Karnataka – Kumta, Gokarn, Bhadra Wild Life Sanctuary

Fishermen’s village at Kumta:


Kumta Beach – isolated and serene:


Sunset at Gokarna:


India really eats cricket and sleeps cricket: a nice cricketing shot in the backdrop of setting sun:

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Gokarna, a place that is so full of old world charm, mythology and temples that is it difficult to fathom its unsavoury reputation as a haven for unruly people, junkies and drugs. Legend has it that Shiva emerged from a cow’s ear to save his devotees. Whatever the myth may be, Gokarna does have an appeal that is all its own, which comes from the ancient temple, the busy market streets selling brass lamps, bells, ornaments and little statues, and the beach, where sea-gazing in the changing light is considered to be the best pastime. The rocky terrain and turtle shaped rocks in the sea enhance the setting.

There are five beaches altogether, Gokarna beach is the longest on the northern side with lots of crowds and always buzzing with activities, Kudle, OM, Half Moon Bay and Paradise are 4 other more pristine beaches from North to South. You have to walk a little but mostly car can take you to Kudle and more famous OM beach but for Paradise and Half Moon Bay, you have no option than to do an adventurous trek or may take boats to visit them depending on ocean tides. We ventured in all 4, took boats for some part of it and after much bargain got it for Rs.600 for 4 of us for a round trip from OM to Half Moon and Paradise. These beaches are awesome and you would be completely isolated from outside world.

The temperature was scorching, when people were dying in cold waves in North, we were fried in temperature of 36 degrees at the end of December which was incidentally the highest temperature recorded in the country for that day. Not sure if this region is that hot in December or this year was an exception. Namaste Cafe was brilliant, especially its restaurant, I would surely stay here if ever I revisit Gokarna. Only issue, they usually don’t take advance booking especially in the seasons of December and January, you have to go and try your luck. But it’s a must stay for anyone, sipping beers sitting at their beach restaurant soothing your ears with light music and watching the ocean relentlessly breaking its waves below you is something to experience.

This ends our coastal circuit, from one end to the other, Karnataka’s coastline is an undulating continuation, hiding remarkably azure waters fringed by golden sands, overlooked by thick groves of coconut and trees or better still, the giant, towering range of the Western Ghats. There’s breathtaking scenery, there are places to see, Sea waves playing orchestra for you, food for thought and for the stomach, adventure and water sports, a million things to do, see, feel – a perfect getaway to relax, rejuvenate and recharge.

Car Odo Reading:

Gokarna – 45772
OM Beach – 45782
Gokarna – 45791

Kudle Beach:

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Half Moon Beach:


Paradise Beach:

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Beach shacks at OM Beach:


Famous OM Beach:

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Gokarna Beach always busy with activities:


Awesome sunset at Gokarna in the backdrop of Western Ghats:



We headed back to Malnad region by retracing back till Kumta and then taking lesser known SH48 towards Siddapur and the Ghat section in this road was under dense rain forest and amazingly beautiful to express in words. At Ondane, the forest region ends and we took a right turn towards Mensa and there by bypassing Siddapur, we reached Jog Falls by 2 hours 30 mins after starting from Gokarna. The route was nice and had almost no traffic.

Jog was a big upset, the four parts of the falls, Raja/Rani/Roarer/Rocket all were in extremely poor shape and probably that’s what it should be in December, we were warned by many but then again the more disappointing than the falls were the huge crowds that were present even as early as 9.00am on a weekday.

We moved out quickly, continue via NH206 to cross Sagar and Shimoga and finally took a right towards Lakkavalli. JLR River Tern was our destination and like most JLRs they are professional and after a quick check-in and lunch, we proceeded for a forest safari, which was a mistake we made, you should take boats in evening and take jeep safari on the following morning. Reason is in evening you can witness a memorable sunset on Bhadra lake where as in morning there is more chance to spot an animal which anyway now is a little difficult there as a lot of road work and forest restoration work is in progress and the disturbances by big earth movers have driven the animals away into the other side of the forest. But River Tern is a nice place to unwind, an excellent place to spend a lazy day.

Car Odo Reading:

Gokarna – 45791
Cut for SH48 for Siddapur from Kumta – 45823
Turn right at Ondane – 45877
Mensa (meets Siddapur-Jog Road) – 45898
Jog Falls – 45907
Shimoga – 46020
Lakkavalli (River Tern) – 46049

Bhadra Reservoir from Cottage:


Sunset at Bhadra:


Morning at Bhadra Reservoir:


River Tern cottages from Bhadra Reservoir:


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