About Gokarna

Country: India | State: Karnataka

Ideal Trip Duration: Full Day

Nearest City to Gokarna: Hubli (165 Kms)

Best Time to Visit Gokarna: October to March

Peak Season: December to January

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. Gokarna is one of the must visit places in Karnataka as part of Goa packages.

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.

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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)

Top 10 Places to Visit in Gokarna

Pilgrimage

#1 of 9 Places to Visit in Gokarna

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. This is also one of the best places to visit in Gokarna.

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. .....

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Beach

#2 of 9 Places to Visit in Gokarna

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 .....

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Beach

#3 of 9 Places to Visit in Gokarna

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. .....

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Adventure | Nature

#4 of 9 Places to Visit in Gokarna

At a distance of 103 km from Jog Falls, 55 km from Sirsi, 30 km from Kumta, 86 km from Karwar and 24 km from Benne Hole Falls, Yana is a village in Uttar Kannada district in Karnataka. It is well known for the unique rock formations in the Western Ghats.

Yana is famous for two massive rock formations known as the Bhairaveshwara Shikhara and the Mohini Shikhara. The huge rocks are composed of solid black, crystalline Karst limestone. Bhairaveshwara Shikhara is 120 m (390 feet) in height, while the Mohini Shikhara, which is smaller, is 90 m (300 feet) in height. A cave temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is found at the base of the Bhairaveshwara Shikhara. Water drips from the projecting rocks over the Shiva lingam, and people call this water as Gangodbhava. The idol of Goddess Parvathi is found at the base of the Mohini Shikhara.

According to mythology, once the demon king Bhasmasura performed penance to acquire a boon from Lord .....

Distance (From Gokarna): 51 Kms
Trip Duration (From Gokarna - Including Travel): Half Day to Full Day
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Waterfall

#5 of 9 Places to Visit in Gokarna

At a distance of 36 km from Sirsi, and 54 km from Jog Falls, Unchalli Falls is a magnificent waterfall situated at Heggarni in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka. It is one of the best waterfalls in Karnataka, and among the must include places in Sirsi Packages.

Also known as Lushington Falls, Unchalli Falls is created by a 116 m drop in the Aghanashini River. The Aghanashini River here takes a deep plunge to create this spectacular, picturesque falls. The waterfall is named after J.D. Lushington, a district collector of the British empire who discovered it in 1845. This waterfall is also known as Keppa Joga because of the deafening sound it makes.

Heggarne is the nearest village to Unchalli Falls, which is about 5 km away and the last 2 km to be covered on foot. The trek path is wide and not very steep. There is no path to reach the bottom of the falls/pool and any attempt is also very dangerous. For the convenience of the visitor, the government built two viewpoints to .....

Distance (From Gokarna): 98 Kms
Trip Duration (From Gokarna - Including Travel): Half Day to Full Day
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Heritage

#6 of 9 Places to Visit in Gokarna

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 .....

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City

#7 of 9 Places to Visit in Gokarna

At a distance of 22 km from Dharwad, 57 km from Gadag, 76 km from Dandeli, 100 km from Belgaum, 102 km from Sirsi, 104 km from Badami, 147 km from Gokarna, 169 km from Karwar, 177 km from Panjim, 183 km from Shimoga, 205 km from Murudeshwar, 210 km from Ballari, 361 km from Mangalore, 406 km from Bangalore, 435 km from Mysore, and 527 km from Hyderabad, Hubli, officially known as Hubballi, is a city in the Indian state of Karnataka. Along with its twin city Dharwad, it is the second-largest city in the state after Bangalore, and among the must include places in Karnataka Tour Packages.
Hubli or Hubballi is one of the fastest-growing cities in the state of Karnataka. Lying on the 'Golden Quadrilateral' this multi-faceted city is also known as the cultural, educational, and music capital of the state. Hubli is often called Chotta Mumbai due to its immense commercial development. Apart from being home to almost one lakh small and medium scale industries, the city is a major center for commodity .....

Distance (From Gokarna): 147 Kms
Trip Duration (From Gokarna - Including Travel): Full Day
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Heritage

#8 of 9 Places to Visit in Gokarna

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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Hill Station | Heritage

#9 of 9 Places to Visit in Gokarna

At a distance of 84 km from Gokarna, 99 km from Shimoga, 100 km from Dandeli, 102 km from Hubli, 115 km from Karwar, 125 km from Murudeshwar, 196 km from Belgaum, 202 km from Panjim, 277 km from Mangalore, 376 km from Mysore, 395 km from Bangalore, and 588 km from Hyderabad, Sirsi is a small hill station located in the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka. It is the main commercial center and a business hub in the Malnadu region, and among the must include places in Karnataka Tour Packages.

Situated at an altitude of 2000 feet, Sirsi is a tourist destination that is surrounded by thick forests and towering hills. This pristine hill station is also known as 'Gateway of Malenadu' or 'Gateway of Western Ghats'. In the old times, Sirsi was ruled by the Sonda dynasty and was known by the name of Kalyanapattana. Sirsi is one of the major trading centers for areca nut. The region is also known for spices such as cardamom, pepper, betel leaves, and vanilla.

Sirsi is a place full of .....

Distance (From Gokarna): 84 Kms
Trip Duration (From Gokarna - Including Travel): Full Day
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Top 5 Gokarna Packages