THUMB RULE – If your trip is accompanied by a gang of gurls, then guys might just cancel their prior appointments, could even take sick leaves. If it’s not, then even after ‘coaxing’ they wouldn’t show up. Anyways, so I made my own Ekla Chalo Re trip on the long weekend starting 29th Sep, as I had taken a leave on 1st Oct n 2nd Oct is Bapu Jayanti – National Holiday. Locking yourself up for 4 days is Bangalore is well-nigh unthinkable for me.
29th Sep: Initial plans with a gang, was to Goa….(few dropped – plan changed)…Pondicherry…(rest dropped – plan dropped)….finally, thought of Gokarna. I had never been to this place but have heard quite often about this. Woke up on a Saturday morning, so why not make it there – I said to myself. Immediately logged into RedBus/ TravelYaari and was lucky enough to get a single to-fro ticket as all seats were packed for the weekend. Boarded the bus at 7:30pm sharp near the East End stop. Plugged in the headphones and went on to my good old pal – FB. The best thing about Social Networks is that they too travel with you – Thanks to the power of 3G! Updated few statuses – a self-assuring one’s here. And after hours of listening to music, went into the limboland.
The arrival and stay:
Day 1(30th Sep):
The view through the mountains to the arrival point reminded of my Saklespur trip. Reached Gokarna check-post around 8:30am, also known as Maruti Katte point (this is where you have to come to board the bus back to Bangalore). Next thing to do was to reach the beach side. Surfed through Wikitravel on my BB and called up few hotels at Om Beach which were filled. Hence, boarded an auto to Kudle Beach for I had a gut-feel that Kudle has more reasonable and better places to stay. Bargained the auto-ricks from 150bucks to 90 (they might not come down from 100/- though). On my way saw this board Namaste Yoga Farm (the contact no. given in the page may not work, do contact Amit – 96205 69868 for bookings), asked him to take me there. I fell in love with this cottage the moment I went to the reception! I checked-in. It was time to take a shower and relax! But before that, I shot a few pics of this wonderful lush green farm-house.
This is where I stayed with my blissful solitude.
A neighboring cottage at Namaste Yoga Farm
Namaste Yoga Farm – The way to my cottage
So now, I headed to the beach for some breakfast. After walking for a while I found this lovely beach-side restaurant (Mango Cafe) which is going to be the pivot point of my entire trip as I keep narrating.
The cafe in yellow is Mango cafe. Here most of my trip time was spent. Lazing, relaxing, hogging n sipping in solitude. :)
1st view from the cafe to Kudle beach as I had my Spanish Breakfast + a glassful of tea (oh it was a long glass):
The ebb and flow
After having breakfast and lazing at the cafe for an hour, gazing the vast expanse of the sea along with the greenery formed by the surrounding mountains and headed by coconut trees (the cafe boys are very sweet as they won’t get you the bill until you asked them even though I sit for hours without a jolt), I started walking towards OM Beach after asking directions to the locals by the beach side. It’s a small trek at the fag-end of the beach, the trek is around 20mins to OM Beach.
A couple walking hand-in-hand at Kudle
View of Kudle Beach from its left end
There are navigation marks from Kudle to Om Beach as you trek up and reach the plains are somewhat like these:
Navigation marks en route Om Beach
On my way to Om Beach (a bird couple busy on their date)
Reached Om Beach:
The shape of the beach depicts the sacred Hindu symbol – OM, hence the name.
I thought of spending some time at the beach, n get a few shots of me clicked. Couldn’t find a decent looking chap at that moment, so, approached some dude who was half-naked (from bottom). Gave some SLR lessons prior to clicking only to notice – this time I am a victim of Photography Fail!!!. Below pic explains:
A worse victim of Photography fail. This time the photographer himself!
After spending some time at Om, I headed back to Kudle to experience the twilight walking through the beach, sipping beer at Mango Cafe.
As I reached Mango cafe around 5:45pm, the dark clouds suddenly started invading the beach with a heavy shower imminent – it looked some what like this:
As I sit at Mango cafe at twilight with suddenly the dark clouds invading n hovering over Kudle. A heavy shower imminent.
And as expected, it started pouring heavy after some 30mins and just when I was sipping my beer on my own with some firangs and nice people around who I cracked a conversation until 10:30pm which is when I left the Cafe and headed to rest in my cottage.
Sheer bliss – U’re back 2 ur beach…seated at a beach side cafe, with d small surrounding mountains sipping beer…n just at twilight – the rains start pouring heavily with thunders n lightning.
Day 2 (31st Sep):
Woke up around 8am to freshness of the farm-house and felt the aroma of nature. Now today’s agenda – draw some cash from Gokarna town, come back to the cottage, take a shower and explore Half-moon beach after a brunch.
A view of the Gokarna beach while heading to the town to draw cash and explore the temples.
As I enter the town:
A beautiful street as I enter Gokarna town
Vendors ready outside the temples with offerings to the Lord
Some different flowers in front of Ganapati temple
I was back to my farm house, after some uphill/downhill walks and clicks, draped in just a towel relaxing in a jute chair. This is when I found a thud beside me as if someone threw something to me. Suddenly, I discovered it was a snake and it wasn’t moving. Looking at it, even I cautioned myself, did not move (there was a sense of shock and awe in the mind) and gave a frantic call to the cottage assistant so that he keeps a watch on it movement. Thereafter, I rushed to grab my cam ASAP and asked the helper boy not to disturb the snake. And here are some vivid pictures that would tell you the story on what I saw:
Snake that felt with a thud besides my chair on which I was seated with a lizard head in its mouth
The snake is now aware of human beings around him, so perhaps cautioned on any attacks to it
And wasting no time, it had to escape from unreliable ruthless human beings, with the prey slowly gulping into its throat:
With no 2nd thought, gobbling up the lizard head in its mouth
I have never known snakes too camouflage. The color blue changing to the dry wood underneath it.
Soon after the ordeal, I started on my mission to explore Half-moon beach,which does mean I’ll have to walk through Kudle and Om as well. Already one beach had been covered i.e. Gokarna beach. Now rest 3. (Paradise beach, is yet another secluded (5th) beach but has been taken away by Forest deptt. and is closed now for general public) Had my usual lunch at Mango cafe who’s prices are way reasonable than any pub in Bangalore or shack in Goa. Had a beer and then got going.
Few folks I met at Kudle beach on Day 2
A kid playing football as his mom quite oblivious in her game against the sands.
As I headed Om beach again, made few friends on my way:
Met this nice chap Hari who’s now a facebook friend. Happy to get him few portraits/memories that he wanted. :)
So after around 90 mins of walking and some small treks, I did some photoshoot of these folks at OM Beach and without wasting much time headed towards Halfmoon beach. I had to keep time in mind for this was my 2nd and final day when I have to board a bus to return back.
Greeted by eagles that flew across the path to Halfmoon Beach
As I trek towards Halfmoon beach through these serene and breathtaking views
A light house or possibly a view point to the Paradise beach that comes as u head further. It’s more secluded.
Finally, I reached Halfmoon beach. It was totally secluded. It was just me and me. The time was around 4:40 pm. I could even run naked on the beach and there won’t be anyone to notice. ;)
A sense of accomplishment as the trek was little longer around 40mins, than the other beaches. And also a bit more adventurous as there wasn’t anybody who accompanied me.
Few shots of the beautiful and serene Halfmoon beach:
Half moon beach, towards the Paradise beach side
Half moon beach, towards the OM beach side
Spending some 15-20 mins, I headed back. And the thrill and jitters and stress were never so evident on my face than this moment when I actually lost my way back as there were no such marks that lead to OM beach or vice-versa. There were bifurcations. I had no clues which path I took but to realize that I went back to Half-moon Beach again!! I was petrified at this moment as it was getting late and I dint have a torch with me once there’s a nightfall! I gave a call to one of my friend and let her know the situation. I called up the farm-house owner to keep him informed. He too couldn’t help much. There was no one as it was a Monday and already evening. I had to catch my bus back too. I can’t afford to waste time. Then, i tried searching for some polythenes, bottles (U know this is India, so litters are the marks), plastic to trace my way back. Somehow I found the directions correct. But never had I been this panicky. Below picture is the outcome of it. I tried clicking some snaps there from my Blackberry, so in case I never made it, someone should find them and make a movie on me like Christopher McCandeless ‘s in Into the Wild.
All pictures were shaky even though I tried to make my hands firm.
Eventually made my way back and reached Kudle. Was happy to see fire, if not bonfire but the Firangs burning the coconut tree branches.
Hence, came to the end of my trip on Day 2. I made it bang on my estimated time. Grabbed a beer at Mango cafe. It was around 5:45pm. I headed for a shower in my farm-house. My bus was at 7:30pm. The farmhouse dude booked an auto-rick for me which was waiting for me around 6:30pm. As I stepped out of my guest house, there were some nicely clad pretty ladies heading to the same point where their autos were stranded. I am never short of cracking a conversation, am I? So figured out they too were traveling back in the same bus to Bangalore – SeaBird Tourists .… ;)