Gokarna Tourism
Pilgrimage

Gokarna Tourism

Rank 10
Ranked 10 of 97
Karnataka Tourism Destinations
Destination Rating
5.8/7
1826 Ratings & 1064 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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Travellers from Bangalore, Mumbai
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Best time to visit Gokarna in the next six months

  • September
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Gokarna Traveller Reviews

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Read 96 destination reviews
with average rating of 5.8/7, 1
out of 1064 Gokarna reviews 96
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Shweta Bandekar

  • Scout
  • Shweta Bandekar
  • Lives in Mumbai
  • 7 photos
  • 1 Review
  •  1 helpful vote
  •  63 readers

"Wanna get high on nature?" new review

  • 7/7
  • Posted 6 days ago
You want to experience tranquillity, head here. Gokarna is a village shaped like a cow's ear, its said, hence the name Go-karn.

There are a lot of home stays available here and bookings should be well planned since its a small village with constrained number of hotels and homestays. Good times to visit here are from June to February. Summers here are hot.

You can visit a number of beaches here which at times can be so quaint that it gives the impression that you are the only being on earth. Have you seen the movie The Beach? Get the idea?

Om Beach offers water sports save in the monsoons. Its a beach in the shape of Om and has stunning scenic beauty. Kudle beach is nestled between two hills and needs to be walked down to. Ramteerth, is a temple at the far left end of Gokarn beach and has a gorgeous sight with a mountain on the left and the sea till you eyes can see.

Gokarna has got the famous Shiv Temple which houses the Atmaling. Also the Ganesha temple here has significance in the form of the idol having a deep dent on his head as stated in mythology.

You can hop from beach to beach and temple to temple or just plainly stroll around in the market. Its a village that welcomes you with open arms and a mesmerising connect with nature .

One thing to note here is that you need to book your stay in advance and also book your vehicles since there may be chances that you may have to return because there are no rooms available anywhere.

Happy stay and happy holidays.

Should you need any more details on this, just drop in a text and I shall be happy to help. :-)
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Naveen

  • Scout
  • Naveen
  • Lives in Chennai
  • 1 Review
  •  131 readers

"An okay place" new review

  • 4/7
  • Posted 1 week ago
Apart from few beaches and a temple there is very little to do. The beaches are also poorly maintained. The bus ride is dreadful as the roads are bumpy (could not sleep despite travelling in an A/C airavat). Unless you are just planning to lay back with a beer on one of the beaches this place is not for you.
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Pritesh Mehta

  • Guru
  • Pritesh Mehta
  • Lives in Baroda
  • 42 photos
  • 296 Reviews
  •  93 helpful votes
  •  48295 readers

"A spiritual place" new review

  • 7/7
  • Posted 1 week ago
This place is very good and very spiritual. This place is dedicated to Lord Shiva. There temple is very old and very famous for their sacred. There are many stories of Goddess. We are very happy and very relaxed with this trip. All the visitor first go to Lord Ganapati temple and then go to mahabaleshwar temple. You must go there. We didn't face any trouble. All facilities were available. All age group can go for darshan. It is the most beautiful and spiritual moment of my life.
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Satabdi Roy

  • Explorer
  • Satabdi Roy
  • Lives in Bangalore
  • 6 Reviews
  •  819 readers

"Okay destination" new review

  • 2/7
  • Posted 2 weeks ago
The destination is fine. One time visit. I'll not visit their again. True, it is very near to Bangalore. But beach is not great and not much sightseeing also. Only two small beaches are there. If you have already visited Pondicherry and Goa, then please don't plan for Gokarna.
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Tushar Pandey

  • Scout
  • Tushar Pandey
  • Lives in Mumbai
  • 3 Reviews
  •  284 readers

"Must visit for quiet travellers" new review

  • 6/7
  • Posted 2 weeks ago
The best time to visit this place is the off -season. Very few travellers and thus it is the best time to be there. Very few shacks operate during this time and the walks are much more pleasant. Om hotel is a comfortable place and the beach are quite clean.
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Pritvi Kanchi

  • Expert
  • Pritvi Kanchi
  • Lives in Bangalore
  • 46 Reviews
  •  17 helpful votes
  •  39832 readers

"Must-visit attractions in and around Uttara Kannada" new review

  • 7/7
  • Posted 3 weeks ago
Gokarna is located in the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka. Ardent devotees visit Gokarna during the Mahashivaratri festival. The must-visit attractions in and around Gokarna include the Om beach, the Mahabaleshwar Temple which houses the Atmalinga and the Mahaganapati Temple. It is very easy to reach Gokarna by road from Karwar, Hubli and Mangalore. For Train Buffs, the Konkan Railway is the best way to get on a day journey on this Majestic Railway line. The best season to visit Gokarna is between September to February.
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Anurag Saha roy

  • Scout
  • Anurag Saha roy
  • 4 photos
  • 4 Reviews
  •  1 helpful vote
  •  1195 readers

"Tranquil, Quiet, Clean and Relaxing"

  • 6/7
  • Posted 2 months ago
As the title suggests, the biggest USP of Gokarna over your traditional west coast beaches are its tranquility and virginity. The beaches are clean and sparsely populated. The black sand that demarcates it from the East Coast is prominent in all the major beaches like Om or Kudle. And the best part is that the beaches are still in pristine condition, with natural shrubs and wave-breaks. The beaches also have distinguishable rocky patches strewn all throughout which make for great views.

The Om, Kudle, Gokarna and Paradise beaches are typical tourist spots. The Murudeshwar temple is beautifully located and is another famous tourist. We were staying at the Patang Beach Resort which had cottages right next to the beach, at a minutes walk. This beach was completely devoid of external populace and made for great walks thanks to the flat and clean shoreline. The place had reasonable tariffs and pretty good food. So, the resort made for an additional private-beach-like experience.

The local food is really delectable. The various cafes and restaurants on the beach were reasonably priced and served South Indian as well as North Indian cuisines. The place is not really a shopping destination and we did not buy anything in fact.

The beaches have a horde of activities on offer during the peak season of Autumn to Spring, ranging from rafting to speed boats. In the off season, it is primarily a place to relax and rejuvenate. Swimming farther from the shore is usually prohibited due to whirlpools.

Though monsoon isn't the best time, we were really lucky to find a rain-free weekend. It is not advisable to go during the monsoon, unless the plan is not stare at the roaring ocean in the overcast sky and the drizzling beach; which in fact is a particularly enjoyable experience if you are staying on the beach-facing resorts. Nevertheless, visit Gokarna for its blissful and untouched beauty which is usually scarce in most of the other west coast beaches.
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Kala Nutala

  • Scout
  • Kala Nutala
  • Lives in Bangalore
  • 1 Review
  •  1 helpful vote
  •  1795 readers

"Fantastic place"

  • 5/7
  • Posted 3 months ago
Nice Place to visit. Must watch Place. Nice beaches and heritage temple of lord mahabaleshwara. Near by you can visit murudeshwara temple also which is 80km away from Gokarna. 3 beaches are here. Om beach, Kudle beach and Gokarna beach. Om beach is nice treat for eyes however tides seems to be very dangerous. Kudle beach we enjoyed at most.
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Raghavenda Varadharaj

  • Scout
  • Raghavenda Varadharaj
  • Lives in Bangalore
  • 1 Review
  •  5 helpful votes
  •  2173 readers

"Live along the nature"

  • 7/7
  • Posted May 5, 2015
The best thing about Gokarna apart from the beaches is the food. Sea food! I am a great fan of sea food and I loved the cuisine there. It tastes different from the other south/north Indian food.

Coming back to nature - my 3 day trip was a complete re-freshener. The beaches, the coastal sand and the vastly spread coconut trees and plantations will bend you along with the nature. Gokarna is a must visit place to get rid of your work pressures and tiredness.

Places to visit: Om beach, Paradise beach, Lalguli falls, kudle beach, kumta.
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  • 5 votes

Ami Bhat

  • Connoisseur
  • Ami Bhat
  • Lives in Bangalore
  • 24 photos
  • 18 Reviews
  •  73 helpful votes
  •  7210 readers

"Beautiful and relaxing combination of hills and the beach"

  • 5.5/7
  • Posted Apr 29, 2015
Gokarna as a destination, was a very different beach experience from Karwar or Goa. The beaches here are beautiful in a very different way . They are dotted with a lot of rocks and one can totally enjoy a completely different landscape here.

We stayed here for three days and completely relaxed ourselves. The mobile signals kept flickering adding to our sense of contentment and calm. The three beaches we visited - Kudle beach, Om beach and Gokarna beach were beautiful. Though we could not really swim here owing to signs of whirlpools put up, we totally enjoyed just sitting around and gazing at the sea and the waves splashing onto the rocks. There is a sense of peace and calm in the atmosphere here, which totally helps you relax.

Most places on the beach and around have body massages and spa facilities available. It is worthwhile taking them on. Along the beach are a few shacks and restaurants of which the most popular and good ones are the Namaste cafe on Om beach and Prema restaurant on the Gokarna beach. Both these are a definite must go while here, especially Prema.

The town is a small temple town and can be walked along. The main market is like the Goan flea market. Though small, it is quite nice and ends at the Gokarna beach. There is not much to do in the town as such.

The night sky here is beautiful and since the beaches are open throughout, you can experience star gazing into the night sky, while lying on the amazing beach with breeze blowing on your face.
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  • 7 votes

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