Gokarna: Meditation at Om

In between Goa and Udupi (the “city” that Manipal is a part of), lies Gokarna. Though we could have spent weeks exploring the different beaches in Goa, we decided to check out somewhere new on our way home…and chose to stop in Gokarna. We arrived via train on Monday afternoon and not knowing very much about the beaches, we headed to Om beach…I was intrigued by the name.

We took a rickshaw to the beach and walked down to the sand. Baga beach (Goa) and Om beach (Gokarna) were opposites. At Om (cover photo) there were not really any huts, but it was a nice and peaceful spot – as the name suggests. Om beach is named for the fact that the shape of the beach is similar to the “Om” symbol in Hinduism.

The relaxing Om beach

We were very hungry and so we dropped into Namaste Cafe for lunch. It seemed to be one of the only permanent cafes on any of the beaches. The rest seemed to be temporary hut structures.

Namaste Cafe for lunch! It was ample delicious food at a reasonable price, but there were lots of flies, who really killed the lunch mood. I had to cover my drink with a napkin to stop them from crawling inside.

My tomato grilled cheese sandwich for lunch!

Frankly, there is not much to do in Gokarna, except relax. That is exactly what I did. We were tired from the nights in Baga, and this was a great stop to just rest (and nap!) on the beach. While there are about 4 main beaches in Gokarna, we stopped by two of them. We stayed at Om beach for lunch and hanging out, then right before sunset we followed the path between the beaches to go to Kudle beach.

An idea of the geography of the area!

Kudle beach was beautiful and we arrived right before sunset.

Kudle beach as seen from the trail between the beaches. It only took about twenty minutes to traverse the path between the two beaches

Kudle at sunset.

We were really happy with the order that we choose to visit the beaches because there was more soft sand to lounge on at Om beach. Overall more people were staying at Kudle beach, so we felt safer at night. Gokarna is really laid back and seemed to be a spot that attracted many backpackers. In fact, we ate dinner at a yummy restaurant and guesthouse named “Ganja Cafe.” There were a bunch of beach bonfires that were lit as the sun went down as well! At Kudle we utilized the International Hotel to help us hire a taxi to the train station in the evening. We hung on the beach as the water crept up the shoreline late into the night. We took a 3am train and arrived in Udupi around 6:30 am on Tuesday.

Tuesday was the actual Diwali celebration and we headed over to the temple to see if there was anything going on. While we didn’t catch any morning activities, we were able to catch a tranquil sunrise and the morning preparations for festivals later that day.

Early in the morning getting ready for Diwali

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