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4.2 /5 160 votes


Best Time: October - March Read More

Ideal duration: 2-3 days

Nearest Airport: Goa Check Flights

"Land of palm trees, blue seas and golden sands"

Gokarna Tourism

With its pristine beaches and breathtaking landscapes, Gokarna is a Hindu pilgrimage town in Karnataka and a newly found hub for beach lovers and hippies. Situated on the coast of Karwar, every year Gokarna welcomes hordes of tourists from around the world in search of sanctity and relaxation. The out-of-town beaches like Kudle beach and Om Beach are a different contrast to life inside the town. 

Palm clad beaches are dotted with foreign tourists in a majority and very few Indians are seen across. Gokarna is not very conventionally touristy. The beaches are meant for a slow, relaxed holiday and everything on the beach goes at the same relaxed pace. Full of coconut and palm trees, the ocean and clean sands, Gokarna is a 'one of a kind' place in the country.

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Nightlife in Gokarna

Gokarna does not have much in terms of bars and pubs since it is considered as a holy city. Many of the shacks serve beer but do enquire before. One can get the finest wine that Gokarna can offer in the Hunters Lodge. The history of this place and its ties with royalty adds to its charm.

However, one can always enjoy their nights at the beaches that are open to the public at night. Each beach is unique to itself. The lack of industrial lightings in the area gives a perfect view of the starlit sky at night.

History of Gokarna - The Legend

Gokarna means cow’s ear in Sanskrit. According to one of the Hindu Epics, Lord Shiva emerged from the ear of a cow here. It is at the ear-shaped union of two rivers Gangavali and Aghanashini. In the Shrimada Bhagavata Purana, Gokarna is mentioned as being the home of the brothers Gokarna and Dhundhakari. As per another legend, Ravana was given Atmalinga (a very powerful weapon) by Lord Shiva and instructed him that it would stay permanently where it was placed first on land.

While Ravana was performing a ritual, Lord Ganesha came disguised as a little boy and placed it in Gokarna. Ravana discovered that he had been deceived by the Gods to keep Ravana from getting a weapon as intense as the Atmalinga. Ravana tries to remove it, bringing about tossing the covers of the Linga to Surathkal, Dhareshwar, Gunavanteshwar, Murudeshwar and Shejjeshwar temples. Gokarna is known as one of the seven important Hindu pilgrimage centres.

Beaches in Gokarna - An Unexplored Beach Paradise

Over the past few years, Gokarna has become an important tourist destination owing to its alluring beaches that promise a peaceful vacation leaving behind the tourist rush of Goa. The sprawling beaches are the chief tourist attraction in the holy town of Gokarna. Gokarna has a vast sea line to offer to the visitors. They are calm and serene amid the waters, hills and sunlight.
Gokarna Main Beach Source

The famous trio of beaches in Gokarna, the Kudle Beach, The Half-moon Beach and the Paradise beach are the most famous ones that have brought in international recognition. Surrounded by small hills and islands between them, these beaches are must-see places for all the passionate nature lovers.
Kudle Beach Source

While these beaches are famous amongst the tourist, the main Gokarna Beach is only preferred by the pilgrims. According to religious customs, pilgrims must take a dip in the waters of Gokarna Beach before entering the Mahabaleshwara Temple. One can find shacks, cafés and guesthouses in most of the beaches that serve delicious food in the evenings. Some of the beaches like the Half Moon Beach and Paradise Beach can only be reached by trekking or a boat ride. The main forms of leisure are the beautiful view of the Arabian Sea, star gazing at night and other activities like watersports, snorkelling, parasailing and boat rides.

Gokarna - The Holy Town

Brimming with the rich history and culture Gokarna is the holy town which houses a number of temples and holds a great importance for Hindu religion. It is the holy land with various temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and hence a huge number of pilgrims visit this town to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva. Gokarna has also some of the Lord Shiva's temple with the original image of the Shiva Lingam. Mahabaleshwar temple, Murudeshwar temple, and Maha Ganpati temple are the must visit temples of the town.

Restaurants and Local Food in Gokarna

Since Gokarna is a religious place, the town has a lot of vegetarian- only places. At the same time due to the proximity to the seaside, finding seafood is not at all difficult. Beaches are lined up with small restaurants offering all kinds of exotic cuisines - Mexican, Israeli, English breakfast, Indian etc.
Fresh pineapple juice and Nutella pancakes in the area, are definitely worth a try. You can also find local cuisine of Karnataka and an authentic thali with some of the richest and traditional preparations. Other than this, the favorites of the town include Upma, Prawn Masala, Pomfret, Kingfish as well as some of the most delicious ice-creams to relish.
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Suggested Itinerary

Day 1- Arrive at Dabolim airport or Ankola railway station. Check-in at the hotel. Stay at the hotel.
Day 2- Visit the most famous Om beach of Gokarna, which makes the sign of Om with its shore and hence the name. Afterwards, visit the Kudle beach another attraction of Gokarna. Later visit the famous Mahabaleshwar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Day 3- Visit the Murudeshwar beach and worship at the temple at the beach which hosts a huge silver idol by the sea. Then visit the Maha Ganpati temple and Koti Tirtha a very sacred lake for Hindus. You can also visit Gokarna beach and full moon beach to watch the sunset.

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Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

Can be visited throughout the year. Best to enjoy the off-beat beauty of beaches.

What's Not So Great?

There aren't many things to do apart from sightseeing and visiting temples. Does not have its own airport.

For Whom?

Religious people, as it has a number of ancient temples. Also, perfect for the beach lovers.

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How To Reach Gokarna

Gokarna is connected well by train and road from all major cities in Karnataka. The nearest airport is at Dabolim, Goa that is 150 km away. The Gokarna railway station is located 10 km from the centre of the city. Bus services are also available from Bangalore and Goa.

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Gokarna Reviews

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Meera Ramadas 9 months ago
Gokarna the Secret Paradise... Gokarna is known for its beaches and divine culture. It is a place where you can enjoy all types of beaches and water sports. Sometimes you can see similarities between Goa and Gokarna, and both are situated on the same route. "Link Hidden"
Muhammed Salih 11 months ago
This temple town is usually known for its picturesque beaches and cuisines from all over the world. When you take a walk around you?ll come across people from different parts of the world staying around Gokarna. With a number of hostels right on the beach, you can even wake up to sunrises but make sure you book those hostels before you go. Bike rentals are available for as cheap as 300 rupees per day. Bikes are ideal as you get to travel around the town and discover places.
Rohit Shroff 1 year ago
- Don't forget to carry beach wear, sunscreen, hat, a pair of flip-flops, and sunglasses.
- Visiting the beaches during monsoon is not a good idea since the beaches are desolate and unkempt and the accommodation and food options are very limited.
- The place is ideal for a relaxed holiday. Be prepared for things moving on a slow pace.
- There are no ATMs on the beaches. So carry enough cash along.
- Drinking regular water is not advisable. You should only have bottled water as far as possible.
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