Shiva Caves → Sunset from hillock near Kudle Beach → Hidden Shiva Caves → Ramteertha Temple → Mahabaleshwar Temple → Ganpati Temple → Gokarna Beach → Yana Caves → Vibhuti Waterfalls → Mirjan Fort → Murudeshwar Temple → Nirvana Beach → 5 Beaches Trek ( Belekan – Paradise – Half Moon – Om – Kudle )
We, a bunch of 5 girls from Mumbai (Hum Paanch as we referred our-self as), went to Gokarna in May 2018 for 3 Nights – 4 Days. Though many recommended us that it might not be the best month to go because of scorching heat, that was the time convenient for most of us considering the 1 May long weekend. We were lucky to have cloudy days and hence were able to explore many places without fatigue.
Commutation: We had hired a car from Mumbai. Since five of us lived in different areas of Mumbai, we started at 9.30 PM from our first pickup point at Dahisar.-East. The driver took JVLR route to pick up 3 girls from Western side and reached Thane Station at around 11.30 PM. Two of us joined from Thane and we started our night journey by 11.45 PM. We reached Gokarna the next day at 1 PM. We had taken 3 halts of approximately 20 min. Having own vehicle was convenient even while roaming around in Gokarna and nearby towns, as it provided flexibility of time as well as comfort. Also since the cost was divided among 5 of us, it was economical as well.
Accomodation: We stayed at Zostel Gokarna. It is one of the first few backpacking hostels in India which facilitates budget traveling especially for solo travelers and small groups. Zostel Gokarna has pretty dorms as well as cottages. Some of us stayed in cottages while some stayed in dorms. I personally prefer dorms as it has beautiful beach facing view. The hostel is located on a hilllock and hence provides a magnificient view for sunset over the main Gokarna beach. In front of the dorms, there are hammocks for soaking in the view.
Total Cost <= 11000 INR
- 5000 INR/per head – Cab from Mumbai-Gokarna-Mumbai with toll and driver charges. (Total was 25000 INR – Divided amongst 5 travelers).
- 3000 INR Accommodation for 2 Nights in Zostel
- Reaching Gokarna by mid day.
- Lunch at Zostel with view of Gokarna beach
- Chillout on hammock at the hostel and absorb the sea view with birds chirping and waves crashing in background
- Evening went out for cultural walk organized by Team Zostel. It was a lovely walk. We visited hidden caves with bats hanging upside down. It was like a set of a horror movie. But it was fun with our Hum Paanch group.
- Later we went to a nearby hillock near the Kudle beach with the breathtaking sunset view. The hillock was devoid of any crowd and hence we could enjoy nature blissfully.
- After the sunset, we went to Gokarna side of the hillock and climbed down to reach the Ramteertha temple. The water from Gomukh at this temple is supposedly the purest in the world. We tasted it and it was indeed sweet compared to the taste of the water in other parts of Gokarna.
- It was almost dark now. We visited the Mahabaleshwar Temple, Ganpati temple which are one of the oldest temples in the town.
- We had a yummy vegetarian dinner at restaurant Prema, just beside the Gokarna beach.
- Post dinner, we had a lovely stroll over the moonlit Gokarna beach. Later we just sat on the beach and chitchatted. It was amazing to listen to the waves in this ambiance.
- Our walk back to the hostel was through narrow lanes with only moonlight to guide us. It was indeed thrilling.
- We started early morning at around 7 AM for Yana Caves. It is a lovely jungle trail to reach the caves. Since we had started early morning, it was a pleasant climate for the walk. It seemed like a walk through an evergreen tropical jungle. Yana is known for two gigantic rocks – Bhairaveshwara Shikhara and Mohini Shikara. It was a very cooling experience inside the caves. It is believed that there is a Swayambhu(self-manifested) linga in the caves. There was also water drooping from the roof, supposedly from a linga.
- About 3-4 kms from Yana caves, are located the Vibhooti Waterfalls. Even reaching the falls is a beautiful walk through the woods with the only sounds of birds chirping, insects buzzing, crawlers making ruffled sound in the dry leaves and sound of waterfall. We enjoyed ourselves at the waterfall for good one hour. Dipping our legs in the cool soothing water, clicking pictures in the yoga pose and just silently enjoying nature sipping the sweet coconut water.
- Later left for Mirjan Fort. It has nice picturesque view for photography and provides a panoramic view of the towns nearby.
- We had a late lunch at around 4 PM.
- Post lunch we visited the Nirvana beach. Unlike the Gokarna beach, this has minimal crowd and really gave us beautiful view of the sunset. We were here for about 2 hours enjoying jumping through the waves.
Team Zostel had recommended us to do a 5 Beaches trek. This was not in our agenda. But we found it quite interesting and hence headed for the same.
- Belekan Beach: Early morning just before sunrise, we headed to Belekan beach, with the hope to see the sunrise. It was very calm and peaceful. There was silence with not much sound of the sea as well. We headed to spot a place for viewing the sunrise. On the way, we could faintly hear sound of people chanting “Om”. We headed in that direction to find two men sitting on rocks at the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea. We also made our spot there as silent visitors with the intention to not disturb them.
- Paradise Beach: The trail from Belekan to Paraside was a beautiful nature trails from greenery. From the beach,w e climbed on a hillock and made path through pretty jungle trails and climbed down again to find the lovely view of the Paradise Beach. Even this beach was crowdless, with just few tents of some backpackers. The beach had some rock formations and the sound of the waves engulfing them was a treat. We spent about 45 min at this place.
- Half Moon Beach: While starting from Paradise to Half Moon Beach, we met an uncle who was trekking in opposite direction to us. He told us that way forward may seem difficult to us but not to get scared of the rocky terrain. He advised us to use full body endurance and we would be fine. We had 2 options to go ahead – 1) a rocky terrain with pebbles and huge rocks and 2) A jungle trail. We had two hard core trekkers who quickly thought of exploring some part of both and then advising other 3 of us to pick a path. Since we had done the jungle trail, we preferred to take the rocky path. It was the most amazing experience. Early in the morning, just 5 of us wandering, climbing rocks slowly and steadily, helping and motivating each other, while enjoying the breathtaking views. We collected few pebbles on our way to make souvenirs out of it. All sportingly helped in carrying the stones during the trek as they weighed almost 5 kgs. But it was indeed worth the effort as making paintings of the beach on these pebbles for each one of them, was memorable experience and a personalized souvenier. Upon reaching Half Moon Beach, we met an old and enthusiastic lady with a weird sense of humor. She asked us to pay her for security reasons if we want to click pictures with her. She was sweet and offered us tea. This beach was also kind-of secluded. Apart from us there were just 3 other girls. By this time it was little sunny and hence we felt soothing to keep ourselves immersed in the sea waves. After some time, we could see a ferry coming towards us hence decided to go to the next beach i.e. Om beach, by the ferry instead of the jungle trail.
- Om Beach: Ferry from Half Moon beach to Om beach was about 5 min. This beach had crowd as there were shacks surrounding the area. But the crowd was moderate and overall vibe of the beach was pleasant. We reached at around 11.45 AM. We enjoyed the scenic views by relaxing under the tree shades along the shore. After some time we had lunch at Namaste Cafe, a shack on Om Beach overlooking the sea. It felt nice to relax after a good trek. We chit chatted and enjoyed the views. Post lunch, we spent some more time at the Om beach, shopping and strolling. At around 2.30 PM, we started for the last beach i.e. Kudle Beach.
- Kudle Beach: The trail to reach the Kudle beach was a hilly terrain. The sun was scorching by this time. Finally after a 20-30 min walk, we reached the Kudle beach. It was the most soothing experience to have a walk in the waves of the sea when the sun was fuming above. We could not find any interesting cafe/shack around the Kudle beach to hang around. But we were told about Cafe 1987 situated at the other end of the beach i.e. the one towards the Gokarna side. The cafe was located on the hillock and gave a nice view of the sea with a soothing ambiance. Despite the heat, the trees surrounding the cafe provided a breezy and lively vibe. Despite having lunch sometime ago, we foodies were ready to hog again.
Post lunch, we returned to the hostel. After relaxing for some time, we enjoyed the last sunset from the hillock which we had visited on the first day. It was a lovely experience. On our way to Gokarna market, the road which was moonlit just 2 days back, was pitch dark today. We made our way using mobile flash lights. We noticed that a guy went by on a motor bike and then halted just a few steps ahead of us. When we neared him he told us to be careful and pointed us to a snake who was crossing the road. We freaked out but thanked the guy for his thoughtfulness. It was a thrilling experience.
We did shopping in the Gokarna main market and headed back to the hostel. We had dinner at hostel itself. We started our return journey to Mumbai at around 11 PM. We reached Mumbai the next day at around 11.30 AM.