A weekend getaway to Karnataka's small town Gokarna from Bangalore
Gokarna is a town on the southwestern coast in the Indian state of Karnataka. It is a popular pilgrimage destination for Hindus. This place is now growing in tourism because of many foreigners traveling to visit it's isolated beaches, cheap price and an alternation to Goa which is now commercialized and full of tourists around the years.
Gokarna is about an hour journey from South Goa and 8-9 hours journey from Bangalore (485 KM). The best time to visit Gokarna is from October to March. You see a lot of foreigners descending down to Gokarna from Goa in the month of January and February. The weather is warm and pleasant with temperature averages around 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit).
Lets start with my trip
It was a weekend trip for me, where I planned my journey on Friday evening in Bengaluru - Karwar Express. It's a 16 hours trip to Gokarna starting from Bangalore around 7PM and reaching Gokarna by 12 PM next day (Saturday). I had my stay booked at Shantidham Cafe from Airbnb, which was at OM Beach (14 KM from Gokarna station). You have accessibility to cabs and autos from outside the station. Autos charge somewhere around ₹ 250.
My stay was a small walk of 5 - 7 minutes from OM Beach entrance along the cliff overlooking the sea. Shantidham Cafe is a perfect place away from the busy beaches but close enough for easy access. The view from each cabin is great. After settling down to my room and having lunch, I went for a quick swim in the ocean to beat the heat. OM Beach is the most known beach in Gokarna and the name is derived from its shape which looks like "Om ( Auṃ or Oṃ, Devanagari: ॐ )", a spiritual symbol in Hinduism. I came back to my room, had a shower and headed to another famous beach - Kudle Beach, which was a small trek of 15 - 20 minutes from the cafe. Kudle Beach was a more crowded one than OM Beach as there are many resorts and shacks along the beach and water sports activities.
Being a small town, Gokarna doesn't have the usual run of nightlife so the city shuts down early making you feel lonely by 8 PM. So I headed back to my room, laid back with some chilled beer and fresh seafood dinner in my balcony and enjoyed the sounds of insects and crashing waves.
The next day I had to leave back to Bangalore, so I decided to visit Paradise Beach which was 45 minutes' walk from OM Beach. After having my breakfast at Namaste Cafe, I left for my next trek. As there is no proper access road other than small paths along the cliffs and a paid boat ride, the beach is very clean & less crowded.
After resting there for a while, I was back at my cabin, had my lunch and left for Gokarna station. I had the same train downwards which was departing around 3:30PM (Sunday) that dropped me back to Bangalore next day (Monday) by 7:30AM.
It was a perfect get away from my regular schedule and a great experience to explore another new place. I would recommend visiting Gokarna as you might get to experience different calm vibes and a thrill to explore new places around your world.