A software developer from the city, Milind Baluni’s two greatest loves are gaming and travelling. “I make sure to travel somewhere new at least twice a year,” he tells us, “When you sit at a computer all day long at work, there is nothing more therapeutic than travelling to give you that much-needed break!” The 25-year-old recently went on a 5-day trip to Gokarna along with a few of his friends, and tells us all about it!
The name of the town literally means ‘cow’s ear’ and there is an interesting story behind it. The map of the town resembles the shape of a cow’s ear and it is believed to be the place that Lord Shive who is said to have emerged from the ear of a cow, appeared. A little town on the Arabian Sea, in Karnataka, Gokarna is quite popular for its sacred sites like Mahabaleshwar Temple but what is not very widely known is its numerous beaches. “There are cottages on the beaches in Gokarna,” Milind informs us, “We stayed in a cottage on Kudle beach. The stay was comfortable and there was a little cafe at the front that sold some of the most delicious chicken and cheese sandwiches!” Milind spent his first day just chilling by the beach and relaxing. He then decided to visit the most popular tourist spots in the town – Mahabaleshwara Temple, Maha Ganapati Temple, Bhadrakali Temple, and Shree Venkataramana Temple. “While the first one is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the second has a massive statue of Ganesha, the third was built for the deity Uma, and the fourth for Lord Vishnu,” he tells us, “as always, it is very interesting to experience the culture of a new place. The religious places of worship generally hold a lot of history of the town and one can learn a lot from visiting them. Not to forget that it comes with the added benefit of making my mom happy,” he laughs.
Gokarna has four beaches – Kudle Beach, Om Beach, Paradise Beach, and Half Moon Beach. “On the first day itself, when we reached Kudle Beach, there was no road that led directly to the beach. We had to get off our vehicle and climb down a rocky path to the beach,” Milind says, “it was lucky I was carrying a backpack or that would have been a difficult task!” After being informed by someone that it was a short trek over a hill from Kudle to Om and the alternative would be going back to the road and taking an auto to Om Beach, he decided to take the more adventurous route and trekked. “The trek was definitely an experience,” he says, “it wasn’t strenuous and the path was well worn and easy to follow. There a point where I could see rocks and trees below me and the shimmering sea ahead. It was beautiful!” Om Beach is the most popular beach in the town, and is named after its distinct shape. “We crossed Om Beach and began our ascend again towards Half Moon Beach,” Milind reminisces, “this path is a little more complicated and it helps if you’re accompanied by someone who has been there before. You get a stunning view of Om beach on the way and another stunning view of Half Moon Beach towards the end of the trek.”
Half Moon Beach also gets its name from its shape and is relatively less crowded compared to Om Beach. “After a short break at Half Moon, we continued on to Paradise Beach,” he goes on, “this is also not a very long trek but certainly very scenic! Alternatively, if you don’t want to trek the entire length of Gokarna’s beaches, you could just take a boat from one beach to another but I’d personally recommend the trek!”
“On the whole our Gokarna trip was very relaxing rejuvenating,” Milind concludes, “I would definitely recommend this town for a laidback break from the hustle and bustle of city life!”
- as told to Tanya