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Gokarna-Everything you need to know

If only this paradise gets more credits for its beauty!

The name Gokarna means Cow’s Ear so don’t be surprised when you see lots and lots of cows roaming around wherever you go.

Where is it?

On the North Coast of Karnataka that comes under the district Uttara Kannada.

how to reach Gokarna

Best time to experience Gokarna

October to March is the best.Monsoons can be little difficult to travel around but there would be less tourists.

How to reach from Mumbai to Gokarna:

By Train:

Gokarna has its own railway station named Gokarna road (GOK). There are two direct trains to Gokarna road from Mumbai.

By Flight:

Goa Airport (Dabolim) is nearest airport, you may hire a taxi or go by bus to Gokarna from there.

By Bus:

Buses have their last stop at Madangeri. You may take another Bus to Gokarna main bus stand or hire a cab.

Since my trip was an impromptu one, I booked a seat in the overnight train Pune ERS Superfast Express (22150), got down at Karwar, took a rickshaw to the nearest bus stand (15 mins), took a bus to Ankola (1 hour journey), from there took another bus to Gokarna Main Bus Stand (45 minutes), walked to the hostel. Phew!


If you can, walk to your hostel or hotel from the Gokarna bus stand, since most of them are at a walking distance. Rickshaws will charge you a fortune for the drop.

Accomodation in Gokarna :

For Backpackers: 

Hostels I would recommend are:

  • Hostel La Vie (the best)
  • Zostel (if you are lucky to get a bed)
  • Trippr Hostel

Luxurious stay: 

  • White Elephant Restaurant & Cottages

Now, what do we do there?

1. Beaches in Gokarna

beach in Gokarna

Let’s talk sunsets here! You get to see awesome sunsets on the beaches of Gokarna. They are clean & peaceful with lesser crowds to enjoy solitude. Few beaches are not even accessible by road so you will have to either trek or take a boat to reach. Yet following are the beaches that you must visit:

Gokarna beach
  • Main Beach Gokarna: This beach is generally crowded so you can take a call on whether you must visit or not
  • Kudle Beach
  • Om Beach
  • Half moon beach
  • Paradise Beach
  • Heaven Beach

Beach hopping:

Beach hopping is a hiking trip that starts from Kudle beach, crosses Om beach, Half moon beach and ends at Paradise beach. It will be best if you find a guide to help you through the path and take you to the best place to eat on the way. The expedition starts early in the morning by six so you get to experience the quiet beach with not many humans around.

Gokarna beach

If you can hire a two-wheeler you can cover the following in a day or two:

2. Vibhuti Falls

Gokarna Vibhuti Falls

The route as well as the waterfall is gorgeous especially if you get to reach there before the crowd arrives (early morning). You can hike up to a small place where you can sit with your eyes closed listening to the sound of nature.

3. Yana Caves

Gokarna Yana Caves

It is a long hike through a path surrounded by trees. Other than the stinky smell inside the caves, the huge rock formation is indeed a sight to behold. There’s a Shiva temple at the bottom which connects to the caves so you will be entering without footwear. Try to avoid visiting in the afternoon when the sun is quite harsh, early morning or post 3pm is a good time to visit.

Also Read : Cave Paintings In India

4. Temples in Gokarna

Gokarna has lots of temples with intricate beauty carved on the walls. Even if you are not a religious person, you won’t regret visiting these mythological wonders to get an idea of the culture and beliefs this place holds.

It is important to maintain the etiquette of the temples; Ladies should be wearing ethnic wear; anything except western outfits like Kurti- salwar or leggings/ long skirt and top/ Sari. Gents may be asked to remove their shirts while entering during the Pooja time. Shorts won’t be accepted so it’s a great opportunity to try out South Indian lungi or else pants will do too.

Just follow what the temple officials sitting at the entrance ask you to do, they’ll definitely guide you through the “journey”

There’s a whole lot of history attached to all the temples but I wouldn’t prefer to start the storytelling session here so I’m listing them down:

a) Mahabaleshwara Temple (Atma linga) in Gokarna :

This is a Dravidian style architectural beauty, you can see the beautiful Gopura from the outside and people from around the country visit this holy place every year as a ritual. The deity is not placed on the surface but in a small hole, so only the top of the Atmalinga is visible, this is why it is different than the rest.

b) Murudeshwara Temple:

Murudeshwara Temple in gokrna

This temple is around 78 kms from Gokarna but all the long drive and bumpy roads are totally worth the view when you reach. You’ll see a huge Gopura and a humongous Shiva’s statue right behind it piercing from the ground. There are places to eat right outside the temple which faces the coast of Arabian sea. Having a Garam Chai while the sound of gushing waves hit the walls is very mesmerizing!

c) Mahaganapati Temple

d) Bhadrakali Temple

5. Shopping in Gokarna

Tiny shops are lined everywhere for you to buy souvenirs, accessories and clothes. You may buy all types of raw spices which you can find on the way to the main Gokarna beach.

6. What & Where to Eat Gokarna

Fish thali from any local restaurant is a must have if you’re a non-vegetarian. Fish thali includes a fried fish, white rice and a spicy curry to go with. If this isn’t the ultimate heaven then I don’t know what is!

Namaste cafe: Located on the Om beach you may sip on your drinks and munch your food overlooking the sea.


Mantra cafe: Located inside the Zostel hostel, the food is delicious, staff is super friendly and view towards the beach is really something to experience!

7. What to wear in Gokarna

Gokarna is quite accepting of the “type” of clothes you wear except when you’re visiting temples. Nobody is going to turn their heads and stare to make you feel uncomfortable.

8. Few more tips

  • ATMs are not many so do carry physical cash with you.
  • Do not completely trust Google maps for offbeat places, you may end up in a secluded place. The old school method is the best; ask the locals or people from the hostels.

Written by Reshma Nair

Born & brought up in Mumbai with roots from Kerala but I'd rather call myself a global person since I have a sense of belonging to all the places I've visited so far. I dream. I read. I write. I procrastinate (at times) but never laze around on any outdoor plans. The kind of person who prefers backpack over suitcase and budget friendly over luxurious expeditions.


Leave a Reply
  1. It was very helpful information, all the things I need to know with details are mentioned over here. Thank you for writing this piece. Best wishes ❤️

  2. Gokarna summed up so well!! Detailed description of everything was given by you…loved the way you described minor things like what to wear in gokarna
    I am sure it will be of great help to all the travellers out there!!
    Keep posting more often

    • This is so informative, very well presented in most simple way for an immature like me.
      Glad I came across this page. Will surly be following you around with more trips.
      Wish you best in all upcoming amazing ventures

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