Having only had the chance to trek mountains before, I had never anticipated the concept of a beach trek till I heard it from Abhiyana. I asked Sagar about it and he explained that the trek is about 25 km long stretch comprised of both beaches and hills. I had been dying to visit Gokarna for quite some time but somehow the plan never got cemented with friends.
So when this trek got posted on my Facebook, the idea was just too awesome to say no to. Just imagine! Walking along the beach for hours, playing in the sea; for two days! Yay! 😀
So the day arrives but unfortunately a team outing from office is scheduled on the same day which makes me so tired that I am almost about to cancel the trip. Not to mention that going to Domlur to board the bus felt like a mini-travel in itself. But all woes aside, I did somehow manage to reach on time and join the group. Quite a few new faces, and a very new experience of having two just married couples on board – their romance and jokes and fights can make this blog stretch to day long reading so I shall skip that part 😛
Reaching Gokarna early morning, it was a blissful showered welcome from the skies above and having rain drops wash your face through the tiniest opening of the bus window was a refreshing start to the trip. The trek started at Kumta beach, and oh the sight which met the eyes was unlike anything else. Yes, I have seen beaches before, lots of them but none in rain and clouds and the sea breeze was manifolded many times due to the rain. After an extremely tiring week at the office and career confusions in mind; the sight in front of me, the noise of sea waves and the feel of sand on naked feet just shut off every other voice around, even the one in my mind. It’s so weird that sometimes, not being able to hear your own voice can feel so good 🙂
The previous beach experiences have only constituted playing in the water, some little running around or sitting on the beach for hours. But this trek made us walk along the beach, taking in every bit of nature at our own pace. Well, we did get scolded by Sagar a lot for making so many pit-stops to click photos but can you blame us? Every few feet, there was a locale serving as the perfect background for a DP or cover pic – yes, all of us target these two photos all the time ; accept it 😀 !
Well, after crossing Kumta beach, we covered a private beach called Honalli after mounting a hill-top which again blessed us with an awestruck view of the paddy fields on one side, beach on the other and boulders in the sea on the third side. The sight can be best viewed in this pic. The next 2-3 kms of the trek were on the normal land and that short time away from the beach drove me really crazy – being a hardcore water fan 😀
Continuing on our trek, it felt majestic to walk along the mountain trail where you can see the sea-waves crashing on the rocks nearby, prompting us all to jump to those and get some good pictures. And did I mention that the mountains were lush green with grass? Never could I imagine a grassland on a mountain near the rocky shores of Arabian sea. This location provided the perfect spot for our lunch and mid-trek rest :). Kadle beach awaited us post-lunch, walking along the stretch of sand leads to discovering so many virgin beaches, where you can actually meet the real inhabitants of the sea. What not we saw – jumping jellyfish, star-fishes sprawled across like stars in the sky, so many different breeds of colourful crabs and oh yea, some skulls ( animals 😛 ) too.
The adventure continued to multiple rounds of ringa-ringa-roses in the sea, tricking people to actually “fall down” in the salty sticky water, bharatnatyam on the beach and guys dancing like girls just for the sake of a funny moment captured via lens.
Sagar’s gazes made us continue the walk towards Holanagadde Beach, crossing which we took a right turn towards a village just before Gundenagadi Beach. Into the village, we moved towards our stay for the night, and guess the place! It was Holanagadde Ramajaneya Temple dedicated to lord Hanuman.We had been a little surprised at the prospect of staying in a temple but the hospitality of the priests and their families overwhelmed us all. Hot drink, snacks, bananas – unlimited quantity and us trekkers being extremely exhausted after the long walk and trek were no less than gluttons at that moment. Hot bath and a very hearty dinner later, we all retired for the day on the beds laid down by the temple folks – really, some people are too selfless and generous when it comes to serving guests. All they did for us, for nothing in return, with utmost happiness and content at their hearts. It was amazing staying there, witnessing the evening and early morning aarti, being able to just sit in the temple compound near the Tulsi plant and do nothing and be at peace – ah, bliss 🙂
With a fresh start to the next morning, we boarded our bus again and reached the dock near “Sangam” of the Aganashini river with the Arabian sea. Usually, the river dominates the flow of the water over sea, but that day being a rainy one, salt won over sweet. Here, we took a ferry towards Tadadi port, a fishingbank. Seeing fish being caught live is one experience in itself, not a very happy one for me though :-/. On we resumed our trek, walking through an extremely thick and green forest this time, the trail being guarded on both the sides by thorny bushes and wearing sleeveless didn’t help my skin any bit 😦 .
It was raining cats and dogs but that hour-long scratchy and hectic expedition landed us at the Paradise beach also known as the Mahadeva beach. The beauty of the place justified its name and was enough to make me forget all the cuts and marks and just get soaked-in the nature. A very small stretch of sand, a private beach amidst thick forest on three sides and rocky shore on the fourth. Climbing atop the rocks, sticking our feet in the crevices to prevent slipping, all of us sat tight, holding hands, waiting for the breakers to drown us. This went on for quite some time till a tide made a few of us land on their asses and break a few knees. 😛 Retiring back to the soft sand, Sagar suddenly got this fetish to dig up a three feet deep pit while the rollers came in full-might and ruined his creations. So, a few fellows started giving him a helping hand. As soon as a wave came crashing, these people would pile on top of each other to make sure that the hollow remains hollow. That’s when an idea ( a very stupid one – you will know why in five seconds) strikes me to just go and stand in the pit, to feel the warmer sand and what happened next was beyond my imagination. As soon as I stepped in, one very intelligent human shouted to bury me in that and next I know, half of the group is pushing me to keep me in the pit, while the second half of the crew is filling-in sand around. Waist-deep I was buried, immovable, left to the mercy of the tides and sand washing me off, from head to toe. Well, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade and when friends bury you in sand, become a mermaid 😀 ( Wow! I am poet too! 😛 )
Well, the escapade wouldn’t end so easily, would it? Moving on from our favourite spot of the trek, we all got lost on the way to the half-moon beach. I have no idea why it’s named so, maybe it looks like a crescent when viewed from top. But we did spot a half-moon shaped rock here which lead to a short put competition and later long jump, really ??? Girls drew up their own games on the sand, what was it called ? O yea, Hopskotch 😛 While some people were playing, some curious models and photographers ( Before I forget, Kudos to Srini and Satish for the brilliant captures! 🙂 ) were busy getting the job done for their Facebook profile, I missed this one 😦
Nothing could top the adventure we had at the paradise beach, but oh boy! Gokarna doesn’t fail to prove you wrong. Little did we know that climbing atop the mountain past this beach would serve our eyes with the mesmerising view of the Om beach and to actually see where it got its name from. Clinging to the one-and-only coconut tree atop that hill, watching the tourists from top on one side at the Om beach, the mighty breakers at the shores below and in the front, nothing but the vast stretch of the sea. The horizon itself was invisible since the boundary between the sea and the sky had been faded by the grey of the clouds. One could only try to imagine where the end was.
Reaching our final destination at the Om beach, it was the first time that I had experienced bliss in the solitude amidst the roar of the seas, the crash of the rains and the giggling of the tourists. Knowing that I was nearing the end of this amazing trek, I just wanted to take it all in, one more time, one last time. I sang, I laughed, I cried and I thanked God, for making me realise one thing I had been asking myself for the past few weeks – what do I really want to do in life ? It may sound silly because I am sure many of us think this umpteen times every day but I had been forced to prod on it very seriously, very recently. And that’s when I realised, that whatever I do in life, wherever I am, if there is one thing that I have to keep on doing, to never stop doing ever, it’s travel. Far or near, easy or difficult, cheap or expensive, to keep walking along many other shores, to keep trekking many other peaks, to keep exploring many other cities, to keep meeting amazing set of people, gaining friends for life all the way…