Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Girls On A Mission: Christmas Travel Diaries

"A nomad I will remain for life, in love with distant and uncharted places"
-Isabelle Eberhardt.

Five girls on a mission to have the most unconventional Christmas ever. A summery Christmas, by the beach, who would have thought of that? Well, me of course. Duh! Some trips are cut short for a reason. It is because their destiny is to be fulfilled later, in a better way. This was one of those trips for me. On my last blog post Lost In The Forest With No Network: Exploring Yana Caves, I explained how my trip was cut short. Luckily just two weeks after that, I was ready for yet another trip to the same village of  Kumta. 

Mirjan fort had been on my bucket list for the longest time. It is at equidistance from both Gokarna Railway Station and Kumta Railway Station (12 kilometers). Travelling as I normally do on a budget-friendly style, we took the 7.30 am train from Udupi station and reached Kumta by 10.30 am. Although the train was jam packed due to the holidays and we had trouble finding seats, our timing was really good. After grabbing a bite from the local bakery near the station, we took a bus to Mirjan fort. The fort is just 0.5 kilometers from the highway and we easily walked up to the fort. 

There are many versions of when and who made the Mirjan fort. One of them talks of Queen Chennabhairadevi of Gersoppa (Vijayanagar Empire). She built the fort in the 16th century and is said to have ruled for 54 years. A lot of items were traded from the fort under her rule the prominent one being pepper and hence she was named as the Pepper Queen by the Portuguese.

It was an extremely sunny day but we were all pumped and sunshine was not going to come in the way of our spirit. We took a ton of photos from every angle possible. This was also the first time I was traveling with my new phone the MIA1 from Xaomi. The photos came out relatively good although the phone does not perform well in low light situation but this is a travel blog post and not a phone review :p

A little dehydrated from walking around the fort we took shelter under what literally seemed like the Tree Of Life. It seemed like the perfect picnic spot as we snacked on food and listened to good music while chatting away. After some rest and refreshment, we headed back to the highway and caught a bus to Gokarna. From the Gokarna bus stop, we took an auto and were on our way to Kudle Beach. Nostalgia hit me right in my guts as I stepped on Kudle Beach. It seemed just like yesterday when I was in my third year and had gone for my first girls trip with my best friends. It was TheTime When The Ticket Checker (TC) Caught Us and it was my first ever blog post on my blog (so many memories). The beach looked perfect. Just the way it did two years ago like nothing had changed but I knew it did because for one thing the shack where I previously stayed was closed down.

The photos in this blog post cannot justify my experience. I must insist that if you are a travel or photography enthusiast go ahead and follow me on my home planet Instagram. My handle is @timetravellingshutterbug. I post my travel updates in my Insta stories and am always writing mini blog posts related to my trips with each photo and leaving extra tips and tricks for all my followers. Here is the nine photos from this trip that I just posted and not including this screenshot would not justify my experience of this trip. So go ahead find me and follow me. I promise my comedic stories and polls shall not disappoint you.

We were starving as it was almost five in the evening and we were surviving on tea, lemonade, and one samosa since morning. We went to the Sunrise Cafe and found ourselves a nice table. I ordered myself a Hawaiian pizza to go with the tropical vibe. The crowd at the beach was perfect and everyone was enjoying the Christmas holidays. A bunch of guys were trying to balance and walk on ropes tied to trees, people were getting hair wraps, others were sunbathing and many swimming. 

After finishing our food my friend Nandini convinced me to join her for a swim and I gave in because the water temperature was just perfect. It was one of the best swims I have ever had. We jumped up and down with the waves like little kids. I was glad to have packed a beach dress just in case of a situation like this. It was not a swimsuit but it was an extra pair of clothing, just what you need for an impromptu swimming session!  

After the swim, I changed in the restroom of the same cafe where we had our meal. After watching the sunset, we got autos and headed for the station to make our return journey back to base. Luckily the train was a few minutes late or else we would have missed it. It also had an empty ladies compartment and we relaxed on our way back, chatting away in loud voices over the sound of the running train and the wind.

I am not going to do the tips for Gokarna because honestly there are no tips. You can go for a single day or stay overnight. It is just a place to let loose, enjoy the ocean and some good food. Travel to and fro from Manipal or by railway is cheap. I spent only 700 rupees on this entire trip and 300 of that was on my pizza and cold coffee. It is a perfect place for a quick getaway with friends. It is also picturesque and you can go off exploring. Gokarna also offers treks from one beach to the other. It is a must visit for all beach lovers. As for the Mirjan fort, my one and crucial tip would be to go somewhere just after the rains so that the fort is much greener and better for photography instead of dry and summer weather.

That's all for this blog post. I hope you enjoyed reading it. Please feel free to share your comments and suggestions. Also if you have any travel destinations around Karnataka that you want to suggest go ahead because I am a self-proclaimed Karnataka Travel Ambassador. The tourism department needs to start paying me now :p Go follow me on my very public Instagram profile. Until next time, have a great January and stick to those resolutions!

Signing off,
Nishma Khetia.


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