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, Gokarna is a small town in Karnataka, primarily known for two reasons - its beaches and temples. Gokarna can be different things to different people. Every year hordes of tourists visit Gokarna in search of sanctity and salvation on one hand and respite and relaxation on the other. The out-of-town beaches are a curious contrast to the 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 its kind place' in the country.
I have been here many times since Gokarna is my native place. The two best things about Gokarna are non-veg cuisine and clean beaches. There are not many famous attractions here but one can visit Gokarna to relax and enjoy delicious sea-food Ps: Don't forget to taste the pompret fry in any local hotel.
Two hours before reaching Gokarna, early in the morning, I wake up to witness the scenic beauty. I have been here twice and ll come again and again. You can relax on any of the beach with variety of delicious food for your palate. If you are planning to visit nearby places, bikes and cars are available for rent. Add it to your wishlist. Good luck.
Can be visited throughout the year. Best to enjoy the off-beat beauty of beaches.
There aren't many things to do apart from sightseeing and visiting temples. Does not have its own airport.
Religious people, as it has a number of ancient temples. Also, perfect for the beach lovers.
Gokarna does not have much in terms of bars and pubs since it is considered as a holy city. But that does not mean that Gokarna does not have nightlife and entertain that one can enjoy during their stay in the city. 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. The Harmony Spa Pool Bar, located inside the Gokarna Forest Resort, is a poolside bar that is perfect for a relaxing and calm evening. The bar is not limited to the hotel guests only. A person who just wants to stop by the place and spend a relaxing evening beside the pool is always welcome. However, since there aren’t many bars in the city, 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.
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.
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.Every year hordes of tourists and hippies visit Gokarna in search of sanctity and salvation, on one hand, respite and relaxation on the other. Gokarna has a vast sea line to offer to the visitors. They are calm and serene amid the waters, hills and sunlight. The famous trio of beaches, 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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Its safe as much as I know. I have seen a lot of female travellers here. This place is completely based on tourism so any harm to a traveler isn't what they would look forward to. Goodluck.