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Flanked on the western coast of southern India is Gokarna a serene temple town of Karnataka. Gokarna with its silvery beaches and quaint bamboo huts has become a favored tourist destination of Karnataka. Overlooking the Arabian Sea, Gokarna is a laid back destination which is famous for its pilgrimage site like Mahabaleswar Temple. The word Gokarna is derived from the native language where “Go” stands for “Cow” and “Karna” for “ear”. The clean and tranquil beaches of Gokarna are an additional charm of visiting this pictorial temple town. Enclosed by lofty mountains on one side and vast once on the other Gokarna of Karnataka has become a place to find solace for the nature lovers.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva Mahabaleshwar Temple is one of the prime attractions of Gokarna. Located on the seashores of Gokarna Mahabaleshwar is a sacred site for the Hindu pilgrims. It is one of the seven sacred Muktikshetras or Mukthistala (place of salvation) in India where many Hindus of Karnataka perform the last rituals for the departed ones. Also known as Bhookailash (Kailash of Earth), Mahabaleshwar Temple of Gokarna attracts hordes of devotes during Maha Shivaratri. The idyllic ambiance and astounding legend attracts both devotes and tourist towards this sacred Mahabaleshwar Temple of Gokarna.
Gokarna Beach sited in the edge of this serene Temple Town is another favored tourist destination of Gokarna. Gokarna Beach is famous amongst the pilgrims due to its proximity with the Mahabaleshwar Temple. It is believed that taking a dip in the water of Gokarna Beach will wash away ones sin and purifies their soul. Taking a dip in Gokarna Beach is said to be mandatory for the pilgrims and devotes who wants to visit the sacred Mahabaleshwar Temple. The most ideal way to enjoy the scenic beauty of Gokarna beach is by taking a long leisurely walk and witnessing the surreal sunset over the Arabian Sea.
Kulde Beach located at a distance of 6 km from the main city is another nature bound tourist attraction of Gokarna. Enclosed by palm trees on one side, visitors can find quaint bamboo shacks marking the periphery of Kulde Beach. This beach is ideal for indulging in activities like volleyball and beach bums. The bamboo shacks of Kulde Beach offers the best accommodation facility in Gokarna. Spending a night in a quaint hut of Kulde Beach while looking over the vast Arabian Sea can be a surreal experience.
Paradise Beach or the Full Moon Beach is a lesser known beach of Gokarna. Visitors need to take a boat in order to reach this serene beach. Paradise Beach is famous for serving authentic and free sea food in Gokarna. Being located at the vicinity of Gokarna, Paradise Beach is usually deserted and there is only one guest house available for the visitors. It is the perfect for the travelers who want to spend some lone time while listening to the sound of cashing waves in Gokarna. Visitors who are feeling more adventurous can camp along the rocky edges of Paradise Beach and relish the wild side of Gokarna.
Resembling the shape of crescent moon, the Half Moon Beach is another non commercialized beach of Gokarna. It is located at 20 mins waking distance from the main city of Gokarna. There are only few restaurants located along the sea shore of Half Moon Beach. Offering the awe-inspiring view of aquamarine water of Arabian Sea and serene ambiance Half Moon Beach has become a favored destination for the solitude seeker in Gokarna.
How to Reach Gokarna: Gokarna being a pilgrimage hub is well connected to other major cities of the India like Goa, Mumbai and Bangalore with the vas state bus network. Visitors can also easily board a train for this scenic temple town from any major city of India. But for the travelers who are traveling via air route they need a board get flight for Dabolim Airport in Goa and further continue their journey on hired cab or shared taxis. The distance between Goa to Gokarna is 125km.
Best time to visit Gokarna: Being a temple town festival time like Maha Shivaratri is ideal for witnessing the livelier side of Gokarna. November to March is the best time to visit Gokarna. Since during this season the weather of Gokarna remain cool and pleasant while the beaches of Gokarna are engulfed by refreshing and chilly breezes. It is best to avoid monsoon season (July to September) since visitors can only find limited places to fooding and lodging.