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Gokarna Tourism And Travel Guide
26.9° C / 80.5° F
October to March
5 to 7 Days
Dabolim International Airport (157 kms)
Gokarna Road Station (10.1 kms)
A secluded beach town or a temple town, call it anyway you like, for Gokarna has a fair share of both. Whether you are a pilgrim or a holidaymaker who would love to spend your holidays doing yoga or meditating by the beaches or sipping a cold beer at the shack, Gokarna welcomes you with arms wide open. Gokarna is a secret sleepy town in Karnataka that lies nestled cosily between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats. So all at once, you have wide open beaches and snug lush forests regions, with temples sprinkled about here and there. What more would one ask for? If you’re tempted to go and explore the tourism in Gokarna, read our travel guide to know more about the land of the ‘Cow’s Ear.’
How to Reach
Gokarna is among the numerous countryside railway stations that dot the Konkan Railways. Though well connected via air, rail and road, it’s probably easy to reach Gokarna by rail.
The nearest airport is the Dabolim International Airport in Goa that is 157 km away. From the airport you can travel to Gokarna by bus or hire a cab.
Quite a good number of trains from Kerala, Mangaluru, Bengaluru and Goa halt at the Gokarna Road Train Station. You have the choice of deboarding at the nearest Ankola or Kumta stations and getting a bus to Gokarna as well.
It’s a beautiful scenic drive if you choose to travel to Gokarna by road. There are KSRTC buses to the temple town from Goa, Bengaluru, Mangaluru, Madgaon, Sarsi etc. You could also use the self drive rented cars to drive to Gokarna by yourself.
Weather and the Best time to Visit
Five lovely, lonely beaches and you need neither season nor a reason to skip a trip to them. But if you want the best of Gokarna, the months from October to March are the most excellent.
Summer’s rather hot at the beaches and most of the shacks would be closed. The weather does get reasonable at sunrise and sunset and you can spend time at the beaches.
There’s not much you can do if the rains are incessant. The waters do look most luscious and you can spend time at the beach, but going to places of interest could be tricky.
Post Monsoon (October-December):
The southwest monsoon trails away and the northeast monsoon brings with it a good breeze and occasional rain. It’s a lovely season to begin your explorations.
Winter is warm and pleasant and you can spend the day at the beaches, sunbathing or meditating on the rocks. Visit the temples or explore the towns nearby.
Things to Do
Yana Hills Trek:
Trek to the Bhairaveshwara Shikara and Mohini Shikara, the karst limestone rock outcrops of the Yana Hills in the Sahyadri Mountains. There is a suyambhu or self formed Shiva linga in a cave temple under the Bhairaveshwara Shikara. Surrounded by the lush undergrowth of the Sahyadri mountains, the Yana Hills becomes a must see in your agenda. The Yana hills are about 48 km from Gokarna.
Fringed by coconut trees and rocky outcrops, the Om Beach about 8 km from Gokarna is ideal for water sports. Try parasailing or jet-skiing or take the irresistible ride on the banana boat and get dunked into the cool waters. Check out the friendly dolphins, while on a boat ride.
Gokarna’s loveliness stems from its beaches and waterfalls. Visit the Apsarakonda waterfalls near Honnavar and the Pandava Caves, where the Pandava princes were said to have lived during their exile. According to legends, Apsarakonda was the lagoon where the Apsaras or angels bathed. Visit the Satodi Falls, near Yellapur, about 90 km from Gokarna. The thunderous babble of the waterfalls that breaks the stillness of the green, luxuriant forest is bound to captivate your heart!
If you do find the sea irresistible, long after the sun has set, camp out on the beach with a camp fire and go to sleep under the stars. You’ll find good camping kits in the city. And take a stroll along the seaside when it’s dark, to peek at the bioluminescent phytoplankton in the sea waters.
The ancient Indian practises of yoga and meditation offer an inner cleansing and spiritual growth. Go in for yoga classes, which you’d find aplenty in Gokarna. And you have ample private spaces on the beaches to practise your yoga undisturbed and at peace.
Head to the beachside shacks for a range of food they can manage to cook up for you, be it Indian, Continental or coastal cuisine. Some of the trendiest dishes are seafood, conjured out of freshly caught fish and prawns from the town’s own waters. You could try chilled beer, along with pasta and sizzlers and generally lounge around, reading a book and listening to some good ol’ music! There are more restaurants where you could get traditional South Indian food too!