Burgeoned alongside the western coast of Southern India in the North Kannada District of Karnataka State, the quaint town is pilgrims’ paradise & beach-lovers heaven. Bestowed with pristine beaches and timeless temples of Hindu deities like Lord Shiva, Lord Maha Ganapati, Goddess Bhadrakali and many more, Gokarna is termed as the ‘Kashi of South India’.
Legend has it that Lord Shiva emerged here from Cow’s Ear – the cow being Prithvi1 And since then the temple town has been christened as Gokarna. The Mahabaleshwar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is constructed in a Dravidian architectural style. It houses ShivaLinga2 and a 1500-year-old idol of Lord Shiva. Since centuries the temple has been witnessing priests, pilgrims and monks submerging themselves in religious rituals, offering prayers, meditation or performing religious ceremonies. The temple is abuzz with holy hymns and chants that emanate somniferous spirituality. There is an air of peace and serenity in every corner of the temple and a visit is enough for the visitor to get the soul rejuvenated. On an average day, the tinsel town wakes up by early sunrise. The two main streets that connect the town with surrounding districts are thoroughly washed and the residents then adorn it with Rangoli3. Holy chants begin resonating from every household and the fragrance of incense sticks fill the atmosphere with mystic peace. It seem like the whole town has woken up from a deep slumber only to transcend in spirituality.
Sandwiched between the hills and seas, Gokarna is blessed with four scenic beaches namely the pristine Om Beach, the quaint Kudle Beach, Half-moon & Paradise beach. White sands, crystal clear water and serenity of Om Beach beckons every backpacker. Its two semi-crescent shores that are naturally joined together, resemble the Hindu religious symbol ‘OM’ and the only how the beach got its name. A short walk away from the Om Beach is Kudle beach that has graduated as a surfing destination and provides perfect waves for the surfboard to flirt with. The other beaches like Paradise Beach & Half-Moon Beach are nestled in a secluded location with fewer inhabitants.
The laid back nature, scenic locales, captivating ancient temples and virgin coastline places Gokarna in the bucket list of every tourist as a must see destination. And its epiphany sunsets, sun-kissed warm sands, breezy twilight, percussion of waves are a few daily shows performed by the Mother Nature that renders every traveler spell bound.