Celebrating Diwali in Om Beach in Gokarna

by - October 15, 2016

What exactly is celebrated during Diwali? It is an Indian festival that lasts five days and marks the start of the Indian New Year. The third night of the festival is one of the most important. During the festival, the people clean their houses, buy new clothes, and share sweets with everyone and there are always fireworks shows. For several days, the houses and shops are cleaned in a special way and decorated with flowers and candles, called "diyas", which are lit at dusk. Fireworks and firecrackers transform the streets into a burst of lights and sound.

Do you think Diwali is celebrated in Gokarna in a big way? I asked my friend as we bought the train tickets that would take us that same morning from Palolem in Goa to the coastal city in the state of Karnataka. I do not know for sure, but Gokarna is one of the sacred cities. I wanted to enjoy Diwali in some of the offbeat destinations to enjoy the festivities.

During the train journey, we looked at the map and saw that there were five beaches. There is the central beach of the town, Om Beach, Kudle Beach, Half Moon Beach and Paradise Beach. Then I saw another beach on the map, a little further away from the rest, which caught my attention because of its name: God's own beach. But that was ruled out by time and distance.

I read in Gokarna there are lot of accommodations. They are cheap and, in addition are close to restaurants and bars. But I wanted a less crowded beach. We came from the tourist beaches of Goa and opted for Om Beach.

From the train station, we take a bus and then two rickshaws to the entrance to Om Beach. There are a restaurant and a parking area for rickshaws and as it has enough vegetation it is not uncommon to see many cows roaming the area. From there we had to descend more than 100 stone steps that made their way through the thick vegetation to touch the sand. The sun began to hit hard and the backpack became increasingly heavy.

Om Beach owes its name to the shape of the beach seen from above, which they say has the shape of "Om". So after following the foam on the seafront and delineating the first part of the "Om" drawing, we found some rocks that divided the beach in two and we had to cross them on foot. The tide was low, so it was not a problem to get to the other stretch of sand where two or three lodgings can be seen and very few people on the beach.

We consulted prices in all the hostels and opted for one that was just half way. After leaving the belongings in the rooms we sat in the hotel restaurant, facing the sea, and while we ordered our food I asked the waiter if that night Diwali will be celebrated on the beach. The boy told me that in Om Beach it is hardly celebrated.

There are few people and the few who spend the night there are mainly foreign tourists. The locals stay in Gokarna beach. So our only option to live that experience was to go to the city that same night because it was the last night of celebrations!

A little disappointed by his response, I asked how we could get to Gokarna from there or better yet, how to return at dawn. The only option was to go by rickshaw and return by taxi at an astronomical price, of course. My colleagues at first were enthusiastic about the idea of ​​going, but with the passing of hours the fatigue and laziness (yes, there is also laziness in travel) won the pulse and, the truth is that I was myself hesitant to go. Actually, I was more worried about going back alone at night to this area, that I had to go down some dark stairs, to cross a dark beach and then half of another one.

That's how I was left wanting to enjoy the Diwali festival in Gokarna. However, there was a rumor through the outdoor corridors of the hostel that many tourists, especially a large group who had the hotel and part of another that was a few meters away, had bought kilos of fireworks. They would make them explode that night on the beach. I settled for that. We had dinner and we all went to the beach. There were two fires burning, several meters away from each other and around each one there was a group of travelers.

Suddenly we hear the first roar. It's already beginning! Most were quite drunk and that made them little agile, and uncoordinated with kilos of fireworks. Then I saw the attempt to light another two firecrackers that did not explode, another one that ignited and shot off to the side, near where I was. This night of fireworks was a real fun. After a while, after bursting a lot of firecrackers, I went to bed.

The next day we went to spend the day in the city of Gokarna, that owes its name to the shape of the ear of the cow formed by the confluence of two rivers that mark Gokarna. We could still see the remains of the festival of the previous night left behind. We saw cows painted, marked and adorned with colorful flower necklaces. Locals were in a festive mood with many enjoying a day at the beach. There were more people than usual and offerings and flowers decorated the small temples.

I was about to return to the hostel when a torrential rain began to fall with great force. It fell with such intensity that I decided to wait for it to subside. Others also did the same. The rain seemed to give no respite. A middle-aged woman sat next to me and offered me a sweet. She was curious. Happy Diwali! She told me. And before I could realize it, I was with that woman buying other sweets and snacks for what seemed like a special celebration.

Thus, the distance from North India was not an impediment to celebrate Diwali. And the magic of the festival of lights does not understand borders.

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  1. Kalyan,

    Merry Diwali to you! It is a beautiful festival and I like the fact that it inspires renovation (hence the re-decoration of the house).

    Let me tell you that you have a great taste and I'll follow some of your tips.

    Isn't it in Diwali when Burfi and Ghukra (I am not sure if it is spelt properly - correct me if not, please) is eaten?


  2. Very nice furniture!
    Bye bye from Italy

  3. That IS really simple and elegant!

  4. Hi kalyan

    nice interior design photos...

    i think interior of houses will create a positive energy in our mind...

    also thanks for leaving a valuable comment about my new post

  5. hi kalyan, this sure looks cool and soothing for the eyes and pretty wall paper decor.
    you are in in interior designing too

  6. The green walls are very soothing. Love the wall in the first pic with that lovely simple mural.

  7. Delicious decor, I like the light transmitted and that delicious green with paint on the wall, a picture very beautiful. I wish you a happy weekend.

  8. Very nice furniture and view esp. those birds on wall, cute :)

  9. Kalyan,
    These decorations are just beautiful.
    Wonderful simplicity.
    Sending you wishes for a wonderful weekend.