Memorable Weekend At Om Beach, Gokarna
I was in the graveyard shift. It was around 2 AM when my phone rang. I received the call and heard a super excited voice. It was my husband....
We spent Saturday morning packing and thinking about all the things we would do on the beaches of Gokarna. As evening came, I could not wait for the clock to strike 9 PM. After what seemed like endless hours, it was 9 and we were boarding the bus to Gokarna.
As the bus touched the Tumkur highway, my tiredness overpowered my excitement and I dozed off. I was sleeping peacefully when Vanya woke me up. She sounded worried. The bus had broken down at some place near Shimoga and we were around 3 hours away from our destination. It was 6 AM and we should have been in Gokarna by 7 AM. But as fate had it, the repair took about 3 hours. And we reached Gokarna Bus Station at 1 PM in the afternoon.
We were dehydrated and famished in the harsh afternoon sun. We booked an auto that charged 300 INR for a mere 8 kilometers. But as we were extremely exhausted, none of us bothered to bargain. After a bumpy 20 minutes long ride, we stopped at a dead end with hills and forests beside us. I could hear the sea waves lashing at the shore but I could not see it. The auto driver saw our puzzled expressions and told us to get down the narrow steep dry creek at the end of the dead end. We did as instructed and as we climbed down the cove we were amazed!
As we stepped into the sandy beach, we saw the blue Arabian Sea spread out before us. There were very few tourists on the beach and more than 90% of them were Westerners. Another thing that struck me as odd was the cleanliness of the place. It was pristine unlike some of the popular Indian beaches. Vanya and I sat under a coconut grove to avoid the scorching sun. My husband, Sushmit and Prakash went in search of a place to stay. After about half an hour they came back victorious, with half a dozen tender coconuts in hands. The sweet water quenched our thirst and the happy Om beach invigorated our tired spirits.
We hauled our bags and stood before a rocky highland. Our shack was on top of it. It was a short and easy climb and soon we were in the porch of Dolphin Shack. We were given two rooms, one with proper bed and the other was a makeshift room with walls made of straw and mud, and a cemented area inside which serves as the bed. Since Vanya and Prakash were on their honeymoon, Sushmit and I took the latter room. Living in a real shack was an adventurous experience in itself.
The group dispersed to get freshened up and met for lunch. We had a hearty meal of seafood and rice. While we were sitting in the portico enjoying the sea breeze, I noticed that the beach area in front of Dolphin Shack was completely devoid of people. The beach glistened as it reflected sun rays and it was an ideal place for tourists to hang around. And yet not a soul was to be seen. Unable to contain my curiosity, I asked the owner about it. He astonished me with his reply. It was Dolphin Shack's Private Beach and only guests had access to it. Wow. Now this was really something. The shack was an ideal backpacker's paradise with only 400 INR per night and the food price was also on the lower end. But this humble shack had a private beach! I had another reason to be very happy.
As daylight began to dim, the weather cooled down. We let the honeymooners alone and went for a stroll. The cool breeze, the swishing sound of the sea, and the excited shouts of the beach volleyball players filled the salty air with delight. As we walked further ahead in the main beach area, some interesting aromas hit our nasal senses. We followed the aroma and stopped before Om Beach's famed Namastey Cafe. Foodies that we are, we immediately grabbed the menu and ordered some local delicacies. As we were sitting and waiting for the food to arrive, a group of tourists joined us. We are a chatty couple and so without much ado we got talking with them. Meher and Reyzaan were from Turkey and Alvira, Jazz, and Marcel were Germans. They were visiting India on a student exchange program and had come to Om Beach for the weekend. We shared our food with them and chatted away to our heart's content.
Alvira asked us to join them for a barbeque party on the beach. We were more than happy to oblige. While we were enjoying the fish barbeque session, more people joined us. Some were from France, some from Canada, and some from Belgium. We were the only Indians in the group. Soon beer bottles were opened and we all enjoyed a delightful evening of food and drinks. Time just flew and before we realized it was 1 AM in the morning. We dragged ourselves back to our shack and finally settled in for the night.
The sun rays pouring into our mud house woke us up. Prakash and Vanya were already in the porch drinking tea. We joined them and narrated our experience from last evening. The sea looked even more pristine and inviting in the morning and we decided to go straight into the waves. We splashed around in the sea for a good few hours. We were like children who had no care in the world. We did not care about the sun tan, or the salty water. We just jumped around in the sea and enjoying the waves washing over us. Finally Sushmit pulled me out of the waters. We rested on the beach for sometime and then went for lunch. Here again we met some of our friends from last night and had a fun conversations along with a great meal.
Just like all good things come to an end, the weekend was over and it was time to go back. Our bus was at 9 PM from Gokarna Bus station. As we packed up our things and were ready to go, I took one long look at the humble shack and the vast sea. It was a beautiful sight and I captured the beauty in my memory. I will surely come back to Gokarna and its exotic Om Beach.
Contributed By: Kriti Mazumdar