Gokarna is a village in the Uttara Kannada district of the Karnataka state, India . It is a Hindu pilgrimage centre as well as a tourist destination in India. Gokarna is a temple town, and is referred to in a number of Hindu myths. Around the town lie a number of beaches, and these serve as a major attraction for travellers.
Gokarna means Cows' Ear . It is believed that Lord Shiva emerged from the ear of a cow ( Prithvi , the Mother Earth) here. It is also located at the ear-shaped confluence of two rivers Gangavali and Aghanashini .
Legends in the Sahyadri Khand of the Puranas indicate that the State of Kerala was reclaimed from the sea by the Warrior-Sage Parashuram who came from the North (of the Vindhya ranges) after his wanderings in which he killed the kshatriyas 21 times and threw his axe, the weapon by which he annihilated the kshatriyas, in the sea to prevent the erosion of the land stretching from Gokarna to the Southernmost tip of India.
Gokarna is also mentioned in the Shrimad Bhagawat Purana as being the home of the two brothers Gokarna and Dhundhakari and the Bhagawat also gives details of the difference in their temperament and nature and their exploits.
Another mythological reference to Gokarna describes how Ravana , the demon-king of Lanka received the atmalinga , from Shiva , after he had performed a penance at Mount Kailash. Shiva instructed Ravana that the atmalinga should not be placed on the ground as it would establish itself where placed on earth. On his way back to Lanka, Ravana stops for his evening prayers at Gokarna. To prevent Ravana from getting a weapon as powerful as the atmalinga, Ganesha , in the disguise of a Brahmin boy, tells Ravana that he will hold the atmalinga until Ravana finishes his prayers. As soon as he receives the atmalinga, Ganesh promptly puts it down. Ravana tries to extricate it resulting in throwing the coverings of the Linga to Dhareshwar , Gunavanteshwar , Murudeshwar and Shejjeshwar temples.
The earliest history of the city is not known. It was a center for India's traditional and ancient Ganja Culture. [ citation needed ] A sect of brahmins called Gaud Saraswat Brahmins fled from the Gomantak to escape forcible conversions by the Portuguese and British and settled in and around Gokarna in 15th century. It was part of Sodhe and Vijayanagar kingdoms. Later when Konkan region including Goa was occupied by Portuguese, it became part of their rule. Few temples were destroyed by the Portuguese in 1714 and then rebuilt later in the 18th century and also under the supervision of Guru H.H. Shrimat Anandashram Swamiji in 1928.
Gokarna is about 453 km from Bangalore , 240 km north of Mangalore and about 59 km from Karwar . It is between the Gangavali and Agnashini rivers and situated along the Karwar coast by the Arabian Sea. It is near to college towns Suratkal and Manipal .
Gokarna can be reached by buses and maxicabs from Kumta(36 km), Ankola(25km) and Karwar(59km) on national highway 17( NH-17 ). Karnataka state road transport corporation also runs long journey buses from many cities like Goa and Mangalore . It can be reached by train run by Konkan railway on Mumbai to Mangalore route. The railway station is 6km away from the town.
Gokarna is town of contrasts as it is a temple town and also a holiday destination by the sea. Gokarna is full of coconut and palm trees, blue seas and clean sands. It is an attractive town with two main streets with shops and traditional tile roofed brick houses. Gokarna is a hippy paradise with drums, guitars and hammocks. The beaches near Gokarna have shacks (huts) for rent.
Gokarna is also an important centre of Sanskrit learning and houses Bhandikeri Math and Toggu Math. It is a place where sanksrit knowledge is passed from generations in Brahmis families. Many Hindus also perform last rites of a person here.
Mahabaleshwar Temple ( Maha : great, bal : strength) is a famous Shiva Temple and it houses the atmalinga. Named so after Ravana referred to the linga's great strength.
It is situated at the western end of the main street. The main deity here is two-armed, standing, and at least 1500 years old. The idol of Lord Ganesha also is ancient. In the sanctuary is a stone linga, encased in brass, placed on a coiled stone serpent. The floor of the hall in front has an intricate engraving of a giant tortoise.
Maha Ganapathi Temple built in honour of the boy Ganapathi, who deceived the demon Ravana.
Uma Maheshwari Temple
Kotiteertha is a man-made tank that is used for immersion of idols and ritual bathing. It is surrounded by temples.
Shivaratri festival is celebrated here with great enthusiasm. Each year a team builds up two great temple chariots which are used during the Shiva Ratri festival. The two great temple chariots lead a procession through the town's narrow streets, while priests and pilgrims chant hymns in praise of Shiva. More than a hundred people are needed to pull the chariots with thick ropes while priests conduct religious ceremonies inside. During the four day Shiva Ratri festival the small town of Gokarna is visited by up to 20,000 pilgrims.
486 km North West of Bangalore
By Road: -
This holy beach side town is on the Karavali Coast, 37 km from Kumta
Take NH4 to Tumkur then NH206 to Honnavar via Arsikere, Shimoga, Sagar and Talguppa. NH17 to, Gokarna via Kumta.
When to go:-
Dont go during monsoons. October to February would be ideal.
KSTDC(bookings and info) Badami House, NR Square, Bangalore Tel: 080-2275869, Fax: 2352626 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to stay :-
Swaswara Om Beach, Gokarna, Karnataka Tel: 08386-257131 Email: email@example.com
Tariff Range: Rs. 13200 + Taxes
Om Beach Resort Om Beach, Gokarna Uttara Kannada - 581 326 Tel: 08386 - 257052 / 257718
Tariff Range: Indian Citizens Beach Package: Rs. 1500/- Foreign Nationals: USD 40/-
Om Lodge Ganjigadde, Gokarna Kumta, Uttara Kannada - 581 326 Tel: 08386-256445
Tariff Range: Rs. 150/- to Rs. 800/-
Hotel Gokarna International Main Road, Kumta Taluk, Gokarna, Uttara Kannada - 581 326
Tel: 08386-257368, 256622 Fax: 08386-656848
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web site: www.geocities.com hotelgokarna.com
Tariff Range: Rs. 200/- to Rs. 700/-
Hotel New Prasad Nilaya Near New Bus Stand,
Ganjigadde, Gokarna, Kumta, Uttara Kannada - 581 326 Tel: 08386-256250 Tariff Range: Rs. 150/- to Rs. 700/-