Introduction In Sanskrit language, Gokarna is nothing but the ear of a cow. The God in Mahabaleshwar temple in this place is in the shape of an ear of a cow. That is why this name came to this place. There are many Hindu temples located in this town. The town will always have many visitors to see these temples. This town is a small place. Some good restaurants, guest houses and hotels are available for the visitors. Gokarna Beach is located very close to this town. Many foreign tourists are visiting this place to see the beaches of this town. This is a good place for temples and beaches.
There are four good beaches in this place and they are Kudlee Beach, Om Beach, Half Moon Beach and Paradise beach. There is a beach called Gokarna Beach just behind the main temple in addition to the four beaches mentioned above.
Shivaratri festival will be a special attraction in this place and more people will be visiting this place during that season. The Shivaratri will be celebrated here as a 4-day festival. During this festival, two big chariots will be pulled down the main street and a very big crowd will be here those days.
The story behind the Mahabaleshwar temple is as follows: The great King Ravana prayed Lord Shiva for Atma Linga. With his prayers, Shiva is very happy and gave him the same. Ravana started going back with this. Lord Vishnu came to know about this and asked Lord Vinayaka to see that Ravana will not take it to Lanka. On the way, as it is evening Ravana has to offer his evening prayers. He can't keep the Atmalinga on the ground. Once it is kept on the ground nobody can lift it back. So he is thinking how to manage. Meanwhile, Ganapathi came there like a small boy. Ravana asked him to hold that idol and went for his evening prayers. After a little time, the boy started shouting that he is not able to hold it and asked Ravana to come back quickly. He waited for a few minutes and kept the Linga on the ground. By the time Ravana returned back the Linga is on the floor. Ravana tried to lift it back but couldn't. So the Atma Linga which is in the shape of a Cow's ear is permanently here only.
How to reachThis place is well connected to all the places in Karnataka and the other South States by buses as well as by trains. Kumta (35 km) and Ankola (20 km) are the nearest major railway stations and many express trains will stop in one of the two railway stations here. Gokarna road is also a railway station in Konkan Railway. Taxis, autos and buses are available from railway station to go to the actual town.
There are regular bus services from Bangalore to this place and it is an overnight journey. KSRTC operates these buses and some private buses also fly from Bangalore and other parts of the State.
The nearest airport is Goa Airport. From Goa, there are trains which will come to Ankola. Buses are also available from Goa to Karwar from where buses to Gokarna are available.
What to see
Where to stayAccommodation in huts or shacks are available near all the beaches. Food is also available. There are some good restaurants and hotels in the Gokarna town. Staying there and starting in the morning to see these beaches is the best way. The rates are very reasonable and not expensive. Some restaurants are available near the beaches also. One can plan their stay based on their interest and availability.
A nicely narrated article about the place Gokarna.
India is a big country and we have a variety of pilgrim places which are slowly picking up as tourist places as well. The domestic tourists, as well as the foreign tourists, are finding these places unique in respect of not only their geographical location but also the mythological background. Govt is also now giving emphasis for civic development of these places and mulling about creating a good infrastructure around such places as these can be good revenue earners not only for the local people but other tourist ventures also.
I was not well informed about this place, though faintly had read about it. This article has given an in-depth coverage of the place.