The town of Gokarna is visited by people for two reasons, one for its religious importance of the place and other for its beautiful and picturesque terrain which sits right at the lap of nature.
As per popular mythical beliefs, Gokarna town which is located in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka, is said to be the place where Lord Shiva emerged from the incarnation of Mother Earth in the form of a cow and hence the place was given the name Gokarna which etymologically translates into ‘cow’s ear’. The town is filled with an array of ancient temples which add to the overall allure.
One of the oldest temples known to mankind which is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Mahabaleshwar temple, is located in this city. The temple has what is called an ‘Atmalingam’ which is believed to be one of the most powerful lingams. This spectacle attracts a lot of saints and pilgrims to the town every year. Maha Shivaratri is celebrated with much ardour in this town. The town is also situated around the River Aghanashini, which is considered a sacred site by the devotees.
This small pilgrimage town is known for its rustic look and natural beauty. Gokarna is blessed with an array of beaches which is very though a vacation spot, as laidback as Goa. The quaint town is indeed a mix of two of the most beautiful creation of the world, mountains and rivers. A trek through the mountains opens up the way to the refreshing sandy breaches of Gokarna which looks more like a hidden cove than an open beach.
Although the area is not as popular as other top beach spots in India like Goa, the serene and tranquil atmosphere of the region offers a kind of solace to the people visiting the area. These pristine beaches are not very crowded and hence its cleaner. Some of the famous beaches in the region are Om Beach, Half Moon Beach and Paradise Beach. An evening spent on these beaches, among the tall palm trees, listening to the waves gushing towards the rocks, and viewing the mesmerising sunset is indeed an experience to remember.
Resonating with the growing number of tourists flocking to the region, a spectrum of water sports has been introduced in the region. Activities like surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, parasailing, and jet skiing are offered for the tourist in the waters of Gokarna. Post monsoon is the best time to visit here.
Image courtesy Venkasub and Sudharkarbichali from Wikimedia Commons