Where the Sea Meets Shiva
Gokarna has been alternately described as a temple town and a beach town. Situated along the Western coast, the tourism aspects of the town basically revolve around its various temples that are also few among the most important Shaiva centres of Karnataka. In fact its very name ‘Gokarna’, which means the ‘cow’s ear’, alludes to Lord Shiva, who was born out of a cow’s ear. Pilgrims, Sanskrit scholars as well as historians flock to this sea-side town every year. Legend has it that Ravana, the ten headed demon-king in Ramayana, brought the Atmalinga here that somehow got stuck here. In his efforts to free it, the outer covering scattered to the nearby places of Dhareshwar, Gunavanteshwara, Murdeshwar and Shejjeshwar resulting in temples at each of these places.
The beaches with the cliffs and hillocks separating them make Gokarna a popular destination among ordinary tourists as well. The town lies sandwiched between two rivers and has some of the most charming beaches dotting its coastline. Religion and natural beauty become one here, especially in one of the beaches which is formed in the shape of the symbol ‘Om’. Gokarna has three more beaches, which are equally picturesque - Kudle, Half-moon and Paradise. Trekking through the various hills and cliffs of Gokarna is also bound to be an unforgettable experience.
Nearest airports are Mangalore Airport and Dabolim airport (Go
2 km from NH 17. There are buses running to Karwar, Goa and Mangalore
Gokarna railway station