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Gokarna is a beautiful town with mythological significance. It is located in the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka. The word Gokarna can be broken into two parts- Gau and Karn, which means cow’s ear. It is a belief here that Lord Shiva emerged in this place from mother earth in the form of a cow. Along with this belief, the city has a plethora of ancient temples. Mahabaleshwar is one of the oldest temples here. This temple has a shrine to Lord Shiva. This town is about 483 Km from Bengaluru, 59 Km from Karwar, and 238 Km from Mangalore.
This town is a popular site of attractions for travelers and foreigners because of its beach, waterfalls, and pilgrimage sites. This town is located around the sacred river Aghanashini. Gokarna India is a major site attraction for tourists because of its beaches, which are also a perfect site for watersport activities, such as surfing, parasailing, jet-skiing, and snorkeling. It is just 140 Km away from Goa, but nowadays it is in the spotlight as a good holiday destination because of its less crowded beaches. There are a total of five beaches in Gokarna, and each of them will be a pleasure to your eyes. These five beaches are Om Beach, Paradise Beach, Kudle Beach, Half-Moon Beach, and Gokarna Beach. Among these five, the Gokarna beach has its significance, as all pilgrims head there for religious and spiritual reasons. Along with all these legacies, Gokarna is also a famous hub for yoga. You can find several retreats and classes for yoga in the whole town.
Nearest Airport: Bangalore
How to reach: by air/road/train
Famous for: Beaches and Pristine water
Best time to visit: October to March
WHAT TO SEE
Half Moon Beach
As you have already read, the name Gokarna has a long history. It is derived from the words “Gau,” which means cow, and “Karna,” which means ear. The origin of this name is related to the topography and mythology of the area. Aghanashini and Gangavathi’s rivers meet here, and the area has the appearance of a cow’s ear, according to one legend. The other is based on mythology and is more intriguing. According to this legend, Brahma sent Shiva to Patal Lok (the earth’s interior). He afterward appeared from the ground through a cow’s ear. Because of this, the area is well-known as a pilgrimage destination and temple town.
Mahabaleshwar Temple: Mahabaleshwar Temple is the main attraction for tourists and pilgrims as it is the home to the Atmalingam, one of the most potent lingams.
The story goes back to when Ravana was able to impress Lord Shiva with his strong penance. Shiva gave the Athmalingam to Ravana because of his dedication, but the other gods were in a fear that if Ravana got the Athmalingam, he would become powerful and destroy the world. The Gods went to Lord Ganesh to do something. On the other hand, Shiva gave the reward to Ravana with a condition that the lingam would be fixed, wherever he placed it.
Ravana was very punctual in performing his periodical rites (Sandyavandhana). He didn’t want to delay that. On his way back, he reached Gokarna, where he found Lord Ganesh in the outfit of a Brahmin boy. He asked him to hold the lingam until he was done with the rites. When he was performing the rites, Lord Ganesh called him thrice and placed the Linga on the earth, and vanished.
When Ravana came, he tried to pull it out but it was attached firmly. He scratched some parts of the linga and threw them in different directions. Other temples were built in the spots.
Beaches of Gokarna:
Gokarna India is famous for its natural beaches. These are perfect for party-makers, and tourism as well.
Gokarna beach-Gokarna beach is the only beach in Gokarna which is famous among most pilgrims. Along with the temples, also head to visit Gokarna beach. This beach forms the coast of the town. Along with Gokarna Beach, there are four more beaches, where tourists love to go.
Om Beach- The beach gets its name because of its shape. It resembles the Om symbol. Here you can find places to eat, shop, and hotels.
Paradise Beach- It is a less crowded beach than all other beaches. You can trek your way or go for a boat ride also.
Half-Moon Beach – This beach also gets this name due to its crescent shape. It is just a 20 min walk away from Om Beach.
Kudle Beach- It is also a famous beach in Gokarna. To reach here, you need to trek a bit. This beach is sandy and rocky as well.
This fort is renowned for its exquisite architecture. Only 21 miles separate it from Gokarna. This fort is thought to have been the scene of numerous conflicts in the 16th and 17th centuries. It has the appearance of a castle from a fairy tale because it is covered in grass and foliage. This fort contains amazing moats, hidden passageways, canals, and other features.
Yoga & Gokarna:
Yoga is taught in many centers in India. Most commonly it is practiced in Varanasi, Rishikesh, and Goa. However, nowadays Gokarna is also growing in the field of yoga. You can find many yoga classes and retreat around the town. In Gokarna, many resorts offer yoga classes in a natural environment.
Where to stay:
Being one of the tourist attractions, you can find the best Luxury stays near Gokarna Beach. Many resorts offer yoga classes. People love these yoga retreats for health and fitness.
Swaswara: It is located near Om beach and is famous for its wellness and yoga classes. It is a cottage with a swimming pool and a meditation hall.
Kahani Paradise: You can also choose Kahani Paradise. They provide you with well-managed services, a seasonal swimming pool, and a peaceful environment.