To obtain peace of mind and cleanse the soul, Gokarna is the ideal stop-over for the devout. Apart from it being a pilgrimage center, Gokarna also boasts of secluded and pristine beaches that offers the most scenic views possible.
An Overview of Gokarna
Gokarna, which means the cow’s ear, is a holy site located on the Karavali Coast nestled between the rivers of Agnashini and the Gangavali. The center is known for housing the famous Shiva Temple where the ‘Aatmalinga’ is located. It is believed that Aatmalinga of Lord Shiva is in the shape of a cow’s ear, thus giving rise to the name, Gokarna. Gokarna is hailed as one of the seven ‘Muktistalas’ or pilgrimage centers of the state of Karnataka in India.
The best time to visit the place is during the time of Shivrathri, where a four day festival is marked by two giant chariots being pulled by several devotees and it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Apart from the famous temple, Gokarna is blessed with secluded and pristine beaches. There are close to four beaches present in Gokarna ‑ of which Om Beach is the most famous.
Om Beach – Where the Waves Beckon
Om beach is located at a distance of approximately 8 km from the town of Gokarna. Two semi-crescent shapes that join together resembling the Hindu religious symbol ‘OM’ is the reason behind the name of the beach.
Om beach is the most famous amongst several other beaches present in the town of Gokarna. Miles of white sand greet the avid beach-goer and you’ll surely be tempted to extend your holiday. Om Beach is the center for several water sport activities such as surfing, water-skiing, parasailing, and banana boat rides, which will surely spike your adrenaline to an altogether new level.
There are several places to dine and stay overnight that lie close to the beach and depending upon your budget, you can explore these. You can expect to meet a lot of foreigners who have decided to stay for longer periods of time here owing to the pristine and scenic views and lifestyle.
Apart from the Om Beach, you can also explore the other beaches that are relatively close by. Kudle Beach lies a short walk away from Om Beach, and it also promises to compete with the latter in terms of scenic views and laid-back lifestyle. Other beaches in the area include the Half Moon Beach and the Paradise Beach. Both these beaches are very secluded with less population and have to be reached by boat.
How to Get to Om Beach, Gokarna
- By Air: The nearest airport is Goa. Om beach is approximately 90 km from Goa.
- By Rail: The Gokarna Train station is around 8 km from the town. Gokarna is widely connected by railways with the nearest stations being Kumta (35 km) and Ankola (20 km). Other stations that offer better connectivity with Gokarna include Mangalore, Hubli, Margao, and Karwar.
- By Road: Gokarna can be reached by road from places such as Bangalore, Mangalore, and Karwar. There are regular buses that ply between these cities that connect Gokarna.
Gokarna is a destination where leisure tourists and pilgrims can peacefully coexist thanks to its laidback nature, beautiful scenery and religious significance.