Trip to Gokarna beach was on our wish list for South India. We had heard a lot of great things about the peaceful and beautiful beaches. And as an offbeat destination, it was enticing as well.
We kept on looking for tours to Gokarna on all the trekking groups in the area and finally got one which matched with our plans. It was a weekend trekking trip to Gokarna beaches and Sathodi water falls with Friday evening departure and Monday morning back. So the plan aligned with office timings as well.
The travel and trek
We set off from Hyderabad on Volvo semi-sleeper. The journey was without incident but the sleep was not that comfortable. Our back and neck were a bit sore by the time we reached Hubli.
At Hubli we were packed in a 21-seater small bus for onward journey. The size of bus was odd as we were 22 member group with bags. We would have been more cramped, but a couple of guys sat with the driver most of the times such that he had company and doesn’t doze off. On the way, we stopped to freshen up and for breakfast.
Reaching Gokarna, we started trek towards the beach at once and stopped only for water. We crossed the Gokarna beach and climbed the mountain to reach a temple that provided much needed shade and a beautiful panoramic view of the beach.
It was hot, hot and hot from the word go. The forecast was sunny in the day and showers in the evening. But we couldn’t wait for the evening. Only respite from heat was shade and the sea breeze.
A couple of dogs followed us throughout the trek and some guys took care of them along the way.
We followed the trek leader through trails on the hill and had to change course a couple of times as the trails were blocked. The group took a few breaks during the trek to the Kudle beach which was stop for lunch.
Next we continued our trek to Om beach and then to Half Moon beach. We couldn’t go to Paradise beach. After spending some time at Half-moon beach, we came back to Om beach for the night.
Given a chance to have the trip again on our own terms, we would have gone directly to Om beach, spent some time there and from there go on to Half Moon beach and onward.
Next day we started for Sathodi at 5 am by bus. The journey on the meandering Ghat roads through forest area was pleasant. Only the last 25-30 km near the falls the road was in bad shape with lots of bumps and pot holes. The journey back was ditto.
In the night, we had planned to camp on the beach and sleep under the stars. But it ended up a restless night.
After we had dinner (or rather snacks) in the dark, it started to drizzle… So we packed our stuff and moved to an enclosed area… The rain however stopped by the time we had laid our blankets… It became humid and heavy with no breeze (as area was enclosed)… It started to drizzle again when we thought of moving to the beach again.
When we did try to catch some sleep, we were woken up by a cat who had made his home there. And as many of the group members were afraid of the harmless animal, we couldn’t get much sleep. However much we tried to keep him away from the camp, the cat came back with a little purr.
Half-moon beach is very secluded and can be only accessed on foot or by boat. It is often regarded as one of the best beaches in the region. Our take: We found it to be peaceful, but not extraordinary.
But for us the best beach of the lot, was Om beach. The two curves of the beach forms the shape of “Om” hence the name. It had two distinct areas. Closure to the entry was the family beach with restaurants and resorts. And on the next curve was the secluded beach with trees along the beach side and strewn with rocks. We found it very beautiful and quiet.
Gokarna beach was long public beach near the town. Whereas the Kudle beach was the most commercial one with many resorts and restaurants along the beach side.
The water fall
The Sathodi falls weren’t huge, but weren’t small either. We jumped over some rocks, climbed on some other and wade through water to reach the pool where the water fell. Had the trek guide not been with us, we wouldn’t have ventured in such areas.
The water was cool and the force with which it came down on us was exciting. We spent over an hour dipping in water. Sitting under the water fall and enjoying pool probably made our visit worthwhile.
Direct train/Bus connect Hubli from Hyderabad. Hubli to Gokarna and Sathodi falls on can be on private or hired vehicle. The group tour cost us INR 2900 per pax + food expense.
Do you have a story to tell about your Gokarna experience? Drop in a comment or send us a mail. We will definitely reply. All the interesting tales will be published in a special feature.