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Gokarna beach trek where 6 tranquil beaches meet the wildness of jungle and mightiness of mountains

I end up completing Gokarna beach trek twice within the last three years. If you compare beaches in Goa to Gokarna; Goa is all about music, party and commercialisation. Whereas, beaches in Gokarna are mostly untouched and full of the tranquil beauty of nature. During both of my Gokarna beach trek, three common things happened. Firstly, I end up making some new and deep friendships. Secondly, at the end of each trek, I decided to come back again. Recommended reading: https://tearingshoes.com/loneliness/

Gokarna beach trek is a soulful journey which will fill you with heartwarming solitude even when you are in a crowd. The serene and unspoiled beauty of beaches In Gokarna will fill you with a spiritual but cool vibe.

Why should you try Gokarna beach trek once in your life?

Gokarna is a place where mountains, jungle and beaches meet each other and fell in love forever. And it will also bring out the romantic, spiritual and adventurers shades within all kinds of travellers. Gokarna is a small temple town in Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka, India. Uttara Kannada district is also filled with countless beautiful destinations like the Jog waterfalls, Yana caves, Murdeshwar Temple, Mirjan Fort and many more besides these marvellous beaches. Check out the complete list of destinations in Uttara Kanada district here: https://www.tripoto.com/places-to-visit/in-uttara-kannada. This is also one of the main reason besides its tranquil beauty why the Gokarna beach trek become famous among all type of travellers during the past few years.

Gokarna Beach (Gokarna Main Beach)

We reached Gokarna as on 29 – 10 – 2019. Auto rickshaws will drop you right into the Gokarna beach from Gokarna road railway station for rupees 200. Gokarna beach is the main beach in the city. This beach is situated right in front of the to the Mahabaleshwar temple. This temple is very famous and is believed to house the original image of Lord Shiva’s Atmalinga.

We decided to have our breakfast from a small but clean hotel right next to the Mahabaleshwar temple. The hotel looks like an extension of their house. Therefore the food was very delicious and homely.

Local people here are very religious. They use the Gokarna beach for religious purposes. Therefore the beach may look like the least attractive one when compared to all other beaches here in Gokarna. But the trail from Gokarna beach to the Kudle beach will fill your heart with amazing cliff views of the beach.

Gokarna beach is were we decided start the Gokarna beach trek
Gokarna beach is right in front of the famous Mahabaleshwar temple

Almost all beaches in Gokarna has the western ghat hills running parallel to them. It is what make the beaches in Gokarna really magical. In Gokarna, in most cases, you have to climb down the hills to reach from one beach to another.

From Gokarna beach walk to the extreme left until you reach old temple premises. From there climb up the stairs to the hill. Up the hill, there is a well-marked trail. If you go up towards the trail the cliff view is mesmerizing. On the way, near to the entrance of Kudle beach, there is a small old temple. Locals believe that this temple is the birthplace of the mighty Hanuman.

Kudle beach- the second destination on the Gokarna beach trek

Kudle beach is around 3 K.M. away from Gokarna beach. On my previous visit, Kudle beach provided me with a lot of beautiful memories. That was in the middle of September though. The water level was very low then. This time we choose later part of October. Therefore the right side of the beach was completely under the water due to the heavy rain during the week.

But the left side of the beach is very clean and beautiful. There are plenty of shacks and cafes. The beach was filled with travellers enjoying the waves. Some sit around quietly in the cafes and enjoyed their beer. A lot of young couples were busy out there deepening their bonding. My friend Geo decides to take a bath while I decided to sit down and enjoy the amazing view.

Kudle beach is the second destination in the Gokarna beach trek
Sand on the kudle beach is an amazing artist so do the sky

To reach the next destination on our trek – Which is Om beach; you have to walk beside the beach from one end to another towards the left side. From their climb the stairs through the jungle which will take you to the main road. Then you have to cross the main road for 3 K. M. to reach the most famous and busiest destination. I choose to walk the road barefooted as my shoes got damaged. But walking 3 K.M. barefoot at one clock at noon wasn’t the best of the idea you can think of. One word of warning though; This marks the end of the easiest parts of the trek.

OM beach – is the busiest destination among entire Gokarna beach trekking

OM beach is segregated into two sections by the rock formation right at the middle of the beach. The part of the beach from where the trek to half-moon start has great waves and very few people. This part is mostly occupied by the solitude loving solo travellers. The other part of the beach is where most people choose to spend their time. The OM beach has got plenty of famous cafes and a sunset point.

However, we choose to walk across the beach and climb up the trail towards half-moon beach around 6 P.M. evening. At the top of the cliff, there is a point where you can clearly see the resemblances of OM beach to the Hindu Symbol OM.

OM beach is the most popular beach destination among the 6 beaches we cover during the Gokarna beach trek

Half-moon Beach

To me, the real Gokarna beach trek started here. The hike gets difficult from here on. This trail takes you through the cliffs with the Arabian Sea just below you. That makes this trek most scenic among all. The beach is very tiny. Because of the nature of the trail, you won’t meet many people here. There are not many cafes either. That make half-moon the favourite destination for the solitude loving adventure travellers. This is the cleanest and beautiful destination for me. It seems like the universe was with me. When we reached the sky and the beach looked amazing with a beautiful looking rainbow forming in the background.

When the nature shows its aesthetic sense at the Half-moon beach during the Gokarna beach trek
Nature displaying its aesthetics sense at Half-moon beach

According to the local people, its just a matter of twenty-minute walks from the half-moon beach to the paradise beach. However, during both of my Gokarna beach trek, I lost my way and end up wandering in the jungle. This was the third factor between me and the Gokarna beach trek which I mentioned in the beginning.

Even Google can’t save you once you lost your way in the jungle and the sun is out. However, on each occasion, I end up making some good friends. This time it was three guys from Thrissur ( Nirmal, Polachan and Godwin). (On the last occasion it was Dipin, the crazy traveller from Punjab) And we some somehow managed to get out to the main road and decided to take some rest for the night. We went back near to Gokarna beach and managed to secure a clean room for ourself at the Shree Katyayani residency for an 800 rupees.

Belekan beach

We set out early in the morning to complete our last two destinations. We choose to drive our way to Tadri Village. Tadari is a small village, 8 K.M away from Gokarna beach. After having our breakfast, we visited Belekan beach. It is the least visited remote beach in entire Gokarna. This beach is situated between Tadari and the paradise beach. As of now once you left Belekan there is no shops or cafes out there.

Belekan beach is the least visited beach among the entire Gokarna beach trek

Paradise beach

I have yet to come across an article on the internet which does mention the trail we choose to reach the paradise beach. Most people choose to trek from OM beach to reach here. For us too it was a forced choice. But honestly, if you want to get the real taste of Gokarna beach trek; go on and choose this root.

This trail is the most difficult and the most adventurous in the entire trail. This trail literally represents the saying – the path to heaven (paradise) will get narrow and difficult as you reach the destination.

Paradise beach is the most popular camping spot among travellers.70 per cent of the beach is covered in rocks. There won’t be anyone else but some rare adventurous travellers like you here. The waves here are very strong. So just be safe and don’t be overconfident.

  • Blue painted deity carved into a rock
  • Sarath stands against the sea.
  • A beautiful sculpture of Lord Shiva at paradise beach during Gokarna beach trek
  • When my friends decided to relax during Gokarna beach trek at paradise beach

Some important endnotes on Gokarna beach trek

Gokarna beach trek is one of a kind and fulfilling experience which you shouldn’t miss at any cost. There is no definite rule as to where you should start or end it.

I have done it twice at very different weather condition. The situation of the beaches will vary according to weather conditions. OM and Kudle beach are the best places to plan your stays. There won’t be many facilities available at the rest of the beaches.

Don’t depend on Google search or google map much. Most of the writers don’t consider the varying conditions. Try to book your stays as early as possible. Always better to wear a chappel with good grip. The list of beaches in Gokarna does not end here. There are many untouched beautiful beaches like small hell and Alvekodi. Most of them can be only reached by boats.

Gokana is about 232 K.M from Mangalore and 483 K.M from Bengaluru. The nearest airport is Dabolim in Goa. Click here to know how to reach Gokarna by train. Just go out and enjoy the serene experience. Happy Journey.

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8 Archaeological Wonders Which Make Halebeedu The Hidden Gem Of India

I really don’t have any idea on what to expect when I decided to visit Halebeedu and Belur – two of the three precious hidden archaeological gems (the other being Shravanabelagola) of Karnataka – India. Once I reached the bus station in Hassan; the nearest town to Halebeedu, the writings on the boards looks like Jalebi (an Indian sweet). The boards were all in Kannada- the local language.

But the shock was over when I realized the people were sweeter than the Jalebi itself. Most of them don’t understand Hindi or English. But a few students in the bus station not only make sure to get me on the right bus to Halebeedu but also that I got a comfortable place to rest on the bus. I reached Halebeedu very late in the evening. So I decided to postpone my curiosity for one more night. Recommended reading: https://tearingshoes.com/gokarna-beach-trek/

What makes Halebeedu one of the precious gems in Karnataka?

The present Halebeedu (Halebid or Halebidu) is a small temple town in Hassan district of Karnataka. But back in the 12th century AD Halebeedu (then Kown as Dwarasamudra) was the regal capital of Mighty Hoysala Empire. Read more on Hoysala empire here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoysala_Empire That made Halebeedu home to some of the greatest and finest examples of Hoysala Architecture. The temples here are famous for their artistry and detailing for sculptures around them. Every place has its own magic. And when it came to Halebeedu and Belur; they will definitely make you a strong believer in the power of imagination.

I wake up early in the morning and went out to see the archaeological wonders which made Belur and Halebeedu the precious hidden gems of Karnataka. Recommended reading:

Hoysaleswara Temple( Halebidu Temple or Halebeedu Temple)

Hoyleswara Temple in Halebeedu is listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Hoysaleswara Temple is listed in UNESCO World Heritage site. This Temple is also known as Halebid Temple. The Magnificent shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva is one the biggest of such kind in South India.

Hoysaleswara Temple derived its name from Hoysala King Vishnu Vardhana Hoysaleswara (Hindu name of King Bittiga(1108 – 52A.D). This marvel of Hoysala Architecture is the most important monument which makes Helebeedu one of the precious gems of Indian Archeological history. ( The word ‘Hoysala’ means”strike Sala.) Built-in 1121 A.D- This temple has two Shrines- one dedicated to Hoysaleswara and another for Shantaleshwara (Shantala Devi – the queen of Vishnuvardhana). This Temple is standing on a star-shaped platform and is made of soapstone.

The lower portion of the temple is decorated with sculptured friezes which run continuously along the wall. The sequence of the curved layers of friezes from bottom upwards is as follows – Innumerable elephants curved in a single file at the bottom layer. Followed by lions; Scroll works; charging horseman; scroll works; scenes from epics; mythical beasts known as Makras and Hamsas.
The Varaha Avtar of Vishnu

Thousands of intricately carved sculptures depicting scenes from the epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata, puranic legends, beasts and beauties etc.adorn the temple walls. In my opinion, It is always better to visit the temple early in the morning. That will help you to enjoy the beauty and peace of the atmosphere. I choose to enjoy the beauty of this wonders first and then come back again to take the pictures. And I can tell you with confidence that- yes it wort the effort.

The Temple is just 500 meters away from the Halebid bus station. You can choose any time between 6 AM to 6 PM to visit the place. There is no entrance fee for visitors not only here, but nowhere in Halebeedu.

The Nandi bull statue

At the Hoysaleswara Temple compound, there are two Nandi mandapas. Those mandapas are hosting two of the most beautiful and large statues of Nandi the bull. Nandi is the celestial vehicle of Lord Shiva. The detailing of the work is what makes these statues very special and beautiful.

Nandi – the Bull

Archaeological Museum Halebeedu

This museum is the third reason which makes Halebeedu a gem of archaeology. The artefacts sculptures here will provide a very clear idea on the lifestyles, ideologies and belief systems of the people lived here during the 12th and 13th century. The museum is established in the 1970s. It has more than 1500 sculptures and inscriptions recovered from in and around Halebeedu.

The beautiful collection will help an observer to have a deep understanding of how open this ancestorial society over their understanding of God, sex or even when it comes to women.

The museum is located in the Hoysaleswara temple complex. You can enter the museum on any day except Fridays (holiday) after paying a Minimum fee of 10 rupees.

Basadi Halli

Basadi Halli – the Jain Mandir in Halebeedu

The Jai Mandirs or Basdi Halli is situated between Hoysaleswara temple and the Kadesreshwara Temple at Halibidu; just 1 KM away from the bus station. There are three temples at Basadi Halli. The temples are dedicated to three JainTirthankaras – Parashwantha Swami, Adinatha(Rishabhanatha) Swami and Shantinatha Swami. The temple dedicated to lord Parashwantha swami is the most important temple. There are 12 pillars in the navaranga are so nicely polished that they resemble a mirror.

Jainism is a way of life based on the teachings of twenty-four Tirthankaras. Lord Mahavira was believed to the last and most prominent one among them. Read more on Jainism here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jainism

Kedareshwara Temple (Kedareswara) Halebeedu

Kedrareswara Temple Halebeedu
Kedareswara Temple Halebeedu

The Majestic shrine was built by Veerballala(second) and his younger queen Abhinava Ketala Devi in 1319. The temple is built in star-shaped high platform. The lower part of the walls designed similar to the Hoysaleswara Temple. The upper part of the wall has about 180 images of various gods and goddess set under ornate arches.

Chenna Keshava Temple Belur

This temple is dedicated to Lord Vijayanarayan, one of the twenty-four incarnations of Lord Vishnu. This temple is built by King Vishnuvardhana to celebrate their victory over the Cholas in the great battle of Talakkad. The construction of the temple commenced in 116 A.D. According to historical records, it took about 103 years to complete the construction. It’s King Vishnuvardhana’s grandson who completed the construction. Chenna Keshava Temple is famous for the sculptures of 42 Madanikas or the celestial Nymphs located in different corners of the temple.

Gravity Pillar Belur

Gravity Pillar of Belur is a an archaeological  and engineering wonder near Halebeedu which is beyond the understanding of even the modern engineering
Gravity Pillar of Beluris standing tall as a wander for even for the modern engineering

Gravity pillar is located inside the Chenna Keshava temple complex in Belur. The unique 42 feet high pillar is carved out of a single rock. It stands on a stone platform held there by gravity. That’s what makes the gravity pillar a wonder even for modern engineering. The pillar is said to be standing tall their from the time of King Devaraaya in 1414.

Madanikas

The 42 mdanikas is said to be inspired by Shantald Devi – the queen of Vishnuvardhana. They are carved out of soapstones and are standing in various posturers of Bharathnaytam. four out of these 42 Madanikas are placed inside the temple’s ornate ceiling. They are- the Darpana Sundri. (the beauty with mirror), the lady with a parrot, the huntress and the Bhasma Mohini.

Rest of the 38 Madanikas are decoring the outer walls of the temple. These sculptures are craved with clinical precision. That does not only make them one of a kind But also explains why it take three generations and 103 years to complete the Chenna Keshava temple.

How to reach Halebeedu?

Halebeedu is a small village located near Hassan. From Hassan, you can take a bus or taxi to reach Halebeedu. KSTDC Hotel Mayura Shantala is located, 300 meters right to the Halebeedu. There are a few budget hotels and lodges in Halebeedu. Or you can choose to stay in Hassan. Belur, which can be reached in half an hour also got many budget stays and hotels

Mangalore is the nearest airport to Halebeedu (168 K.M). Hassan is the nearest railway station to Halebeedu (27 K.M). Hassan is also accessible from Bangalore There are many trains running between Hassan and Yesvantpur, Bangalore. Happy Journey.

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On The Road

How to Backpack in Mesmerizing Kathmandu – Nepal with a Budget below 5000 for a week

Beautiful Kathmandu of  Nepal

Thamel: The the heart of Kathmandu tourism

We reached in Thamel, a small town situated near Kathmandu – the capital of Nepal, after an exhausting 18 – hour bus trip from Mahendranagar. You must visit Thamel once you made it to Kathmandu. Buses from Kathmandu will take you to Thamel in just ten minutes. Thamel is the heart of adventure tourism in Kathmandu. This town will offer you opportunities to do bungee jumping, kayaking, Everest base camp trekking, Annapurna circuit trekking and so on. Similarly, there are offices which are offering help and guides for tourists.

Thamel will also offer you natural therapy like acupuncture and bowl therapy. In Nepal, there are bars, hotels and souvenir shops fitting to all budgets. But if you are a backpacker like me, who doesn’t like to spend much, then your first destination should be those bike rental shops here. Recommended reading:
https://tearingshoes.com/spirituality-through-forgiveness-and-mindfulness-practices/

First of all, in Nepal, there are no government bus services or trains. Therefore the best option for town to town budget travel is hiring bikes. But here is a countless number of bike rental shops here.

You can hire a scooter for 12 hours by submitting your passport as a security. We hired a scooter for just eight hundred rupees for 12 hours. I would love to mention the details of bike rental services from where we hired our scooter for the day: Multi Motor Bikes rental service, Z Street, Thamel, Kathmandu, Mobile number – 9851201920

Bhaktapur Durbar Square Near Kathmandu

Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a UNESCO world heritage site situated in current Bhaktapur town,13 KM from Thamel on the way to Nagarkot. It is the royal palace of Bhaktapur kingdom. The complex consist of four distinct squares and the whole area is known as Bhaktapur Durbar. Golden gate, lion gate, Bhariyavanth temple, the statute of Bhupatindra Malla etc.. are the Main attractions here.

Nagarkot – Kathmandu

Nagarkot will present you all the beauty of the great Himalayan and Kathmandu in Nepal
@ Nagarkot

Nagarkot Nepal, a village famous for its stunning Himalayan views situated just under 30 KM from Kathmandu. This village is 14 KM away from Bhaktapur. You can reach here in one hour on a bike after visiting the Durbar. As we get near to Nagarkot, the road becomes very bumpy and stoney. We even fell down from the scooter once. It is possible to see Mount Everest from here. This small and beautiful village is famous for short trekking and sunset mountain watching.

Even though, we visited here in April, which is not the right time to visit we were lucky enough to experience the Himalayan rain while we were on the top of Nagarkot.

Lakeside – Pokhara

Pokhara will demonstrate the natural beauty  of Kathmandu.

Pokhra is the biggest city in Nepal, sits on the lake Phewa. The best things to do here is walking around the lake enjoying the Village air. Though, this place looks to me like a place from China. Anyway, this place is cheaper when compared to any other places in Nepal.

Other things to do in Pokhara

Visit Peace pagoda

Peace Pagoda is at the south side of the lake. You can reach at the start of the trek by taxi or by using a rowing boat. From the start of the trail, it will take you 30 minutes to reach the top.

Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave

It is one of the biggest cave in Asia. A ticket will cost you around 100 rupees only. It is situated near Davis falls.

There are other attractions like the twin Lakes – Begnas and Rupa lake, Sarangkot and Davis waterfalls near Nagarkot.

How to reach from Thamel to Pokhara

Tourist buses leave between 7 Am to 8 AM from Kantipath near Thamel. There are also buses leaving in the evening which is more suited for a backpacker simply for economic reasons. We were charged 700 per person and it took around 9 hours to reach Pokhara.

There are about 10 flights a day from Kathmandu to Pokhara. Flights will take you to Pokhara in 30 minutes.

Things to do and not to do for a backpacker in Kathmandu – Nepal

Shankuthala Devi who I met at Nagarkot
is amirror image of life of Kathmandu people
Shakunthala Devi from Nagarkot
  • Always carry your passport and ID proofs with you. Even though Indian city sons do not need a passport to visit Nepal, it will be required to hire bikes or to take sim card connections.
  • If you are caring Indian currency, Keep them in denominations below 500. Most shops prefer it that way.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Most of the Nepali city sons are happy to help their visitors even though, most of them don’t speak English or Hindi.
  • Food and accommodation in Nepal are on the higher side.
  • It’s okay to sleep outside in Nepal if your budget is low.
  • Alcohol is available everywhere. Even though, it is just on a higher side when compared to India.
  • You don’t need to give any money as a security deposit for hiring bikes. If anyone asks for it beware; its a scam.
  • Don’t encourage beggars.
  • Take sim connection.N cell networks provides very flexible and cheap internet plans. However, you need to submit passport and your photograph for a sim connection.
  • Please, don’t through your plastic wastes around.
  • In Nepal, there are no government bus service or train service available. So plan your destinations properly. Travelling could be expensive and time-consuming.
  • Listen to Nepali music.
  • If you are planning to border cross from India make sure to choose the border which is closer to your destination.

where to Border Cross from India to Nepal

There are many borders between India and Nepal. Indian city sons won’t be asked for passport on the border. However, please do carry any personal ID other than the Aadhaar card. Anyhow, don’t be surprised if no one asked for anything at all.

If you belong to any other nationality please do carry your passport with you. I am mentioning only three borders here. I am familiar with two of them. The third one is promoted by local people and travellers in general.

Sunauli Border crossing

In my experience its best choice. Sunauli is in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh in India. Bus or share taxi will take you to Sonauali in 4 hours. They will charge 60 rupees per persons only. There are frequent connections between Kathmandu, Pokhara and Lumbini from here.

Raxaul Border crossing

I have not been personally her. But most backpackers prefer this option. Raxual is in Bihar, India. There are direct trains from Patna and Kolkata to Raxual. Taxies and buses are available from Bodh Gaya to Raxaual. From the border, buses take 7 hours to reach Kathmandu and 8 hours to Pokhara. (Credit for information – trip savvy.com)

Banbasa border crossing

We choose Banbasa In Uttarakhand to enter into the Nepal side from India. Even though this border will offer the best view possible during the whole trip, you will end up in Mahendranagar in Nepal which is 16 to 19 hours away from Kathmandu, Nepal.

From Bareli railway station in Uttarakhand, which is reachable by train from Delhi, you can reach to the Satelite bus station by rickshaw in 10 minutes. Buses are always available to Tanakpur which is 3 hours away from Banbasa border.

Banbasa is 11 km away from Tanakpur. From Banbasa you have to travel 3 KM more to reach the Nepal border. You can choose to walk this 3 KM through Banbasa bridge build over the Banbasa dam in the beautiful Sharda river.

However, I got to tell you this, the view of the bridge is so beautiful that it worth the journey. If you are opting to go for taxies to cross the border from Banbasa, taxies are not allowed between 12 PM to 2 PM. But you can choose to walk past the border at any time. Read more options to travel from India to Nepal here:
https://www.tripsavvy.com/how-to-best-travel-from-india-to-nepal-1539177