Wednesday August 15, 2018

Beyond Goa: Welcome to sun-kissed Gokarna

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By Arundhati Roy

I think I speak for the majority when I say that every Indian’s idea of a beach holiday ends up in Goa. Surely, it can be heavenly for some with the sound of some upbeat music hanging in the air as they sunbathe under the summer sun. But what if I told you that there is a place which is reminiscent of a Goa that existed 20 years ago? The place is called Gokarna.

Gokarna is a small pilgrimage town on the coast of Karnataka. Pilgrims and tourists flock to this coastal town throughout the year. Gokarna, which means Cow’s ear, got its name from Hindu mythology. The town is popular among Hindu pilgrims as Gokarna has one of the few Shiva’s holy temples with what is claimed to be the original image of god (a lingam). However, the town witnesses a complete flipside with the influx of backpackers from around the world. Gokarna charms its tourists with the simplicity that it has to offer.

Gokarna is famous for five beaches:

Gokarna Beach

This beach is mostly popular among pilgrims since it’s centrally located in the town. It is several kilometres long and the wind and the waves do most of the cleaning. Swimming is strictly not advised on this beach partly because the water has a perpetual smell of dead fish! No wise person would want to enter the water. It won’t essentially make any difference if you give this beach a skip.

Kudle Beach

This beach offers the best of both worlds. Located at the south of Gokarna beach, it provides cheap food and accommodation to backpackers, right on the beach! Little hammocks hanging in the verandah sets the mood for some quality ‘me’ time. Beer seems to be the staple drink on this beach, and the local Upbeat beer does the trick for many! There are many cafes stretched along the beach which provide a wide range of snacks for your after-swim hunger. Evenings are made magical with a random jam happening at some far corner of the beach. Kudle is the perfect destination for the ones who want to be alone but not lonely.

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Om Beach

Further from Kudle, this beach gets the name from its shape and is split by a rock island. Mainly occupied by Indian tourists and a sprinkle of foreigners, it offers a range of sea sports for the ones interested. It is reasonably clean all year round. Swimming is permissible on this beach.  The second half of the beach offers cheap food and accommodation too. It is a long beach and a walk in the evening along the shore paints a completely different picture than a walk in the day.

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Half Moon Beach

This beach is accessible after a short trek over a headland from Om beach. It is a very small beach with limited facilities. The water on this beach is a perfect turquoise and even though swimming can be a little dangerous on these waters, it is surely a worthwhile experience. Sunset on this beach is something which should not be missed.

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Paradise Beach

Also known as Full Moon beach, this beach is further ahead of Half Moon, the farthest from Gokarna. Previously a nudist beach, it is now enjoyed solely for its natural beauty. Untouched and raw in its appeal, the beach is far away from the hustle bustle. Paradise is a delight during late evenings with the breath-taking sight of the sea shining in the bright moonlight.

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On the outskirts of Gokarna, remains a beach which is still unknown to most people. Nirvana beach needs to be reached through a town named Kumta. The tide on this beach does not cease to light up one’s mood. A swim into the white, foamy waters of the Arabian Sea at sunset is the perfect way to end the day. With just a few shacks scattered in the vicinity, this beach provides utmost privacy to its visitors.

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The town of beaches will never fail to meet your expectations. There seems to be a beach for every kind of personality. Whether you come to Gokarna on a solo trip or with your family, the place will take care of you all the same, a perfect getaway from the commercial buzz on the beaches of India.

At Gokarna, blue water under blue skies will chase all your blues away

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10 Best destinations For Bikini In India: International Bikini Day

Butterfly beach is one of the secluded beaches in Goa

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10 Best destinations For Bikini In India: International Bikini Day
10 Best destinations For Bikini In India: International Bikini Day. Pixabay

-By Sonali Pimputkar

International Bikini Day is celebrated on July 5, a day that marks the anniversary of a two-piece bathing suit in 1946 by a Parisian Fashion Designer Louis Reard. Since then there is no turning back. Women around the globe have been hitting the beaches and pool sides in the bathing suit. When it comes to India, bikinis are usually worn in the movies and even in 2018, the bikini culture has not been accepted fully. Not to forget the fact that India is home to sun-kissed beaches that spread over 7,500 km coastline. Beaches mean waves, sand, shores, and fun. When it comes to beaches you will find people taking photographs and secretly judging you. But that should not turn you off from hitting the beaches in India in your favourite bikini. Well, having said that there are few local beaches across India that provide complete freedom to flaunt your bikini body enjoying the sun and sand.

If you are planning to explore the backwaters of Kerala, then head to the Marari Beach in Alleppey. The secluded beach is an undeveloped one and is an ideal for lazing around. The tourism in the area is growing though. The place is minus any water sports and beach shacks. However, you can rent beach chairs and umbrellas. The beach is also home to few resorts.

Butterfly beach is one of the secluded beaches in Goa, which is known for dolphins, crabs and of course ‘butterflies’. The place is peppered with gorgeous views, aquatic lives and an aura of bliss. The semi-circle landscape, flying butterflies and acrobatics of dolphins and you donning a gorgeous bikini, doesn’t it make a picture perfect scene?

Located in Lakshadweep, Kadmat Beach is surrounded by large lagoons from both Eastern and Western side and gorgeous beaches. The beach is perfect for those who want to unwind completely. So what are you waiting for? Take a break from your hectic schedule and spend your vacation sunbathing in your favourite bikini.

Situated in the Havelock Island in Andaman, Radhanagar Beach is known for its beauty and sunsets. The beach is also known as Beach Number 7. The turquoise blue beach and white sand give tourists an opportunity to delve into nature’s charm. Sunbathing and basking in the sun is a must do activities here. The only advice is carried good sunscreens to protect your skin from the harsh sun.

Agatti Island, Lakshadweep
Agatti Island in Lakshadweep is every adventurer’s delight and is known for water sports activities. The beach is also home to sea turtles and beautiful corals. Visitors are allowed on the beach with certain restrictions and have to obtain an entry permit from the Lakshadweep Administration for entering the island.

Agatti Island, Lakshadweep
Agatti Island, Lakshadweep. Flickr

Om Beach, Gokarna

One of the popular beaches in Gokharna, Om beach derived its name for being naturally shaped like the auspicious symbol ‘Om’. The beach is also home to a bunch of water sports activities including speedboats and surfing. It is often frequented by tourists from the West and is considered safe to don a bikini.

Varkala Beach, Kerala

Also known as Papanasham beach, Varkala beach is located in Thiruvananthapuram. The beach is believed to be holy which has the power to wash away sins. It is often visited either by tourists or worshippers.

Palolem Beach, Goa

Located in the Southern Goa, Palolem beach is a one-mile long beach and is also known as Paradise beach. The beach is largely unspoiled and is inhabited by local fishermen and foreign tourists. The beach tops the list of the safest beach as it is considered safe to wear bikinis without being judged at.

Mamallapuram Beach, Tamil Nadu

Mamallapuram Beach, also known as Mahabalipuram, is a perfect destination for lazing around without being judged. Sunbathing is a must do activity here. The place is a beautiful blend of history and natural splendor. The beach is home to various tourist attractions including School of sculpture, Snake venom extracting center, Tiger’s Cave, Crocodile Farm, Five Rathas and Arjuna’s Penance.

Also read: Bikini-clad Female prisoners in Brazil filmed snorting Cocaine sparks outrage in Brazil

Benaulim Beach, Goa

Benaulim Beach is one of the less explored beaches of Goa and is away from the hustle and bustle of the city. However, the beach sees a huge crowd on weekends. Old houses, temples, and churches add to the old charm of the beach. The beach is home to a lot of accommodation and witnesses a huge crowd during weekends. (IANS)