Gokarna – the land of beaches by the hills and temples by the beach.
I set out to Gokarna on 29th of December. Two of my seniors from college – Jimmy and Aswathy run a startup called Soultribe, and were conducting the biggest New Year Party in Gokarna.
I started my journey to Gokarna in the Ernakulam – Pune express at 5:00 in the morning. I was to get down at Karwar, the nearest major railway station to Gokarna.
When trains start feeling like home.
When I finally got my side window seat, with the wind and my music.
There is something calming about these changing views from windows. It somehow stimulates your brain and enhances your creativity. I reached Karwar at around 5:30. From there it was a two-hour journey to Gokarna.
This barren land by the sea was to be converted into a party ground. We had to pitch tents and decorate the whole place.
There was this all-veg shack (yah!) we all eat from. There are many foreigners living in huts and small houses near this property and they all eat from this shack. I wondered how all these people made money for a living.
This guy from France, a designer, has been living in India from the 70s and making movies. Some work in the nearby shacks. Cooking has always been my passion. And thus a new dream was born – to live in a peaceful place like Gokarna for a year, cooking in a shack.
It was the New Year Eve and the participants for the lantern festival started pouring in from early in the morning. There were 150 participants altogether for the festival
We first started out for our beach trek. All beaches are by the side of a hill. You start out at the foothills of one beach, trek and you end up on another beautiful beach.
Beach + Temple = Super peace. There was this Ramam temple en route. People just came here watch the sea, in the shadow of the temple. The place was cool even in the middle of the day. This was my favorite Gokarna chill spot.
People also come here to bath in the spring or to bottle up some Rama blessed spring water
People parasailing over us.
Our destination – Kudle beach
First time encounter with a starfish
Went to watch the sunset in the evening
I went to watch the sun, but fell in love with the moon.
I then joined a bunch of participants for a game of frisbee. Made new friends over a sport.
And then returning back to this magical setting.
And some soothing feel-good songs from the band ‘Unstaged’ made the evening all the more magical.
The uber cool U-V room
Dancing off to DJ Mushroom mixes
It was this gang (not all present in the picture) of my architecture seniors who did all the festival decorations. I envy them for creating such beauty. And most of it was created from things found around the place – twigs and branches with old leaves.
Couldn’t resist a selfie in these beautiful lights.
And then the grand finale. Lighting and flying lanterns at the countdown to 2018.
I was skeptical of new year celebrations at first, but the celebrations did get into me as well. We all hugged and sincerely wished each other a good year ahead. I even called up my friends (which I never do on a new year eve) and gave out personalized new year wishes.
Singing along some popular numbers back from our high school days like ‘Give me some Sunshine’ and ‘Roobaro’ with the ‘Unstaged’ band.
Watching the almost supermoon and then falling asleep to the sound of waves.
Kick started my new year with a buffet breakfast by the sea. I took a stroll on the beach. Although the beach was beautiful from far away, was disappointed to find that it was actually dirty. I even found human faeces in it. Maybe they should start Swatch nature places of Bharat first. And cleanliness should be made a mandatory subject in school. It’s so heartbreaking to see kids littering public places.
By afternoon I bid my adieu to the place and people and started my journey back home. Contemplating on my way back, travel for me is not a luxury. I ‘need’ travel to teach me to live in the now and remind myself that life is indeed very beautiful.
And lastly team Soultribe, working with a mission of ‘making everybody happy’ and pulling off this wonderful event.