Gokarna is a city located in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka, and is etymologically translated to ‘cow’s ear.’ According to popular mythological belief, it is the place where Lord Shiva emerged from the incarnation of Mother Earth in the form of a cow. Interspersed with ancient temples, the town is home to one of the oldest temples since time immemorial known as Mahabaleshwar, enshrined with Lord Shiva. The town is about 59 km from Karwar, 483 km from Bengaluru, and 238 km from Mangalore. 

Furthermore, the rustic outlook of the town has attracted the attention of a lot of travelers and foreigners. There are several beaches, pilgrimage sights, and waterfalls that are reverberating tourist attractions. In fact, the town is situated around the River Aghanashini, which is considered to be deemed and sacred site for devotees.

However, due to the recent tourist influx, the town attracts both adrenaline seekers and those looking for spiritual solace. It is the town of golden beaches named after the way they are shaped like Om Beach and Half Moon Beach. Paradise Beach does no injustice to its name! The tall palm trees, serene waves of the ocean gushing towards the rocks, and the evenings spent watching the sun melting into the ocean add a surrealistic appeal to the place.

Apart from beaches, there is the Mahabaleshwar Temple that attracts many devotees and saints. Yana is another dainty town located in the vicinity of Gokarna, whose lavish surroundings and rocky terrain is perfect for activities like cycling and trekking. Mountaineering is another popular sport.

The serene beaches pose as perfect sites for watersport activities like surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, parasailing, and jet skiing. If you want to indulge in watersport activities, then the best time to visit the place is post-monsoon, from September to December. Winters in Gokarna are flamboyant, with a mildly cold climate and lush green surroundings. Summers in Gokarna are hot and humid, followed by the showers that cool the surroundings down with heavy rainfall. 

Newly Added Gokarna Experience

Gokarna Top Attractions

Places To Visit In Gokarna

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25 March 2018
I have taken this trek on march 2018, in my experience it was one of those refreshing trip wherein we trek between the mountains in the safe jungle to the relaxing beaches followed by rain dance, bonfire and the beach side camping under the stars, I must say tremendous effort has been put up by Rohith (trek coordinator) and the entire Trillophilia Team to make the trip comfortable and memorable, would like to travel with Thrillophilia again, highly recommended!
22 October 2018
"nice trek with lots of memories ..really enjoyed. Thanks Thrillophilia..Karthik you are awesome man..tour guide..love you man.
13 December 2019
"I'm from Chennai and personally speaking this was a best experience of a beach trek in my life. If you want to experience something wild, explore nature's beauty, dance and have fun in the beach water and sand and feel the bliss of staying in tents in the night time, go for it, its worth it. I'm suggesting my friends this place who are all planning for trips. Also to mention our trek leads Shravani and Dhruv kudos to them as well. It's not a easy job to arrange and coordinate with different sets of people and make a successful trek. They made this to be a memorable one. I and my friends had a good time those 2 days and packed up the trip with lots of memories to cherish. People reading my reviews, go for this because it's something special"
21 September 2018
"me and my friends went on this trek in September. it was awesome. had lots of fun. the hosts were amazing. would recommend it to others"
19 October 2018
"It is Wonderful experience to be on Gokarna Beach Trek, it's amazing. I have been on two-three trek earlier, but this one is best till date. Outdoor leaders Pranshu and Srinidhi coordinated very well. Other then trek we also enjoyed the travelling time, by playing games such as Mafia."
26 March 2020
If you want to see the best of Gokarna, you have to take the beach trek Gokarna. I was especially happy with the guide as he carefully navigated the difficult paths and always gave us the option of stopping if we were exhausted. Our food timings were clearly informed, and the food was healthy and filling. Who would say I paid only 2100 INR for the wonderful Gokarna trekking experience?
23 March 2020
I had never imagined such a well-executed trip for the throw away price of 2,100 INR! Thrillophilia is redefining budget travel! The sales team, the operator, and even the trek guide were all helpful and courteous and made sure I was not uncomfortable as I was traveling solo with the group! Gokarna beach trek and camping gave me an adventurous and entertaining two days!
16 March 2020
Gokarna trekking was a wholesome experience for me and my whole family! We could take our kids and our parents. Gokarna trek is the perfect trek for families as it can accommodate all ages. Thank you to Thrillophilia for the brilliant arrangements! We did not have to worry about a single booking, and even the tents were provided to us!
26 February 2020
Visiting gokarna was a amazing experience, away from city life, it gives that peace and silence that one requires in life from time to time.Just sitting near the beach and feeling the waves touch your feet that makes you feel like you are floating early in the morning with a feeling that you are the only person there being carried away by the presence of endless sea is an experience worth ones time. Its a place to relax, rather than call it a trek, as one doesn't walk much. Journey with thrillophilia went really well with a trek lead who was a friendly person.Even though the first night in the bus with a small group of people was awkward, it was fun and enjoyable the next two days.Stayed an ocean scenery,the host received us well.The temp was hot in the afternoon , played volleyball which took away our energy but it was one of the highlights of the trip. The camp fire during the night time with everyone sharing stories was a good experience. On the way back to bangalore visited mirjan fort on jan 26th jan, Good for clicking photos as well. The food was average. I'd like to suggest that instead of trying to visit every possible beach which is exhausting it would be better to visit fewer beaches a spend enough time and enjoy what the nature offers.The people that I travelled with were entusiastic and fun to be with thorugh out the journey. The only drawback of the trip was the van it was not a comfortable as I expected. Overall it was a great experience and suggest people to visit gokarna.
17 February 2020
"It was an amazing trekking trip, it's kind of a beach walk so don't expect long trekkings. Gokarna's beaches are surrounded by hills so we have to climb the hills to reach some beaches like half moon, paradise and belekan beach. It was well organized. I was not happy with the transportation part, bus does not have enough leg space even for normal height people. And food was just average. I liked the trekking part and enjoyed. "

How to Reach

  • How to reach Gokarna by air: The closest airport is Dabolim Airport that is located in Goa and it is 106 kilometres away. It takes around 3 hours and 19 minutes to reach if you drive or you can go by bus or even train.
  • How to reach Gokarna by Rail: There is Gokarna Road train station that is around 8 kilometres from the main part of the city. Another station that you can travel to is Ankola, which is just 20 kilometres from the city and is the best-connected station.
  • How to reach Gokarna by Car/Bike:
  • From Goa:
  • Distance: 144 kilometres
  • Travelling Time: 3 hours 13 minutes
  • Route Map: Goa – Palolem – Arga - Gokarna
  • From Pune:
  • Distance: 563 kilometres
  • Travelling Time: 9 hours 22 minutes
  • Route Map: Pune – Karad – Belgaum - Gokarna
  • From Bangalore:
  • Distance: 485 kilometres
  • Travelling Time: 8 hours 26 minutes
  • Route Map: Bangalore – Harihar – Sirsi - Gokarna
  • How to reach Gokarna By Bus:
  • From Goa:
  • Total Distance: 173 kilometres
  • Travelling Time: 3 hours 54 minutes
  • Ticket Price Volvo: Not easily available
  • Ticket Price Non AC: Rs.600
  • Starting Bus Stand: Mapusa Carvalho Petrol Pump
  • Ending Bus Stop: Gokarna Cross Highway NH66
  • Route Map: Goa – Margao – Karwar - Gokarna
  • From Pune:
  • Total Distance: 552 kilometres
  • Travelling Time: 10 hours 10 minutes
  • Ticket Price Volvo: Starts at Rs.1105
  • Ticket Price Non AC: Starts at Rs.700
  • Starting Bus Stand: Swargate, Pune
  • Ending Bus Stop: Madangeri
  • Route Map: Pune – Karad – Belgaum - Gokarna
  • From Bangalore:
  • Total Distance: 487 kilometres
  • Travelling Time: 8 hours 16 minutes
  • Ticket Price Volvo: Starts at ?700
  • Ticket Price Non AC: Starts at ?600
  • Starting Bus Stand: Giri Nagar
  • Ending Bus Stop: Gokarna
  • Route Map: Bangalore – Hiriyur – Ranebennur - Gokarna

Best Time To Visit

  • You can visit Gokarna during any time of the year, but the ideal time is October until February. If you want to visit the area, then you should make sure to plan when the best time to visit would be and here are the best seasons.
  • Summer (October until June) – This is the ideal time to visit the area because it will be warm and sunny with a minimum temperate of 30 degrees. This will allow you to fully take advantage of the beaches where you can frolic in the water or even sit out on the beach and sunbathe. Also, in either February or March there are the Shivratri festivals that are held, but make sure to look at the dates before making your plans. During this time you can also enjoy some water sports like a banana boat ride, parasailing and beach hopping. You can also go sightseeing around the entire city and enjoy some shopping as well.
  • Monsoon (July until October) – This might not be the best time of the year to visit the area if you want to explore the beaches. The area gets plenty of rainfall, but if you don’t mind the rain and if you want to get better prices, then this is the time to go. The temperature during this time is around 20 degrees. If you find a day that doesn’t have rain, then you can visit the Mahabaleshwara Temple, Koti Tirtha, Maha Ganapati Temple and much more. There are also some locations where you can go shopping and enjoy some of the local food, such as the locally caught seafood and much more.
  • These are just the best seasons that you should go, but you can go whenever you want to visit. You should make sure that you are visiting during the right season for your requirements, including your budget.

People Also Ask About Gokarna

  1. Which are the top water sports I can do in Gokarna within Rs 1000?

    Gokarna being the beach city you will find ample water sports activities. We have created a list of some of the best water sports in Gokarna that you can experience:

    1. Jet Ski at Om Beach, Gokarna @ Rs 420 only
    2.  Bumper Ride in Gokarna @ Rs 700 only
    3. Banana Boat Ride in Gokarna @ Rs 600 only
    4. Speed Boating at Om Beach @ Rs 600 only
  2. What are the top things to do in Gokarna?

  3. Which are the famous places to visit in Gokarna?

    Being one of the top tourist attractions, there is a wide variety of places to visit in Gokarna. Few of them are listed here:

    1. Paradise Beach (Famous for camping and swimming)
    2. Half Moon Beach (Famous for swimming, canoeing, paddle boats, paintball, camping, and cabins)
    3Gokarna Beach (Famous for relaxing and swimming)
    4. Shiva Cave (Famous for cave exploration and sightseeing)
    5. Nirvana Beach (Famous for swimming, picnicking)
    6. Koti Tirtha (Famous for sightseeing and worshiping)
  4. Our Recommendations: What you can’t afford to miss?

    1. Kudle Beach: Kudle Beach is tagged as one of the top tourist attractions in Gokarna. This beach is situated in the southern direction of Gokarna Beach. You will admire the natural beauty of this place that is wrapped in a serene atmosphere.
    Tourists can plan their stay close to the beach area as there are numerous hotels, and resorts in the surrounding. The best part is that, there are cafes and restaurants lined up near the beachside which offer delicious seafood delicacies.

    2. Mahabaleshwar Temple: 
    Being one of the biggest Shiva Temples in India, Mahabaleshwara Temple is a popular landmark for tourists as well as religious believers. This temple is one of the best places to see in Gokarna because of its splendid architecture that depicts Dravidian style. There are two lingams called as the Paralingam and the Atmalingam which are worshipped by the visitors.

    3. Maha Ganapati Temple: 
    Gokarna is renowned as a temple town and that is why you will find several religious landmarks in the area. Maha Ganapati Temple can be reached by travelling in the east direction of Mahabaleshwara Temple. It is a famous temple in Karnataka because to its strong connection with Lord Ganesha. You will get to examine the black stone idol of Ganesha which is very popular among worshippers.

    4. Koti Tirtha: 
    One of the fabulous tourist places in Gokarna is Koti Tirtha. It is basically an artificial water tank which is located close to Mahabaleshwara Temple. Tourists cherish the scenic beauty of this place which is quite relaxing. Apart from this, Koti Tirtha is regarded as a supremely important spot for the Hindus. The ancient locations should be explored while touring this area.

    5. Om Beach: 
    The name of the beach is due to its shape which resembles the auspicious Om sign. Tourists prefer visiting this destination so as to relax their mind and soul. The exciting about Om Beach is that, you can enjoy a number of water sports such as surfing, banana boat cruise and even skiing. There are tea shops in the vicinity which can be utilized for savoring hot & cold beverages.

    6. Yaana: 
    Yaana is a popular pilgrimage location which is basically known for its rock formations. You can reach this destination by traveling 20 km from Kumta. Tourists love the view of the two big rocks which are present in the middle of the evergreen forests of Sahyadri. These rock formations are called Bhairaveshwara Shikhara and Mohini Shikhara. You can even visit the cave temple located beneath the Bhairaveshwara Shikhara.

    This temple houses a Swayambhu linga which is valued as a sacred landmark for Hindu devotees.  There is also a bronze idol of Goddess Chandika that is worshipped in this temple. Shivaratri celebrations in the religious cave temple are really grand if you happen to visit around the same time. Adventure activities such as rappelling, trekking, and rock climbing can be accessed in this area.

    7. Mirjan Fort: For sightseeing and acquiring knowledge about the vibrant history of this land you can visit Mirjan Fort. Queen Chennabhairadevi of Gersoppa was responsible for was the construction of this structure in the 16th century. This fort is known for its architectural greatness that is famous among tourists. You will have to travel 11 km from Gokarna in order to reach Mirjan Fort.

    8. Bhadrakali Temple: Bhadrakali Temple can be reached after traveling a distance of 1 km from Gokarna. Unlike the religious structures in Tamil Nadu, this temple in Karnataka possesses a unique architecture which is strongly linked with Hindu mythology. Bhadrakali Temple was built to worship Goddess Uma and is among the eminent resorts for the religious crowd that visits Gokarna.
  5. Which are the best resorts to stay in Gokarna?

    Gokarna has a range of hotels that cater to both the budget traveler and the one seeking luxury. While beach resorts are highly sought after, exotic budget hotels can be found all over the town. Some of the recommended resorts in Gokarna are:

    1. SwaSwara Resort: Perfect sanctuary for human wellness. The villas provide an elegant style of living surrounded by nature.

    2. Gokarna Forest Resort:
    Initially used as the hunting reserve by the Nepali Royal Family, it’s now adjacent to the golf course that has several golf enthusiasts enjoying the sport in the beautiful surroundings. It also has luxurious spa treatments to unwind and relax.

    3. Namaste Holiday Homes:
    Perfect place to relax and enjoy the seaside view of the Kudlee Beach. The whole experience will leave you mesmerized.

    4. Om Beach Resort:
    It’s ranked as one of the best beach resorts in Gokarna. It’s located on the famous Om beach.

    5. Gokarna International Beach Resort:
    World-class service that is value for money. The perfect blend of luxury and relaxation.
  6. What you will like there?

    1. Majestic Drive: The road network in & around Gokarna is very smooth. You won’t find much traffic which is surely a blessing for tourists. For people traveling from Bangalore, they will experience a sudden shift in the landscape which is filled with small hills and greenery. You will also get to view several bridges while crossing rivers in this region. The view of the Ghats will surely fulfill your sightseeing desires when touring Gokarna.

    2. Exotic Beaches: If you thought Goa is the prime destination that is famous for its beaches in India, then you must surely visit Gokarna. This small town has a calm setup which makes the surrounding appear more beautiful. The beaches in this area are known as the party spots for tourists and locals.
    They can be called as hidden treasures which are protected by strong mountains. The three major beaches in Gokarna are Paradise Beach, Om Beach and Half-moon Beach. These beaches are not crowded and offer a superb backdrop that will fill your heart with overwhelming emotions. Moreover, these well-known tourist places also consist of excellent eateries that serve native cuisines.

    3. Fantastic Boat Rides: Boat rides in Gokarna are very much liked by tourists. You will admire the amazing jet boat rides which can be accessed close to the Kudle region. Moreover, various water sports can also be hired at affordable prices in this region. Near the Kumta side, you will be bewildered to know that the sea is home for numerous dolphins. Tourists can easily view them during the smooth boat ride.

    4. Delightful Eating Destinations: You can access a unique food adventure while touring Gokarna. Do not miss a chance to visit Naveen Beach Resort which serves mouth-watering seafood delicacies. Inside RNS residency close to the Shiva temple you can visit Sea Lounge Restaurant which serves good vegetarian food. North Indian cuisine is very much liked by regular customers.
  7. Which are the famous beaches to visit in Gokarna?

    Gokarna is situated in Konkan Coastline and hence is dominated by beaches. Top 5 beaches in Gokarna are well all preferred for different reasons.

    1. Om Beach: The most preferred beach for all watersports lovers. It is also a special attraction as it is naturally in the shape of the divine Om. It is also safe for swimming.
    2. Gokarna Beach: The beach is generally crowded by pilgrims and the locals. An early morning stroll can be refreshing though.
    3. Half Moon Beach: Relatively free of the corruption of commercialization, it is perfect place to spend some time in solitude. It is also far from the noise of the main town.
    4. Paradise Beach: True to its name, the beach is accessible only via foot or by boat, leaving it virtually pollution free.
    5. Kudle Beach: Another popular tourist beach, Kudle Beach is full of shacks. Ideal place for Beach sports.
  8. Drinking Law

    The legal age for drinking in Gokarna (Karnataka) is 18 years.

  9. How to reach Gokarna?

    Gokarna can be reached from Goa, Mangalore and Bengaluru. It is accessible through roadways, railway and via flight as per one’s preference.

    • The roadways are well connected. Direct busses are available from Goa, Bengaluru, Hubli and Mangalore. KSRTC buses and private busses, both can be hired. Gokarna is just 10 km off the NH 17 connecting Mumbai to Kochi. Cabs can be hired for shorter distances. For travel within Gokarna even auto rickshaws are available.
    • Nearest airport- Dabolim Airport in Goa is the nearest airport. Its 140 km from Gokarna and well connected so cabs or taxi services are available to reach Gokarna.
    • Trains from Mumbai, Mangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Veraval and other cities halt at the nearest station, Ankola, which is 20 Km from Gokarna.
  10. What are the best public transport modes to commute around Gokarna?

    Since Gokarna is a fairly smaller town, most of the distance is easily covered by foot. However it’s also fairly connected by a good public transportation system.

    1. Ferries connect the beaches around the town. A shared boat could cost between Rs. 50 to Rs. 100 while a solo ride could cost between Rs. 400 to Rs. 500
    2. The old-style cycle rickshaw is also available for a more authentic transportation experience. It is best for short distances.
    3. Modern auto-rickshaw as well as taxies are easily available. While the Autos ply mostly as shared, taxis can be reserved for personal use.
  11. Which are the best places for shopping in Gokarna?

    Splurging in the local Gokarna markets is a sheer delight. Get ready to bargain to get a good price though.

    1. Street shopping:
    Small local shops carry trinkets and interesting products for you to purchase.
    2. Temple shopping: While the loca shops share quite a variety of products, shops around the temples sell more religious souvenirs like the statues, spices, flowers and incense sticks etc.
  12. What is the best local food in Gokarna? Where can I get to try it out?

    Due to its religious background, several places serve only vegetarian food. However, its proximity from the sea also makes it possible to access some authentic seafood dishes. You could try the authentic Karnataka dishes or even order in for a complete thali. Some of the local restaurants to try out are as below.

    1. Mahalaxmi Restaurant: Backpacker haven known for its Banana pancakes and Indian curries.
    2. Prema: A multi cuisine restaurant known for its Icecreams and Italian dishes.
    3. Shree Shakti Restaurant: One of the oldest restaurants that has been around for over 3 decades. Its known for its sweet lassi.
    4. Dolphin View Restaurant: A vegetarian only restaurant known especially for its Masala Cashew Curry paired best with rice.
    5. Namaste Cafe: Seafood lovers should definitely check this out. It is known for its King fish sizzler and other delectable cuisines like mexican and Israeli.
  13. Where can I spot dolphins in Gokarna?

    Guided sessions are usually organized for tourists. There are abundant Humpback Dolphins to watch out for.

    - The guided session is usually organised between 10am - 3pm.
    - Lasts between half an hour and an hour basis the water currents.
  14. What are the famous pilgrimage spots in Gokarna?

    The temples have a significant history surrounding them. While Shiva is the main deity, there are several temples that are a must-visit.

    1. Mahabaleshwara: It is a classic example of the beauty of Dravidian architecture. It Faces Karwar city and the Arabian Sea.
    2. Koti Tirtha: Man made tank is surrounded by temples and used to immerse the Idols.
    3. Maha Ganpati Temple: As per legend, the temple was made to honor boy Ganesha for deceiving Ravana and keeping him from completing his penance.

  15. What is the most famous historic monument in Gokarna?

    Even though Gokarna is not studded with a lot of monuments, it is the best place to watch history unfold with the famous Mirjan Fort.

    • Mirjan Fort: Known for its historical battles and architectural elegance, the fort will spellbind you whether you are a history enthusiast or not. It is located on the banks of Aganashini River. It is also well maintained thanks to its efficient restoration process.