It is important that you keep the promises that you make to yourself. This happens to be one of my resolutions for 2018. I don’t really fancy the idea of spending the New Year Eve in the city. Gokarna, being a top choice among traveler’s favourite beaches in India, has lately been stealing the thunder of Goa. I decided on Gokarna without a moment’s hesitation. The trip was done through one of the known trekking agencies of Bangalore called ‘Plan the Unplanned’ and ended up with some 30-odd travelers that I had met for the very first time.
Gokarna attracts the crowd for its low-key, chilled-out beach holiday and not for full-blown parties. Accommodations are arranged in thatched bamboo huts along the vast stretch of its blissful coast. As I proceed to narrate my backpacking endeavor to Gokarna, I believe that the pictures will justify for you the beauty of this place.
On the morning of 30th December, we boarded the bus to Gokarna so that we could spend the entire last day of the year exploring this awe-inspiring place. It took us about 12 hours to reach there (considering the traffic of Bangalore). I was pretty amused that no one among us cribbed over the fact of running late. This was one of the most comforting thoughts that I shared with many adventurer souls who often go for treks. We were escorted by three trek leads and they ensured us a fun time on the bus by engaging us in introductions and several activities. We had a couple of pit stops in the journey for refreshments.
We reached our homestay around 2 in the morning. Despite this, everyone volunteered to go to the nearest beach at this odd hour when the idea was proposed by one of our trek leads. I deeply admire all their tired souls and relentless spirits as I thought to myself that this is how some of the most extraordinary memories are made in life.
I had brought along my DSLR Camera without which this shot wouldn’t have been possible at all. Save for the moonlight, it was pitch-black.
The next morning we were all set for the beach trek. The entire beach trek takes about 4-5 hours. It starts from Paradise Beach and finally ends at Kudle beach. Paradise Beach was so refreshing that we all ended up staying in the water longer than usual. From there we went to the Half-moon Beach where we did rock climbing and enjoyed some refreshments in the shacks.
In the next trail, I was walking through a small path carved out of the hill. On the right, there was the hill and on the left, a steep decline that finally meets the furious water crashing against the rocks. We reached the Om Beach. This was one of the most beautiful beaches. I was elated to relish the last sunset of the year while chilling out on this beach. Undoubtedly, all sunsets are beautiful but this particular one will always remain with me. A sneaky and less traveled path between Half-moon beach and Om beach leads you to this spot. I would highly recommend that you make it up here. It’s rocky and standing tall; you witness a 220° view, almost panoramic view of the blue ocean. With hardly any people, you can enjoy the serene and blissful ocean breeze.
There are plenty of shacks in and around this beach where, I think, you should generally prefer pasta over anything.
We decided to spend the New Year Eve at Kudle beach which seemed to be the most happening place here. There are a lot of shacks and small cottage inns which are mostly owned and managed by the locals staying here. Almost all shacks had cottages for accommodation with prices ranging from Rs. 500- Rs. 2500/- per night depending on the amenities and luxuries. It was a delight to see people from all walks of life grooving along to jam sessions at the beach. Some groups of people were enjoying chilled beers around a bonfire. The happiness in the air was contagious. Soon we were nearing the countdown to usher in the New Year. As soon as the as the clock struck twelve, the sky was lit up with crackers of myriad colors.
The next morning we were almost sad thinking that the trip had come to an end already but to our utter surprise, our trek leads announced that we will be soon heading to Mirjan Fort after which we will head back to Bangalore. This fort had witnessed many battles, tears and gallant feats of bravery. Mirjan fort is also famous for its architectural beauty. The fort was used as the warehouse by the Filipinos, Britishers, etc. The structure, now demolished, preserves both Islamic and Portuguese heritage influences and portrays the royal life lived by the rulers of that era.
We reached Bangalore by midnight.
I was glad to be part of this trekking group. Some of these people whom I had never met before are now my friends. All that matters to me is to not limit my whole experience of life to a few people and few places. I would go on to explore and relish whatever life has to offer to the fullest!