Originally a Hindu pilgrimage centre, now an important tourist spot and a great weekend getaway from Bangalore. Gokarna is a small town with rocky beaches and hills, located along the west coast of India.The town is popular among Hindu pilgrims as Gokarna has one of the few Shiva's holy temples, including Mahabhaleshwara which houses what is claimed to be original image of the god’s lingam (Atmalinga).
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It is also the home of several religious celebrations, most famous being the "Shiva Ratri" festival at the end of February. Other temples thronged by devotees at Gokarna include Uma Maheshwara Temple, Bhadrakali Temple. Tamra Gauri Temple, Venkataramana Temple and the Maha Ganapathi Temple which is built in honour of the boy Ganapathi, who deceived the demon Ravana by keeping Atmalinga on ground before Ravana returns from sandyavandanam.
Lately Gokarna has been recognized as more than just a pilgrim site because of its beaches like Gokarna Beach, Kudle Beach, Om Beach, Half moon beach and Paradise beach. The Gokarna beach is located inthe main town and is frequented by the locals and the pilgrims alike. The celebrations of Shivaratri are held on this beach. Kudle Beach in Gokarna is one of the favorites of the tourists.
Being surrounded by hillocks it offers a scenic view pleasing the eyes. Gokarna is situated about 483 km away from Bangalore, 238 km north of Mangalore and about 59 km from Karwar. It can be reached by buses and maxi cabs from Kumta (30 km), Ankola (26 km) and Karwar (59 km) on National Highway 17. Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) runs long-journey buses from cities like Panaji, Bangalore and Mangalore. Goa International Airport at Goa and Mangalore International Airport at Bajpe, Karnataka are the nearest airports to reach Gokarna.
Gokarna Beach Trek
The town is known for its huge coastline and a number of beaches that have scenic rocky climbs. The beaches are pristine and hidden behind a frame of well placed hillocks that trek enthusiasts are keen on trekking to hit the beaches.
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The beach trek is a perfect weekend family getaway. Gokarna is also one of the hotspots for travellers, backpackers and beach bums. The beach trek trail shows some of the scenic beaches and mesmerizing coastal stretches that one would not find on any other stretchy beaches.
Among the other beaches, Kudle beach is the most well known and popular one. The trekker will get to trek up and down through the rocky beaches like Kudle beach, Paradise beach, Om beach, Half Moon beach, a desert beach called the Nirvana Beach and more.
Resting for a bit at each beach spot, lets the trekker explore the surrounding areas of the beach. Om beach for instance has rocks shaped in the ‘Om’ pattern. The beach also has a cliff climb called the Shiva Climb that lets one in on a panoramic sunset view.
The Half Moon beach has boulders that need to be crossed. This leads to the Rock of Peace, which a single rock. This beach is also known for Dolphin Spotting and a jungle trail that will lead to the beach.
The Nirvana Beach is a desert beach and is perfect for a sunrise view either from the hillock close by or the beach stretch. Paradise beach is one of the most beautifully isolated beaches. The lack of lot of people crowding at this beach, makes this place all the more lovely and undisturbed.
Thus Gokarna Beach trek is one of the most impressive treks that should be on every beach lovers list. This trek is not difficult and lets one use enough time to explore all the beaches.