Om Beach Gokarna

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Seven old friends who work hard in Mumbai throughout the year wanted to celebrate New Years in a quiet beach resort. We had gone to Goa earlier and decided to visit Gokarna this time. We drove down, left Mumbai at 3am to reach Gokarna by around 6pm that evening. Roads could be better, had lots of stop overs so took us longer. Our return journey took us lesser time, perhaps we were charged up after the holiday. You see sunrise enroute from Mumbai to Gokarna somewhere around Chiplun.

You see street of Gokarna, took this pic from our Guest House room. We paid Rs 600/ per day for a double room in Saujanya Guest House ie in town. There are hotels, shacks, tents at the beach as well but we booked late so had to make the best of wha we got. Gokarna means Cow''s Ear. It is a centre of piligramage and increasingly getting popular for its beaches. The town is about 200 kms north of Mangalore, can be reached from Goa and Hubli. It is well known for Mahaballeswara Temple ie dedicated to Lord Shiva and is often called the Kashi of the South since it is said to be next in sanctity only to the Vishwanath Siva Mandir at Varanasi.

From Gokarna town we drove for 20 minutes close to Om beach - the board you see is where you park your car. After that you walk downhill - short walk and then then you hit Om beach. 4 beautiful beaches are located south of Gokarna. The 1st is Kudle Beach ie about a 20 minute walk from Gokarna. The next is Om Beach which gots its name because it shaped like the auspicious Om sign. Next there are Half-moon and Paradise beaches.

We are on top of a hill. We parked our car at this level. The pathway that you see on the right of the picture is what we took to walk down. A foreigner couple enjoying the breadthaking view - I love these guys they know how to enjoy the place - chilled out.

While you are walking down you see this amazing formation of rocks. Cows relaxing there as well as you can see in picture. According to Gokarna Purana ''By mere entrance into this Ksetra (holy place), one becomes liberated from hundreds of sins, including even brahma-hatya (the killing of a Brahman)". The faithful believe that one becomes free from rebirth by just looking at the Atma-linga, by hearing the roar of the sea or by taking birth in Koti-tirtha.

To the left of the rock formation that you saw in the earlier picture you see a foreigner enjoying the breeze in solitude. Gokarna is an important centre of Sanskrit learning.

When we walked down it was the first sight of the Om beach. It took us a while to realize that it is in the shape of Om. We were told that when you go to the top of the mountain that you see in the picture one gets a perfect of the beach ie in the shape of Om. There are quite a few hotels and restaurents on the beach. The action or the crowds were on Kudle beach.

Rock formation - from a distance the rock that you see in the centre of the picture looked like a Snake''s head. Background you see a small restaurent.

Foreigners getting tanned on Om Beach. Green is a small restaurent.

From Om beach we took a boat to Paradise. Enroute is a small beach called Half Moon beach - indicated by the sand that you see at the end of water. There is a restaurent there. We did not go there but saw others going there. Nice get away.

You can go to Paradise by boat or you walk through the hills that run along the sea side. You see a few young men in red t shirts doing it the hard way.

This is Paradise beach. It is quite secluded - found lots of foreigners there. We spent New Year''s at Paradise beach. Groups lit their own bon fires. People played their own music. Bad luck did not take my camera that night. It was quite cold at night.

This is a typical boat that takes you from Om to Paradise beach. It is only till 6 in the evening so if u want to return to Om beach u need to leave before 5pm.

On this part of Paradise beach did everyone celebrate New Years. During our 4 night stay we saw shooting stars on three occassions. We enjoyed sun rise, sun sets, seeing stars and gazing at the sky.

A close up of groups of foreigners chilling on the beach. One person got his guitar and played music on the entire beach. People just got together and decided to party. Some tourists live in tents on the beach as you can see, others live in huts.

Sun set on the way back to Om beach.

Group of people perched on the top of the hill enjoying the sun set.

Next we went to Kudle beach. The car dropped us to a point from where we walked down for 15-20 minutes. The walk back was quite tiring.

You see Kudle beach. It has lots of shacks, restaurents, places to stay and water sports.

A lady enjoying a stroll on the beach at sunset time.

Some foreigners play music on the guitar and enjoy themselves.

Owner of the shop played the Jamba for us. One of my friends bought the jamba.

Overview of the Gokarna Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Hindus come here to perform the death rites for departed ancestors. The temple enshrines the Atma Lingam of Lord Shiva. The 6 foot tall Lingam is enclosed in a square Saligrama Peetham. It is customary to have a dip in the sea and then worship at Shivalingam made out of sand, before worshipping at the temple.

A close up of the temple. The temple is considered as one of the seven Mukti Kshetras of India. Gokarna is situated between Gangavali and Agnashini rivers and situated along the Karwar coast by the Arabian sea.

This is the chariot ie used during Shivratri when the icon of Shivji is placed on this huge temple Ratha (chariot). Also visit the Shri Maha Ganapati Temple. Koti-tirtha Kund is believed to have been created by Garuda. There is a Krishna Temple where the Lord went to perform penance after killing Banasura.

Wheels of the chariot. Huge. Ram Tirtha is where Lord Ram, Sita and Laksman visited after leaving Lanka. Lord Ram and Bharat are said to have performed penance here. There is a beautiful temple on the hill overlooking the sea at this place.

You see Ganesha icon in one of the chariots.

A shop selling handicraft items made from cane. See the Ganeshas. Shop is next to the Gokarna temple.

You see a foreigner in a lungi outside a handicrafts shop. The more tourists India has the more income it would generate for shops like this.

You see a traditional house side by side with a modern house. Locals having some sort of a meeting.

Foreigners checking out the aroma of Indian spices. Net net we had a great time. We loved Gokarna.

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