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.
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.
A trip to Gokarna can be a life-changing experience. Many people from all over the world travel to this temple town at their own conveyance as part of a holiday retreat in South India.
Gokarna is a multicultural tourist hub. The beaches in Gokarna attract visitors, who throng the picturesque spots against the shorelines of the Arabian Sea after coming here in groups or individually.
When exploring the beaches here, you may come across foreigners with a diverse set of interests. If you are good at befriending people with confidence, you can join natives from any country performing beachside activities at the Om Beach or the Kudle Beach. Be it the Brazilians performing the samba dance on the beachside, or Spanish playing Frisbee, you can just ask politely to join them and have some fun time.
If you befriend anyone including the hippies in Gokarna, try to listen to their traveling experiences in the temple town and write it down in your travel diary among other things. Who knows, maybe staying in a beachside place and talking to people about their travel tales may inspire you to come up with something new like a business concept or something that may persuade you to stay back in Gokarna.
Spending idle time by people watching or being a beach bum has its own benefits when in the town in Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada district. If you are not convinced, book a room in a beachside shack, and enjoy the nightlife in Gokarna doing beachside activities. An example can be sitting around the bonfire there with mostly anonymous travelers chatting in their own languages. Somebody may get to start play music and others may sing along with the blue ocean lingering in the backdrop.
No trip to Gokarna is complete with tales that unfold inside the beachside cottage. The South Indian monsoon is almost here and it is that offseason time in the year when beachside shacks remain closed. That is when tourists opt for budget hotels in Gokarna for getting an overall memorable stay, which might give you more stories to add to your diary.
Beach destinations are popular around the world for the way they let you relax and enjoy yourself. However, there are things you might forget while planning for a vacation at the seaside. Fortunately, we have listed a few of those for you.
Choose the Right Accommodation
No one needs to be told the importance of picking the right beach to visit, such as Gokarna, and booking one of the budget hotels in Gokarna while they are at it. The timing also needs to be just right for good weather – you can’t get caught in scorching heat or pelting rain. Choosing among the Gokarna beach hotels, meanwhile, involves checking if it lets you reach the beach with just a short walk. These small things matter if you are intent on enjoying yourself to the fullest.
Carry the Right Accessories
You can do a lot with the right stuff in your hands. For example, if you are going to lay back and do some tanning, get some good sunscreen. Have enough towels with you to be able to stay dry. Bring along good flip-flops if you want to walk along the beach. Lastly, carry stylish scarfs, hats, and sunglasses just in case you will be taking a good share of selfies.
Bring a First Aid Box
Emergencies can come up anywhere and anytime, so be prepared. It is not unheard of to get cuts, bruises, or scrapes from having fun at the beach, so bring along your first aid box.
Bring Zip-Lock Bags
You may be worried that your phone, tablet, wallet or cash can get wet, and you should be. If you do not have a place to put them where the sand and the water cannot get at them, then zip-lock bags are the answer. Carrying your valuables inside one is a smart move, so bring some of these bags with you when you hit the beach.
Get Some Snacks
It is best if you have your own food to munch on while at the beach. This not only saves you money, but also lets you have a small picnic next to the sea. If you have ever felt hungry while on a beach before, then make sure it does not happen again.
Bring Extra Clothes
It is important to carry extra clothes to the beach. You do not know when you will want to get in the water, and if you do, you do not want to be walking around in wet clothes afterwards. Carry a separate beach bag as well, to put your wet clothes in.
As summer is approaching, it is getting hot and humid with every passing day. Gokarna is one of the perfect places for you to escape the heat for some days and chill. This rural town is one of the well known tourist destinations in Karnataka.
This beautiful natural gateway is crammed with various attractions like wondrous architectures and sculptures, pilgrim centers, trekking, water sports, etc. You can choose any of the best Gokarna beach resorts in order to ensure a pleasant and comfortable stay.
Most of the Gokarna beach resorts feature many highlights like water sports, campfire, beach parties, and various other activities. However, you need to consider many factors while choosing your beach resort. Remember, a small mistake is enough to ruin all your holiday plans. So to help you out, below are a few tips to choose a perfect beach resort in Gokarna.
To choose the best accommodation, figure out the answers to some questions like whether you want a calm and serene holiday or an adventurous and exhilarating one. Furthermore, understand the type of trip you prefer; single, friends, or family. Figure out the answers to the following things as well.
- Is it a cultural trip or a pleasure trip?
- Do you need a vibrant nightlife or a refreshing and calm independent cottage?
- Will you make use of the hotel spa and other luxurious amenities over here?
Asking such questions will help you to pick from the best Gokarna beach hotels and make sure that it has all the amenities you need. You can even check out the brochures of various Gokarna beach resorts and pick the perfect one.
Choose a Great and Exotic Beach
What is the point of choosing beach resorts if you cannot embrace the dancing waves and cool breeze peacefully? Most of the beaches in Gokarna are not that crowded, but you still need to make sure that the place you choose to stay allows you to enjoy the serene beauty of the tourist destination to the core. Check if the resort you choose has a private beach that offers various beach activities in order to have a pleasant trip.
While choosing any of the Gokarna beach hotels, do not just limit yourselves to water sports and other luxurious things. Try to be versatile with your choices. For instance, if you choose a beach resort with a serene and harmonic environment, also see if they have the options for vibrant music and addictive nightlife, if you are into it.
Gokarna, which is situated on the banks of the Arabian Sea, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India, and thousands of visitors from all over the world visit this South Indian town every year to admire its beauty. Several tourists who are visiting Gokarna are not aware of the fact that Gokarna is actually a temple town, and has many religious spots to rejuvenate one’s mind and soul.
It is significant to note that the ancient town, Gokarna, that is located in Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada district, is one of the most popular Hindu pilgrimage centers in the country. However, the picturesque South Indian town is also well known among tourists for its scenic beauty and unspoiled beaches.
If you are a person who wishes to stay away from crowded tourist destinations to spend a quality amount of your time with your family, then Gokarna should be on top of your list of places to visit. The elegantly designed temples in the small town will surely give you a peace of mind and help you to relax. So, make sure to visit any of these below-mentioned temples in the town before ending your Gokarna tour.
Mahabaleshvara Temple is the most famous temple in Gokarna, dedicated to Lord Mahabaleshwar, an incarnation of the Hindu God, Lord Shiva. The temple, which is located on the shores of Arabian Sea’s Karwar coast, is actually a renowned Shaiva pilgrimage center in India. The deity in the temple is a carved stone image of Lord Shiva, which is believed to be approximately 1,500 years old.
Maha Ganapati Temple
The Maha Ganapati Temple in Gokarna town is a famous shrine, which is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. This temple is just a few meters away from the Mahabaleshvara Temple. The 1.3 m high black stone idol of Lord Ganesha, which is housed in this famous temple, is something you don’t want miss when you are touring Gokarna.
Another popular place of worship in Gokarna is the Bhadrakali Temple, which is within a mile from the main town. The Bhadrakali Temple is dedicated to the protector of Gokarna, Goddess Uma, who also happens to be the wife of Lord Shiva. This famous temple contains a beautiful statue of the goddess.
If you are feeling tired and stressed after a long day of sightseeing, head to one of the budget hotels in Gokarna for a peaceful night’s sleep. The friendly service offered at the Gokarna beach hotels will make you feel relaxed and calm, so that you can start trekking afresh the next day.
Gokarna is well known for its harmonic beauty and divine ambience. This natural getaway has something in store for everyone, such as temples and other divine places for elderly people, romantic escapes for couples, trekking and water sports for kids and the adventurous sort, wondrous sculptures for architecture enthusiasts, etc. All in all, this sleepy little village is a good combo package for everyone.
If you are wondering about accommodation, there are many budget hotels in Gokarna that will provide you a pleasant stay. However, you must consider some factors before choosing one of these hotels to make your stay more comfortable. Some of them are listed below.
Most budget hotels have the provision of online booking nowadays. Try and book online at least a month prior to the trip, as this will save you a few bucks. However, if you are traveling during peak time, it is better to call the hotel a day before you arrive, and confirm reservations. Have a backup plan in case of emergencies.
Try and choose rooms with a padlock on the outside. Additionally, carry a small lock for yourselves for extra security, especially if you’re leaving valuable things inside. Do not forget to lock any balcony doors also, as there is high monkey population in some areas of Gokarna.
Taxes and Payment
While booking your room, make sure that the rent is inclusive of all taxes. Some hotels in Gokarna provide transportation facilities as well. Make sure they are not charging extra without telling you; otherwise, choosing budget hotels in Gokarna would be meaningless.
As Gokarna is a coastal town, there are chances you’ll get poor reception for your mobile over here. In such cases, you cannot do things like check your reservation status, browse details about the places you want to visit, etc. Besides, it will be hard to communicate with outside world as well. To avoid this, make sure that you are checking in at a hotel that has Wi-Fi facility.
Most hotels in Gokarna have rooftop restaurants and are famous for their seafood. However, if you want to save your bucks more, you can choose a street shop that serves decent food and helps you savor the authentic flavors of Gokarna.
To make it more affordable, most people ignore expected blackouts that are common in many budget hotels. Instead, choose a hotel that has inverter facilities. Saving bucks at the cost of utmost discomfort during a pleasure trip does not make any sense.
Try to choose hotels with the best washroom facilities. Most hotels will have western toilets instead of the squat type; so pick the right one if you are particular about it. Besides, check the availability of hot water also. All these details will be provided on their website.
One of the best parts of visiting a town like Gokarna is finding accommodation facing the shorelines of the Arabian Sea. There are plenty of small shacks, lodges, and hotels in and around the environs of the four main beaches in Gokarna namely Om, Kudle, Half-Moon, and Paradise.
What has been a favorite spot for pilgrimage over the years has become one of the popular tourist destinations made famous by the Mahabaleshwar Temple and the beaches. Now that foreigners throng it, Gokarna has become a tourist spot that is equally laidback and less commercial to Goa.
Renting out a budget hotel or a cottage is amongst the two popular choices for finding stay in Gokarna. One can literally listen to the sound of serene waves across the sandy rock formations, feel the wind blow, and engage in beachside activities that provide inner peace when staying in Gokarna beach hotels. Not to mention getting a taste of the seafood, practicing yoga, getting an Ayurvedic massage, setting alight bonfire, or enjoying the nightlife in Gokarna at one’s own comfort. The hippies that came to Gokarna in the past decades find it nothing less than nirvana, so what’s not to like?
Gokarna welcomes the southwest Monsoon starting June until August each year, and after that, the climate turns relatively sunny and dry. The ideal time visit this town in Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada district is following the recession of the South Indian monsoon by October and until March. It is also that time in the year, when the climate in Gokarna stays relatively warm around 30 degree Celsius temperature on an average. The summer vacations in South India starting April until May is often hot and humid than that, with average temperature ranging up to upper thirties.
The demand for beachside shacks in Gokarna tends to increase starting December until February based on where you choose to stay and the seasons of the year you make the trip. It is said that Kudle beach and Om beach have the most number of permanent cottages in Gokarna, while small huts in Half-Moon and Paradise beaches tends to stay open starting November till March or when tourists arrive in large numbers. It is always best to advance book budget Gokarna beach hotels if you are planning to visit the temple town anytime soon.
Gokarna has been a popular tourist destination since the 1970’s and 80’s, which was when hippies came to this place in Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada district in large numbers only to settle here thereafter. Many people find their way into the temple town as a weekend getaway, more or less.
When walking through the small, narrow alleys and streets in Gokarna with the sacred cows alongside you can see vendors selling miscellaneous articles on either side of the street. It is often a tourist activity to buy small idols of Lord Shiva, rudraksha prayer beads, and other paraphernalia related to Hindu religion when in the temple town.
Gokarna is also popularly known as a hippie’s paradise. Nowhere the hippie culture reflects more in Gokarna as in the streets and alleys. People make sure to visit the Hippies and the Halakkis in person and listen to their migration tales when they reach Gokarna on holiday. Some even get inspired by their tales only to stay back and lead a bohemian life albeit short lived. A glimpse of the laidback lives can be experienced in the cottages in Gokarna.
The temple town also has an indigenous population of the Halakkis. The majority of the tribal people in South India’s Uttara Kannada district can be spotted in the surroundings of the Mahabaleshwar temple. The Halakkis in Gokarna sells curios, flower, and vegetables on the streets. You can identify them from the traditional attire and unique jewelry.
The fishermen on Kudle and Om beach show an eagerness to take tourists on a catamaran ride after fishing. However, you still have to bargain hard to venture ahead into the Arabian Sea. The boat ride from one beach in Gokarna to the other is sure to leave you excited and it is best experienced. The temple town has several cottages, cafes and hotels all lined up along the two main beaches.
A beach trek is a must when staying in a Gokarna resort much like tasting a seafood dish like a Tuna sandwich in a beachside cafe. The salty blue waters of the Arabian Sea offer a sense of refreshment unlike no other city in South India. The secluded beaches are the reason why the Hippies came exploring the temple town just like millions of visitors from the world over even in this day and age.