Monday, March 30, 2009

Gokarna/Murudeshwar - Coastal Karnataka at its best..!

A sudden plan among our backpackers emerged to explore the west coast with a 2 days of schedule.... We ruled out Mangalore for its was less for its natural beauty and Karwar which was too distant.
The plan was to go to Gokarna straight through Mangalore and explore Gokarna the 1st day and and come back to Murudeshwar the next day. Mangalore was a tiring 8 hours overnight journey from bangalore via terrible road conditions and we had a bus to a place called Kumta(the road is through the scenic coastal highway leading to panaji-goa) at 8.30 am in the morning. We had to travel by another bus to reach Gokarna finally by around 1.30 pm.
It was a very quiet,rustic and old evergreen tropical place. Facilities were bare minimum at the place though the place was throbbing with foreigners. Beach side resorts were less interested in giving accomodation for bachelors for they had bookings from foreigners and couples. We stayed at Gokarna International hotel nearby bus stand that charged Rs 295 for a double non ac bedroom. This turned out to be better as beach resorts were too isolated and the surroundings were devoid of any facilities at all including transport.
Gokarna town was dotted with traditional age old brahmin houses and an ancient Shiva temple. The temple has a rich history dating back to Ravan's vara given by Lord Shiva and is believed to have the Aathma linga. The main gokarna beach was also scenic/unpolluted by itself and was worth spending the sunset. Other beaches worth exploring are Half moon, paradise, om, kudle in that order by fishermen boat with some 100rs per head.(worth every paisa).
Om Beach: This place was amazing. It was a pure virgin unspoilt beach across a scenic greenish valley backdrop. Water was pure and was shallow just enough to entice us farther and farther towards the sea. There was barely any crowd or shops nearby. One evening here was not enough to admire this place.
So we planned an early moring trek to this place to catch the sunrise here. We started at the hotel by 4.30 am via hill side roads and reached the beach at 5.45 am with a flash light. It was very chilling as there was absolutely no civilization around and stray dogs were too intimidating. We settled atop a view point to watch the sun to play around with its light across the beach. The view were worth every second.
By some crazy idea we planned a trek towards Kudle beach from Om beach (next beach along the rocky shore) via the beach through the hills. After an unbelievable trek for around 3 hours and emptied water bottles, we noticed that the route had worn off and trees had grown along the route. We had planned to revert back to om beach. By some darn luck we shouted for rescue and were lucky enough to be picked by a fishermen boat to take us to Kudle beach. To our dismay we found were only about half a km from our destination when we gave up. The escapade was unbelievable.
Next day after the tiring trek we routed back to Murdeshwar. This place was worth spending a night at the sea side lodge (RNS residency - if you are planning to stay here stay here only and no other place is worth it). The sea side restaurant (Naveen) was awesome and had a great view along the sea and the imposing Shiva statue and the temple. The beach here were also huge and beautiful stretch across a greenish coconut tree shores. The place was way more crowded but cheap as it has lesser foreigners around. With a heavy heart we took back the bus(pre booked Rajahamsa executive) towards Bangalore from Murudeshwar bus stand.
Room at Murudeshwar:
Season to travel Gokurna/Murudeshwar : Round the year though summer will be too hot.