Known for being laid back and unspoiled natural surroundings and its pristine unpopulated beaches, Gokarna is one of the major tourist destinations in Karnataka, India. It is a major pilgrim center and is considered among the 7 major pilgrim spots in the Hindu scriptures. The name is derived from the Hindi word for a cow’s ear and is located at the confluence of the two rivers Gangavali and Aghanashini which is shaped like the ear of the cow. It was a bustling temple town during the sangam era and a part of the Tamil Kingdoms. Here’s the list of the best places to visit in Gokarna.
1. Kudle Beach
The prime tourist destination in Gokarna, the Kudle Beach is located towards the south of the Gokarna beach. The Kudle beach is one of the most visited beaches in Gokarna and has plenty of places for tourist accommodation. The beach is lined with several cafes and restaurants.
2. Om Beach
The beach is split by a rocky island and can be visited all year round. The Om Beach is the sister beach of the Kudle beach in terms of popularity and while one half of the beach features vast sandy shores, with clean waters and sand, the other half is lined with restaurants and accommodations.
3. Mahabaleshwara Temple
The Mahabaleshwara Temple is one of major Shiva Temples in India. The Shiva temple contains two lingams, namely the Paralingam and the Atmalingam. The temple was built by the Kadamba King Mauryasharma and displays a vibrant Dravidian style of architecture.
4. Maha Ganapati Temple
Maha Ganapati Temple is located on the east side of the Mahabaleshwara temple. The temple marks the incident when lord Ganesha tricked the demon king Ravana and took the Atmalingam from him. The temple features a black stone idol of lord Ganesha and it is considered to be a usual ritual for the people to visit this temple before the Mahabaleshwara temple.
5. Koti Tirtha
The name refers to the artificial water tank located at a short distance from the Mahabaleshwara temple. Koti Tirtha literally means a thousand springs and is considered to be an immensely sacred spot for the Hindus. The surroundings are totally ancient and will provide a totally different experience to the visitors.
Gokarna used to be a popular pilgrim spot due to the visitors at the Mahabaleshwara temple. Today, due to the commercial boom it has become more of a vacation town due to the amazing beaches the city has to offer. Nevertheless, the visitors are still at their prime at the Mahabaleshwara temple and due to its all year round attractions Gokarna is frequented by a huge number of tourists.
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