Why I Like Gokarna
I could try and write at length about the beauty of Gokarna, but ideally that is something for you to explore and experience yourself. To tell you why I like Gokarna, I should mention that I despise crowds. Indian crowds, to be specific. Indians are fussy, noisy, and messy travelers. Cleaner the place, the greater the need to pollute it. I believe in respecting the sanctity of a place. Most Indians are champions at overpowering the charm of a place with din.
This is not meant to be condescending. This is the reality I have seen around me all over. The Taj Mahal may be the epitome of human expression, but the streets of Agra are the heights of urban decay. Gokarna too has its share of the great “Indian Traveling Company.” But one can predict when to expect the crowds. Like locust swarms, they are all over on weekends, when kids have summer holidays, and in November/December. The rest of the time, the beaches of Gokarna are spared the audio-visual pollution. This is golden for someone like me. I like Gokarna, simply because in between the tourist rush, there are interludes of great calm, with only the lapping of the ocean to break the silence. Like in the evenings after the screaming kids leave Om beach. Like on a quiet weekday in the town. Or early in the morning when most of the folks are still sleeping after the previous evening’s party.
How I Like to Spend My Time
Gokarna is great to do exactly three things.
- 1. Take photographs. There are photo opportunities pretty much everywhere.
- 2. Watch the motley mix of ethnicity, culture, and growing social awkwardness.
- 3. Nothing.
The list is in the order of effort. Photography is actually hard work. Waking up early and hiking to where the view is great requires you to be sober and fit. Fiddling with the camera instead of soaking in a beautiful sunset is a sacrifice. Gokarna is a landscape photographer’s delight. The shore is rocky and lends itself to long exposure. The cliff overlooking the Arabian Sea between Om Beach and Half Moon Bay is intoxicating and beautiful. I have spent hours watching the magic of sunrise and sunset. When there are no crowds, I can peacefully set up the tripod and do my thing, undisturbed. If the scenic landscapes get repetitive after a couple of visits, there are umpteen opportunities to shoot life on the street.
Gokarna makes for a good three day getaway. It takes about two days to soak in the beach and sea. One can spend a day in the main town, watching the locals go by their daily routine. If you are in a group, or interested in seeing more of village life, you can hire a boat that will take you to the backwaters where the fishermen live. Nature lovers can spot plenty of birds or the elusive dolphin. Karwar is 60 km away, and makes for an nice day trip. Devbagh resort in Karwar is a popular stay option.
Whatever your reason to visit Gokarna, I really hope you do not litter the place. Try not to buy bottled water, because even if you trash it responsibly, it is invariably going to end up in the ocean. If you really need to buy water, purchase a big can and refill your bottle as and when required. Make merry, get high, but do not pollute the place.