2/12/2010 to 2/14/2010 | India , Karnataka

Shivaratri: Gokarna

With the arrival of Shivarati pilgrims poured into the sleepy sea side town of Gokarna.  In addition to these pilgrims who blanketed the town beach in lingams out of sand and waited in lines that wound around the town for a chance to enter the temple on this auspicious day, a couple of friends who I had met earlier on my trip also arrived.  Sunny a Taiwanese girl I had met in Tibet back in the summer of 2007 while traveling with my cousin and Robin who I had trekked to Spiti and Roop Kund with back in 2008.  I had planned to meet up with Sunny who was studying in Hyderabad for a few months and was on break from her school.  Robin I fortuitously bumped into on the main street in town, he had just arrived from a marathon train journey across southern India to find that accommodation was booked out due to the festival.  I offered my hammock outside of my hut for the night to my fellow traveler.

Gokarna was bustling with activity small cart processions in the evenings.  The beach in the mornings and at sunset was full of pilgrims performing pujas and ritually bathing, colorful sari decorated the sand as they dried.  An enterprising individual brought a jet ski down the beach and was charging for rides, not exactly conducive to the atmosphere but entertaining to the locals and Indian tourists.  The sadus had also arrived in numbers and were set up in camps around the town; while itinerant beggars lined the path from the temple down to the beach.   It was a photogenic time to wander around the town; fortunately Sunny and Robin both share my interest in photography.

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