Star Gazing at Gokarna
January 14 – Goa to Gokarna
Room fare (for checking out after 10 am) – Rs 100
Breakfast at a shack in Anjuna – Rs 200
Bus to Mapusa – Rs 20
Rickshaw to Panjim – Rs 120
Bus from Panjim to Karwar – Rs 92
Snacks – Rs 49
Rickshaw from Karwar to Gokarna – Rs 550
Gokarna to Om Beach – Rs 150
Stayed overnight on the beach for free…haha
The next morning we checked out at 12, the check out was 11. The guy who was at the counter at that point of time asked us to pay for another day as we were checking out late. He settled for Rs.100 extra, and we were off from there, we needed to hurry a bit cause we had to travel and did not know the exact way to get to Gokarna. We stopped on the beach to have Breakfast, which would be our last meal in Goa, so a tad bit off disappointment for me.
Not knowing what lies ahead, as I have never been to Gokarna and Bhavika has, she has mentioned about it in her previous post on Gokarna. That’s the breakfast we had in the picture below, the flat round bread is, Poie, its the local bread very famous in Goa.
We were on our way out and as usual the taxi guys come chasing you, its pissing off when they hound you all the time. They quoted Rs 2600, we had not planned to take one anyway. Further down the road we were asked by a guy if we were going to Mapusa, he had a bus that took us to Mapusa for 20 bucks after waiting for around 20 minutes for it to leave. That’s the picture of the mini bus we were in, the driver had convinced us that we would get a bus from Mapusa to Gokarna. When we got off the bus at Mapusa it felt like the bus driver had vanished into the air. Questions like what do we do know? Where do we get the bus from? Is it the local Kadamba bus service or a Paulo?
So we asked around the local bus station (Kadamba) where we were dropped and they told us to go to the Paulo stand. We walked there and they told us to go back to Kadamba. Bhavika then asked how do we get to Karwar which is close to Gokarna, we found out that we would get a local bus from Panjim that goes to Karwar. So we took a rickshaw instead to Panjim for Rs 120. We came across this school bus and when the kids realised I was taking a picture of them they were bubbling with happiness waving their hands wildly at us. A military truck, used by the Indian Army used as a school bus in Goa?
We reached Panjim Bus stand, at the ticket counter there was no mention of any stop called Karwar, so we inquired and a driver led us to a bus that was leaving for Karwar in 5 minutes. The ride to Karwar was around four hours long, and included a police check at the Karnataka border. The police came in and they shook the luggages, not opening it to check what’s inside. I think they were looking for alcohol. The bus ride was nice and cool as the sun had set a while ago, the roads were green with trees around us, fresh clean cool air blowing in.
I had this young guy continuously dozing off on my shoulder, he was young but looked like a tired boy coming back from a hard days work. Bhavika couldn’t stop laughing at the site, so to add to her excitement I took a picture of the boy. We reached Karwar around 8.30 – 9 pm, only to find out that the same bus that we came in goes to Ankola, which is the next stop and much closer to Gokarna. But by the time we got that bit of information, it was already too late, the bus had left.
Our only choice was to rick it up to Gokarna, as that was the last bus. Walking around the bus stop, with everyone ogling at us, wondering who are these two people roaming around with their backpacks. The rickshaw guys asked us for Rs 600 to drop us to Gokarna, Om beach is a couple of kilometers away from Gokarna. Walking down the road we managed to get a rickshaw guy to take us till Gokarna for Rs 550. This was a good distance of 63 Kilometers according to the rickshaw guy it was marked around 50 something on the first board we saw on the way though.
It was a long ride and since it was a rickshaw which is generally open it was pretty cold and we cuddled up together for the lovely warmth. We stopped at Ankola to get some water and some snacks to consume on the way. It was getting late, it was around 10.20 when we managed to get the below picture of a signboard and zoomed into it to find out where we were. As you can see it was pitch black around we were relieved to see that we were close.
Gokarna was dead when we reached there, could hardly spot a person on the road, except two tourists probably staying there. We took a look around nothing, not a single rickshaw to take us to Om Beach. So the rickshaw guy took us to a Hotel and asked if there was a room, or if he knew any rickshaw guy. The guy at the counter said there there was no room but he could call a rick for us that would take us up to Om Beach, but it would cost us Rs 200.
We agreed, we just wanted to get to Om beach and drop our bags. He had a conversation with the rickshaw driver on the phone and then told us that the police are not allowing anybody to go to Om Beach because of some problem. He adviced us saying that we should leave in the morning to Om beach and should stay in a small little place across the road that looked quite bad. We told him is there another place, he said everything in this side will be full, your best option is to stay in that place.
We said thank you, walked out, just as we walked out a rickshaw went by us and then stopped. Our rickshaw guy asked him if he would go to Om Beach, he agreed for Rs.150, after paying and thanking the rickshaw guy we were finally on our way to Om Beach.
January 15 – Gokarna to Hampi
Breakfast at Nirvana – Rs 200
Bus tickets to Hampi (Paulo Travels seater) – Rs 1000
Stay at Moksha lodge on Om Beach – Rs 300
Lunch at a shack on Paradise Beach – Rs 170
Boat ride back to Om Beach – Rs 100
2 bottles of water – Rs 30
Rickshaw from Om Beach to Gokarna bus station – Rs 120
Bus to Ankola – Rs 24
Dinner at Ankola – Rs 230
We were looking at the stars on our way to Om beach, the sky was studded with diamonds, lots of them could be seen. The rick ride was not too long around twenty minutes and we were getting anxious to know what our fate was, to our relief the rickshaw stopped at a place called Namaste Cafe, that had a small watchmans cabin besides the gate with the light on. We knocked, we yelled, we screamed, we banged on the door, but nothing. The Rickshaw guy took his money and left.
Darkness enclosed us as we walked away from Namaste cafe, but I was speechless looking at the stars, it was mind boggling, the stars formed a dome in front of us as we walked towards the beach. We heard voices, I got out my little torch that is built in with my cellphone and we walked down the steps that go to the beach. The voices were of a couple of guys who were sitting at a gazebo close to where the steps were.
The beach was isolated as we walked by it, the shadows formed shapes and played with our minds. We passed by an empty boat with Namaste written on we continued walking, not a light on the beach just the spotted sky looking so lovely, the moon had not risen as yet, the stars were shining bright.
As we took the first curve that forms the Om on the beach we see a couple of bonfires with people sitting around them, some playing the Guitar while we could also hear drums/tablas in the distance. We were relived to see people friendly happy people. There were lights on in a couple of guest houses, we felt unburdened.
Unfortunately none of the guest houses had rooms, we asked two more apart from the racket we created at Namaste. We put our bags down in the sand close to a shack that had a couple of people laughing and talking and sipping on beer. I told Bhavika to go in cause I really had enough at that point of time and just wanted to sit on the sand.
I am on the sand, Bhavika comes back, “They have no room so I got you a beer!,” she said. What do we do now? She said. I said we have no choice but to sleep on the beach. So I asked her to get out the bed sheet and we covered ourselves after a bit. We made pillows out of our bags and I found out its just lovely to sleep on the sand when it takes the shape of your body it gets really comfortable.
We laid down there, besides a group of buffaloes, around 1/6th of the beer canned, I just couldn’t get myself to drink it, we were fatigued with the days travel. I held Bhavika who was a little worried about sleeping on the beach like that. We star gazed for a while saw a couple of shooting stars and satellites, and then both of us were off into deep slumber, occasionally waking up because the bed sheet was off or the buffaloes mooed.
We woke up with a start with the buffaloes getting up and leaving at the break of dawn. It was freezing, I was shivering,I managed to get one of the bonfires going, that was used in the night and warmed up a little. The morning rays were beginning to come over the hills of Gokarna and we watched the colors take over the sky, light shying away in the dark.
Thats a picture of where we slept on Om Beach and the bed sheet that kept us warm. We then went for a walk down the beach in search of some breakfast, everything was closed. Then at the last corner of the stretch we came across Nirvana Cafe, we asked a grouchy guy who looked like he had just woken up if it was open.
After he acknowledged that they were open, we instantly dumped our bags in and sat at a table, half an hour later we got our menu and an hour later we were eating like pigs, both of us were starving. After a sumptuous and reasonable breakfast we decided to buy our tickets to go to Hampi, we walked back to back to the start of Om beach to get our tickets, the second shack the one after Namaste when you are on the beach had a travel agency as well. So we picked up tickets for Hampi from Pushpa travels at a rate of Rs.500 each. The bus was at 11.30 in the night from Ankola and the last bus from Gokarna Bust Stand to Ankola Station was at 7.30 in the evening, we had a good 7 hours to kill.
So we took a look around for some shacks, we checked into Moksha Cafe a place that had a decent room. He quoted Rs.600 for a day, we told him we just need it until evening and we would be checking out by 6 in the evening. We managed to get him down to Rs.300 for the day, we dumped our luggage, freshened up and were our ready to climb the cliff adjoining Om beach and Half moon beach.
The Climb up the cliff was child’s play, once on top the view is quite delightful, you can see the Om shape of the beach. Far into the distance on the side away from Om beach, you can see Long beach.
Half Moon, Paradise and Sangam beach are not visible from this point. We sat under a tree and enjoyed the breeze cooling us down. We then proceeded towards half moon beach the walk was still pretty easy with a clear cut out route along the end of the cliff.
There was a lot of greenery during the walk, this time it was getting tougher as the sun was coming out and it was more uphill.
Along the way there always was a good view of the sea on the right hand side.
After a while we could see the shacks that can be seen in the picture below, a sign the Half Moon Beach is just around the corner. With new vigor we went around the corner and then downhill to the shores of half moon beach.
Half moon beach is the smallest of all the beaches in Gokarna, it may be less than half a kilo meter in long. Clean sand and clear waters a combination that got both of us in the water in less than 5 minutes. The boat that can be seen in the picture below, coincidently got freed and came towards us, not fast but it was scary. One push set it right.
We got out of the water in twenty minutes and bought a couple of bananas from a woman who was selling fruit from a basket on her head. We then decided to move on to paradise beach, the walk out of full moon beach to the path where we could walk to paradise beach was vibrant green.
We then reached this path that had all these white trees that looked beautiful.
A little further down you had to walk on a patch of rocks, some of them were pretty colorful with stripes and patches.
The walk started to get tougher much tougher than the walk from Om Beach to full moon beach, but the view was getting better.
When we got a glimpse of Paradise beach we were glad that we had reached but disappointed as the way it looked did not by any means suit its name.
We walked on, till we were seated in Paradise cafe, we had lunch there, chicken chopsuey and cheese kofta. It was different, not bad, but different the style of cooking.
We ordered for a chocolate pudding for dessert it was delicious.
We decided to take a boat back to Om Beach, we were ruining out of time, it was nearly 5 in the evening and we had to check out at 6. We hooked up a ride for both of us for Rs.100 to Om beach, with a boat man we had met on Half Moon beach. The boat was taking off from the opposite side of where we entered. While walking there both of us saw a part of the beach that was not visible from the cafe or the cliffs we climbed, the name seemed fit at that point of time.
The boat was quite full and shook quite a bit with the waves crashing on its side. We took a couple of pictures from the boat, it was nice to see the entire stretch we had trekked and reminiscent those moments.
We reached Om beach, in ten minutes, I had a short conversation with the boat man about their daily life and we were then rushing to check out on time.
We caught the sunset as we were walking towards Namaste to get a rickshaw to take us to the Gokarna bus stand, where we would get a local to Ankola.
There were quite a few people watching the sun set, some taking pictures and some meditating.
It was a serene sunset at Gokarna, we got to the see the colors post sunset from the Rickshaw that charged us Rs.120 to take us from Om beach to Gokarna bus stand.
We reached Gokarna bus stand around 6.45 PM the bus came in at around 7.20 PM, the moment the announcment was made that the bus was going to Ankola, every local sitting at the bus station jumped up and ran towards it. We covered 90% of our journey to Ankola standing in the bus. The bus reached Ankola bus stand in a little more than half an hour.
From Ankola bus stand we had to take a rickshaw to the bus stand where the Paulo bus to Hampi would stop, I think the pick up was from Hotel Bharadwaj. The rickshaw fare for both of us was Rs 50. We then ate a light meal and I had a beer, and then waited for three long hours for the bus to come.
Next Stop was Hampi…