palm treeGokarna is a village in Karnataka, in the district of Uttara Kannada of Karnataka state.  Gokarna literally means “Cow’s ear”.  It is believed that Lord Shiva emerged from the ear of a cow here. Hence it is also known as the temple town and is an important pilgrimage center for the Hindus.  Another probable reason for the name Gokarna could be due to its Geographical location. The area where it is located is the convergence of rivers Gangavali and Agnashini and resembles the shape of a cow’s ear. 

The early settlements of this region can be traced back to the Brahmins.  They escaped from Gomantak to avoid forcible conversions by the British and Portuguese and settled in and around Gokarna around the 15th century.  At that time, Gokarna used to be a part of the kingdoms of Vijaynagar and Sodhe.  However, it later came under the Portuguese rule as the Konkan region was vehemently taken over by them.  Gokarna is also an important center for Sanskrit studies. It is the residence of Bhandikeri Math and Togu Math where Sanskrit knowledge is passed down from generations in Brahmin families.  The main language spoken here is Kannada. However, Konkani and Marathi are also widely spoken.

green gokarna

Mahabaleshwara temple is one of the chief temples here. It is a famous Shiva temple. There is a custom that one has to bathe in the sea and pay respect to a Shivalingam, made out of sand.  The famous Atmalinga is housed here. It is preserved in a square called Saligrama Peetha. It is opened for viewing once in forty years.


The other temples are Maha Ganapathi Temple, Uma Maheshwari Temple, Varadraj Temple and many more. Gokarna also has many mythological stories associated with it.

temple 2

Gokarna is not just a temple town.  It is also a popular tourist destination with its endless coconut and palm trees and clear blue seas.  It is a paradise for beach lovers.  Four of the most gorgeous beaches are located in the south of Gokarna.  First is the Kudle beach, a beautiful beach that seems to go on forever and is surrounded by palm trees.

sunset at kudle beach

Next is the Om beach, which is shaped like its name.

om beach

The final two are Half-moon beach and Paradise beach.  These beaches have huts (shacks) on them which are available for rent.

Sunset at Om Beach, Gokarna

half-moon beach

They also have hammocks and guitars which give a hippy feel to the small village. They attract both foreigners and Indians alike.  You can explore this quaint little town by walking through the two main streets which are lined with shops and conventional houses.


The presence of beaches and temples together create a contrast that few other places in the world possess. The best time to visit Gokarna is from October to March.

40 comments to Gokarna

  • dr h v kotturesha

    i have named after him mahaswamy

  • V Raghavan

    I have heard about this place. This peaceful place is a must for beach buffs.

  • Sanjukumar

    Highly sacred place and brings lot of luck

  • A.P.Panda

    Dear Sir,

    How far is GOKARNA from BANGALORE by road?

    What is the TAXI fare for going to that place?

    What is the tarif in hotels?

    Best time to visit ?

    Reply awaited.

    A. P. Panda.

  • Manvendra

    Awasome place to be… Must visit…

  • Gajanan Rao Y

    The distance between Gokarna and Bangalore, is around 500 km and it takes around 10 hours to reach Gokarna from Bangalore.

    Transport options from Bangalore to Gokarna

    •By Car: Hire a cab from Bangalore to reach Gokarna, which takes around 10 hours. Cost of cab ranges from INR7 to INR50 per kilometre, depending upon the type of car. Ideal for families, seniors and group travellers.
    •By Bus: Take a bus from Bangalore to Gokarna, which takes around 10 hours. Gokarna Bus Terminal. Ticket fare ranges between appro. Rs.500/- for semi-luxury and Rs.800/- for sleeper luxury bus. (both private and Karnataka State Road Transport Corpn buses available). Also available KSTDC (Karnataka State Toursim Development Corpn) conducted tour programmes.

  • nagesh

    most people conduct rituals after death of their loved ones,at gokarna .There is a belief it is south of Kashi(holy place of north).and rates are reasonable compare to their own place.

  • suganya

    it is very interesting..thanks for u.

  • Jagdish

    I have heard about it would like to visit. But wants informations about exact location from Bangalore.

  • dhanaraj

    Awesome place to visit and enjoy the nature.

  • bhattathiripad kms

    LAST TIME I WAS AT GOKARNA, I WAS SHOCKED TO SHELL.THE BEACH.WHENEVER I USED TO COME TO GOKARNA WE ( with kids) used to take bath in sea.lst time ,siva siva, the whole beach was dirty,with drain,effluent,city wastes and whatnot spreading everywhere.
    we returned with utter dejection.

  • veeru

    A GREAT place to visit.
    Om Namah Shivaya.


  • mancheri

    Gokarna is a beautiful place with main attraction being the ancient shiva temple (spadigalingam) and the very important festival is Shivrathri. Accommodation is very difficult during this period. There are not many good eating places when we visited this place around 7-8 years earlier. The beache is nice. The spadigalingam is also not kept in its place regularly. The pujari does the puja and takes it away.People put their hands in the cavity of the lingam.

  • nithya

    I have browsed thrugh the mails above and bhattathiripad kms has mentioned quite differently about the place compared to the others who have mailed their opinion.Definitely I would also like to visit the place and from the pictures given above the place appears to be beautiful or is it misleading.Would bhattathiripad kms be more specific about his comment of the place about when he visited the place and give more details about the minus and also the plus if any from his side so that it will help others who wish to visit this place in future,I think it is quite right on his part to highlight even the negative points of the place as it will alert anybody going to visit there which is equally important.Awaiting an early response.



  • Arvind Narvekar

    Many years ago, when I visited this place and stayed there for 3 days, it was not a tourist attraction at all. There were no good eating places nor good lodgings. People go there for SHIVA temple. Very sacred place.
    The ancient Shiva temple has a “Spadiga Lingam”. But this Lingam is not kept in its place permanently. The “Pujary”does Puja and takes it away. People find solace by putting their hand in the cavity of the Lingam. I also did it religiously, but could not find something ! We are all ORTHODOX,you see.
    Of course, GOKARNA must have developed as on today.
    GOD is GOD and He is everywhere. He is in our hearts and soul. I don’t have to go to Gokarna to see ISHWAR. He is always with me. I submit my will to Lord SHIVA. He is always watching over me.

  • TapasBiswas

    The views of Gokarna in Karnataka is wonderful. I expect such more places in India.

  • Rajaraman.N

    I am happy to know about this place through you. If Lord GOD SHIVA bless me certainly i will visit this beautiful place of worship. Thanks for bringing this place to the notice of several people living in this world.

  • Suryanarayana

    This is really fantastic and I have never seen like this.

  • adiseshu

    I had been to this Gokarna. Its really fantabulous.

  • Ramkrishna Hardikar

    Very beautiful& scenic place worth-visiting.


    Near to gokarna, with in 10 kms of distence, YANA – a beautiful natural cave is there. please multiply the pleasure of visit


    lovely i want to take dharshan of lord ganeshji



  • Arun.B.Naragund

    Gokarna is a very nice place to visit. I wish to visit once again

  • M. Hemadri

    I got very much interest to visit this holy place.
    Thanks for you.

  • Taranath

    Hi to all who want to visit Gokarana the Holly Place.
    Yes I agree with Mr. Arvind Narvekar. (Refere his comments)

    And The Statue of Shivji which has been displayed above is not in GOKARNA. It’s in Murdeshwara. This is for your kind information


  • B.K.Prasad

    GOKARNA is not due to Shiva emerging out of the Cow’s ears. It is Shiva’s Atma Linga which Ravana was carrying towards Lanka. Lord Vishnu and Lord Ganapathy played a trick on him and saw to that he kept the Linga on the Ground.When Ravana tried to pull it out, the shape of the Linga took a form of the Cow’s ears.Ravana failed in his mission and that’s how the Atma Linga was established at Gokarna by Lord Vishnu and Lord Ganapathy.

  • slk

    I got very much interest to visit this holy place

  • uday shenoy

    bangalore to gokarna
    the most comfortable mode is train. catch the bangalore – mangalore train which leaves at night from bangalore and reaches mangalore in the morning.
    from mangalore catch any bus towards karwar/goa
    alternatively catch any train towards karwar and get down at gokarna . there is KR1 train which leave at 6.45 am from mangalore and reaches at 11.00 am at gokarna road stn. this is a passenger train. advance booking can be done fare around 35 rupees for second sitting. there are about 3 coaches for first class also

  • neelakuyil

    I do not remember visiting this temple. My mother used to talk about ‘gokarnam mudhal Kasi warey’ and/or ‘gokarnam mudhal Kanyakumari warey’. Any how, many thanks for the wonderful pics and information thereof. Thank you.

  • kaushik mehta

    Its a beauty of its own.Must seea!

  • godfucker

    what crap! i know all of you just went there for the ganja

  • mohamed - iraq

    nice places and good information
    thank u

  • Chayillath Gopi Nambiar

    Cute pics. Once, exactly last year, my cousin called me alongwith him to visit Gokarna to have a pilgrimage, but due to certain reasons, I could not do so. The same cousin is no more now. Defenitely I planning to go there in near future. May Lord Shiva allow me t do so as early as possible, to have his blessings. Thanks for the narrations and the photos.

  • meenuyogie

    reaaly very beautiful place i enjoyed wit my husband yogesh naik

  • eswari balan

    Writers of these fabulous articles need to add in a map. This gives readers an immediate idea of the distance and the whereabout of places of interest. Thank you. Nice article.

  • Santhosh poojary


  • Baba Shanti

    Peaceful place, visit just for peace!

  • Ravideep Maan

    ulmimate place especially, Om Beach one of world’s unique and natural beach of it’s kind

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