Ideal Trip Duration: Full Day

Base Station: Gokarna, Karwar (58 Kms)

Nearest City to Gokarna: Hubli (165 Kms)

Best Time to Visit Gokarna: October to March

Peak Season: November to February

State: Karnataka | District: Uttara Kannada

Gokarna Weather: Summer: Maximum - 40°C & Minimum - 22°C
Winter: Maximum - 32°C & Minimum- 10°C

At a distance of 58 km from Karwar, 75 km from Murudeshwar, 21 km from Ankola, 165 km from Hubli, 163 km from Panjim and 514 km from Bangalore, Gokarna is a small town in the Uttara Kannada District of Karnataka. It is a famous pilgrimage center and also one of the top destinations of Karnataka Tourism because of its beautiful beaches.

The prime attraction of the Gokarna is the Mahabaleshwar Temple which houses the Atmalinga. The Atmalinga was given to Ravana by Lord Shiva himself. Ravana was stopped here for his evening prayers while going back to Lanka. He had been instructed by Lord Shiva not to keep the Atmalinga on the ground, since it would be fixed wherever it touched ground. Atmalinga was a powerful weapon and devatas did not want Ravana to get such a powerful weapon, fearing destruction. Lord Ganesh took the avatar of a boy and offered Ravana to hold the Atmalinga during his prayer. Ganesha then kept the linga on ground before Ravana comes back from prayer. Ravana, in extreme anger, tried to pull out the Atmalinga from the ground, breaking it in the process. These pieces then resulted in the establishment of various temples in Karnataka. Besides Mahabaleshwara temple, there are other prominent temples here including Maha Ganapathi temple, Bhadrakali Temple, Varadaraja temple and Venkataramana temple.

The name of the town Gokarna is derived from two words, Go and Karna, which means cow's ear. According to mythology, Lord Shiva appeared from a cow's ear, after he was sent to Patal Lok by Lord Brahma. Some believe, the town is located at the confluence of two rivers Aganashini and Gangavali, and the place where the rivers converge forms a shape that is similar to the ear of a cow, hence the name Gokarna. Gokarna was under the rule of the Kadambas, Vijayanagara kings and was later conquered by the Portuguese.

Apart from being a religious town, Gokarna is also known for its beaches. There are many beautiful beaches located close by, which have small shacks serving as accommodation along with many small shops and modern eateries. The Om Beach, Kudle Beach, Gokarna Beach, Half Moon Beach and Paradise Beach are the five main beaches here. Gokarna Beach is the town's main beach and pilgrims gather here when they visit the Mahabaleshwar Temple. The Kudle Beach is the largest of the five beaches and it is crowded during the peak season November to February. Among the beaches in Gokarna, the Om beach is extremely popular among surfers. The beach gets its name due to the natural formation of the holy Om symbol.

Gokarna is considered to be the Mukti Stala, where Hindus perform funeral rites. Devotees visit Gokarna temple on large number during Mahashivratri and Kartika Purnima festivals. The entire town is decorated during the four days of the Mahashivratri festival and the temple deity is taken out in a procession.

Best time to visit is Oct to Mar. It usually takes one full day to visit Gokarna.

OTHER INFO
Internet Availability: Poor
STD Code: 08386
Languages Spoken: Kannada, Hindi, English
Major Festivals: Mahashivratri (February / March),
Kartika mahotsava (November)
Notes/Tips:
Foreigners and non-Hindus are not allowed inside Gokarna?s temples.

HOW TO REACH GOKARNA


By Air

Nearest Airport: Vasco Da Gama - Dabolim Airport (154 Kms)

By Train

Nearest Train Station: Gokarna Road Railway Station (9 Kms)
Karwar Railway Station (58 Kms)

By Bus

Nearest Bus Station: Gokarna Bus Station (0 Kms)

5 PLACES TO VISIT & THINGS TO DO IN GOKARNA


Pilgrimage

At a distance of 500 m from Gokarna Bus Station, Sri Mahabaleshwar Temple is one of the important Hindu pilgrimage centers in South India. This temple is regarded second only to the Kashi Vishwanatha Temple in Varanasi and is often called the Dakshina Kashi. This temple is very ancient and enhanced through several centuries.

The Mahabaleshwar temple enshrines the Aatmalinga or Pranalinga of Lord Shiva. This temple represents the Dravidian architectural style and has been constructed using white granite stones. The six feet tall Shivalinga is enclosed in a square Saligrama Peetham. The 1500 years old carved stone image of Lord Shiva in the standing position, is also worshipped here.

According to the legend, Ravana performed a severe penance to Lord Shiva to possess his powerful Atmalinga. Pleased by his penance, Shiva gives him the Atmalinga. He had been instructed by Lord Shiva not to keep the Atmalinga on the ground, since it would be fixed wherever it touched ground. Ravana .....


Beach

At a distance of 800 meters from Gokarna Bus Station and 300 meters from Sri Mahabaleshwar Temple, Gokarna Beach is also known as Main Beach and is also known as Indian Beach. Gokarna Beach is the closest beach to Gokarna town.

It is one of the most popular sightseeing spots in Gokarna. This beach is mainly used by Indian pilgrims because it is located right behind the Mahabaleshwar Temple. As per the religious customs, pilgrims usually visit the temple after a dip in the waters of this beach (not mandatory though).

It is a long open beach and also known for surfing. Tourists can enjoy the view of the rocky mountains on one side and Arabian Sea on the other, while reaching Gokarna Beach. The Gangavalli river meets the sea near the beach. This part of the Arabian Sea is little aggressive and swimming here is not recommended.

The beach may not look very pretty due to a lot of litter, but this beach is famous for sunset. .....


Beach

At a distance of 6 km from Gokarna Bus Station, Om Beach is the most famous beach in Gokarna. Two semi-crescent shapes that join together resembling the Hindu religious symbol of Om. This beach got its name because of its shape.

Om Beach is further along the coast from Kudle Beach. It can be reached by auto, with a downhill walk from there. This beach is usually visited by several foreign tourists as well. The curve of the symbol forms a pool which can be a safe bathing area for even non-swimmers.

The beach is well maintained and there are commercial establishments like restaurants and resorts in close vicinity. In the rainy season there are very limited options for boarding and lodging. This beach currently does not have beach rules and is open to camping and bonfires on the beach.

Om Beach is the center for several water sport activities such as boating, surfing, water-skiing, parasailing, and banana boat rides, which .....


Historical & Heritage

At a distance of 11 km from Kumta, 22 km from Gokarna, 31 km from Honavar, 59 km from Karwar and 56 km from Murudeshwar, Mirjan Fort is a beautiful fort located in the village of Mirjan on the west coast of the Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka.

The Mirjan Fort has rich history and there are many versions on the origin of the fort. According to one version, the fort was built in 16th century by Chennabhairav Devi, Queen of Gersoppa, a subordinate of Vijayanagar kings. Rani Chennabhairav Devi was also known as the Pepper Queen. Her reign was one of the longest in the history of female domination in Indian history, from 1552 - 1606. The strong hold of her territory was centered on North and South Kanara districts and south Goa. After the battle of Tallikota in 1565, the territory was attacked by Bijapur Sultans. She shifted the base from Mirjan Fort to a safe location in an island .....


Historical & Heritage

At a distance of 1 km from Pavinakurva village, 12 km from Honnavar, 48 km from Gokarna and 36 km from Murudeshwar, Basavaraja Durga Fort was an island fortress situated in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Honnavar Taluk in Uttara Kannada District of Karnataka.

The fort was constructed in 16th century during Vijayanagara rule. Shivappa Nayaka, the Keladi ruler captured the fort and gave it the name of Basavaraja Durga in memory of Keladi Prince Basavaraj. This fort is surrounded by a strong fortification raised by gigantic laterite blocks also this fort has eight ruined mounted guns. Basavaraja Durga Fort is built at a height of 50 m above sea level and the island covers a total area of 19 hectares. The inner section of the fort is almost empty and only the external part is survived today.

The top of the island is a plateau covered with dry grass and trees. The island has .....

Distance (From Gokarna): 48 Kms
Trip Duration (From Gokarna - Including Travel): 2-3 Hours
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