Gokarna Tourism
Pilgrimage

Gokarna Tourism

Rank 10
Ranked 10 of 97
Karnataka Tourism Destinations
Destination Rating
5.7/7
772 Ratings & 491 Reviews

Gokarna Info

  • State: Karnataka
  • Famous for/as: Pilgrimage
Gokarna is a village in Karnataka, in the district of Uttara Kannada. Its situated on the coast of Karwar and lies between the rivers Gangavali and Agnashini.

History of Gokarna

The name Gokarna is derived from two words, Go and Karna, and literally translates to cows ear. It is said that Lord Shiva was born here out of an ear of a cow. Another plausible reason for the naming of the place could be its geographic location. The area where it is located is the confluence of rivers Gangavali and Agnashini and resembles the shape of a cows ear. 

The early settlements of the region can be traced back to the Brahmins. They escaped from Gomantak to avoid the forcible conversions being executed by the British and the Portuguese. They came and settled in and around Gokarna in the 15th century and were helped by King Mayurvarma in their resettlement. King Mayurvarma was a Kadamba king of that era. 

Gokarna used to be a part of the kingdoms of Vijaynagar and Sodhe, before the Konkan region was forcefully taken over by the Portuguese. Gokarna also has a few mythological tales associated with it. 

According to one, Ravana, after receiving the Atmalinga from Lord Shiva, 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 Lord Ganesha did not want Ravana to get such a powerful weapon, fearing destruction. He then came in disguise, offered to hold the Atmalinga and then keep it on the ground. 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 the village. 

Things to do in Gokarna

Apart from being a religious town, Gokarna is also known for its beaches. There are many beaches located close by, which have small shacks serving as accommodation along with many small shops and modern eateries. Om Beach, Gokarna Beach, Half Moon Beach, Kudle Beach and Paradise or Full Moon Beaches are some of the well known beaches of the place. 

The presence of beaches here gives a hippy feel to the town while the presence of many temples make it a pious place, thus creating a contrast that very few places have in the world.

Gokarna can be visited from October to March. With a moderate semi-tropical climate, the temperatures range from 18⁰ - 40⁰ Celsius in summer and 14⁰ - 32⁰ Celsius in winter. The monsoon months are best avoided as the region receives heavy rainfall from June to August, making the beaches inaccessible and swimming dangerous. Shivratri, celebrated in February/March, is a big event here and draws a lot of tourists.

Travelling to Gokarna

Gokarna is well connected by bus to Goa and other cities in Karnataka like Bengaluru (13 hours), Hospet (10 hours) and Mysore (14 hours). Buses are also available from Udupi and Mangalore which take around 6 and 7 hours respectively. Buses terminate at and depart from the KSRTC bus stand, 300 m from Car Street, which is within walking distance from the location of most hotels. 

The region is also connected by trains to Mangalore, in the south and Goa and Mumbai in the north. Trains to Mangalore leave from Gokarna Road railway station at 4:00pm and 1:45am while trains to Goa and Mumbai depart at 7:00pm and 10:45am. Gokarna Road station is at a distance of 9 km from the city centre. Buses, taxis and autorickshaws are available from the station to reach the city centre.


Accommodation options in Gokarna

There are ample accommodation options in Gokarna. Tourists can opt for hotels ranging from budget to luxury and beach resorts.  
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Most preferred by...

Travellers from Bangalore, Hyderabad
Couple
Group

Best time to visit Gokarna in the next six months

  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • January

Gokarna Traveller Reviews

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Read 67 destination reviews
with average rating of 5.7/7, 1
out of 491 Gokarna reviews 67
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Mohd ashfaq
  • Mohd ashfaq
  • Lives in Bhopal
  • 2 Reviews

"Good place to spend time and temple town" new review

  • 6/7
  • Posted 1 week ago
We were there for two night and three days. It was very secluded and peaceful. From the next village, Ankola it is Eight km. This was a really nice resort mostly for romantic couple. The property is beautiful. The service was excellent. The food was very tasty and the price is amazing. Thank you for a lovely holiday. Am torn between telling everyone about it and keeping it a secret. So good
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Oli Ghosh
  • Oli Ghosh
  • 1 Review

"Serenity at its best" new review

  • 7/7
  • Posted 2 weeks ago
Kudle & Om Beach were amazing. Awesome food & virgin beaches. A great place to visit for peace and serenity, and a wonderful break from a noisy and hectic life in the city. The moonlight and breeze are incredibly romantic. The seafood is a must have. Wood oven pizzas, nutella pancakes with ice-cream, cheese and olive toast and hash browns are a must have at the Gokarna Beach Resort at Kudle. It's a lot of fun staying in the shacks but carry an extra bed sheet if you can, will come in handy.
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Krishna Ram
  • Krishna Ram
  • Beachbum
  • 2 Reviews

"Beach and Bottles"

  • 5.5/7
  • Posted 1 month ago
We can check 4 beaches across Gokarna: Om beach, Kudle beach, half moon beach and Main beach. It was awesome trip, we can go for night trekking on all the beaches. In Om beach, we have beach sports and in Kudle, beach resorts are nice. You can enjoy sunset, you can go in new year time and enjoy.
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Nishant Tripathi
  • Nishant Tripathi
  • Lives in Bangalore
  • 2 photos
  • 1 Review

"Go! What are you waiting for?"

  • 6.5/7
  • Posted 3 months ago
It will be a tough task to succinctly put my "out of the world" experience at Gokarna. But I will give it a try for sure. We reached there early morning from Manipal. From quite a distance, while we where approaching the very famous OM beach, we could hear the sea roaring. It had given us a nice kick already. No sooner than we climbed down the stairs to reach the beach, we were left gaping at the beautiful scene in front of us. Our slow walk turned brisk and we even stopped talking for a while. Then our group captain took us to the his usual shack. Choosing a shack is not a concern, for they all give you a very similar "remote and raw" feeling. Anyways you don't go to Gokarna to enjoy AC and artificial decorations. You go there to live nature at it's best and the place delivers it bang-on.

We wanted to eat something before we could start the fun in the Arabian sea. So, we ordered light breakfast. I had one of the best breakfasts of my life. Maybe because I was very hungry (as hunger is the best way to relish food) but whatever, I wasn't disappointed and neither was our accountant friend. The place was swarming with foreigners. Indians might be preferring Goa, but unlike my other fellow countrymen, I would rate Gokarna a bigger and bettr destination. As the day passes you will start feeling even better. At night, do not expect electricity over there. It's just the moon light and torches which guides you on the tracks. If you are lucky to be there on a full moon light with your beloved partner, go sit on the rocks at shore with him/her, make future plans, forget about the past and live a moment which shall remain etched in your memories forever.

Gokarna, especially OM beach is a place which, despite being a famous tourist destination, is neither expensive nor exhausting. So, don't wait for others to make the plans for you. Take a bus from Bangalore in the evening and open your eyes into a very special part of the world, the next morning.
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  • 2 votes

Rahul Kulkarni
  • Rahul Kulkarni
  • Lives in Mumbai
  • 4 photos
  • 2 Reviews

"Had a great time!"

  • 6/7
  • Posted Apr 21, 2014
Gokarn,with its quaint beaches and calm surroundings is quite popular among foreign and Indian travelers alike. Being just 3 hours away from Goa, many tourists visiting Goa make it a point to visit Gokarna on their hired two wheelers, spend a day or two enjoying the beaches in and around Gokarna. So, if you want to spend some quite time on the sand without the intruding crowds, Gokarna is the place for you. The main attraction is the Mahabaleshwar temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, around which the entire town of Gokarna thrives. Please confirm the timings when the temple is open for public; its open twice, one during morning and then during evening, its closed in the afternoon.

There are many stories and legends about the town and how was it named. Ask any local and he will regale you with mythological tales about Gokarna, just like we were. Among the beaches there is the main beach of Gokarna situated just 10 minutes away from the Mahabaleshwar Temple. The sunset at this beach is one of the most awesome sights. Do plan your visit to the beach around evening, so that you you don't miss the sunset. Om beach as the name suggests, is in the shape of an "Om", the Hindu religious symbol, and this can be seen when viewed from a hillock located nearby.

Local food is quite simple, but delicious, and also light on the pocket. There are various restaurants in Gokarna, and most serve vegetarian food (I believe Gokarna being a temple town, they don't serve non-veg in restaurants here, at least I don't remember seeing it). The south-Indian thali is quite good and sumptuous; you can eat unlimited in about 50-60 rupees. There may even be some restaurants serving westernized food to cater to our foreign friends, but, they too mostly prefer Indian food!!!

There are many hotels in Gokarna catering to various budgets, and the rates are probably determined by the proximity to the beaches. Please inquire and book online/over phone in advance if possible. As far as clothing goes, carry light, cotton clothing, shorts, a cap/hat and sunscreen. Do drink lots of water as it can get quite hot in summer. Ideally a better time to visit would be from September/October to February/March as after that the summer would be at its peak. Gokarna can be reached by buses and maxicabs from Kumta, Ankola and Karwar on National Highway 17. Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) also runs long-journey buses from many cities like Panaji, Bangalore and Mangalore. Private buses operate night journeys from the capital city of Bangalore to Gokarna. It can be reached by train Konkan Railway on the Mumbai to Mangalore route. The railway station Gokarna Road is 6 km away from the town. The nearest airports are Dabolim at Goa and Mangalore International Airport at Bajpe.
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Karthik
  • Karthik
  • Lives in Chennai
  • 2 Reviews

"Must visit place"

  • 4.5/7
  • Posted Jan 22, 2014
December, it was quite hot during the day. Day by day was getting colder during the nights. The beaches are simply beautiful. Town is small and friendly. Best time to visit is during the winter season. There are many shops around the Mahabaleshwar temple from where you can shop. Handicraft items you can find in plenty.
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Saurabh Maheshwari
  • Saurabh Maheshwari
  • Highlander
  • Lives in Bangalore
  • 21 photos
  • 21 Reviews

"Real feel of peace"

  • 7/7
  • Posted Jan 10, 2014
Gokarna, its not a very big place, but a small town with religious sentiments as well as beautiful beaches. There is an old Shiva temple in the city, and the Shiva Lingham can't be seen but can be touched and felt, as its beneath the earth. Other side of the town is of tourist who come here for relaxation and fun. This is different from all the beaches at least which I have seen, you have to climb a mountain and then trek down to reach the beaches, don't worry you can take a auto or your own cab to reach the top of mountain and from there you can climb down using the stairs, which are not so many.

Basically, there are 4-5 beaches close to each other but to cross each beach to reach the other you need to climb the hill and cross over. Gokarna Beach, which is the biggest and the main beach, is close to town and you don't need to climb the hill for this one only. This is good to watch sunset but for playing in water not recommended.

Ohm beach, this is how I know Gokarna. One of the most famous beach, its beautiful one, you have a islet where you can sit, watch tides hitting stones. There is a very nice well built restaurant on the beach side (Namaste cafe), you get good food there. Nice sandwiches.

Kuddle Beach, Half moon Beach, and Paradise Beach, these are like small small beaches but beautiful. People might say this one was more beautiful than that but I would say all are equally beautiful. Season generally starts post Diwali, so if go during November, December and January month you can get sports activity but other times you can just relax and enjoy the waves.

The cost of living in the town is very low, so don't need to worry about the expenditure, it won't hit your pocket. One more recommendation, you must visit Murdeshwar along with this place. It is again a Shiva Temple but one of its own kind. Its equally beautiful place.
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Dinesh
  • Dinesh
  • Lives in Bangalore
  • 6 Reviews

"Seasonal Birds"

  • 7/7
  • Posted Jan 8, 2014
We visit Gokarna especially one of the beaches except for Gokarna beach and make it a point to stay there for new year. This year we went with our new addition our year old son who had a ball of a time in Gokarna. Carry your swim clothes and light clothing when you plan to visit cause you don't want to walk around with heavy bags in the sand...
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Soumya Reddy
  • Soumya Reddy
  • Critic
  • Lives in Bangalore
  • 4 Reviews

"Relaxed Holiday!"

  • 6/7
  • Posted Oct 11, 2013
Gokarna is one of the best places to vacation and its a favorite on my list. I can keep coming to this place for vacation and never get bugged.
U can take boat to three islands located near by and good for shopping too. If looking for a relaxed holiday, then this is the place to be..
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Shilpz S
  • Shilpz S
  • Forester
  • Lives in Mumbai
  • 64 photos
  • 34 Reviews

"Chicken soup for the soul"

  • 6/7
  • Posted Sep 21, 2013
After having wanting to visit Gokarna for 3 years, I finally did this sept 2013 and boy am I glad it happened! Though not the most ideal time to visit it, since its still monsoon in south. Best time would start from October and last through Feb. So I hope to travel again. If you have a little freaky streak in you, if you have a hardcore devottee in you too, if you love beaches and if you love just wandering through timeless streets doing nothing in particular you would love Gokarna.

Like I said, there are different reasons to be at this coastal getaway. For the hindus, it is one of the important pilgrim destination being a house to one of the jyotirliingas. But if you are nothing close to religious , actually totally opposite, you would still freak out at the beaches here.Gokarna marks an important spot on the tourist circuit of firangs who hop to Goa or from there to here. The must see list is majorly beaches-Om beach, Kudle Beach, Paradise beach and half moon beach.

Local food: The usual South Indian affair . But during the tourist season you have the Om and other beaches lined with multiple shacks which dish out a lip smacking fair of variety of Continental and Italian food.Very tempting and quite cheap. For the religious tourist the shopoping is mainly the religious affair.

Activities: Other than the temple, its pretty much a quaint goa scene on the beaches in season , only less noisy. So beers and food and walks on the beach, sunsets and photography , the water sports in winters.

Advice: Temple visitors should know the temple shuts between 12 to 4 pm .I have missed it on both days I was there. Do roam through that part of town too, it has lovely quaint streetscapes very typical to centuries old maratha coastal towns, typically inhabited by brahmins who offer services in the temple. The entire place revolves around the temple, very peculiar sights. Rickshaws take 150/- to take you from the bus stand to Om beach.No bargain.Don't try to travel too late , since the road is mostly deserted and passes through some forested area with a huge cliff down to the beaches.During monsoon, paradise and half moon beaches are shut due to excess waters , they become inaccessible .Do not forget to wake up early morning to see the fishermen get on to their business.Lovely photographs guranteed!
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  • 2 votes

Jayesh Ramesh h Ankush Joel Jayesh, Ramesh h, Ankush and 758 other people have been to Gokarna.
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