Gokarna is a small pilgrimage town on the western coast of Karnataka, India. Gokarna is historically known as one of the seven important Hindu pilgrimage centers and is located near the estuary of rivers Aghanashini and Gangavali with its palm trees, other colorful tropical fruit and flower trees.
Gokarna means Cow's Ear. It is believed that Lord Shiva emerged from the ear of a cow (Prithvi, the Mother Earth) here and coincidently it is also located at the ear-shaped confluence of two rivers Gangavali and Aghanashini. Gokarna is a town of contrasts, as it is a temple town and also a holiday destination. Gokarna is full of coconut, banana and other trees, blue seas and relatively clean sands. It is a laid back town with two main streets lined with shops and traditional tile-roofed brick houses. The beaches near Gokarna have shacks (huts) for rent.
The place has four of India's most secluded and pristine beaches nestled nearby. It has the amazing landscapes with the rocky mountains and Western Ghats on one side and the Arabian Sea on the other. The main beaches in Gokarna are the Gokarna beach (also known as Indian Beach), Main Beach, Kuddle Beach, Om Beach, Half moon Beach, Paradise Beach (also known as Full moon)and Nirvana beach (3 km long with fine white sand). Kannada is the main language spoken here, however Konkani as well as Indian version of English are spoken here. Gokarna is also an important centre of Sanskrit learning and Yoga & Mediation learning.
Gokarna is about 500 km from Bangalore, Private buses (Vijayanand Roadlines - VRL, Sugama, Sea Bird, etc.) operate night journeys from the capital city of Bangalore to Gokarna daily. It can also be reached by train Konkan Railway on the Mumbai to Mangalore route. The nearest airports are Dabolim at Goa and Mangalore International Airport at Bajpe.
Things to do at Gokarna –
- Visit Beaches (soak up the sun)
- Visit temples
- Learn Sanskrit language
- Learn yoga & meditation