Places to visit in Gokarna

A perfect retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the cities, Gokarna has one of the most peaceful beaches to visit like Kudle Beach, Om Beach, Nirvana Beach, Half Moon Beach and Paradise Beach. Gokarna is also the home to a very famous 4th-century Hindu temple- Mahabaleshwar Temple. Read on to know more places to visit and things to do in this tropical paradise.

How to reach Gokarna-


By air-

The nearest airport to Gokarna is Dabolim airport in Goa. From there, you can travel by taxi, bus or train. Although traveling by road is suggested.

By train-

Gokarna railway station is called Gokarna Road which is not well connected by the major cities. Another railway station is Ankola which is well connected by the major cities but is far away from the Gokarna city. You can travel to Gokarna city from the station by catching an auto from the auto stand outside Gokarna Road. You can also catch a bus for Gokarna city from the bus stand present about 3 km away from Gokarna Road. 

By road-

Gokarna is well connected by road with all the nearby major cities like Mangalore, Bangalore, and Goa. Buses are easily available from these cities.

Best time to visit-


October to March is the best time to visit Gokarna as the weather is perfect to spend the entire day on the beach.

Places to visit-


1. Kudle Beach-

 

 

 

Entry fee– None

Transport– 13 km away from Gokarna road. Autos are available from the station to the beach. From the dropping point, the beach is downhill which is a walk of about 7- 10 minutes.

Time– Open 24 hours

Kudle beach is one of the best beaches in Gokarna and a must visit. The beach has several restaurants lined up and most of them have their resorts, hotels, and shacks at the back. Although, I would suggest you book one room in advance in case you’re there for a long weekend. The only rooms available easily for you if you do not book in advance would be shacks which are small rooms made of straw which have a barely functional (sometimes non functional) fan in a corner and a mat on the muddy floor for you to sleep with the mosquitoes and a common bathroom for the entire resort. The best thing about Kudle beach is the availability of these rooms on the beach itself. All the cafes serve continental, local food and alcohol at very cheap prices. Another thing you can enjoy on Kudle beach is surfing. Surfboards are available for rent at some cafes on the beach itself.

2. Om Beach-

 

 

Entry fee– None

Transport– A small trek from the Kudle beach leads to Om beach. Take the stairs at the end of Kudle beach and you will end up on a road. Climb the mountain you see across the road and you will find directions for Om beach written on the ground itself as you move along

Time– Open 24 hours

Om beach is the best place to visit in Gokarna to watch a sunset. The name of the beach is due to its shape which looks like the sign ‘Om’ when seen from a distant, aerial view. Some of the best things to do in Gokarna is to play water sports at Om beach. The best water sport available there is the banana ride.

3. Yoga-

Another great thing you can do in Gokarna is Yoga. There are many affiliated Yoga centers present in Gokarna like Shree Hari Yoga, Namaste Yoga Farm, Gokarna Yoga Garden, etc. where you can spend your days in peace practicing and learning yoga.

4. Mahabaleshwar temple-

 

Entry fee– None

Transport– You can walk from Kudle beach or Om beach to the temple if it’s not too hot as its only 2 km away. Or you can take an auto from the beach which is easily available at the dropping points.

Time– The darshan timings are 6 am to 12:30 pm and 5 pm to 8 pm.

Tip– Wear jeans or trousers which cover your legs till the toes or you won’t be allowed inside the temple.

Mahabaleshwar temple is a great place to visit in Gokarna. The Mahabaleshwar temple is famous for its Dravidian architecture and the 6 ft tall statue of Atma Linga installed on Shaligrama Peetha, a black stone. The main deity of the temple is the 1500-year-old statue of Lord Shiva. Near to the Mahabaleshwar Temple is the Maha Ganpati temple dedicated to Lord Ganpati and has a 5 ft tall statue of Ganpati with folded hands.

5. Nirvana Beach-

 

Image Credits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBW_n-zvrcA

Entry fee– None

Transport– Take a ferry boat from Om Beach

Time– Open 24 hours

Nirvana Beach is situated in Kumta. The beach is extremely peaceful and quiet. You might come across some people here and there otherwise, its mostly never crowded. Also, if you expect to see bioluminescent phytoplankton at night here, you might have to go back disappointed as it is an extremely rare phenomenon here. Nirvana beach does not have a decent place to spend the night, so it is better to go back to Gokarna if you don’t plan on camping on the beach for the night.

6. Flea Market-

Entry fee– None

Transport– The flea market is present on the road outside Mahabaleshwar temple

Time– Opens at about 9 am to 9 pm (approx.)

The flea market near the Mahabaleshwar temple is a vivacious yet small market where you will find all the things you need in a temple and some very aesthetic notebooks and crafts for you to buy. At the end of the market is a restaurant called Prerna Cold Drinks which serve some very tasty shakes and ice creams.

7. Half moon beach-

 

Image Credits: https://metrosaga.com/half-moon-beach-is-the-secret-beauty-of-gokarna/

Entry fee– None

Transport– 10-minute trek from Om Beach

Time– Open 24 hours

Half moon beach is rocky and has lots of different sea shells for you to collect as souvenirs. The beach is usually quiet as not many people come to visit it. Shacks and tents are available for stay at this beach usually from November to February.

8. Paradise Beach-

Entry fee– None

Transport– Take a motorboat from Half Moon beach or Om beach.

Time– Open 24 hours

One of the best places to visit in Gokarna is Paradise beach. It is a perfect beach to relax in solace, away from the crowds of Kudle and Om beach. This beach is a bit difficult to reach and very less explored. Not many people come here except for a few foreigners. The beach is not suitable for spending a night at as it does not have any shacks or rooms. The only shacks you will find here are abandoned and camping in your own temporary tents is the only way to spend a night at this beach.

Things to do in McLeod Ganj

Situated in the state of Himachal Pradesh, McLeod Ganj has some beautiful monasteries, the Tibetan museum, cafes, and Bhagsunath falls with the most stunning views. Being the home to His Holiness Dalai Lama and the city where the famous Triund trek starts, McLeod Ganj has become one of the best tourist destinations in India.

How to reach McLeod Ganj-


By air-

The nearest airport to McLeod Ganj is the Kangra Airport which is 18 km away from the city. A better option is to catch a flight from Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi and then take a bus or a car from Delhi to McLeod Ganj.

By road-

There are many buses from Delhi for McLeod Ganj as well as Dharamshala. Once you reach to Dharamshala, you can easily catch a bus to McLeod Ganj at a very low price.

By train-

The nearest railway station to McLeod Ganj is the Pathankot railway station. It is situated about 90 km away from the city. You can easily get buses and cabs from outside the station for McLeod Ganj.

Best time to visit-


September to June is the best time to visit McLeod Ganj. You can enjoy the lush green mountains in this season and the weather is perfect to travel.

Places to visit- 


1. Bhagsunath temple-

 

Entry fee– None

Transport– Walkable distance from the bus stand

Time– Sunrise- sunset

The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is surrounded by beautiful views and many restaurants. Many devotees come here to take a dip in the ‘jalkund’ or the holy pond present nearby. There is also a public pool near the pond where you can chill. The temple also hosts an annual fair in September and devotees come from all over the world to participate. After visiting the temple, you can go to the Bhagsunath falls which is one-kilometer trek uphill.

2. Bhagsunath falls-

 

Entry fee– None

Transport– One km trek from the Bhagsunag Temple

Time– Open 24 hours

The Bhagsunag falls is a must visit in McLeod Ganj. Your trip to McLeod Ganj would be incomplete without watching this beautiful waterfall. A small one-kilometer trek from the Bhasunaag temple leads to the Bhagsunaath falls. The falls have crystal clear waters and one can even take a dip in the pond formed. You may find small fishes in the water but they’re harmless (so go ahead and swim!). The place surrounding the falls is lush green and rocky. If you visit the place in summer, you will find the view to be straight out of a dreamland.

3. Saint John’s church in the wilderness-

 

 

Entry fee– None

Transport– 15 mins walk from the bus stand

Time– 7 am to 7 pm

One of the best things to do in Mc Leod Ganj- visit this church. Saint John’s Church is just a 20-minute walk away from the bus stand of McLeodGanj. The church was built in 1852 and is dedicated to John the Baptist. The church has survived the earthquake of 1905 which killed about 19000 people. The church is known for its unique architecture and it’s Belgian stained glass windows which were donated by Lady Elgin. The churchyard serves as the final resting place to Lord Erwin. Behind the church, you will find a thick forest of conifers and might also find a few horses grazing around- a scene straight out of a fantasy movie.

4. Dalai Lama Temple (Tsuglangkhang) (consists of Namgyal Monastery)-

 

Entry fee– None

Transport– 15 mins walk from the bus stand

Time– 5 am to 8 pm

The Tsuglangkhang complex consists of the monastery, the residence of His Holiness Dalai Lama, various temples, museum, a library, and a café. You will also come across the various struggles of the Tibetan people. Near the monastery, you will find the prayer wheels and a quiet place to sit and bask in the beauty of this place.

5. Triund-

A 9 km trek which starts from McLeod Ganj and takes about 4- 6 hours, it is one of the top things to do in McLeod Ganj. You can easily complete the trek by yourself or buy a package for the same. There are camps available at the peak that can be booked on arriving there. One can spend a night there and gaze at the stars or just sit for a while and revel in the beauty of the breathtaking view.

6. Dal Lake and Naddi Point-

 

 

Entry fee– None

Transport– 4.6 km from the bus stand. You can rent a cab and visit the Naddi point

Time– Open 24 hours. Visiting at the time of sunset is adviced.

Dal Lake is a small lake which comes on the way to Naddi Point. The lake is surrounded by a thick forest. Naddi point is one of the best points in McLeodGanj to watch a sunset. It is 4.2 km away from the bus stand.  If you’re lucky enough to find a hazy weather, you might feel like you’re in the clouds. There’s a road where you can walk and enjoy the beautiful view of the sunset.

7. Tibetan Museum-

Entry fee– None

Transport– 15 mins walk from the bus stand

Time– 9 am to 6 pm in summers (Tuesday to Sunday) and 9 am to 5 pm in winters (Tuesday to Sunday).

The Tibetan Museum is one of the must visit in McLeod Ganj. A visit to this museum will give you an insight into the struggles of the Tibetan people when China invaded Tibet and you will come out with a completely new understanding of the Tibetan immigrants in India.

8. City Shopping-

Entry fee– None

Transport– The bus stand leads to the temple road.

Time– 10 am to 8 pm

 

A visit to McLeod  Ganj is incomplete without visiting and shopping in the local market of the city. This is one thing you HAVE  to do in McLeod Ganj. The local market is situated on the temple road that leads to the Dalai Lama Temple and on the road that runs parallel to it. You’ll find some very trendy clothes and accessories to buy at very affordable prices.

 

 

Top things to do in Amritsar

Amritsar has been completely transformed lately, thanks to the deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. A glimpse of the change can be seen as soon as you enter the city. A huge gate with a dome structure, beautifully lit stands to welcome the people entering the golden city.

How to reach Amritsar- 

By air Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport is well connected to the Golden Temple and other tourist attractions.

By road Amritsar is well connected to all parts by highways.

By train Amritsar is well connected by trains too and the railway station is situated very close to the Golden Temple.

Best time to visit-

November to February- Although the temperature is quite low (3-4 degrees sometimes), one can roam around in the sun at day. The scorching heat from March to October does not allow easy exploration of the city.

1. Golden Temple

Entry fee– None

Transport– Rickshaws, cabs, and buses

Time– 5 am to 10 pm

The Golden Temple situated about 2 km away from the Railway Station and about 13 km from Amritsar airport. The easiest way to reach the temple is by cabs. You can also take rickshaws which are easily available all over the city and also very cheap.

There is no specific time at which I would suggest you visit Darbar Sahib as the temple is open 24*7 and is equally peaceful and quiet at all times. But if you would want to visit the insides of the temple, for Darshan, you would have to visit between 5 am to 10 pm. A continuous singing of Gurbani Kirtan takes place between this time and one can sit inside and immerse in the soothing Kirtan for as long as they want. The temple is spread around a huge area and with it is also attached a museum- The Central Sikh museum. It is divided into several sections according to the history of Sikhs. It is filled with pictures and weapons which are quite astonishing.

Another thing that you should not miss here is the Langar. The kitchen that runs in this temple feeds about 100,000 daily, for free and is one of the largest kitchens in the world.

2. Jallianwala Bagh

Entry fee– None

Transport– Walking distance from Golden Temple

Time– 7 am to 6 pm

The Jallianwala Bagh is situated near the Golden Temple. You can walk to it through the temple market easily. This is the place where the massacre happened on 13 April 1919, lead by Col. Dyer. The bullet marks still remain on the walls and can clearly be seen all over the place. The well where many jumped to save themselves from the bullet has also been conserved.

A gallery portraying the struggles of the freedom fighters is also located in the garden, which is worth paying a visit.

3. Wagah Border

Entry Fee– None

Timings– 2 pm to 6 pm

Transport– Buses, cabs, and autos

The beating retreat border ceremony takes place at Wagah Border every day before sunset. It lasts for about half an hour. The ceremony involves the marching of the soldiers of the two nations (BSF and Pakistani Rangers), the simultaneous lowering of the two flags, opening of the gate at the border and the handshake between two soldiers on either side.

Wagah border is about 28 km away from Amritsar and a cab can be taken directly from Amritsar or there are buses too that exclusively run for tourists going to the Wagah Border.

The ceremony starts at 4:15 in winters and 5:15 in summers. Make sure to reach early at the venue to avoid crowds and rush.

4. Food Joints

Another thing that Amritsar is famous for is its lip-smacking food. There are several food joints that would leave you begging for more. But here are a few of them that I found was the best of them-

Kulwant Singh

Bhai Kulwant Singh Kluchian Wale is situated very near to the Golden Temple and serves THE best kulche and chole. They have a variety of kulchas to choose from and their chole is to die for. And if you’re not full already, do try the famous, filling Lassi served here.

Kesar da Dhaba

Situated at the Passian Chowk, it is just a 10-minute walk from the Golden Temple. It is one of the best Dhabas of Amritsar. Some of its specialties are maa ki daal, lachcha parantha, and the delicious phirni (served in earthy pots).

Beera Chicken

A roadside joint at Majitha road, it serves one of the best tandoori chicken in town. This is, no doubt, one of the best chicken tikkas you will have in your life- full of flavor and spices.

Surjit Food Plaza

It is one of the best restraints in Amritsar. It is known for its Amritsari fish and mutton tikkas. It is situated at Nehru Shopping Complex.

Gurudas Ram Jalebiwala

A must visit for the people with a sweet tooth. This place is famous for its crisp, golden jalebis made in pure ghee and the delicious Gulab jamun.