make a trip to Gokarna. The conevenience that mangalore provided in terms of accessibility helped me in planning many such impromptu trips.

How to reach?

Trains – Goa is accessible from Mangalore, Madgaon (Goa), Kumta (45 kms) and Ankola (20 km). the station is named as Gokarna Road and is 8 kms away from the city of Gokarna. Taxi and Rickshaws are obviously more expensive, even if its daytime. So the charge is more higher at night.

Bus – Karnataka transport (red KSRTC bus) is available, but only from Kumta and Ankola. Therre is a direct bus from Bangalore to Gokarna.

Car (preferable) – We decided to take convenience over all the hassle. We were in the mood of indulgence. And of course the road trip is so beautiful and scenic that the tiring ride becomes more preferable. If you start at 2 in the afternoon, you will reach by 9 at night.

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On the way – Don’t forget to stop at the beautiful beach called Marvanthe beach. The clean sand, the clean shiny blue water will just refresh your mind and rejuvenate your soul.

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Marvanthe beach
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Marvanthe beach

Mythology– Lately I have been immersed in a lot of mythological books (thank you Devdutt Patnaik) So I’ll let you know one of the most famous stories related to the place. I have previously mentioned about Ram and Ravana in my haunted post (no pun here people). Now about Gokarna. Ravana was a big devotee of lord Shiva. So to please him he decided to penance by performing a recital of Shivatandavastrotam. The musical instrument is nor infamously called as Ravanahatha which basically a complicated mixture of cello and violin, described in terms of human anatomy in the great epic Ramayana. As a gift for his dedication and devotion, a Atma linga was given to him, so powerful that once it has been placed in a city, it will render the place with invulnerability. Shiva instructed Ravana never to place the linga on ground since once established, it can not be moved.
Fearing the increase in strength that Shiva linga bearer Ravana can possess, the Gods decided to trick him. Lord Vishnu (another tridev) was aware that Ravana was punctual regarding his evening rituals. As he was nearing Gokarna, Vishnu obscured the sun with Sudarshan chakra. As a result Ravana decided to go for his prayers. But before leaving, he entrusted a Brahmin boy (Lord Ganesha in disguise) with the linga to be carried in his arms only. Ganesha agreed to do so under one condition, that he would carry the Atma linga as long as he can bear the weight, and thereafter he would call out for Ravana three times. If he fails to come by then, then the linga will be placed on ground. And this is exactly what happened. Ravana tried to extricate it, resulting in throwing the coverings of the linga to Surathkal, Dhaneshwar, Gunavanteshwar, Murudeshwar and Shejjeshwar temples.

The winding path that leads Gokarna is nothing short of scenic, with rocky mountains and Western Ghats on one side and the Arabian Sea on the other.

The main reason one should ever go to Gokarna is for the beaches.

  • Gokarna beach (Indian beach) forms the coast of the town and is mainly used by pilgrims
  • Main beach is a long open beach, known for surfing.
  • Kudle beach and Om beach 6 km from Gokarna along a muddy hill and can be only accessed either by foot or by a rickshaw. Om beach is the only naturally Om shaped beach
  • Half moon beach and Paradise beach can be accessed by foot or by boat only

We decided to go to Kudle beach instead of the most popular Om beach. There are numerous shacks located on the beach which provide cheap accomodation unlike the Gokarna International beach resort. It takes a while to reach the beach beacuse of the extremely narrow and rocky path, so make sure you have flashlight or torch with you. Don’t carry much luggage. It makes it easier to walk.

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Kudle beach

You can spend the night with a bonfire and chilled beer on the beach itself. Lot of music and good company, doesn’t that sound like a perfect life? ( I know I do not sound like a doctor at all!!)

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Kudle beach

To end the trip, don’t forget to make a stop at the infamous Namaste Cafe, located at Om beach. The food is extraordinarily delicious, and the view of Om beach will keep you good company. Mind you, there are 50 or so steps to reach the beach, but its ok. Some things are just worth it.

A Panoramic shot of Om beach
A Panoramic shot of Om beach

To visit
1) Mahabaleshwar temple, housing the infamous Atma linga of the story and depicting the enormous strength of Ravana

2) Maha Ganapati temple, in honour of Ganesha for tricking the demon king

I love impromptu plans. And best is when they are linked with such cool stories. You will to, if its for Gokarna. Goa is Goa, but Gokarna is the lazy one.

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