Monday, February 05, 2007

Gokarna Ride

A cool breeze was blowing. I could hear birds chirping and water splashing. I could not figure out what is happening and pulled my blanket a little more. It was so comfy. I opened my eyes a little. The ceiling was too low. Glanced at my watch, it was 6:30 AM. How the hell I got up so early without alarm. One more splash of water nearby. Suddenly I came back to senses to realize I am sleeping in a tent, the tent which we pitched last night on Om Beach.

"Let's go to Waynad and do camping! Long weekend in January". I proposed a plan to Ashu. Within few days I came to know that many people are interested. Wonderful! :)

Come January and we found that there is no holiday on 15th Jan in most of the companies. That leaves us two again. Hmmmm interesting. The plan was to camp near a lake in Waynad. "Suna hai jungle mein bhediye (Wolves) bhi hain. kewal do logon ka lake ke paas camp karna safe nahin hoga". I pondered on Ashu's thoughts for some time and we decided that we chould change our camping destination because only two of us are going.

Ashu wanted to go to Kodaikanal but I was adamant on camping. I could not wait any longer to use my tent! We decided upon Pondicherry. Next day we changed plans and were sure that we'll be leaving for Kemmangundi/Baba Budayangiri next morning. Some trekking and then camping. Suddenly in the afternoon, a very old plan to visit Gokarna struck in our minds. By evening, we were ready with the route plan. I asked Himanshu and Saswata if they want to join. Both declined. So we were all set for morning to leave to Gokarna. In the night, Saswata called me up to inform that he is also in.

Day 1:
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Plan was to meet at MG-Brigade Road crossing at 5 AM. Ashu woke up at 5 ! We got delayed and three bikes, my Bajaj Avenger, Ashu's RE Thunderbird and Saswata's Honda Unicorn left Bangalore at around 6:30 AM.


Route was pretty simple. Follow NH-4 till Tumkur. Take NH-206 from there till Honnavar and then NH-17 till Gokarna cross. Gokarna is just 11 km from there.

Traffic was less in early hours and soon we were cruising comfortably at 80 kmph on NH-4. After sunrise, suddenly it became very cold. Tumkur is around 80 km from Bangalore and we were there before 8. We did not stop there and continued on NH-206. Saswata's bike hit reserve few km before Tumkur but he did not fillup. "Mujhko check karna hai ki reserve mein kitna petrol hota hai. teen litre to hoga hi". Soon his bike sputtered and stopped with no petrol bunk in a 10 km radius. We stopped there and had some tea. Ashu poured a cup of petrol from his bike into the Unicorn and we made up to the next petrol bunk. Had our breakfast there and returned back to the road.

After that we kept on riding till Shimoga passing Gubbi, Tiptur, Kadur and Tarikere. Tiptur is somewhat a big town in between. The roads were very good except a small bad stretch where road repairing was going on. There is a city called Bhadravati also enroute which you can bypass by taking a left turn just before entering. We stopped near a lake on the way to click some snaps.


We reached Shimoga by 12:30 PM. It was hot. We removed our sweaters which saved us in the morning from freezing cold. We decided that we shall take lunch in Sagar. Another 80 km from Shimoga. The Shimoga-Sagar route is also a MUST-DO for every biker. Quite, serene, no traffic, jungle on both the sides and slopes/curves at some places. What else can one ask for? We stopped once in between for leak and having some biscuits and water. We were in Sagar by 2:30.


We had lunch - 5 paper masala dosas :) and headed to Jog Falls at around 3 PM. Jog Falls is just 25-30 km from Sagar and as usual roads are beautiful. Jog Falls are the highest falls in India. Falling from a height of 253m, the river sharavati splits into 4 falls. Raja, Roarer, Rocket and Rani falls. It takes around 3 hours to go down the fall and come back again to the road. So we dropped that plan. Clicked few snaps and left for Honnavar. Honnavar is around 50 km from there. By 5:15 PM, we were in Honnavar.


If we look at the map, we moved in north-west direction from Bangalore and hit the Arabian sea and then move along the coast to Gokarna. The place where we hit the sea is Honnavar. From here, we have to take right turn into NH-17. We refuelled our bikes here and raced towards Gokarna which is around 50 odd km from here. We did not want to miss the sunset over the Arabian Sea.

Map Courtsey mapsofindia.com

Soon we reached the Gokarna Cross on NH-17. Took a left there and again just before entering Gokarna city, took a left to Om Beach. Witnessed the most beautiful sunset I ever saw from a viewpoint 1-2 km before Om Beach.


We entered the beach after dark. Asked a policeman about the camping. He warned us to keep an eye on the luggage against theft. The beach was full of foreigners. We pitched our tent near a small shack and chilled around. Had some nice KingFish Sizzler for dinner and dozed off in the tent. Nice :)


Day 2:
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We woke up with the first ray of light. We had already dropped the plan of riding on day 2. Removed the tent and rented a hut on the beach. We had to leave early next day so we thought of renting a hut because folding a tent in dark is not very easy. Also we need some place to get fresh and all.


By 8 AM, we were ready for a trek to Paradise beach. We left our luggage in the hut and left. After climbing the hill, we could clearly see the "Omkar" shape of the beach which gave it the name - Om Beach.
We trekked through beautiful landscapes and reached Half-Moon beach. Had breakfast there and jumped into the water. That was as good as a private beach. No one else was there. We enjoyed there for some time and then left for paradise.


One thing about the beaches in Gokarna is that you can forget everything in life and just chill. It is so serene and quite that you will forget everything. Reason might be that it is not yet that famous. We could hardly see any Indian on those beaches.

Paradise beach, as the name suggests was paradise :). We had a lazy lunch (delicious fish and biryani :) ) and a nap there. We again trekked back to Om Beach though there was an option of boating till Om Beach.


We picked our bikes and moved to see Gokarna city and Gokarna Beach. We returned soon to the same sunset point to capture it in our cameras. I guess we did that pretty decently :).


After dark we lied down on the beach with clear sky full of stars and waves caressing our feet. Now that's what I call a holiday :).


Day 3:
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Stupid Alarm! 5:00 AM. I hit snooze and back to sleep.

5:10 AM: Again the same irritating sound. What the hell! I woke up. Ashu also started knocking the door. We were ready to leave at 6' O clock. It was still dark and we started moving towards our bikes. We were all sweating and huffing and puffing by the time we reached our bikes. We had a lot of luggage (tents, sleeping bags, etc) and the place where bikes are parked was real far. ANyways we were on the road by 6:45 AM.

Saswata filled up at a petrol bunk at Gokarna Cross. Our first stop was at Honnavar for breakfast. After breakfast, we did not stop before Sagar.
We planned to reach bangalore before dark so we get enough time to rest. Hence, we rode non stop till Shimoga where we had a chai break. After that we planned to reach Tumkur by 3-3:30 PM to have lunch. Our plan was to go non stop till Tumkur that was around 200 KM from Shimoga.
On the way, Saswata's bike encountered a problem of rear wheel wobbling. This slowed down us considerably. We were not moving as fast as we planned because his bike was becoming unstable. We could not find any Honda service center on the way so kept going. We reached Tumkur at 4' O clock. Not bad :). Had nice chicken biryani for lunch. Tumkur-Bangalore was breeze on a 4-lane NH-4.

Traffic was bad after Neelmangla. Everone was staring at us and at the huge load of luggage tied to the bike.

After negotiating with the traffic, I parked my bike at my home at around 6:15 PM.

I will always remember this trip. It was planned just the day before and was one of the most memorable trips. And for the first time, the roads were so good right from the start point to the finish!

Summary:
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Date:
13th Jan 2007 to 15th Jan 2007

Riders:
1. Ashish - Bajaj Avenger
2. Ashutosh - RE Thunderbird
3. Saswata - Honda Unicorn

Route:
Bangalore - Neelmangla - Tumkur - Gubbi - Tiptur - Kadur - Tarikere - Shimoga - Sagar - Jog Falls - Honnavar - Kumta - Gokarna

Here, Bangalore to Tumkur is NH-4, Tumkur to Honnavar is NH-206 and Honnavar to Kumta is NH-17. Gokarna is 11 KM off route from NH-17

Distance from Bangalore to Gokarna: 501 KM

Night Stay:
1st Night: Camping at Om Beach
2nd Night: Hut at Om Beach for Rs 100/- per hut. One hut can accomodate 3 people. The hut has bare minimum facilities with makeshift toilets and bathrooms.

Places to visit enroute: Jog Falls

More pics can be seen here



15 comments:

Kam said...

mast blog bhai!

Ride on!

Ashish said...

@kam

shukriya dost !!! :)

Ashu said...

hmmm... abki gokarna se Udupi maarna hai... ek se ek mast beach hai on the way... gokarna,kudle,Om,Half moon,Paradise, Murudeshwar, Hagarkante, marvanthe & turtle bay, Malpe... kya kehte ho..

Prabul said...

Written well, dude.
Very good sunset snaps, keep riding!

Ashish said...

@ashu

zaroor dost !!! anytime :D.. ek aur lamba weekend dhoondhna hoga :D

Nandu Chitnis said...

Good ride n write up...keep dem coming.

Ashu said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ramakrishnan said...

having too much fun re .. jealous.

Debonair said...

sexy pix ... esp the sun-gobbling one :D whose idea was it ? love ur descriptions .... ride on !

Ashish said...

sorry guys, checking comments after a long time ! Now i have set the notification of new comments. So no delay from now on :)

@prabul: thanku :)

@nandu: i will try my best ! :)

@ashu: sochte hain kuch naya plan :)

@rama : yo !!! join us sometime :)

@debonair: thanks buddy

Abhra Bagchi said...

where did u park ur bikes in gokarna ?

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anjali gupta said...

It was lovely reading your blog post. Primarily a pilgrimage site, Gokarna is known for its endless rows of coconut palms, blue seas and clean beaches. Lalguli Falls, Paradise Beach, and Sathodi Falls are some of the popular places to visit in Gokarna.

Debosmita Roy said...

A very informative post on trip to Gokarna, a small temple town. The main temple and deity is Lord Shiva, who is also known as Mahabhaleshwara. Due to its laid-back, unspoiled and rustic nature ,there are places to visit in Gokarna which has become famous in the last decade.

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