Browse Tag


Gokarna town music instrument store

Gokarna 2010: Day 2 – Gokarna town, Kudle Beach and Sunset Cafe

Date: 28th February, 2010

The next day, we woke up and checked out of our rooms as we were going to be out & about until lunch. We took another small hut at Sea Rock cafe (but slightly better than the Rs. 100 one)  to dump our bags — & I needed one for myself as I was going to be spending one more night here. This one cost Rs. 200 ($4). We paid the lady and then headed to town.

We took an auto (cost us Rs. 150) but we couldn’t call the guy who took us yesterday as there is no mobile network coverage on Kudle beach (Airtel and Vodafone — don’t know about the rest).

Gokarna town is a stark contrast from the popular beaches of Gokarna. Conservative, religious, predominantly-Brahmin, laid back. And lots of cows.

Gokarna town old houseWe got dropped near the main temple and since it didn’t look like anything we hadn’t seen before, we didn’t bother going in.

So we just walked around it and headed to the beach.

Gokarna town alley black white
Just tried black & white on this one

Gokarna town temple old housesGokarna temple women cows

Gokarna town beads storeYou’ll find small stores selling jewelry, beads, fashion accessories and godly merchandise among a few restaurants en route to the beach.

Road to Gokarna beach

Gokarna beach panorama
Gokarna beach: Panorama comprised of 8 shots

This is the main beach in Gokarna and it’s quite a big stretch. It’s where the locals throng and visiting pilgrims frequent the most.

And because of that, it’s also the most trashed and crowded beach in Gokarna. We didn’t bother checking it out or walking down the stretch as it really didn’t offer anything special. So we headed back.

Gokarna town beach canalGokarna town bridgeGokarna town cowsGokarna town housesGokarna town music instruments storeWe had plans to rent bikes and head for Murudeshwar, which was 80kms from Gokarna but we dropped it in case we were late in getting back. All except I were returning to Bangalore that day and the bus was at 7:15pm. In case you wanted to know, the bikes cost Rs. 300 and above, depending on the kind of bike you want (or at least that’s what the renters told me.)

We roamed around town in search of ATMs.

Gokarna town temple floatGokarna town temple floatGokarna town shadeGokarna town Rajat laundry shopGokarna spice street vendorGokarna town old woman houseAfter withdrawing money from the State Bank of India (there was also a Karnataka Bank ATM), we headed back to Kudle beach for lunch. You won’t find restaurants selling the kind of food you get at Om, Kudle, etc. in Gokarna town. Most eateries are strictly vegetarian.

Gokarna beach auto ride to Kudle
Gokarna beach in the distance

Gokarna to Om beach hillHeading to Kudle Om beach GokarnaGokarna to Kudle auto journey

Kudle beach panoramic view
Kudle beach from high above

Once we got back to our room, we checked out again. Why?

Well, there’s an old guy at Sea Rock Cafe who is always drunk and high. The previous night he was chasing a young couple and hurling abuses at them in Kannada. He chased them walking but when they stopped, the old man stopped. Basically he was drunk and was causing a ruckus. But fell short of actually hurting anyone.

Well, he did it again in the afternoon. First joking and then again hurling abuses at everyone. Then he turned his attention to us. He never touched us but we were getting very annoyed. Finally our Kannadiga friend had enough and went to complain to the lady who basically runs the place.

Instead of doing something about their old man, she instead gave our money back and told us if we wanted to leave, we could. So we did.

And then we went next door. We asked Sunset Cafe if they had a room for just me and they showed me a Rs. 250 hut. It was sooooo much better that we didn’t hesitate. We took it, dumped our bags in there and then sat at the cafe for lunch.

Sunset cafe Kudle beach Gokarna
Sunset Cafe on Kudle beach

It was 4pm and we had plenty of time until my friends had to leave to catch their bus. So we began our long (and lazy) lunch.

Sunset cafe chicken sandwich
Chicken sandwich, Rs. 85 (very good for the price)

As the sun moved towards us, we moved a table away from it.

Sunset cafe Kudle beach Gokarna inside

Sunset cafe Kudle beach Gokarna Ramesh
Ramesh lazing while waiting for food to arrive
Sunset cafe hairy chest guy
That’s not a grey t-shirt he’s wearing. Just sayin’.
Sunset cafe Kudle beach seafood pizza
Seafood pizza, Rs. 120 (really good!)
Sunset cafe Kudle beach pizza cat
Sharing seafood pizza with hungry kitten. Hmm…

Come 6 ‘o’ clock, it was time for my friends to collect their bags and head for their buses. So I walked with them until the end of the stretch.

Kudle beach Gokarna internet cafeKudle beach sunset dogsI guess what I liked about Gokarna best were the beaches but also, the kind of people who thronged this place. Take for example these Swiss hippies. One of them was playing a instrument called Hang. It was a unique sound produced on a steel vessel-like instrument. Check it out:

I liked it so much, I even bought the guy’s CD.

After we said our goodbyes and I walked back.

Kudle beach tourists playing

Sunset cafe Kudle beach Gokarna hippies
Hippies watching the sun set listening to the Hang

After sun set, I took bath in the common washrooms (as most huts don’t have an attached toilet) and watched the movie ‘City of God‘ on my laptop. (Very good movie by the way)

After that, I attempted night photography.

Sunset cafe Kudle beach full moon
It was another full moon night

Sunset cafe Kudle beach shacks

Sunset cafe Kudle beach shacks huts
The hut on the right was mine. Now this is proper ‘ocean view’.

Kudle beach night sky bonfire

Sunset cafe Kudle shack room inside
Inside my hut. So much better than Sea Rock’s huts.

Sunset Cafe is a much better deal than Sea Rock Cafe and I’m glad we shifted. I can recommend this place over Sea Rock any day!

I enjoyed my sleep a tad better than last night‘s.

Book Gokarna hotels at

Next post in this series:

Gokarna 2010: Day 3 – Where to stay on Kudle and Om Beach

Previous post in this series:

Gokarna 2010: Day 1 – Trekking from Kudle -> Om -> Half Moon -> Paradise beach

Photos from my first trip to Pondicherry

Continuing with my past travelogues, this is the first of two posts on my road trips to the Union Territory of Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu (Wikipedia link, do read if not familiar with Pondicherry). As I mentioned earlier, I may not be able recount every name or for that matter, everything since, well…. it’s been a while!

Date: 26-27th August, 2005

Two cars. Nine of us. Independence Day weekend.

We set off early morning from Bangalore city and headed down Hosur Road, past Electronic City, for the Tamil Nadu border. The highways (once you enter Tamil Nadu) are remarkably better than Karnataka’s roads but this being India, they don’t stay good for long. You have to get off the main highway off to a smaller road that leads to Puducherry.

Pondicherry highway
You pass through a lot of villages and small towns

The route we took passes through Krishnagiri – Thirvanamalai – Gingee and was expected to take us 6 hours.

Temple Tamil Nadu
A temple at Thirvanamalai

We reached Thirvanamalai at around 7:30am and stopped here for breakfast. It was at a local restaurant/mess so I don’t remember the name — but you’d be hard-pressed to find a bad idlidosa joint in Tamil Nadu.

By noon, we were in Pondicherry. The (Government run) hotel we stayed at was just after the Pondicherry entrance checkpoint, to the right. It wasn’t much of a place (especially the restaurant) but I do remember the rooms our friend booked were the “suites”. They were big, had A/Cs and looked like a suite… by 1980s India standards. But hey, it was cheap. Around Rs. 600 or so. (Mind you, this was off-season 2005).

We freshened up, had lunch and headed straight to Beach Road.

Pondicherry Beach road
Pondicherry Beach Road
Pondicherry beach
That small stretch of sand you see is all the "beach" you will get in Pondicherry city
Pondicherry Beach road bench
It was very sunny (& hot) in Pondicherry

Most, if not all, of what you’ll want to see in Pondicherry is in and around Beach Road and the “rues” (‘rue’ = ‘street’ in French) behind it. The old French colonial buildings, the Aurobindo Ashram and the big churches are all within walkable reach from here.

Pondicherry elephant
This was at a temple near the Aurobindo Ashram

Pondicherry evening cloud

Pondicherry building night street lamp
The best my point-&-click camera could do at night

After some shopping and dinner, we called it an early night. The plan was to wake up early (funny how it always is on my trips) and head to Beach Road to watch the sunrise.

Which we did.

Pondicherry early sunrisePondicherry photographing sunrisePondicherry sunrisePondicherry green rocks

Pondicherry fishermen
Fishermen heading out to work

Pondicherry Gandhi statue
The Mahatma Gandhi statue on Beach Road
Pondicherry old lighthouse French War Memorial
Left: The old lighthouse; Right: French War Memorial

After breakfast, it was church-hopping. First up, the Eglise de Notre Dame de la Conception Immaculee (The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception) on Cathedral Street.

Pondicherry Eglise de Notre Dame de la Conception Immaculee (Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception)Pondicherry Eglise de Notre Dame de la Conception Immaculee (Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception) interiorsPondicherry Eglise de Notre Dame de la Conception Immaculee (Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception) statueNext, Sacred Heart Church on the south boulevard.

Pondicherry Sacred Heart church
'L'Eglise de Sacre Coeur de Jesus'
Pondicherry Eglise de Sacre Coeur de Jesus
'Le white pedophile' preying on local children

Okay I kid. Maybe the kids were from out of town. 🙂

The Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is famous for its glass paintings depicting events from the life of Jesus Christ.

Pondicherry Sacred Heart Church interiorsPondicherry Sacred Heart Church glass paintingThen, we walked to the Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges (The Church of Our Lady of Angels).

Pondicherry yellow house

The Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges (The Church of Our Lady of Angels)
The Church of Our Lady of Angels

The Church of Our Lady of Angels interiorsPondicherry Church of Our Lady of Angels windowPondicherry orange house

Pondicherry Alok Ranjith Sumeet
L - R: Pale face, Grumpy & PJ

Pondicherry Indian Ocean

Pondicherry statue
Back: The pier; Front: Some famous dude

After grabbing some ice-cream, we took advantage of the lower cost of fuel in Pondicherry and headed back to our rooms to check out. We left Puducherry by noon and decided to head back Bangalore.

Pondicherry shop signboard funnyWord of advice: Be careful about buying liquor in Pondicherry (as with fuel, liquor is cheaper too) and taking it out of town, there are multiple police inspection points you will have to stop at.

We took the same route back and only stopped on the way to have lunch. Lord knows where it was that we stopped but it was terrible. Best to have lunch at Pondicherry itself and then leave as the options are very slim on the journey back.

Gingee fort, Villupuram
Gingee Fort in Villupuram

I really found Gingee Fort interesting and told myself I wanted to check it out the next time I was around these parts.

Pondicherry Bangalore highway
It rained on the way back

Not that it hindered our journey. It was still a lovely drive and that is one thing about heading to Pondicherry from Bangalore (or even Chennai) — it’s one of the best daytime drives you’ll have in South India.

Camera used: Canon Powershot A95; post processing done in Photoshop CS3, especially the blues which were cyan heavy

A small video from this trip:

Wat Phra Kaew Emerald Buddha

Thailand 2009: Day 10 – Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha

Date: Dec 23rd, 2009

My last day in Thailand.

Woke up, had breakfast at Dunkin Donuts and headed straight to MBK one last time as I had to pick up something my friend Jyothy Karat wanted from the Canon store. After saying goodbye to Kosin, I took a taxi (as advised) and headed for the Grand Palace which is located in ‘old Bangkok’.

Bangkok morning traffic
Morning traffic in Bangkok

Bangkok Chaopraya Technical collegeBangkok route to Grand PalaceBangkok route to Grand PalaceBangkok route to Grand PalaceBangkok route to Grand Palace

The taxi ride cost me around 100 baht (Rs. 130). It was noon by the time I got to the Grand Palace and it was scorching hot.

Grand Palace Bangkok ThailandThe place is obviously very popular with tourists. I quickly bought my ticket and went in to avoid the mad rush of tour groups thronging the place by the bus loads.

I won’t be detailing its history, so if you are interested, you can read about the Grand Palace here and here. (The latter link has information on ticket pricing and dress codes)

Grand Palace Bangkok ThailandGrand Palace Bangkok ThailandGrand Palace Bangkok ThailandGrand Palace Bangkok Thailand wall painting

Grand Palace Thailand Phra Si Rattana Chedi
Phra Si Rattana Chedi
Grand Palace Thailand Phra Si Rattana Chedi
Another Canon 7D user
Mithun at Grand Palace, Thailand
Self-proclaimed awesome Canon 7D user… me!

Grand Palace Thailand dragon handGrand Palace Bangkok ThailandGrand Palace Bangkok ThailandGrand Palace Bangkok Thailand

Grand Palace Bangkok Thailand Kinnon
Kinnon: A mythological creature, half bird, half man

Grand Palace Bangkok ThailandGrand Palace Bangkok ThailandThe final stop (for me) at the Grand Palace was the Wat Phra Kaew (wat = temple) that houses the Emerald Buddha.

Wat Phra Kaew Emerald Buddha
You have to leave your shoes outside

Wat Phra Kaew Emerald BuddhaWat Phra Kaew Emerald BuddhaThe Emerald Buddha, apparently from India originally and actually made of jasper instead of emerald, is seated on top of a structure and photography is not permitted from inside the hall. Which is why it helps to have a telephoto lens (thanks Jo!).

Grand Palace Emerald Buddha statueGrand Palace Emerald Buddha statue

Wat Phra Kaew, Grand Palace Bangkok Thailand
The ceiling of Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Phra Kaew, Grand Palace Bangkok ThailandGrand Palace Bangkok ThailandWith that, I was done. Drank lots of water and made my way out.

Chakri Mahaprasat Hall Grand Palace
The Chakri Mahaprasat Hall

Prasat Phra Thap Bidon Grand Palace

Prasat Phra Thap Bidon Grand Palace
Prasat Phra Thap Bidon

Next up — Wat Pho.

Other posts in this series:

Getting ready for my trip

The day I left for Thailand

Day 1 – Suvarnabhumi, Pantip Plaza, Fotofile & MBK

Day 2 – Bridge over the River Kwai and Tiger Temple (Wat Pa Luangta Bua) in Kanchanaburi

Taking the bus to Chiang Mai from Bangkok

Day 3 – Maesa elephant camp, ‘long-neck’ tribe village near Chiang Mai

Day 3 (Part 2) – Chiang Mai Night Market

Day 4 – Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai… and back in town

Day 5 – Leaving Chiang Mai for Phuket

Day 5 (Part 2) – One night in Phuket

Day 6 – Leaving Phuket for Ao Nang by bus (via Phang Nga)

Day 7 – Touring Koh Phi Phi (Maya Bay, Monkey Island & Bamboo Island)

Day 7 (Part 2) – Exploring Railay, Krabi

Day 8 – Flying from Phuket to Bangkok

Day 8 (Part 2) – Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok

Day 9 – MBK, Siam Paragon… and ‘little Arabia’?

Day 10 – Wat Pho (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha) and finally leaving Thailand

Figures, lessons learned, and things I couldn’t do

Related Posts with Thumbnails