Escape to one of the less-explored gem of India!
Hanging on to the western coastline of Karnataka, the small town of Gokarna is an idyllic paradise for all the beach lovers. Popular as the less-commercialised version of Goa, Gokarna is an oasis of natural treasures where every traveller is treated with ultimate relaxation in the lap of solitude. Its uninhabited landscapes, isolated beaches and remote reserves are perfect for explorers seeking an escape from the public eye. But it is not just the natural marvels that form the wonders of this town. Apart from being an exotic beach escape, the religious realm of Gokarna boasts of some sacred Hindu temples for pilgrims who travel for spiritual bliss.
With all this and much more, the spectacular landscape of Gokarna engulfs beauty in every corner that takes every traveller to a newest level of peace. So, if an unforgettable beach holiday is what you are looking for, read below to uncover the unique world of Gokarna.
The Beach Town
Gokarna is blessed with a plenty of natural splendour including its beaches that are serene and action-packed at the same time. Most of the beautiful sea shores are due South and can be reached via a footpath that lies south of the famous Ganesh Temple. A 20-minute walk on the trail brings you to a sandy coastline overlooking the majestic seascape. Towards the southern side lies the Kudle Beach, the first among the group of Gokarna’s magnificent beaches. Having basic food joints and accommodation options, this is a nice place to relax your senses.
A further 20-minute walk towards the South of Kudle beach brings you to Om Beach. The vast landscape resembles the auspicious ‘OM’ symbol which makes the beach a site of meditative relaxation. Peppered with numerous cafes and eating spots, it always pulsates with activity and harbours some beautiful sites to unwind your senses. South of the Om Beach locates the more secluded Half-Moon and Paradise Beach, which are buzzed with activity during the months of November to March.
Add some more excitement to your trek and hop on to fishing boats that can ferry you from Gokarna to Om Beach.
Find your Religious Self
Not just being a natural paradise, Gokarna is a famous Shaivaite pilgrimage centre. Its famous temples have attracted countless Hindu pilgrims for years as this was site where Lord Shiva was believed to have emerged from a cow’s ear (Gokarn literally means a cow’s ear). Its 1500-year old Mahabaleshwar temple enshrines an excellently engraved stone image of Lord Shiva in a sitting posture. A perfect manifestation of Indian architecture, the temple’s grand presence has also attracted various art lovers.
Near to this, is the famous Ganpati temple; while adjacent to the other end of the street lies the Venkatraman temple. A short 100 metres walk towards the south brings you to the Kooli Teertha where numerous Brahmans and pilgrims perform ablutions in the temple tank located at the spot. Harbouring such a realm where nature coincides with spiritual tranquillity, Gokarna is the only place where both hedonists and pilgrims have something to cherish.
Where to Stay?
Tucked away from a bustling city life, Gokarna is far from commercialised tourism. Any expectations for a luxurious stay might turn out shattered as most staying places are thatched bamboo huts located on the coastlines. Apart from some, mostly the accommodation is basic but flawlessly comfortable and pretty affordable. All these are known for their culinary excellence as they serve delicious drinks paired with sumptuous seafood, and authentic Indian and continental delights.
How to Reach?
It’s a popular tourist destination and both local and private buses depart from cities of Bengaluru (509 km), Mangalore (240 km) and Hubli (190 km).
Train travelling is also a convenient option and many express trains have Gokarna Road Station as a stopover. Some of them might stop at Ankola railway station so a double check of your train tickets is advisable. Autorickshaws charge not more than Rs. 200 and a bus ride costs Rs. 40 and is available after every 30 minutes.
So, if you still haven’t visited Gokarna, make your way to discover a place that offers a peaceful vacation for your busy life. If you already have, let us know about your travelling experience, in the comments below.