Goa and the Art of Self-Discovery

I have has been to Goa a few number of times, thinking of each visit is like deep diving into memories of various phases in my life.


Of caves, impregnable forts and the poor man's Taj..


Of foggy woods, gurgling waterfalls and rains that painted the hill green..


Of ferry rides, seagulls and (almost) private beaches...

Andamans (Part 1)

Of Island hopping, underwater adventures and different shades of the sea...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Gokak : Of mills and (water)falls

Gokak, a quaint little town, around 70 km from Belgaum is home to Gokak mills which is where my Uncle works. So that brought us here for an Independence Day long weekend trip from Bangalore.

The car journey  from the railway station was spent playing hide and seek with the river and ooh- aah ing at the old world charm of the English style cottages inside the Gokak Mills compound.

The mills which was started during the British Raj in India, later got taken over by the Tatas in ’57 and is now owned by Gokak Textiles Limited of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group. They say the British recruited inmates from TIhar Jail to construct their cottages and to work in the mills. This explains the old world English style buildings and cottages everywhere.
Nowadays, the mill is the major source of employement for the residents of the town.

Gokak Mills

From our house itself we could hear the rumbling of the majestic Gokak falls, which is formed by the river Ghatprabha running through the Gokak town. Once we settled down, the evening was well spent walking around exploring the place starting from the park facing the river on one side.

It seemed like every other family from nearby villages/towns were here to appreciate Gokak falls’ beauty as well, there were family picnics everywhere.

Beautiful Gokak Falls
The Gokak falls is a pretty majestic gesture by the River Ghatprabha and adding to the charm is the hanging bridge right on top of the falls with a brilliant view of the river flow henceforth. There is a very old river-front temple dedicated to Lord Mahalingeshwara, built in the later Chalukyan style of architecture.

We went walking past the mills, past the Campbell house, which is a big English Cottage with a brilliant view of the waterfalls  (apparently for the VVIPs and guests of the MD of the Mills), to the Voltar Rock from where you can get a good view of the falls, it was almost sunset when we reached and you cannot but give in, sit down and watch her run her course.

Little trivia: Sunil Gavasakar’s dad used to be an employee at the mills for 30 long years, there is a playground dedicated to both of them.

The next morning armed with good ol’ hindi songs from the 80’s, we were off to Godchina Malki waterfalls which is this series of small waterfalls forming a step like phenomenon.

On the way we must have gone by at least 2 or three schools, with kids being formed into a line for the independence day flag hosting, girls in pigtails cycling off to school giving us shy smiles in reply to our waves, cornfields with small (happy) sunflower fields here and there,  women with their pallus and pots over their heads, walking in the middle of the road… “Samaa hai suhaana suhaana”, Kishore Kumar crooned in the background.
Godchina Malki waterfalls

The Godchina Malki waterfalls in her morning glory, we went early in the morning (around 10) to get there before the other handfuls, is breathtaking to say the least. As you walk, getting closer and closer to the falls, you can slowly start hearing the gurgling and then you take a turn and there she is, flowing so gracefully. These sights however well caught on camera do not do half as justice to the real thing, the peace that comes over you.

Tales from an amused aunt at how there are birdie nests on every window sill, waterfalls and corn fields, Gokak is a place what it is because it is so off the usual tourist radar and has been able to retain her unique flavor of history. And for us, it was an Independence Day well spent getting to know at least a bit of the real India.

How to get there: Gokak  is approximately 550 Kms from Bangalore, which is 13-15 hours of drive from Bangalore. There are frequent buses to Belgaum which is 2-3 hours from Gokak (There is  just one bus that runs from Gokak till Bangalore). You can also take a train and get down at Gokak Road or Belgaum. 

Where to stay: There is one place to stay called ‘Hotel Gokak Resort’.  Being a place that does not get too many tourists, I don’t know how good it would be.