Gokarna- best regarded as a temple town, is a famous tourist destination, a major Hindu pilgrimage center, and a beach attraction in the North Canara district. A dreamlike confluence of the two rivers, Aganashini and Gangavali, forms a shape similar to the ear of a cow ( Gokarna), and that's where peacefully sits a stunning settlement Gokarna (Gokarna in the local language means cow's ear).
The exemplary presence of Mahabaleshwara Shiva Temple, which houses the Atmalinga of Lord Shiva in Gokarna, makes this place blessed and a pious center for Hindus (especially Shaivites). The Tamil poets Appar and Sambandar, who praise the Lord of Tulu Nadu in their hymns, have also mentioned the temple in their compositions. Before being conquered by the Portuguese, Gokarna was ruled by kadambas- the king of Vijayanagar samrajya.
A Little Dose Of History
The Shivalingam at the Mahabaleshwar Temple in Gokarna is considered to have been brought over by Ravana. He had obtained the Atmalinga, a linga that could bestow special powers on him and make him invincible. Not wanting the evil king to be even more powerful than he already was, the Devas, with the help of Lord Ganesha, tricked him into leaving the linga here.
Beside the Mahabaleshwara Temple, there are other prominent temples including the Maha Ganapathi Temple, the Bhadrakali Temple, the Varadaraja Temple, and the Venkataramana Temple.
Of Beaches And Sands In Gokarna - Tourist Places In Gokarna
Gokarna is fast becoming a favored tourist destination and it has several wonderful beaches that could rival the beaches of Goa. Kudle Beach, Gokarna Beach, Half Moon Beach, Paradise Beach, and Om Beach are the five main seaside attractions here.
Gokarna Beach is the town's main beach and pilgrims gather here when they visit the Mahabaleshwar Temple. The Kudle Beach is the largest of the five beaches and it is crowded during the peak season— November to February. It must be noted that this is a dangerous place for a swim.
Om Beach has a beautiful coastline that forms the shape of the Hindu symbol Om. The curve of the symbol forms a pool which can be a safe bathing area for even non-swimmers.
Half Moon Beach is a twenty-minute walk from Om Beach and you have to take the path around a hillock to reach here. This beach resembles the shape of a half moon, hence, the name.
Paradise Beach is a rocky beach, but it is also a secluded and beautiful place which gives it the name. This rocky beach is not ideal for swimming as waves constantly crash violently on the rocky shores.
Gokarna is one of the rare places that are holy pilgrimage centres that also attract leisure tourists with equal ease. The beautiful temples and the attractive beaches make Gokarna a prominent tourist destination.