The Saga Of An Arabian Beach Town
They say that the end is often nothing but a new beginning. How about we look at this from a geographical perspective? A pilgrimage hub, with pristine and splendid beaches, at the crease of the vast Arabian sea.
Tourists pour into the palm-lined sandy shores of the tranquil town, situated right beneath the lap of the majestic Western Ghats, waving and binding its way, and giving in to the vast blue sea.
The tale began when the two mighty rivers the Aghanashini and the Gangavali met to form the shape of an ear, coincidentally in the land where the great lord Mahabaleshwara was believed to have emerged, from the ears of a cow.
So there comes the name, Gokarna (cow’s ear)! Here is a detailed “All you need to know”, to help you plan your perfect trip.
Things To Do In Gokarna
7 Must Visit Beaches In Gokarna
Alright, let’s dive in! How about you make the sand your seat, stock up on Vitamin-D, and live the best of your time chilling among the shacks? It literally, a holiday with a view isn’t it?
We have picked out 8 scenic and wonderful beaches that you must visit, when at Gokarna:
Gokarna Main Beach
With a view of a hillock housing various structures and temples, Gokarna main beach is just a minute away from the famous pilgrimage spot, the Mahabaleshwara Temple. Ever heard of a camel ride on the beachside? That’s what is in store for you at this stop. However, if you are planning on some solitude and introspection, we suggest you to walk a little further, away from the crowds, and it will surely dawn upon you as to why!
An off-beat destination to observe the magic of Bioluminescence under the vast star-filled skies is what is best used to describe Paradise Beach. Don’t forget to grab some special varieties of the local cuisines from the shore side kitchenettes under the tall coconut trees looming over the swaying hammocks. This beach is not accessible by road, hence we suggest you, take a motorboat ride (from Om beach) or hike your way to this rocky, white sand filled heaven.
Kudle is one of the most happening and busy beaches at Gokarna, adorned with bamboo huts and vibrant cafes and shacks. The absolute crowd-puller would be the adventurous and thrilling water activities one gets to participate in and it comes with a great variety. So just zoom into the sea on your jet ski ride or kayak as you rise and fall with the tides being your guide or just swim to your heart’s content. You can do it all! Don’t forget to try out the banana boat ride, an inevitable experience of the thrill of the ocean! If adventure isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry, you still got the shoreline which is truly quite a sight, and it offers you a great experience for a long romantic walk with your partner.
A spectacular display of colors, a palate of magical orange, spread across the sky brings me to the dusk diaries of Om Beach. Soar above from this religiously sculpted beach, among the heights, witnessing the calm blue sea on your parasailing journey here and catch sight of the divine symbol of “Om”! If you are with your family, don’t miss out on taking your kids for a boat ride and spending some quality family time! The beach is also home to many cafes, and the most visited being the Namaste cafe. Do try out a variety of seafood here. The list is never-ending, but your visit here isn’t complete without the perfect massage session by the beach. So go for it! Snap out of the city and take in the vibes of the sea.
A half-moon shaped beach, with a view of the endless horizon, in the foothills of dense and gorgeous green forests is the Half Moon Beach. Trekking, camping, and paddle boating are activities that you could try out over here. Overall it’s a small beach with a handsome view.
A drive at the break of dawn across the west coast is best done by the side of Belekan beach. If you are a trekker, then we suggest you start early, from Belekan towards Kudle, Enroute Paradise, Halfmoon, and Om Beach. Consider this off-beat location to unfold your mind and write your beach diaries. Have you ever felt the engulfing feeling of jumping into the ocean? Well then, it’s time to cliff dive (14 feet)! The beach also houses a dolphin viewpoint, so go check that out too!
Small Hell Beach
An unexplored location with golden sands stretching across the shore, Small Hell beach is a destination to swim and trek without the hustle-bustle of crowds. With a cliff that stands tall, it offers scenic and picturesque views of the Arabian Sea. If you are looking for some adventure and alone time, this is the perfect place to be!
Places to visit nearby Gokarna
Mirjan Fort was a historic trade center of spices, built during the reign of the pepper queen, Channabharadevi in the 16th century. It stands tall watching the Arabian Sea and is a colossal structure with breath-taking architecture and wild grass. The fort was said to have housed Chinese Artefacts, Gold coins from the Portuguese, and Islamic inscriptions and stands as a cerebral to all, about the diversity of the land. The monsoons invite greenery around the fort that replenishes the soul of history buffs, solo travelers, and explorers. The fort is about 22kms away from the Gokarna Bus stand and is open from 9 am to 5 pm (no entry fee).
The 238 feet tall Lord Shiva looming over the vast Arabian ocean instantly lets one know that they are looking at the marvelous temple of Murudeshwara. The temple comprises endless carvings and depicts many stories of the Atmalinga. This glorious temple attracts thousands of tourists across the world, especially during the divine occasion of Shiva Ratri, every year.
Often known as the “Kashmir of Karnataka” Karwar is an island coast located about 40kms from Gokarna. The land is surrounded by the Western ghats, the ocean, and the mighty Kali river and houses a 300-year-old temple at its banks. Illmatic, Devbhag, and Binaga beaches make up the shoreline of Karwar and is a must-visit spot for a silent and relaxed holiday by the beach. You can join us on our weekend trips to Karwar. Check http://bit.ly/2XEDdxg and book your trip with us!
Located amidst the dense Sahayadri forest, Vibhuti falls stands tall at a height of 70ft and is multi-tiered. One must trek to reach this little gem hidden behind the lishn cover. It finds its origin between various limestone rocks and structures and is often a picnic spot for nature lovers and explorers. The best time for one to visit this place is during the months of October to January. Don’t miss out on this gem on your way to Gokarna (42kms away).
Famously known as “Gogarbha” or “cow’s womb”, Shiva cave is an ancient and sacred tourist attraction. The cave is the home for hundreds of bats and is tucked away on a hillside, offering a splendid view of the nearby beach and the town. It is situated right opposite the Kudle Beach View Resort and is an off-beat location, drawing the interests of explorers and wanderers around.
A 2hour ride, which is often considered scenic and mesmerizing, away from the main town of Gokarna, leads you to these gigantic rocks looming over a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The rock structures amidst the dense forest cover are breathtaking and magical, especially during sunsets. The rocks open into two beautifully ancient caves, which are accessible after an off-road hike. If you are in Gokarna, this is a must-visit destination. It’s time to put more than just beaches on your bucket-list! Please note that the roads are kaccha as you near the caves, and you might as well experience an off-road and a very bumpy ride to the top.
Road-tripping to Gokarna? Excellent! We have got a gem of a location that you must visit on your way. The Apsarakonda Waterfalls near Honnavare is the best place to take a deep swim under the cascading water, or you can go on a short hike to witness the vast blue ocean from among the heights.
Beaches of Kumta
A secluded beach town with unexplored and uniquely structured beaches brings me to Kumta! The town is untouched yet is capable of offering one an immense experience of adventure, aesthetics, and beach life. The town consists of 5 main beaches (Vanalli, Mangodlu, Nirvana, Bada, and Kadle) that offer serene sunsets and enables one to tune into the symphony of nature. Kumta is about 32kms away from Gokarna, so make sure you explore this dream of a land. Now plan your weekend adventure at Kumta with us! Join us on our beach trek to Kumta: http://bit.ly/2ZJk4h3
Beaches of Ankola
Ankola is a beach town about 30kms from Gokarna. With thick mangroves and lush paddy fields, the town hosts many beautiful beaches such as Honey Beach, Nadibag Beach, Keni Beach, etc. Ankola is also known to be the home of one of the most delicious breeds of mangoes, called “Kari Ishaad”, and is famous for its cashew nuts.
Chill Out Zones with Food- Let’s go to the cafe
Shells in your pocket, sand in your shoes. Now, what’s left? Of course good food!
Established in Om beach with a commendable ambiance and mouth-watering menu, this cafe is the center of attraction to many tourists and foreigners. You can try out various cuisines and relax with a gorgeous view of the ocean. If you are a sea-food lover, don’t forget to try the delicious prawns and calamari here! Namaste Cafe is about 6.3kms away from the Gokarna Bus stop.
If you are passing by Zostel, Kudle Beach road, and hear an excellent blast of music, you sure should know that you are in the vicinity of Mantra Cafe. Grab some good beer here and try out great continental food, with a perfect hilltop view of the Gokarna beach.
If French cuisine is your interest, make sure you plan a few meals at this stop! The ambiance, music, and food are on point in Chez Christophe!
If sunsets and sunrises fascinate you, then spend them at this cafe, along with great food, drinks, and spacious lounge to laze around with your pajamas. Nirvana Cafe is a peaceful yet most happening cafe situated at Om beach.
The Little Paradise Inn
Yet another place to gorge on delicious prawns, is here! Visit the Little Paradise Inn in Kudle for affordable prices and delicious sea-food.
This cafe is a nature lover’s solace and a beautiful haven located at Kudle. One can take up Yoga classes too near the cafe. Most tourists enjoy Chicken Lasagna and Thai Green Curry the most in this cafe. So, check that out too!
The Flea Market is calling and you must go!
Does shopping remind you of empty wallets and holes in your pocket? Well, that is something you definitely don’t have to worry about, when at Gokarna! No trip is complete without taking back souvenirs, gifts, and authentic pieces for your travel collection. The flea market in Gokarna is a colorful, bright, and busy-bustling world with all kinds of traditional and artistic merchandise, jewelry, and decorative masterpieces, all at a very low price! Do make use of all your bargaining skills for cracking your best deal.
Brass lamps, prayer beads, and picture frames are the main products put on a show, and they are just so marvelous and reflect the spirit of the place. Looking touristy is always nice. You will be surprised to see hawkers and many shopkeepers sell a great collection of jewelry and accessories at rock bottom prices! The flea market is also the home to mesmerizing boho patterns! So stock up your wardrobe with the colors of the ocean!
What beats all, are the heavenly smelling incense sticks and the Kallusakkare sugar candy. They are a speciality of the place! So what are you waiting for? It’s time to flee to the flea market!
Where to stay in Gokarna?
Whether you are a solo traveler, an explorer, or with a family, Gokarna offers great hospitality and a stay to host you. There are many options for one to plan their stay here! You could pick your options among resorts, hostels, shacks and campsites according to your budget, itinerary, and comfort.
Standing in the list of luxury resorts and services, Kahani Paradise is situated at Belekan. The place offers a spectacular view of the ocean. The resort is child friendly and has many amenities.
Situated on Om Beach road, and only 1.5kms away from the Mahabaleshwara temple, Sankruthi resort boasts 10 valley view rooms and 20 luxurious cottages that are one of a kind. The resort is family-friendly and has great amenities too.
Arthigamya Spa & Resort
With its authentic and serene presence by the shores of Kudle Beach, Arthigamya Spa & resort is that which offers you a relaxed and blissful stay. The place offers one an exotic ambiance and provides one with opportunities to rejuvenate through its therapies, traditional massages, and scrubs.
Kudle Ocean Front Resort
If you are at Kudle and at a distance spot teak-wood cottages, then that should probably be on your list for a great stay! Kudle Ocean Front Resort finds itself by the beach and offers a wonderful stay amidst the greenery. You must try out the spa here, if you are planning on your stay, here!
Kudle Beach View Resort & Spa
Kudle Beach View Resort & Spa is in close proximity to Kudle Beach. One can relish their stay by getting involved in various activities and sessions related to Scuba Diving and Ayurvedic Spa which is top-notch!
Gokarna Forest Resort
Finding its roots among the Nepali Royal Family’s hunting reserve, this resort gives travelers a unique experience of stay. The resort encourages travelers, many activities such as bird watching, mountain biking, forest walks, etc. The spa treatment is a top class service at this resort.
If you want to walk down a spiritual pathway and look at things from a new perspective among the abundance of nature and peace, SwaSwara is the right place to do so! So spend your vacation under starry skies and watch the infinite horizon across the ocean.
Namaste Cafe Shack
Relax and roam around the beach and bury yourself in the wonderful food offered here at Om beach, offered in Namaste Cafe Shack. The beach shack offers a very comfortable stay with an unrestricted view of the ocean and one can for sure get high on life!
Chilled Out Shack
The name says it all! The shack offers one, good rooms and a great opportunity to stroll across the sands to enjoy every bit of the vast Om Beach. The food here is indeed delicious and of great variety. It promises travelers a refreshing and soothing experience!
How about staying in huts for a change? Ever thought about it? That is exactly what Moonlight Shack on Kudle Beach offers its travelers. Check this place out for some unique experiences and let the feel of Gokarna seep into your system!
If you are planning for a low budget backpacking trip, the best place to stay would be in hostels!
HostelLIT is a and adults-only backpacker hostel that offers a good stay at cheap prices. It is located in the center of the town, close to the Mahabaleshwar temple and the bus stop. The area is popular for hiking and the hostel also has bike rentals and luggage storage for guests.
A typical backpacker hostel boasts a private beach and offers a stay in dormitories and tents. The hostel also has restaurant facilities and luggage storage services.
HostelLaVie provides couple friendly and backpacker-friendly accommodations and has in its main menu, delicious Italian cuisines. The specialty of this place is in its rooms, which offer a balcony with a view of the sea. Private parking facilities are available for free.
Provides adult accommodation with a shared lounge and a garden. A couple of friendly and backpacker-friendly rooms are available here.
Best season to travel to Gokarna
Gokarna experiences Southwest monsoons from June to August, post which the weather turns sunny and dry. Hence the best time to visit the place would be anywhere between the months of October and March. May and June are peak summers and the mercury levels would be at an all-time high, hence we suggest you, not make plans for Gokarna during the same period.
The Mahashivaratri festival is celebrated with great vigor and excitement. The proceedings are grand and thousands across the world come to witness the same. The festival is celebrated for a constant 9 days in the Mahabaleshwara temple during February or early March, according to the traditional Hindu calendar. If you are into religion, culture, people, and history, this must be on your bucket list!
Tips to travel in Gokarna
1) Carry flip-flops as shoes could get hard to handle on the beach.
2) Carry enough sunscreen as you are about to get intensely sun-kissed.
3) Avoid traveling to Gokarna in the months of May and June as the temperature rises above 40 degrees and it could get a little too hot for you.
4) There is a lot of tourist crowd and hippie culture is prevalent. Many could be found smoking and drinking, and it is always good to be cautious around them, in the evenings especially.
5) Dress code in the Mahabaleshwara temple is very strict, and hence when visiting the temple, adhere to the same.
6) Autos are a very costly mode of local transport. Hence rent a scooter for a day, if you are planning on visiting nearby places to Gokarna. On average scooter rental varies between 500 INR- 700 INR a day.
7) Beware of stray dogs at the beaches, though they are mostly harmless and mind their own business.
How to Reach Gokarna?
- By Train- The nearest railway station to Gokarna is the Gokarna Road station. It is about 1km away from the main roads and the bus stand of the city.
- By Road- Gokarna is about 580kms away from Bangalore. It takes about 10 – 12 hrs of driving to reach. The route which is taken is via Nelamangala, Sakleshpur, Udupi, Murudeshwara, Kumta, Gokarna.
- By Air- The nearest airport to Gokarna is 140kms away, in Goa, Dabolim airport.
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