G O K A R N
Another Beach town along the mysterious land of Karnataka.
"Go" meaning Cow and "Karn" meaning Ear... this towns name means "Cow's Ear" literally.
The mythological story states that the Shivaling that stands tall in this town was retrieved from the ear of a Cow and this cow is worshipped as Nandi.
Now I know why theres always a Nandi wherever there's the Shivaling.
Gokarn means Cows, Pujaris, Silent Beaches, Sea Food and Hippies to me...Not to forget the tribals who are named the Hallakis - hard working women who mostly sell flowers and vegetables.
The irony of this town will surely take you aback if you have similar sensibilities as mine. Once known for its religious and mythological reasons, this town is now popular for its secluded beaches and its hippie culture. Honestly I was disappointed. Unlike other beach towns these beaches were empty inspite of people being there. Foreigners in bikinis and in nude asking me to not shoot them, smoking something that made them feel they're in "India", wearing clothes that are strange to me but are somehow "Indian" to them - arabic and two-sided pants!!!
Most foreigners have been living there for months together and have deviced very smart methods for staying longer also. Yes, the town is now known and thrives because of these visitors, but sadly they seem to have taken something away from the town.
I wish there was some sort of a law or rule against drugs. It wasnt difficult to tell if people were doing "nasha", and if its that apparent to a visitor doesnt the police and the government know?
These hippies find it easy to stay back in Gokarn, they've made these shacks all along beaches and the locals have everything they need. A tea takes 20 minutes to serve and drink, hence if you're expecting quick gratification, you're bound to be disappointed.
The pujaris are no less. The temple doesnt allow foreigners (which I am not happy at all about). And therefore its only the pujaris who're not making the "dollars". To make up for the loss they spread all around the temple and as soon as they see some well off indian, they rush, literally pull them into the temple, do a puja before one can wink their eyes and viola! shell of hundreds of rupees!
Its strange to see how the Cows are respected and lovingly treated in this town. As usual they're always hungry but they respond to a call, to sounds, to touch and talk.
It took me a while to accept this town as it was. I perhaps had too many preconcieved notions. The second day I was more relaxed accepting everything the way it was... and hence yes... i'd say to you
Do visit Gokarn... its a delightful little town with excellent beaches and wonderful sea food... and be ready to make expenses!