The limitless beauty of Karnataka is sometimes difficult to describe in words. Gokarna is one such hidden town in this pristine state that has slowly made to the tourism circuit. Located in Uttara Kannada district the town is serene and calm and with numerous places to visit in Gokarna, the small town would any day remind us of the mythological town of Malgudi.
Town of Beaches and temples
You can well begin the trail of places to visit in Gokarna from Kundle beach which is encircled bythick foliage of trees. The site looks awesome and even after 5 years I remember the magical sight with precision. Barely 2 Km from Kundle is Om beach which is named so due to its magical shape of Om, the popular Hindu mantra.
When you come with the intent of exploration, you should infact see other tourist places near Gokarna. A short boat ride costing Rs 300/- INR per head will take you to paradise beach which is popular for its crystal clear waters. It is a sort of island and you can return after a round of the beach. If you can spend upto Rs 4,000/- a special boat can be hired whichwill make a stopover at the island at your request.
1.5 Km from Paradise beach is the half moon beach which is known so due to its shape. This is also a clear water beach and the presence of an old light house atop the hill facing the beach also leaves its distinct impression on the visitors.
You should also include a trip to the Sangam point in your destination when you intent to explore places to visit in Gokarna. This unique place is the spot where Nagnashini River meets the Arabian Sea and the mere experience of being here will leave you spellbound.
After visiting the beaches in the first half of the day it is time to explore the temples. In the list of places to visit near Gokarna, the temple of Sriganapati deserves special mention.Here you will find Lord Ganesha in his baal roop (Child form). The unique part is that Lord Ganesha is in a standing position here.
It is said that in Treta Yug when King Ravana from Lanka was going back to his place after carrying Shivlinga, he placed the same in hands of Lord Ganesha as he had to go for Sandhyavan (Puja). Later when he came back the Shivlinga had been placed on the ground by Lord Ganesha and so Lord Shiva established himself here in Linga form.
The next location on your list among places to visit in Gokarna should be Shri Mahabaleshwar temple.The temple is popular due to its old rustic look and men are allowed in the temple only after they wear the traditional dhoti.
A great way of enjoying the traditional food in Gokarna is to make a visit to the Bhojan ghar in the temple. You will relish the traditional diet comprising of Rice, Sambhar and Pisum. The food is served here from 12:00-2:00 pm and & 7:30- 8:30 pm.
Gokarna is also famous among people in South India due to its religious significance. The Hindu community of South India comes here to immerse the ashes of their beloved ones at Tamapani teerth. For this reason, Gokarna is also popularly known as Dakshin Kashi.
You should also visit Ramteerth, a place of religious significance where Lord Rama came after killing Ravana as he had the cure of killing a Brahmin. The spring water at the place is known to have curative properties.
Magical and Lively
When you go around 100 metres from Gokarna, you will see a carving of a lady face done on a rock. The location atop a hill is also exclusive as you will get a bird eye view of the Arabian Sea.
Estuary point and Biblothic Library are the other key places to visit near Gokarna, especially if you are a book lover. Gokarna is also popular for its river cruise and you can enjoy being a part of the same during evening hours. The magical effect of sun setting over Arabian Sea looks all the more special from this cruise.
As you end the day, it is time to head to head to Pi Restaurant in Gokarna. This is one of the oldest eatery in Gokarna and you should definitely enjoy the traditional thali consisting of daal, veg curry, sambhar, Dahi, Chach and Raita. Ending the same with Pisum (sweet kheer) will definitely incite sweet memories of the place.
Gokarna is a worth visiting location if you wish to enjoy being in a rustic location and want to experience traditional Karnataka ambiance close and upfront.