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Gokarna - A soulful retreat
The last time I visited Gokarna was November 2016, and resided in Namaste café - Om beach for 4 days and one day in town to visit the Mahabaleshwar temple on the 5th day.
Tourists from all over the world visit Gokarna as it is one of the best offbeat shores on the western coast of southern India. Gokarna is located in state of Karnataka in India and lies just below Goa longitudinally. It is a seasonal destination and the season here begins in October and lasts until February.
There are three known beaches in Gokarna, namely:
1. Kudle beach- The most popular one in Gokarna
2. Om beach – The best of them all
3. Half-moon beach- Redefines privacy with hardly any inhabitants (My personal favorite)
While the above mentioned are the most location’s most popular ones, there are also some unknown beaches. You can choose to either explore if you are an adventurous soul or just relax and rejuvenate yourself on the shores with some yoga or healing therapies. There are a few ‘themed beach shacks’ and also a few rooms available by the beach side, on all of the three beaches. I've never had to complain about food as the restaurants there serve most categories of global cusines and also some delicious local sea food.
Gokarna, to me is rejuvenation filled with adventure. It involves small treks to other beaches or maybe sails away on ferry rides to spot some dolphins and say ‘hi’ to them.
I am heading to Gokarna
History of Gokarna
A small town tucked in North Karnataka, the history of Gokarna goes back to the times of Ravana and Shiva. It is believed that Ravana performed Tapas on Mount Kailash to receive blessings from Lord Shiva. Ravana was looking for a blessing in the form of Atmalinga. Impressed by the devotion, Shiva granted the Atmalinga but put forth restrictions to avoid any misuse and took help of Lord Ganesha in the process. In the current day, the linga is established in Mahabaleshwara temple, which is now a Gokarna attraction.
People And Culture of Gokarna
Initially, Gokarna was visited for its religious importance. The story of the legends, the beautiful temples of Gokarna are all held great in the eyes of the devotees. But off late, Gokarna has turned into a beautiful holiday destination. Kannada is the main language spoken in Gokarna, followed by Konkani and English. With traditional tiled roofing, Gokarna is a pretty laid back town with two main streets filled with all shops. Gokarna places to visit hold up the culture very well.
Things To Do in Gokarna
Places to visit in Gokarna are mainly beaches and temples. Kudle beach, Om beach, half moon beach, Paradise beach are a must go to when in Gokarna. The beautiful beaches are perfect for a relaxed break, a massage and also yoga retreats. Apart from that one can also hit the Gokarna tourist places by visiting the Anshi National Park, Kotitirtha, Lalguli Falls, Karwar, to enjoy stunning scenic beauty and nature’s creations. Gokarna sightseeing for the religious ones is not a disappointed as they can head to the famous Mahabaleshwar temple where the Atmalinga is placed. Murdeshwara temple and Badrakali temple are always the famous places to see in Gokarna one should not miss when in Gokarna.
Food And Shopping in Gokarna
There are so many things to do in Gokarna apart from sightseeing. From cafes to beach side restaurants, hotels to luxury dining, all kinds of food can be enjoyed in Gokarna. Gokarna tour is incomplete without Namaste Cafe, a famous hot spot to go to which serves western food like shakes, burgers and pizzas. Mahalaxmi restaurant is another must go to, owing to its amazing food and relaxing ambience. Prema and Pai restaurants are a few other to mention. Shopping in Gokarna is all about souvenirs, brass lamps, decorative items and jewellery made out of sea shell. Kallusakkare is very famous in Gokarna, which is a must to take back home. Street shopping in Gokarna is highly reasonable, famous amongst the tourists for their hippie dresses.
Accommodation in Gokarna
There are many options to choose from on how to reach Gokarna. Goa is the nearest airport to Gokarna, which is well connected to all cities. If a traveller chooses to take the train, Ankola railway station is the nearest. Trains to Ankola run from Mangalore and Mumbai as well. There is very good connectivity by bus to Gokarna from Bangalore, Mangalore, Mumbai, Madagaon, Kochi.
Sightseeing in Gokarna can be made easier by making the right choice to stay. From beach resorts to shacks, hotels in Gokarna have a huge variety. Om Beach resort, Sanskruti resort, Gokarna International beach resort are a few to mention.