Hopefully everyone has now recovered from the Texas Chainsaw Chicken Massacre, this next post is easier on the eyes. Thanks for the comments – keep them coming.
We arrived in Gokarna from Mangalore, fairly late about 20:00 – which nearly always causes problems as its dark, the will to haggle and look around is at its lowest and hotel owners know this. However, after two attempts we found a hotel at the right price and in the middle of the main street. Little did we know that the balcony opposite our room was going to give us one of the best seats in the town for the following day’s festival – more about that later.
Gokarna is on the Indian pilgrim route, its also on the backpacker trail. So its a real mix of holy men, pilgrims and tourists. It also has two very quiet beaches with restaurants and lodging.
During our time there the town was packed as it was holding its annual Shiva festival. This consisted of a night time beach concert, the feeding of hundreds pilgrims in a makeshift cookhouse amd the dragging of a huge charriot up and down the main street. Preceeding this, hundreds of bananas were thrown by the crowd at the charriot in attempt to get one through various windows. I also think it may have provided an excuse for the locals to throw bananas at tourists as one hit me on my shoulder – I’m sure it was an accident!
We then moved upstairs to our balcony to watch the rest of the show. Due to its prime location a local police sniper wanted to use the balcony. We told him he couldn’t and that he should’ve been in place, camouflaged and in position hours ago. He agreed and so he hovered in the background. We then had exactly the same conversation with a local TV crew – no sympathy – our balcony and we weren’t going to budge. We did consider renting the toilets out (but worried about strangers being in the room) but we did let our immediate neighbours sit with us.
How to steer a charriot that is taller than the surrounding buildings
“come look at my shop” what again!
Although the festival was the main event, Gokana also had two great beaches. OM bay and Kudli bay. Both could be reached by either a long walk over the headland or a small boat ride. The day after the festival we spent the whole day on OM beach. We bumped into people we had met before in other places and got friendly with two Russians who were staying there for two months.
At one point the police came around showing a picture of a dead European guy they were trying to identify. He was found on the beach but had not drowned. There were lots of Indian pilgrims on the beach, males swiming in their underpants and females wading in their saris, we always feel a bit sorry for them having to stay clothed.
Scary beach beggar
Grown men playing in the sand
playing with my balls (juggling!)
James Bond coming out of the sea
Alexei and one for the boys
No post complete without one for the Health and Safety section
Next stop the famous boulders and rock temples of Hampi……..