I was in the general area in and around Gokarna again ( this time between 9 - 14 Jan 2013). You can find my other reviews on Gokarna which I had focused around the Om Beach. This time I give an overview of the Gokarna town and all the beaches nearby like the Gokarna beach, the Kudle Beach , the Om Beach and the Butterfly beach. Gokarna is a revered temple town of South Western coastal India and the main deity of Gokarna is Shiva who is shown as coiled around by a snake. Gokarna town is a small quaint town with the majority of shops and eateries in and around the car ( ratha ) street . It is much cheaper that the beaches around and is a beautiful place to see the local daily life of the people. You can stay in the town for as little as 12 dollars a day while a stay in any of the beaches will be much more comparatively. Gokarna is a nice place to settle in first for three to four days and then go to the three beaches nearby as day excursions and then decide which beach you like the most and then finally stay in the beach of your choice for a few days. My personal favourite is the Om Beach. I was here in the monsoons of 2012 and observed very pleasantly that the laterite hills around Gokarna specially on the way towards the Om Beach had become much greener and the newly planted trees had taken roots , grown up and really greened the area. It is even more beautiful now.
However, the food costs as well as the cost of beer have gone up nearly 10 % since Dec 2011. Goa rates have gone up even more right from Arambol in the North of Goa , to Bogmalo in the Centre to Palolem in the extreme south of Goa. Gokarna and its beaches around to me beat Goa in terms of value for money. Having said that expect the crowd to swell on weekends when a lot of locals come to visit the temple and then double up to visit the Om Beach. If you want the same serenity on weekends try shifting to either Kudle or Butterfly as they are a little more difficult to reach. Expect a lot of young professionals from IT companies in Bangalore on a weekend. There are direct sleeper buses running between Bangalore and Gokarna. An unusual but tasty cool drink on the Om Beach is the ginger, lemon and mint drink at Sunset Cafe at the Southern end of the Om Beach. There is another cafe which serves it as well. If you are ready to go for a 30 minute walk further south across the hills from the Sunset Cafe you can go to the Butterfly beach. You can also reach it by taking a boat there from the North End of the OM beach where the Namaste Cafe is situated. More about other interesting areas within 100 - 150 km from Gokarna where one can get to see the highest waterfall of India, the tallest statue of Lord Shiva, a famous temple with elephants, a jungle resort , a river with a backwater feel of KERALA and the only tiger and lion safari of India . You can also see the salt pans a few kilometres short of the Gokarna town. Go on and enjoy Gokarna and the beaches around.
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