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Things To Do In Gokarna
It is astonishing that Gokarna, being a small, almost ordinary town known for its temples and five beaches, has so many more places to be seen and things to be done that will make your holidays worthy of a visit. Gokarna is a mixture of mythology, history and natural wonders. If you’d like to know more about what Gokarna has in store, read on, for the town lives up to its promise of a sacred and natural treasure box.
Gokarna and its vicinity have so many temples that are are steeped in mythology. You can visit Mhatobar Shri Vinayaka Temple at Idangunji, Taamra Gowri Temple, Uma Maheshwar Temple, close to Maha Ganapathi Temple and the Venkatramana Temple at the eastern end of Gokarna.
If you love to watch a waterfall that roars and hurtles down a rugged mountainous terrain, visit the most wondrous Jog Falls, about 80 km from Gokarna. You can also visit the Magabi or Vibhuti Falls that gets its name from the lime stone rock formations around the falls. Myths also hold that the white frothy waters were formed to wash away the ashes of the Asura Bhasmasur.
Visit a Port Town
The port town of Karwar is about 40 km from Gokarna enroute to Goa. You can drive to Karwar or hire a cab from Gokarna. You can visit the beaches or take a tour to INS Chapel Warship Museum or Sadashivgad Fort on the hilltop that offers a beautiful view of the Arabian Sea. The weather in this town is another added bonus for a day-trip.
History buffs can visit the majestic Mirjan Fort that is about 11 km from Gokarna. The huge fort is said to have been built in the 16th century, close to the Mirjan Port which was used in the ancient times to export pepper, saltpetre and nutmeg. The fort that stands in the bend of a creek in the Aghanashini River, is truly well worth a visit. The green landscape surrounding it is a exceptionally quiet and the rumble of the water beside provides with the natural noise to lighten up the place.
Gokarna offers tremendous opportunities for the trekking enthusiasts. You can go on a Beach Trek that begins at one beach and ends at another, because Gokarna’s coastline is fringed with beaches. You could also try the Kumta Gokarna Beach Trek that takes you along forests, valleys and about ten beautiful beaches on the way!
Shivaratri is celebrated with great fanfare, with thousands of pilgrims visiting the town. The highlight of the festivities are the two gigantic temple chariots that are drawn through the streets around town, with the chanting of mantras by the temple priests reverberating through the air. Pilgrims consider themselves blessed if they can lend a hand in pulling the chariots ahead with the help of thick ropes. You must celebrate Shivratri here if you are in the vicinity in March, the month when this festival falls.
Primarily a pilgrimage town, Gokarna has tiny stalls usually set round the temples that sell a variety of brass stuff for worship including idols of Gods, prayer bells and incense holders. You could also buy ornamental trinkets made out of sea shells and beads from hawkers on the beaches. Or better still, you could go shell hunting on the beaches by yourself. Hunt in the town's flea market for hats, kurtas, loose dresses and beads and paraphernalia for the off-beat hippie culture that is so much a part of Gokarna.
Fringed by the Sahyadri mountains of the Western Ghats on one side and the Arabian Sea kissing your feet on the other, and dashing with great frothy waves against the rocks at the shore - Gokarna makes for a picturesque scenario for photographs. Sit on a rock and wait for the sun to rise or set, watching for the right moment to capture the everlasting beauty on your camera. There is never a dull moment on Gokarna beaches if you have a camera handy.