Rebeccus Farcis

Rebeccus Farcis means "Have Fun", in err.. the yet to be discovered Martian.

Gokarna: Of temple, beaches and hippies

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One fine day sometime last October dear dad felt like it was time to hang up. Next morning he resigned, two days later he was approached to be a consultant in Gokarna. Gladly did he accept it, on he rolled. The apartment in Hyderabad was rented out to a family, dad and mom moved over to Gokarna. 14 years of having stayed in a metro set aside, Gokarna is turning out to be a fascinating place.

Gokarna is a sleepy old town on the west coast, am being highly optimistic when I call this a town. Its too small to be called one, a bloated village perhaps, its governing body is a Gram Panchayat. A sleepy town on the NH17 – the Mumbai-Kanyakumari highway. An hour towards the north and you reach the Goa border, where from one tends to find plenty of liquids smuggled. 5 hours down south you reach Mangalore. Konkan railway runs through the town, convenient for me as Mumbai tends to be only a night away. There is a downside though, hardly any train stops here.

The singularly most famous thing in Gokarna – the Mahabaleshwara temple. Mentioned in the Ramayana, the Atmalinga here was presented to Ravana by Lord Shiva himself, Lord Ganesha is supposed to have smartly snatched it from him and placed it here. The same Shivalinga is the presiding deity today. The entire population of the town dwelves around the temple. A huge majority of the town comprises of the priests of this temple. There are around 180 families authorised to perform the rites at the temple – they are the locals. A handful of businessmen, a few bankers, couple of government servants, a few fisherfolk – don’t see anyone else in the town. The town thrives on the tourists that visit the temple and the beaches through the year.

People here don’t really proclaim we have beaches that would compete the ones at Vasco or a Kankon. But yeah, Om beach does put up a good fight, err atleast it draws a nice big tourist flock. 3 beaches, separated by two hillocks run along Gokarna. To the north the Gokarna beach – flat and straight, and the longest of the three. This one overlooks the temple and draws a nice healthy flock of tourists, mostly family and kids, the ones that would’ve visited the temple.
Kutle beach – between two hills, by far the smallest of the three, and, in my opinion, the best of the lost. Very remote, there is a small motorable road to there, accessible only by two wheelers. Its a small bay, the waves are the softest here, you can walk 400m into the beach and still find the only waist deep water.
Om beach: the most famous of the lost. The beach, again located between two hills is shaped like the letter ‘Om’, this attracts the ‘best’ crowd, if you get what I mean. Indian crowd for the view of it, foreign for the so called ‘nirvana’. The waves hitting the rocks you are sitting on relentlessly and splashing the sea water all over your face is a pleasure in these beaches.

I now move on to the most unusual of the populace in the town. Every year, just after the rains (sometime mid Sept-Oct), the migratory birds flock in, humans all of them. The foreigners, most of them hippies, disembark. Goa is the most favored destination for these hippies, but Goa being expensive, some turn up here. A few of them arrive for the promised nirvana. These guys, mostly Russian, some East Europeans – mostly the erstwhile Soviets, some Korean – Japanese, few Americans and a few whose identity I’m still struggling to establish. The town makes all preparations to host them for the next few months. Every household, the priests included, has built enough accomodations to be rented out to these guys. This streams in healthy money to the town, each of these accomodations rented at horribly expensive rates to these folks who don’t seem to mind it and continue living here unhindered for the next 5-6 months, till summer turns them a little too red. They make a fascinating study – I’ll deal with them in another episode.

Am in the middle of a 6 week vacation at home. Parents have moved in here only recently, so don’t have any friends here. The sun is still too hot – the moment it starts raining, guess I can saunter into the forests in the western ghats around here. Have company now on, a cousin who’s coming home on vacation. Plenty of treks around here, 3 big waterfalls – one of them quite challenging to scale. The remainder of my vacation promises to be great fun.

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Written by Srinivas

June 20, 2010 at 11:27 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Love to visit

    Nishu

    July 10, 2010 at 7:58 am


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