Getting Away to the Western Coast of North Karnataka
The two-day excursion started with a lazy brunch and a slow walk alongside the waters of the western coast of North Karnataka. As the day progressed, we began our search for a place to revive ourselves, and found Café Nirvana. The name reminded me of the famous rock band though I am not sure if that was the café’s inspiration. The place looked like a regular beach shack/coffee house but it had an added layer of glee to it. With a mixed European and Indian crowd, good music, and soothing beer, our experience there lightened our day.
Soon it was time for us to move onto the next beach on our list, Kudle. It is a 15-minute moderate trek from Om Beach to Kudle Beach and the sunset led the way. By the time we reached Kudle Beach, the sun was almost near the horizon, giving the waters an alluring blend of an orange and purple sparkle. The backdrop of a couple of small hills on both sides of the beach and the silhouette of several ships on the horizon enhanced the view further.
The biggest challenge in visiting Gokarna, which we had not anticipated, was the fact that it is very sparsely lit. The way back included an uncharted route with about 10 minutes of walking uphill in absolute darkness followed by an auto-rickshaw ride through a secluded stretch with nothing but bushy vegetation on both sides.
By the time we finished our dinner, there was a blissful night breeze and we decided to explore the dark but decently crowded beach. We came across a group of travelers who were camping, and we felt comfortable to stop by and relax without disturbing their party. We felt carefree, with the sound of loud waves on one side and a resonating guitar on the other. We tucked ourselves into bed with the thought that the best time of the trip was yet to come.
The next morning arrived with a fresh burst of energy. As soon as we walked onto the beach, we were greeted by the saline smell of the water and the sight of tiny brown crabs running around on the sand and the rocks. It was a sunny day with a moderate breeze flowing through our hair. After spending some time on a rocky patch that extended several meters into the sea, we moved on to begin the most adventurous mini journey of our trip: a trek to the neighboring beach, Half Moon.
From the very onset of this trek, we took the wrong path and in no time, we were back to where we had started. However, when we succeeded in our second attempt to find the correct way, we felt that the effort had been worth it. The view just before reaching the destination was something that I had only seen in my dreams or in Hollywood movies. The path was a narrow passage alongside a hill, which was steep enough to give you acrophobia. All you could see on the other side was water, and with the sunrays reflecting off of it, it looked like a reservoir of liquid gold. Coconut groves on the sides made the view even more magical.
This incredible view accompanied by the adrenaline rush made us all feel like it the best experience of the trip. True to its name, the beach was shaped like a semi-circular moon. We spent some time there playing in the waves and then boarded a boat to Kudle via Paradise Beach. Seeing Kudle during the day was a completely different experience from seeing it at night. It was filled with a vibrant and exciting mix of people who were involved in a variety of workout sessions from beach volleyball to hula hooping to Pranayama.
I’ll never forget the image of the European girl performing all the steps of Surya Namaskar over and over again. Seeing the way people took care of their physique was very inspiring to me. Even though yoga has its roots in India, I was impressed to see a foreigner do it perfectly because it showed a level of tenacity and commitment that most Indians lack towards their own techniques and more importantly, towards their health. With this in mind, I sat there, eating my lunch, chitchatting and giggling with my friends until it was time to leave.
Gokarna is a place with its own soul–one which is very different from more commercialized Indian beaches like Goa. It’s a great place to visit if you are looking for a relaxed getaway with scenic beauty and food for your soul.