Gokarna literally means Cow's Ear. In the legends it is said that Lord Shiva to come up to the surface of the ear of a bovine (Prithvi, the Mother Earth) here on the earth spotted an area at the point of convergence of two streams Gangavali and Aghanashini. And thus the land was lifted above the level of sea.

Legends in the Sahyadri Khand of the Puranas describe that the State of Kerala was recouped from the sea by the Warrior-Sage Parashurama ,who hailed from the North (of the Vindhya ), after his conquest of Kshatriyas( warriors) , killing Kshatriyas coming in the , 21 times around the earth, hurled his axe, the weapon by which he decimated the Kshatriyas, into the sea. Then to dodge the breaking down of the zone, lifted and extended it from Gokarna to the southernmost tip of India. (The area is, therefore, called as Parashurama Srishti).


Gokarna is a sanctuary town and likewise a place or tourism. Enter the beach one could see stretch beautiful yellow sands to the right and a Hillock called Gogarbha at the right. Beyond that hillock is a tourist attraction Half-moon beach, famous for its foreign visitors. . Gokarna is full of coconut trees Brahmins houses and the homestays. Blue oceans and clean and whitish yellow colour sands makes it an alluring town. The town has two primary lanes wings having shops and conventional tile-roofed, and also a number of concrete home stays and red block houses. Verities of musical toys, Drums, guitars, shrimps, fancy materials, beads, conches, seashells necklaces. One could see vegetable vendors and busy priests wearing traditional holy loincloths with the troops of pilgrims moving to and fro temples and holy places at Gokarna. The sunny shores close to Gokarna and the city have hovels for rent. Languages popularly spoken are Kannada, Konkani and Marathi but one could come across some of the locals speaking English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu also in Gokarna.

Gokarna is likewise is an important destiny for studying Sanskrit, Agama Shasta vedas (All the four branches Rigveda, Yajurveda Samaveda and the Atharvaveda)) It is a land where Sanskrit learning is passed down to new eras in Brahmin families. Hindus of various sect and branches gather here to perform all sort of ritualistic activities related right from birth to death and the post humus. . The Mahabaleshwar Temple (Shiva Temple), houses the “Atmalinga”. ( The spirit of Lord Shiva)

In the Puranas it is said that the demon king Ravana Of Lanka, wanted to appease Lord Shiva to obtain His spirit the Atma Linga. After the severe penance Ravana was able to please Lord Shiva and .got it on one condition that Ravana should not place it on earth before he reaches his destination Lanka. All the Gods were afraid of this generous boon by the indulgent Lord Shiva. They thought of saving the AtmaLinga from him. Lord Ganapati (the elephant god and also son of Shiva) was sent to Ravana, in the disguise of young brahmachari. Ganapati unsuspectingly moved about Ravana, who was searching for someone to help him, to hold the linga for a while. Ravana asked Ganapati if he could help. Ganapati acting doltish, agreed with a murmur, put a condition that if the linga felt too heavy to hold any more, he would call Ravana 3 times and if Ravana doesn’t turn up by then, he would place it on the earth. Ravana in a hurry agreed and placed linga in the hands of Ganapati and went just away. Seeing him walking just away, Ganapati loudly shouted and called him three times and immediately placed the Linga on earth which was merged with the earth, saving it from Ravan.

Enraged Ravana gave a blow on the head of Ganapati (Thus the head of Ganapati has a pit on his head. Deluded Ravana tried with his might to uproot the Linga but in vain. The linga was torn into pieces as he pulled. Five times he tore the linga and hurled it at distant places. The place where they fell, are also centres of Shiva worship, namely Siddheshwara, Murdeshwara, Gunavanteshwara, Dhareshwara and Shejjeshwara. All these are considered as holy places of worship, have splendid Shiva temples.

The "Athmalinga" is seated amidst the Saligrama Peethaa. The Lord Mahabaleshwara is called Nagabharana as the Lord wears Naga the furious serpent around his neck and the head of serpent is above his head. The floor of the lobby in front of the sanctum sanctorum has a mysterious and puzzled imprinting of a goliath tortoise.

Maha Ganapathi Temple, beside the Mahabaleshwara temple, is in implicit honour of the child Ganapathi, who hoodwinked the devil Ravana. The Ganapati statue here, has a standing statue and is not less than 1500 years of age. Numerous other sanctuary are built in Gokarna like Uma Maheshwara, Bhadrakali, Tamra Gauri, Venkataramana and the holy tank Kotitheertha is a man-made tank that is utilized for holy submersion and disposal of holy remnants.

Shivaratri celebration is celebrated here with pomp and glory. The temple has two chariots - named as 'Dodda (Big) Ratha' and 'Sanna (Small) Ratha' Dodda Ratha is truly enormous. While 'Sanna Ratha' is out in the open throughout recieving pooja in winter and summer season, the 'Dodda Ratha' is drawn out and decorated with picture plates, flags and glittering decorative. Throughout Maha Shivaratri. On the last day of the celebration the Lord Mahabaleshwara icon is carried in 'Dodda Ratha' and paraded through the town's huge Street Ratha Beedi, while serenades played psalms sung in acclaim of Shiva. Hundreds of individuals join to draw the chariots with thick and strong ropes while main priests lead religious services inside the Ratha, beside the icon. Throughout the ninth day Maha Shivaratri is celebrated, the Gokarna town is visited by many visitors, pilgrims and travellers.

Distance from Karwar km
Best mode of commute Private/Public transport
Nearby Railway Station Gokarna
Nearby Bus Station Gokarna
Visiting Season Nov - May
Suits For Everyone
Nearby Town Kumta/Ankola

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