Gokarna, better known as 'Kashi' of the South, is a much revered place by the Hindus. Comprising the only 'Atmalinga' in the country, Gokarna is famous being one of the three holiest places (Tri-sthali) - the others being Varanasi and Rameswaram. Gokarna is located in the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka, washed by the waters of Arabian Sea (in the west), surrounded by the holy rivers Gangavali (in the north), Aganashini (in the south), and Siddeswara (in the east). The word "Gokarna" literally means "cow's ear". There are different folklores and mythological legends associated with the existence of this town.
Here the god is considered as the atma (soul) or prana (life) of Shiva himself. It is strongly believed that undaunted faith and sincere devotion to Lord Shiva at Gokarna liberates the devotee from the vicious circle of life and death. Mahabaleswar Temple is the major attraction, to visit which, people from far and near throng this place. The 4-day Mahashivratri festival is the extravaganza when the town is whole-heartedly festooned to mark the celebrations. Besides, there are other temples like Maha Ganapathi Temple, Uma Maheshwari Temple, Bhadrakali Temple, Varadaraj Temple, Tamra-Gauri Temple and Venkataramana Temple, which are revered by devotees with equal devotion.
Though celebrated as a pilgrimage, travel and tourism has improved in Gokarna more due to the presence of tranquil beaches nearby. The natural beauty and touch of serenity at this place, is such that people who visit this place, can never forget its charm throughout their lives. The word of mouth has worked the most to attract travelers to Gokarna. The golden beaches — Kudle Beach, OM Beach, Gokarna Beach, Half-moon Beach and Paradise Beach — adorning this place are just lovely and the word that describes them best is 'serene'. In 1676, a famous English traveler, Fryer, visited Gokarna and wrote, “This place is of such repute for its sanctity and meritoriousness that, for a pilgrimage hither, all sorts from the remotest parts of India come in shoals.” So, Gokarna is actually a place to experience.
How to Reach Gokarna
Sited along the Karwar coast by the Arabian Sea, Gokarna is a temple town sanctified by the natural beauty. Both religious and leisure reasons compel people to reach this beautiful place in Karnataka. Gokarna is approximately 475 kms from Bangalore, 240 km from Mangalore and about 59 km from Karwar.
Things to Do in Gokarna
Gokarna is primarily recognized as a religious place in Karnataka. Over the past few years, its golden beaches have gained popularity among the people of nearby cities who come here to unwind themselves. As far as fun activities / things to do are concerned, Gokarna is a right place to set yourself free and laze around - leaving all your worries behind.
Gokarna Tourist Attractions
Sanctity and natural beauty - this is what Gokarna abounds in. Where the sound of temple bells clears your doubts, and makes you leave all your tensions at the feet of the deity, the waves from Arabian Sea at another end tempt you to take a dip in the cool waters. Once Gokarna was known just for being a pilgrimage site, but scenario has changed over the past few years.
Touched by the waters of the Arabian Sea, Gokarna brags of having some of the peaceful beaches along the shoreline of Karnataka. The semi tropical moderate climate of Gokarna is fairly influenced by the proximity of Western Ghats. Summer season, which generally extends from March to May, has temperatures ranging between minimum of 180 C and maximum of 400 C.