Gokarna is regarded as one of the best natural gateways where you can go for a serene holiday, away from the bustling city and your busy lifestyle. This coastal town is a well-known pilgrimage center, but it is also famous for astounding architecture and sculptures. Other than this, you can enjoy some adventurous activities in this beautiful town as well, such as hiking, water surfing, trekking, and many more. No wonder, the number of tourists flocking to this beautiful town is increasing every year.
Summertime makes the life of almost every people miserable with the blasting heat. Luckily, there are many attractive things that you can do in Gokarna in order to beat the scorching heat. This will also rejuvenate your body as well as your mind. Some of the best activities that you can do in Gokarna during the summer, that are sure to offer a magical experience, are given below.
Enjoy Exciting Sports at the Beach
Gokarna is known for scenic beaches that have calm and tranquil waters. Unlike Goa, the beaches in Gokarna are less crowded, and that makes it ideal to spend your holidays peacefully. Enjoy various sports such as volleyball, water ball, football, Frisbee, or any other games on these beaches. You can also do various adventurous water games such as parasailing, surfing, paddle boating, etc., as the waves will be pleasant during summers.
A Soothing Stay at the Beachside
You can stay at the beach resorts in Gokarna or the small shacks on the beach shore in order to embrace the distinct culture of this coastal town. Even in summer, you might not need an air conditioner during the nighttime while staying at these beach hotels in Gokarna; the cool breeze from the sea will do the job.
Night Stroll on the Nirvana Beach
Another best thing that you can do in Gokarna during summertime is to go for a stroll on the famous Nirvana beach during the night. The sight of glittering phytoplankton in the water is sure to leave you amazed. Furthermore, take this once in a lifetime experience to another level by arranging a bonfire under the star-studded sky.
A Revitalizing Massage
One of the main attractions in Gokarna is the rejuvenating massage packages available here. These are best to lighten up all the stress, pressure, and to wash out all your tiredness. What will be better than a relaxing massage during the summertime? Some of the famous massages in Gokarna include Ayurveda Therapy, Rejuvenating Therapy, Aromatic Spa Therapy, etc.
Visiting Gokarna may mean different to natives and tourists; while some come here for sanctity and religious worship, others do so on holiday. The topography of this temple town situated in a district of Karnataka is similar to that of coastal areas in Kerala and Goa. With plenty of coconut palm trees and houses made of sandstone along tree-lined streets, Gokarna is a bohemian coastal settlement. There are several winding paths with shorelines of the Arabian Sea peeking out from amidst clusters of greenery here, and the natural landscape of the coastlines serving as photography hotspots.
All these factors make Gokarna a unanimous choice for a destination in South India among holidaymakers from all over the world. If you want a location to ease out the stresses of life and have a rollicking good time, look nowhere but this temple town. Often, it is a matter of tossing a coin when it comes to choosing the best places to stay in Gokarna. The temple town has plenty of beachside resorts and budget hotels that offer a relaxing good time.
You can get utmost peacefulness in Gokarna hotels near beach doing things such as yoga, an Ayurvedic massage, learning Sanskrit, and plenty of beachside activities including water sports. The cottages and restaurants in Gokarna town offer delicious vegetarian food at an affordable cost, including South Indian Thali and a plethora of seafood including kingfish, prawns, and so forth.
The relatively warm waters of the virgin beaches in Gokarna are perfect for a refreshing bath. Bathing in seawater has its own set of benefits, including reducing skin-related issues, so have a bath when in Gokarna’s Om beach. The beach with sandy rock formations that forms the shape of a religious symbol in Hindu mythology is both serene and a photography hotspot. Since the beaches in the temple town are not commercialized, the waters would be clear blue and devoid of pollution, making it perfect for water sports as well.
For people with a habit of collecting religious paraphernalia, decorative products made of seashells, or a craze for skin tattoos, there are plenty of shopping areas and tattooists in Gokarna to satisfy their varied needs. The gorgeous sunset from a cliff top is breathtaking as well, so that is also not-to-be-missed when in Gokarna, just like many other things.
Murudeshwar temple is one of the most popular temples in the world and is one of the most visited pilgrimage centers in India. Several tourists who are visiting the Murudeshwar temple are shocked to hear the fact that this temple was built hundreds of years ago because the contemporary look of the temple creates an impression that it was built just a few years ago.
As you would probably know, Murudeshwara is another name of the Hindu God Shiva. This means that the main deity of worship in Gokarna’s Murudeshwar temple is Lord Shiva himself. One of the best things about the temple is that it is surrounded by the Arabian Sea on three sides. The temple, which is built on Kanduka hill of Karnataka, can be easily viewed from quite a distance due to the big Raja Gopura and the huge statue in the temple.
Several people who are visiting this famous Shiva temple are not aware of the fact that the Linga in this temple is actually immersed a couple of feet below the sea level. The natives in the town believe that the Linga, which is placed in this temple, is parts of the original Atma-Linga.
You will be able to find a Saneshwara Temple right next to the huge statue of Lord Shiva. This temple has been modernized by the authorities to lure in more tourists. However, the sanctum of the temple still boasts an ancient appeal and it is lighted by using only oil lamps. It is crucial to note that tourists and natives are prohibited from entering the sanctum.
It might come as a surprise to you when you hear the fact that the statue of Lord Shiva in Murudeshwar temple is the second tallest Shiva statue in the entire world. The tallest Shiva statue in the world is the Kailashnath Mahadev statue, which is located in Nepal.
It took approximately 2 years to construct the Shiva statue here. The architects who constructed the massive Shiva statue in Murudeshwar temple has put in extra efforts to ensure that the sunlight falls exactly on the face of the statue. This in turn makes the enormous statue to look shiny at all times.
Gokarna is one if the best natural gateways in India where you can spend your time in serenity. The natural beauty of Gokarna that mainly consist of waterfalls, rivers, beaches, rock formations, etc., that are sure make you skip a beat the first time you see it.
This coastal town is also one of the best pilgrimage destinations in South India, featuring many temples that exhibit the epitome of architectural wonders of the past. You can see various artworks like Dravidian sculpture and other beautiful stone works over here. Hence, the pilgrimage spots over here are also an ideal choice for all the architecture enthusiasts out there.
Booking Beach Hotels in Gokarna
The main thing that you must look for while planning a trip to Gokarna is your accommodation. There are many beach hotels in Gokarna that affordable a comfortable and affordable stay for you. However, you must check certain things prior to your hotel booking. Some of those things are listed below.
There are numerous attractions in Gokarna and hence it is not possible to explore the place completely in a single trip. So, just shortlist the places you would like to visit and choose a hotel that is at an accessible distance from these spots.
Another thing you must consider is the proximity of your hotel with railway station or airport. Choosing hotels nearby these amenities will help to increase the span of your holidays. Furthermore, you must also check the proximity of your hotel with other amenities like shopping market, restaurants, petrol pumps, railway station, etc.
Checking the facilities in your hotel is really crucial. Make sure that they offer the basic facilities like Wi-Fi, network availability, buffet lunch, cozy bedding, etc. If you are planning a trip with your family, check for the facilities like kids area, swimming pool, etc., as well.
Since Gokarna is a coastal town, it will be chilling at times, so make sure that the hotel provides hot water facility also. On that note, the facilities like AC, TV, hot water, etc., have become mandatory in many hotels now, and so you need not have to pay extra for these services.
The hotel that you are planning to book must also come within your budget range. Luckily, there are many budget hotels in Gokarna, which are sure to provide you a comfortable and pleasant stay during your holiday.
Spending a huge amount for your hotel rooms will be a sheer waste of money, as you might stay inside the rooms only for mere hours. However, if you prefer a luxurious stay, do check that the hotel provides extended services such as laundry, round-the-clock room service, etc.
Gokarna attracts both pleasure seekers and pilgrims from all over of the world. The tourist hub in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka is home to the Mahabaleshwar Temple and some of the most pristine beaches that one can come across anywhere. Often described as a temple town, tourists to Gokarna consider the laidback beach town as a mini-Goa. If you are an adventure junkie, the temple town has excitable things for you including jet skiing, parasailing, beach trekking, and so forth. If it is ancient history and heritage of South India you are looking forward to or getting a full body Ayurvedic massage excites you, then this is the place to be.
The Portuguese had once destroyed the main temple devoted to Lord Shiva in Gokarna during the early 18th Century, but rebuilt the same years later. No wonder, its high walls feature battlemented parapets and a divine dome that reflects the religious practice of ancient Marathas. The temple in Gokarna also comprises of a large hall in front with three porches, an engraving of a tortoise on the floor, and an ornate doorway full of frames made of embossed brass.
During the annual Maha Shivaratri festival, Gokarna comes to life with a religious fervor that is felt right down to its streets. During the festival that is held for four days, thousands of pilgrims visit the temple town to partake in a chariot procession known locally as the ‘Rath Yatra’. Thousands throng the narrow streets of Gokarna’s main temple, with pilgrims and priests chanting hymns in praise of Lord Shiva while hundreds pull the ‘Rath’ forward.
The serene tourist attractions in the temple town get back to usual routines afterward, with most of the beach bums going to Om, Kudle, Paradise, and Half Moon, that can rival the beaches even in Goa. These beaches are very much a part of the fabric of Gokarna, and although most of them have unique appeal the one with an ‘Om’ shaped rock formation sees the most crowd.
The Om Beach resides roughly six kilometers from the main town and along a swampy hill, and other main beaches in Gokarna within hiking distance of one another. You can also arrange a rental boat ride to explore the same waterways of the Arabian Sea. It is the beach exploration, which makes Gokarna a hippie’s paradise, with the temple still earning its place among the minds of the holy and the divine.
The temple town of Gokarna is not a place where you could explore all its delights in one go. Instead, you should take things slow and steady, visiting each of its top and even obscure attractions to truly delve into the spirit of Gokarna. You should allocate at least 2 or 3 days in your itinerary and find a comfortable place to stay to enjoy the place relaxingly. There are plenty of beach resorts in Gokarna, but some of them might be expensive and may not always fit in with your budget.
The best alternative for staying in Gokarna on a budget is homestays. There are several homestays in and around the small temple town, where you can enjoy a relaxing stay well within your budget. These homestays offer good amenities and even give you the chance to try out some homely foods. Some of the homestays are located in scenic locales and beach sides, which give you the chance to explore those areas too. Below are some reasons why homestays are the best places to stay in Gokarna.
With a homestay, you could save a lot that usually goes away when you prefer expensive resorts or lodges. Minimizing the comforts offered at hotels, a homestay could give you all the necessary facilities at a lesser price. Usually, the staying options become the most expensive after considering the food expenses while visiting a place. Opting for a comfortable homestay in Gokarna can help you save more while making your trip more pleasurable.
Homestays usually have all the facilities that you need the most. They have well-maintained rooms with necessary facilities like power, water supply, and even homely foods. You could be sure about the hygiene offered, as homestays are known for their cleanliness and pleasant staying experience. Most homestays offer breakfast and dinner to their occupants, which is yet another chance to savor some local delights.
Homestays are located near to all the major attractions around Gokarna. This is a great advantage, as it makes it easier for getting around these places and returning to the homestays due to their proximity. Most homestays in Gokarna are centered on the popular beaches like Om Beach, Kudle Beach, and Half Moon Beach, etc. Some of the homestays are located in the beautiful villages near Gokarna giving you a chance to explore these regions that remains hidden from the normal tourist routes.
The beautiful little Indian town, Gokarna, which lies along the West Coast, has gone on to become one of the most visited tourist destinations in the country. It might come as a surprise to you when that Gokarna was once just a Hindu pilgrimage center. However, things have considerably changed over the last few years and today, Gokarna, is well known for its elegant beaches and other attractions.
You can find a number of beaches, tourist spots, and engaging adventurous activities in this little Indian town. However, if you wish to enjoy this tiny Indian city to its fullest and leave an everlasting travel memory, you should head to the Half Moon beach while you are in the city.
The Half moon beach is actually the third beach that is located on the coastline of Gokarna town. However, several tourists who are visiting Gokarna for the first time in their life are not aware of the fact that the Half Moon beach is not connected to the road. This means that if you wish to visit this beach, then you will either have to hike or get in a motorboat from the Om beach in the town.
Visitors who are planning to hike to the Half Moon beach should take note of the fact that they will have to walk right towards Om beach’s southern end. From there, they will have to follow a narrow trail, which will lead them straight to the Dolphin café. Right outside the café, you can find a white sideboard that indicates the direction to your destination, that is, the Half Moon beach.
The name “Half Moon” was coined to this beach because of its similarities to a Half Moon. The small patches of sand are sparkling clean, and you won’t find such beautiful sand in any other beaches in the country. The currents in the waterway are too strong, which means that it is best to be a little bit cautious while you are swimming.
In addition to that, you should also note that the hiking path to the Half Moon beach will be very slippery during the monsoon seasons. So, it is best to avoid hiking during these months of the year; instead, get on a motorboat and get ready for an exciting vacation.
Women in India now enjoy more freedom, as the country’s rapid transformation has given them a new role. It is not a rare sight to see women traveling solo to places of interest across the country. The growth of tourism across all the major locales of the country has made many women pack their backpacks and embark on a journey alone.
Gokarna, with its spiritual ambiance, historical background, and thriving hippie culture, is the right place for women to travel without a companion. In fact, Gokarna has so much to offer to a lone traveler, from its age-old temples to the spectacular beaches that are not found anywhere else in the country. Besides all this, Gokarna is a safer place for a woman to travel to and enjoy the beauty of its various attractions.
The small “temple town” in Karnataka is a budget-friendly place with lots of restaurants, hotels, and shops, but rather less when compared to other prominent beach destinations in India. Regardless, the following are some key reasons that make Gokarna a women-friendly place to make a solo trip.
Safe and Affordable Stay
Independent women backpacking across the temple town of Gokarna can stay at different options whether a home stay or a hotel. Cottages in Gokarna are a great alternative to stay safe and without spending much. A woman traveling alone can find several affordable guesthouses, hotels, and even a tent to hire, so that she can stay comfortably and explore Gokarna in its entirety at the same time.
Good Transportation Facilities
The most remarkable advantage of Gokarna is that it is well connected by both rail and road. Independently traveling women can easily get in and around Gokarna due to its excellent transport facilities. For those coming from afar, the nearest airport is located in Dabolim, Goa, at a distance of around 140 kilometers. Besides, most cellular operators provide good coverage in and around Gokarna, which allows women traveling alone to remain well connected to the internet.
Gokarna is renowned for its exceptional cuisine, which is a rare mixture from different parts of the country. There are several restaurants offering a combination of cuisines from different countries. There are shacks along its famous beaches that offer a good selection of drinks. Those from different parts of the country can easily find the cuisine of their liking in the various restaurants and cafes in Gokarna.
Photography is pretty much a part of the larger fabric of a coastal area anywhere in South India alongside sightseeing the tourist attractions. That is the reason why you should keep a high-resolution camera at hand when you pack your bags to the temple town in Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada district.
Take Daylight Snaps along the Temple Street
The street spanning in and around the Mahabaleshwar Temple in Gokarna is rife with wall graffiti and is full of locals and tribal people selling flowers to the visitors. Go for a walk through that particular street and you will come across a beautiful pond with a Brahmin community living nearby. Note that it is best to rise early morning if you want to capture photographs of the street and the temple in all its glory.
Photography Hotspots in Tadadi
This gorgeous-looking fishing port is situated in Kumta, and it would take a short trip of some 5 to 10 kilometers to reach there from Gokarna. The path that leads one to the area features plenty of fishing boats along the backwaters, which throws lights into how fishermen earn a living. For sightseeing, make the trip in the evening which is when fishermen return from the shores and unload their day’s worth of netting fish.
Salt Fields on the Outskirts
Situated around five kilometers or so from the temple town and en route to Bangalore, you can find a field that features dry salt. Much like areas of flat land enveloped in an additional layer of salt anywhere in India, this place is a sight for sore eyes, not to mention a perfect spot for taking pictures.
The Beaches in Gokarna
The sunset in the beachside is not only gorgeous to look at from afar but also worth capturing in the camera. The main beaches in Gokarna include Half Moon, Paradise, Om, and Kudle. While the Half Moon beachside is essentially laidback featuring lots of beach bums enjoying the sunset against the shorelines of the Arabian Sea, the Paradise beach is rife with hippie lifestyle and Om’s has a diverse set of crowd including foreigners and natives.
Sometimes, you can also see a few pilgrims taking a religious bath at any of the Gokarna beaches, and capturing that into a perfect frame would be a great addition to your photographing skills. A temple near a cliff can be seen from there alongside fishing boats, which is another amazing spot to take pictures.
Gokarna is one of the best pilgrimage destinations for Hindus located in the state of Karnataka in South India. This serene town is abundant with natural beauty, especially the magnificent beaches, and wondrous architectures. Visiting this natural gateway is one of the best ways to spend your holidays in serenity.
Since Gokarna is rich with beautiful beaches such as Om beach, Kudle beach, etc., you can enjoy many adventurous water sports over here. You can also go hiking and parasailing if you are an adrenaline junkie. In short, Gokarna is a combo package of every interesting thing that you can enjoy and cherish for a lifetime.
When it comes to the matter of accommodation, it is always better to choose the budget hotels in Gokarna. The main reason for this is that most of the cost-effective hotels here offer almost the same comfort and amenities a posh hotel could offer. Besides, it is a sheer waste of money, if you have to pay a huge amount of money for a matter of mere hours that you may spend in the hotel room. However, you must be cautious and look for certain amenities, while choosing budget hotels in Gokarna. Some of them are listed below.
Even though you may spend only wee hours in your hotel room, make sure to choose a hotel with well-maintained rooms. For this, you can check the photos on their website or consult with the staff about the same. Ask for rooms with cozy bed, soft pillows, hygiene bathrooms, etc. Since Gokarna is a coastal area, it will be chilly at times, hence make sure that you have hot water facility.
Since India is a tropical country, air conditioning has become mandatory in every hotel in this country and this not an over-spending thing. If you prefer that, just confirm that your budget hotel has AC rooms, and that they provide cozy comforters and blankets as well, in case it is cold at night.
Stable Internet Connection
If you are a social media junkie, you will surely want to update the pictures you take during your vacation to the profile on the go. That would require a stable internet connection, so check if your hotel offers that. Note that you will need internet for searching nearby places in Gokarna or checking email too.