India

Eudaimoniacs RTW Series: Leg 1 India (Gokarna) Day 29 to 37 – Thosai and Chai


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We have finally reached the much raved about beach in Gokarna called Paradise. Instead of trekking the dangeorus terrain, we were offered a ride in an antique Volkswagon car. While going out for breakfast, we were invited by a Sadhu called Swami Giridar whom we met at a temple on a cliff dividing the Main Beach and Kudle Beach. He in turn was invited by the driver, an Australian lady, a Sadhu herself called Swami Yogaratna (obviously not her real name).

Cruising along the coast of a fishing village in a vintage Volkswagon, accompanied by two Swamis.

Swamiji Giridar from Rishikesh and Materji Yogaratna from Australia.

Finally, we reached Paradise.

They were planning to visit an old saint living on an island only reachable by boat and only during low tide for he sits in meditation in a cave conveniently carved off from a cliff overlooking the Arabian Sea. We agree it sounds far-fetched because we ourselves took a few days to digest the overwhelming coincidences and timing of everything that happened.

When we reached the jetty, our noses were greeted with the aroma of diesel and drying fish. The jetty was primarily used as a fishing vessel berth and the fishermen were busy either refueling or doing maintenance works. The rest were occupied with laying dried fish leftover from the morning haul.

At the fishing dock, waiting for our ferry.

A 5-minute ferry crossed us safely to the fishermen’s village. We were surprised to learn that most of the island residents were Muslims and they spoke the best English I’ve heard so far in my short term in India. Another suprise, though unfortunate, was that the saint the two Sadhus intended to visit had passed away 3 years ago. The fishermen offered us a private tour around the island on their fishing boat for a small fee before returning us back to Gokarna.

From there we drove about 10 minutes to reach a dead end. A local told us Paradise Beach was only accessible through a 15-minute trek of which you need a guide (obviously he was making a rehearsed sales pitch but we had no regrets for we would really be lost without him).

The journey was extremely fun. Dangerously floored with dangerous red dirt, adrenaline was a constant companion during the trek. Tall bushes, coloured flowers, dancing butterflies and grazing cows added to the picturesque humid weather. Finally, we heard crashing waves and beneath a downhill slope lies Paradise Beach.

Frankly, we were disappointed. All we saw were dilapidated shacks and plenty of empty glass and plastic bottles. Our guide told us that the police banned any sort of business or residential property here for it used to be saturated with drug abusers from the West, polluting the holy vibe of this temple town. There we sat in silence digesting the isolation and the strong playful waves making a symphony by crashing onto the nearby rocks.

The infamous Paradise Beach

We left the place and received an inspirational quote from within about life:

“The experience of the journey is the Paradise. The destination is just an excuse”.

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