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==Understand==
 
==Understand==
  
Gokarna, meaning ''cow's ear'' in Sanskrit as the ear shape. One of the Hindu epics states that "aatmalimga" of the God Shiva is in the shape of a cow's ear in the Mahabaleshwar temple & the town gains its name as Gokarna. It is a conservative Hindu pilgrimage town, home to several temples and festivals. The town itself is full of locals and pilgrims, and doesn't have much in the way of facilities for tourists, other than a handful of guesthouses and local restaurants.
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Gokarna, is a small town centered around temples with pilgrims coming throughout the year and tourists -indians, russians and europeans - coming from december to february for the beaches. The name Gokarna, means cow's ear (go=cow karna=ear) in Sanskrit and is based on Hindu mythology. The town is popular among Hindu pilgrims as Gokarna has one of the few Shiva's holy temples with what is claimed to be original image of the god (a lingam). It is also the home of several religious celebrations, and some of them denote a good sense of dramaturgy. The most famous is the colorful "Shiva Ratri" festival at the end of february. If you are averse to massive crowd, unfamiliar with local culture, it is advisable to keep away during that time. For a few years now, a new God has also being honored : the God of Business. Gokarna is a very business oriented town !
  
The town is mostly centred around the KSRTC bus stand. About a kilometer from the bus-stand , the Gokarna beach starts , forming the coast of the town. As you trudge along the narrow lanes of the town towards the beach (the lane is named 'Samudra Marg'), you will come across houses of priests where some religious talk will be going on or people invoking the Holy Lord with chants.
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Originally pioneering European tourists visited the place for its warm winter climate and the not-so-crowded atmospheric beaches. The golden age is over ! An increasing number of foreigners have visited the area over the last 10 years and more recently, the boom of the domestic tourism and the buses with russians on a package tour have really changed the face of Gokarna. Noise and traffic-jams have become common. Large groups of indian tourists are coming daily from Bangalore or Hubli. Moreover, foreign tourists have to face an increasing police harassment, because smoking ganja, that was relatively tolerated in the past, has become a easy way for them to make money - see the chapter WARNING. Unexpected visits in the beach shops or the rooms even at night, fines of 20 thousands of Rps or more extorted and detestable atmosphere have pushed a lot of people  (smokers or not) to leave for greener pastures. Last but not least : with the growing success of the city among indian tourists, the already not-so-welcoming and peacocky people of Gokarna has also started to look down to foreigners. So far, the money of the foreign tourists is still paying for the gasoline of their brand new noisy motorbikes. The four decent beaches south of the town are Kudlee Beach, about a 20 minute walk from town, followed by the beautiful and clean Om Beach, Half Moon Beach and the secluded Paradise Beach.
  
Most foreign tourists come to stay on one of the 4 beaches just south of town. '''Kudlee Beach''' is the first, about a 20 minute walk, followed by Om Beach, Half Moon Beach and the secluded Paradise Beach - the beaches get more remote and less populated as you head south.
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===Gokarna Beach===
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Gokarna beach is several kilometers long and is situated at the edge of the town. This beach looks more pathetic every year. It is quite popular with pilgrims and indian groups but less with foreign tourists. Just the wind and the waves are cleaning this place. When the season is starting, the young workers of the beach-shops are collecting a few plastic bags, but only in front of their business. Nobody's cleaning outside these areas, except sometimes, an heroic foreign tourist (if you do so, be sure, locals will laugh at you... ).  After Shivaratri - the biggest festival and picnic in town - it is a seven-kilometers-long garbage dumb. Moreover, a solid local tradition will remind where you are (in India, of course!) : many people still use the beach as open-air public toilets. So, don't take your shoes off !
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Swimming may also be a challenge, since the water has an almost permanent dead fish smell. On the top of it all, the brown foamy stagnant liquid of "Gokarna river" is from time to time released into the sea. No wise person would enter the water on that day!
  
The most popular time to visit Gokarna is during the 4-day Shiva Ratri festival, when 2 giant chariots are pulled down the main street and up to 20,000 pilgrims descend on the town.
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Walk a couple of kilometres north from town along the beach, and things are much nicer and more pristine. The part of the beach closer to the Gangavalli River is actually quite stunning and not crowded at all.
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===Kudle Beach===
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South of Gokarna beach, and accessible by a short downhill walk from auto drop off points at the northern and southern ends of this beach. The northern drop off point is closer to Gokarna town, but the southern drop off point is suitable if you are planning to stay at a place in the southern stretch of Kudle beach. This beautiful site has suffered from the local building ambitions : coconut trees have been cut and the rice paddies have totally disappeared. On both sides, the hills have been destroyed to build terraces for some rival resort projects.  The long sandy beach has ample (too many ?)accommodations ranging from more expensive attached rooms with balcony to overpriced small huts attached to the many restaurants. During the rainy season (including August 2013) this beach is quite dirty and options for food are also very limited.
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===Om Beach===
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Om Beach is further along the coast from Kudle, and named for its shape as it is split by a rocky island. It is the most popular tourist beach in Gokarna, the only clean one and may be visited all around the year. It can be reached by auto, the nearer half is dominated by the Namaste Cafe and an expensive hotel development. The second half of the beach is packed with restaurants offering cheap accomodation in the form of bamboo or concrete beach huts. Internet and travel booking are available on the beach, but there are no ATM facilities. In the rainy season there are very limited options for boarding and lodging. This beach is reasonably clean all year round.
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===Half Moon Beach===
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Half Moon beach is smaller and less developed than Om Beach, and is reached by walking over the headland from Om. Facilities are limited, there are a couple of small restaurants and a limited number of huts.
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===Paradise Beach===
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Paradise beach is the furthest from Gokarna town, but does not offer any facilities. The lodges and restaurants have been demolished by land owners (actually the forest department) and the police visit this beach at times to evict any residents and extort large bribes from anyone seen smoking charas. There are absolutely no facilities available here anymore except a man selling melted chocolate bars.
  
 
==Get in==
 
==Get in==
  
 
===By train===
 
===By train===
Gokarna is connected by rail from [[Karwar]], [[Ankola]], [[Hubli]], [[Mangalore]], [[Kumta]] and [[Margao]]. The ''' Konkan Railway''' [http://www.konkanrailway.com/] passes through Gokarna - Kumta (35 km) and Ankola (20 km) are the nearest major railway stations.
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Gokarna is accessible by rail from Karwar, Ankola, Kumta, Mangalore and Madgaon (also called Margao). Kumta (35 km) and Ankola (20 km) are the nearest major railway stations, from where public or private transportation is available during day time. The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation [http://www.ksrtc.in/] operates buses (Red colored KSRTC buses) from nearby towns like Karwar, Ankola and Kumta to Gokarna.  
However, some like Matsyagandha express(Mangalore-Mumbai via Madgaon) do stopover at Gokarna. The '''Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation''' [http://www.ksrtc.in/] operates buses from these places to Gokarna. Gokarna's train station is actually about 8 kilometers away from the town, taxis usually ask for around Rs 250 whereas Rickshaws should be in the Rs 120-200 range (unless you arrive at nighttime during the monsoon). If you want to save some money, just take a right at the road right in front of the train station. Once you hit the main road, there's a bus stop where you can catch a bus that will take you into Gokarna for Rs 10.
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The  Konkan Railway [http://www.konkanrailway.com/]  passes through nearby. Only some trains like "Matsyagandha Express" (Mangalore to Mumbai via Madgaon) stops here. This train station is appropriately called as "Gokarna Road". The train station is actually about 8 kilometers away from Gokarna. Taxi fare is about Rs 250 whereas Rickshaws should be in the range of Rs 120-200 (unless you arrive at nighttime during the monsoon). If you want to save some money, just take a right at the road right in front of the train station and walk to the nearby main road. There's a bus stop where you can catch a bus that will take you into Gokarna for Rs 10.
  
 
===By bus===
 
===By bus===
From Bangalore, depending on the day of travel, there are anywhere from 1-4 buses operating. It is a 12 hour overnight journey from Bangalore to Gokarna. the experience taking the overnight sleeper was described as "being driven in a bouncy castle driven by the wicked witch of the west" - beware. Till now there is no direct rail transport from Bangalore to Gokarna. Private buses also operate to/from Hampi/Hospet. You can book online ticket to gokarna from http://www.redbus.in or any one of the operator's websites. National highway 17 is about 9 km from the town. The Bangalore - Goa highway passes through Ankola which is 20 km from the town. Coming down to Kumta is good option because one can easily catch buses to different places (especially Mangalore) as it is well connected.
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From Bangalore, depending on the day of travel, there are anywhere from 1-4 buses operating. It is a 12 hour overnight journey from Bangalore to Gokarna. the experience taking the overnight sleeper was described as "being driven in a bouncy castle driven by the wicked witch of the west" - beware. There are direct train services between Bangalore and Gokarna Road. There is a day train and a night train that stop at Gokarna. Private buses also operate to/from Hampi/Hospet. You can book online ticket to gokarna from any one of the operator's websites(RedBus, Travelyarri,[[http://www.abhibus.com Abhibus]],[[http://www.ticketgoose.com TicketGoose]] etc.). National highway 17 is about 9 km from the town. The Bangalore - Goa highway passes through Ankola which is 20 km from the town. Coming down to Kumta is good option because one can easily catch buses to different places (especially Mangalore) as it is well connected.
  
 
If arriving from Goa, you can take a local bus from Madgaon or [[Canacona]] to [[Karwar]], then catch another bus to Gokarna.
 
If arriving from Goa, you can take a local bus from Madgaon or [[Canacona]] to [[Karwar]], then catch another bus to Gokarna.
  
 
===By air===
 
===By air===
The nearest airport is in [[Goa]] at [[Vasco Da Gama|Dabolim]]. (Rail link via Margao)
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The nearest airport is in [[Goa]] at [[Vasco da Gama|Dabolim]]. (Rail link via Margao)
  
 
==Get around==
 
==Get around==
 
{{style|Most of this section needs to be divided into listings for the ''See'' and ''Do'' sections.}}
 
{{style|Most of this section needs to be divided into listings for the ''See'' and ''Do'' sections.}}
'''Walking''' is the most common way to get around, as the town is small and compact. The town is also famous for 4 beaches located to the south. ''Kudle'' (pronounced Kudlee) is the first that you come to, about a 20 minute walk. ''Om'' (the most famous of the beaches) is another 20 minute walk, and an additional 20 and 40 minute walk will bring you to ''Half-moon Beach'' and ''Paradise Beach'' respectively.
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'''Walking''' is the most common way to get around within town, as it is small and compact. The town is also famous for 4 beaches located to the south. From Gokarna beach,''Kudle'' (pronounced Kudlee) is the first that you come to, about a 20 minute walk. ''Om'' (the most famous of the beaches) is another 20 minute walk, and an additional 20 and 40 minute walk will bring you to ''Half-moon Beach'' and ''Paradise Beach'' respectively.  
 
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It is possible to get to Om beach by taxi or rickshaw (Rs.100-150 after a bit of bargaining - and the price is not unreasonable, the road winds around the hills and is much longer than coastal walking trail, This is also a nice 2-3 Km walk). There is a branch of the same road, that ends on a hill between Om and Kudle, but from there you still have to walk 7-8 minutes down to the Kudle beach. So this option is worth checking only if you have a lot of heavy bags, or share rickshaw with someone who goes roughly in the same direction (say, to the Om beach). Otherwise, it will take about the same time (and will save you some money) just to walk from the town to Kudle. Rickshaw drivers parked near Om beach often can offer transportation to Kudle (quoting that it is far away) - but this is a scam, he'll just take you to the parking area above Kudle mentioned above, and you can easily walk there in 10 minutes across the hill (just look for the white arrows on the stones showing the right way). These drivers also tend to quote higher prices to go to town - bargain, and if this does not work - walk along the road, you'll certainly encounter some rickshaw who'll be happy to get you to town for the proper fare.  
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At the left end of the Gokarna beach, a narrow path goes up a hill, where you cross a (Rama) temple en-route. This temple also has a natural water spring which according to the locals never stops running. The water is quite drinkable. After climbing up some stairs, you will find flat ground and some breath-taking views of Gokarna beach as you turn-around to see the distance you covered. As you move along, about 10 minutes walk from this place, the flat ground leads to a narrow lane, which goes down to Kudle beach, the second of Gokarna's beaches. This beach looks very unkempt, desolate and dirty in off-seasons. You will hardly find a soul here then. But come season time between November - February, this beach will be dotted with hippies. Very few Indians are sighted on this beach, and mostly day trippers. Sunset-Cafe , on Kudle beach, is heaven if you are lazy and like to dig yourself into a rice pudding (and dozing off in between).
 
At the left end of the Gokarna beach, a narrow path goes up a hill, where you cross a (Rama) temple en-route. This temple also has a natural water spring which according to the locals never stops running. The water is quite drinkable. After climbing up some stairs, you will find flat ground and some breath-taking views of Gokarna beach as you turn-around to see the distance you covered. As you move along, about 10 minutes walk from this place, the flat ground leads to a narrow lane, which goes down to Kudle beach, the second of Gokarna's beaches. This beach looks very unkempt, desolate and dirty in off-seasons. You will hardly find a soul here then. But come season time between November - February, this beach will be dotted with hippies. Very few Indians are sighted on this beach, and mostly day trippers. Sunset-Cafe , on Kudle beach, is heaven if you are lazy and like to dig yourself into a rice pudding (and dozing off in between).
  
At the extreme end of the Kudle beach, a small meandering path leads up the hill and we came onto a well-laid pitched road. For the non-adventurous folks, a walk down this road will lead to the main road, which is about 500metres from OM beach. For the more adventurous, instead of taking the pitched road, you can go straight and walk across the small trees for around 15 minutes and directly get down at the starting point of the OM beach. simply follow the white arrows outlined on the rocks, or look for the well used rocks. For avid trekkers, take a route which goes in the opposite direction of the pitched road, make your way through the thorny bushes and go down onto the rocks on the shore. This is the rocky part of the OM beach. From here , it takes around 10 minutes, crossing the rocks and landing up directly on the OM beach.
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At the extreme end of the Kudle beach, a small meandering path leads up the hill and we came onto a well-laid pitched road. The shortest way from here to Om beach is to walk straight up the small hill along the well used path. If the path is not clearly visible, look for the white arrows marked on the rocks that point the way from Kudle beach towards Om beach. A 7-10 minute walk will take you to the top of some cemented steps. These will take you straight down to Om beach, which will take 5-7 minutes. If you don't feel like taking this meandering path that goes up the hill, from the same starting point near Kudle beach, you can take the pitched road going down the hill towards the left. This will take you around 20-30 minutes to reach Om beach and is a much longer path, but easier to walk. After the initial 10 minutes of walk this pitched road meets the main paved road leading to Om beach.
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It is possible to get to Om beach by taxi or rickshaw (Rs.100-150 after a bit of bargaining - and the price is not unreasonable, the road winds around the hills and is much longer than coastal walking trail, This is also a nice 2-3 Km walk). There is a branch of the same road, that ends on a hill between Om and Kudle, but from there you still have to walk 5-6 minutes down to the Kudle beach. So this option is worth checking only if you have a lot of heavy bags and you are heading to the south end of Kudle beach. Rickshaw drivers parked near Om beach often can offer transportation to Kudle (quoting that it is far away) - but this is a scam, he'll just take you to the parking area above Kudle mentioned above, and you can easily walk there in 10 minutes across the hill (just look for the white arrows on the stones showing the right way). These drivers also tend to quote higher prices to go to town - bargain, and if this does not work - walk along the road, you'll certainly encounter some rickshaw who'll be happy to get you to town for the proper fare.  
  
 
To get to the beaches beyond Om (''Half moon'' and ''Paradise'') generally you have to walk from Om. This is not advisable during the monsoon as the walk is quite treacherous. In high season, however, during daytime there are boats cruising between the beaches and picking up the passengers. Usual price for a "shared" boat ride is Rs.100 (Rs.150 for a more remote ride, say from Kudle to Paradise), but you have to wait until there will be several people going roughly in the same direction. You can also "charter" boat (this can cost you say Rs.400 for a return trip to Paradise beach with one-hour stop there), or can be asked if you want to pay more (200 or 250) if there are not enough passengers but you do not want to wait.
 
To get to the beaches beyond Om (''Half moon'' and ''Paradise'') generally you have to walk from Om. This is not advisable during the monsoon as the walk is quite treacherous. In high season, however, during daytime there are boats cruising between the beaches and picking up the passengers. Usual price for a "shared" boat ride is Rs.100 (Rs.150 for a more remote ride, say from Kudle to Paradise), but you have to wait until there will be several people going roughly in the same direction. You can also "charter" boat (this can cost you say Rs.400 for a return trip to Paradise beach with one-hour stop there), or can be asked if you want to pay more (200 or 250) if there are not enough passengers but you do not want to wait.
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At the end of the half-moon beach, a small trail leads to Paradise beach, also known as Full-moon beach. Its around 20 minutes walk from Half-moon beach. The thing to remember here is after crossing the first set of rocks, one should not try to climb the hill. Rather try getting around the hill. Its a much easier climb. The steep climb up the hill will take you to the next village, Bellekan. This is the last of the Gokarna beaches. Pretty much isolated from the crowd, Paradise, the name suits this beach well. Its an absolute paradise! Its a very rocky beach, with sand in between. Waves are very strong, and it is quite dangerous to go out very far into the sea. Evergreen cafe is the first shack on this beach, It has a few basic huts. Rooms on this beach are basically huts on the hillock. Cafe Paradise had fantastic food as well.
 
At the end of the half-moon beach, a small trail leads to Paradise beach, also known as Full-moon beach. Its around 20 minutes walk from Half-moon beach. The thing to remember here is after crossing the first set of rocks, one should not try to climb the hill. Rather try getting around the hill. Its a much easier climb. The steep climb up the hill will take you to the next village, Bellekan. This is the last of the Gokarna beaches. Pretty much isolated from the crowd, Paradise, the name suits this beach well. Its an absolute paradise! Its a very rocky beach, with sand in between. Waves are very strong, and it is quite dangerous to go out very far into the sea. Evergreen cafe is the first shack on this beach, It has a few basic huts. Rooms on this beach are basically huts on the hillock. Cafe Paradise had fantastic food as well.
  
Half-moon and Paradise beaches can be fully approached only by walk or boat. Boat charges from Om beach to Paradise is around 100 INR and from Gokarna Beach to Paradise beach is around 150-175 INR. There are buses from Bellekan village to Gokarna.
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Half-moon and Paradise beaches can be approached by walk or boat. Boat charges from Om beach to Paradise is around 100 INR and from Gokarna Beach to Paradise beach is around 150-175 INR. There are buses from Bellekan village to Gokarna.
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There are regular '''buses''' from Gokarna to Belakan, a village that is around a kilometer from Paradise beach. The walk is through a bit of hilly terrain. The bus trip itself is quite picturesque and for a good part of the journey runs parallel to the river Aghanashini that finally meets the sea at Belakan. A boat ride (available in season) across the Aghanashini river leads to butterfly beach (which can alternatively be approached via road from Kumta).
  
 
==See==
 
==See==
  
* The '''Mahabaleshvara Temple''' is one of the largest in town, at the western end towards the beach.
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* The '''Mahabaleshvara Temple''' is one of the largest in town and is the main place of pilgrimage, at the western end towards the beach.
  
 
* The '''Maha Ganapati Temple''' is just meters away from the Shiva Temple and made in honour of Lord Ganesha having played a hand in taking the Atma Linga from Ravana. It is common protocol to first visit the Ganapati Temple & then move to the Shiva Temple.
 
* The '''Maha Ganapati Temple''' is just meters away from the Shiva Temple and made in honour of Lord Ganesha having played a hand in taking the Atma Linga from Ravana. It is common protocol to first visit the Ganapati Temple & then move to the Shiva Temple.
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* '''Koti Tirtha''' is an artificial water tank used for ritual bathing and is regarded as very holy by the locals. Koti Tirtha with its surroundings has an old world feel to it and makes an interesting trip. It is approachable by a short westward walk from Venkateshwara temple.
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* '''Beaches''': The five beaches are Gokarna beach, Kudle beach, Om beach, Half-moon beach and Paradise beach. Gokarna is popular with pilgrims, while Kudle and Om are popular with tourists.
  
 
==Do==
 
==Do==
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* Visit one of the four beautiful '''beaches''' to the south (see [[Gokarna#Get_around|above]]). Kudle is popular with those that are staying in town but want to spend the day at the beach, while Om is popular with those wanting to stay a few days or weeks and stare at the sea. Accommodation in huts or shacks and food are available always on all the beaches from 100 (basic bamboo hut on Kudle beach with mosquito net and electricity, outside shower and toilet) to 600/- (small cottage-type house with all necessary amenities) per night in the peak season. Om beach, due to it's popularity, tends to be a bit more expensive. Also there are several restaurant-type cafes on this beach. Enjoy the sea, sunlight, beer by sitting in any of the cafes near the beach. Since it is not possible to go to Kudle beach when it is dark without a torch light (the way to the beach winds around a hillock) it is better to stay in the town for the night and trek to the beach the next morning.  
 
* Visit one of the four beautiful '''beaches''' to the south (see [[Gokarna#Get_around|above]]). Kudle is popular with those that are staying in town but want to spend the day at the beach, while Om is popular with those wanting to stay a few days or weeks and stare at the sea. Accommodation in huts or shacks and food are available always on all the beaches from 100 (basic bamboo hut on Kudle beach with mosquito net and electricity, outside shower and toilet) to 600/- (small cottage-type house with all necessary amenities) per night in the peak season. Om beach, due to it's popularity, tends to be a bit more expensive. Also there are several restaurant-type cafes on this beach. Enjoy the sea, sunlight, beer by sitting in any of the cafes near the beach. Since it is not possible to go to Kudle beach when it is dark without a torch light (the way to the beach winds around a hillock) it is better to stay in the town for the night and trek to the beach the next morning.  
  
*The beaches are pretty clean, but ask locally about '''swimming''', as the currents can be very strong.
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*kudle and Om beach are reasonably clean (in season), but ask locally about '''swimming''', as the currents can be very strong. Groups of 100 per cent indian men may obviously be a source of desagrement especially for women travellers.
  
 
*Visit during ''Shiva Ratri'' (February-March) festival. The celebrations are a tremendous sight to watch as thousands of pilgrims descend on the town.
 
*Visit during ''Shiva Ratri'' (February-March) festival. The celebrations are a tremendous sight to watch as thousands of pilgrims descend on the town.
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*In Namaste cafe at Om beach you can get Mexican, Israeli and Indian food. Don't forget to taste delicious sea food like Prawn Masala and King Fish Sizzler. Some Nepali people also run a really good restaurant from a straw and bamboo hut on Kudlee beach.
 
*In Namaste cafe at Om beach you can get Mexican, Israeli and Indian food. Don't forget to taste delicious sea food like Prawn Masala and King Fish Sizzler. Some Nepali people also run a really good restaurant from a straw and bamboo hut on Kudlee beach.
*<eat name="Shree Shakti Cold Drinks and Restaurant" alt="" address="Car Street Main Road." directions="Temple Road" phone="08386 257836" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">An old restaurant running from thirty years. Famous for Indian dishes and ice cream ,fruit juice,lassies.Fresh and tasty. </eat>
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*<eat name="Shree Shakti Cold Drinks and Restaurant" alt="" address="Car Street Main Road." directions="Temple Road" phone="08386 257836" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">An old restaurant running from thirty years. Famous for Indian dishes and ice cream ,fruit juice,lassies.Fresh and tasty. The very friendly owners are Brahmins and the kitchen is the cleanest of Gokarna. Confortable rooms, with attached bathroom are available. </eat>
*<eat name="Pai hotel" alt="" address="" directions="Temple Road. About 1 km from Shiva Temple" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Great Leaf Idli. Excellent Upma. A decent thaali for dinner. please note this is Pai HOTEL, and not Pai Restaurant, which ISN'T as good.
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*<eat name="Pai hotel" alt="" address="" directions="Temple Road. About 1 km from Shiva Temple" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Excellent Upma, Dosa, Idli, Vada and other south indian items. A decent thaali for dinner.</eat>
Based on the recommendation, i and other members of my family did try out idly, but it was not that amazing as i was expecting</eat>
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*<eat name="Pritish Love Cafe" alt="" address="" directions="Temple Mount Road. About 1 km from Shailendra Temple" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long=""></eat>
 
*<eat name="Pritish Love Cafe" alt="" address="" directions="Temple Mount Road. About 1 km from Shailendra Temple" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long=""></eat>
  
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*Fresh '''coconuts''' are widely available as are delicious '''lassis'''.
 
*Fresh '''coconuts''' are widely available as are delicious '''lassis'''.
  
*You may be able to find '''beer''' (a 30 rupees bottle will cost you around 60 rupees) at any of the guesthouse restaurants on Om Beach. most have harder liqueur that you would have to ask for, since it's not legal for the restaurants to sell harder alcohol.
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*You may be able to find '''beer''' (a 60 rupees bottle will cost you around 120 rupees) at any of the guesthouse restaurants on Om Beach. most have harder liqueur that you would have to ask for, since it's not legal for the restaurants to sell harder alcohol.
  
There is a wine shop selling all sort of liquor right outside the bus stand in the main town.
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There is a wine shop selling all sort of liquor right outside the bus stand in the main town. This dark and grubby dive - you cannot call it a bar !- is permanently full of drunk local human detritus. Have a small walk up to the bar of Gokarn international (on the way to post office), which has a much better atmosphere and a friendlier staff. Actually wherever you go, beer and whisky are outrageously overcharged under the pretext you are in a holy town !
  
 
==Sleep==
 
==Sleep==
 
It is next to impossible to find some accommodation during the peak season. So, book in advance. (This might be outdated, since there are MANY guesthouses in Kudle Beach these days.)
 
It is next to impossible to find some accommodation during the peak season. So, book in advance. (This might be outdated, since there are MANY guesthouses in Kudle Beach these days.)
  
*<sleep name="Hotel Shivaprasad" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">Hotel Shivaprasad is a located in middle of the town and at walkable distance from the beaches and temples. The hotel is very clean and affordable with friendly staff and caring management., ☎ 91-8386-257032. Rs 1350/ for a double bed room with attached bath and air-conditioner. airconditioned double room Rs 850/night. You can get a triple bed A/C room for 950/- A/C.. </sleep>
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*<sleep name="Hotel Shivaprasad" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">Hotel Shivaprasad is located in middle of the town and at walkable distance from the beaches and temples. The hotel is very clean and affordable with friendly staff and caring management., ☎ 91-8386-257032. Rs 135/ for a double bed room with attached bath and air-conditioner. airconditioned double room Rs 850/night. You can get a triple bed A/C room for 850/- A/C.. </sleep>
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*<sleep name="Namaste Yoga Farm" alt="Namaste Holiday Home" address="Kudle beach" directions="" phone="" url="" checkin="12pm" checkout="12am" price="" lat="14.533219" long="74.315957">An oasis of peace just 3 minutes walk from the golden sands of Kudle
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beach and the famous Rama temple/Shiva cave of Gokarna. Sleep in ocean view
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rooms or luxurious cottages with their own veranda or Yoga deck or amidst lush
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greenery in one of the enchanting tree houses or bamboo huts build under a
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canopy of stars and palm leaves.
 +
 
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Organic vegetables,fruits and herbs grow amongst tropical flowers, healing
 +
plants and abundant bird life. Explore nearby beaches, local villages, ancient
 +
temples and caves. Transform mind, body and spirit through yoga and meditation,
 +
indulge in thai massage or take a river-kayak tour into the backwaters. Enjoy
 +
free reiki healing, art classes and chess club on Thursday's … or perhaps just
 +
simply relax, unwind and enjoy the magic of Gokarna.</sleep>
 
===In town===
 
===In town===
 +
* <sleep name="Hotel New Prasad Nilay" alt="" address="" directions="1 km from the main temple.." phone="+91-8386-257135,+91-9483939434" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Single room Rs. 300/night." lat="" long="" email="" fax="">Rs 800/ for a double bed room with attached bath and air-conditioner.etc</sleep>
  
* <sleep name="Gokarna International" alt="" address="" directions="1 km from the main temple.." phone="+91-8386-256622" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Single room Rs. 300/night, airconditioned double room Rs 850/night. You can get a triple bed A/C room for 500/- if you return the A/C remote." lat="" long="" email="" fax="">Rs 1500/ for a double bed room with attached bath and air-conditioner.</sleep>
 
  
* <sleep name="Hotel Om" alt="" address="Next to KSRTC bus stand" directions="A 10-minute walk from the Om beach" phone="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="" email="" fax=""></sleep>
+
* <sleep name="Gokarna International" alt="" address="" directions="1 km from the main temple.." phone="+91-8386-256622" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Single room Rs. 300/night, airconditioned double room Rs 850/night. You can get a triple bed A/C room for 500/- if you return the A/C remote." lat="" long="" email="" fax="">Rs 1500/ for a double bed room with attached bath and air-conditioner.etc</sleep>
  
* <sleep name="Hotel Ram" alt="" address="Next to KSRTC bus stand" directions="A 10-minute walk from the Om beach" phone="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Rs. 60/night for a single room with common toilet/bathroom facilities" lat="" long="" email="" fax=""></sleep>
+
* <sleep name="Hotel Om" alt="" address="Next to KSRTC bus stand" directions="A 30-minute walk from the Om beach" phone="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="" email="" fax=""></sleep>
 +
 
 +
* <sleep name="Hotel Ram" alt="" address="Next to KSRTC bus stand" directions="A 10-minute walk from the Om beach" phone="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Rs. 60/night for a single room with common toilet/bathroom facilities" lat="" long="" email="" fax=""></sleep>
  
 
* <sleep name="Seabird Resort" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Non-airconditioned rooms Rs. 1000/night, airconditioned rooms Rs.1500/night" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">Nice place to stay</sleep>
 
* <sleep name="Seabird Resort" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Non-airconditioned rooms Rs. 1000/night, airconditioned rooms Rs.1500/night" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">Nice place to stay</sleep>
  
 
* <sleep name="Shastri Guest House" alt="" address="" directions="Temple Road" phone="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Double &amp; Triple Non A/C Bed rooms for 150-200 INR/night." lat="" long="" email="" fax=""></sleep>
 
* <sleep name="Shastri Guest House" alt="" address="" directions="Temple Road" phone="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Double &amp; Triple Non A/C Bed rooms for 150-200 INR/night." lat="" long="" email="" fax=""></sleep>
 +
 +
* <sleep name="Padmalaxmi Guest House" alt="" address=" close to Gokarna main beach" directions=" Near Gokarna MAin Temple"          phone="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Double non a/c Bed rooms for 200-300 INR/night" lat=""long=""> Nice place to stay</sleep>
  
 
===At the beaches===
 
===At the beaches===
 +
* <sleep name="Linger at Bavikodla" alt="" address="Bavikodla, Gokarna" directions="4 kms north of the Gokarna beach" phone="+91-9590050001" url="http://www.linger.in/" checkin="24 hrs" checkout="24 hrs" price="" lat="" long="" email="[stay@linger.in]" fax=""> Large thatched huts made with replenishable, local materials set in a coconut grove right next to the beach. This is in a quiet, non-touristy part of Gokarna with nobody but a fishing village at a distance, and the very pretty meeting of the River Gangavalli is a short walk north of here. Cycles, hammocks, local food and books keep you comapny. </sleep>
  
* <sleep name="Namaste cafe" alt="" address="OM Beach" directions="start of OM beach" phone="08386257141" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Rooms or huts are available at rates ranging from Rs. 150 to Rs. 800. Rent for single rooms without bathroom is Rs. 200." lat="74°19'6E" long="" email="" fax="">Remains open all round the year</sleep>
+
* <sleep name="" alt="" address="" directions="start of OM beach" phone="08386257141" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Rooms or huts are available at rates ranging from Rs. 150 to Rs. 800. Rent for single rooms without bathroom is Rs. 200." lat="74°19'6E" long="" email="" fax="">Remains open all round the year</sleep>
  
 
* <sleep name="Gokarna International" alt="" address="Kudle Beach" directions="" phone="+91-8386-257843" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Non- airconditioned double room Rs 650/night" lat="" long="" email="" fax=""></sleep>
 
* <sleep name="Gokarna International" alt="" address="Kudle Beach" directions="" phone="+91-8386-257843" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Non- airconditioned double room Rs 650/night" lat="" long="" email="" fax=""></sleep>
  
* <sleep name="Om Beach Resort" alt="" address="Om Beach" directions="" phone="+91-80-25597021" url="http://www.ombeachresorts.com/" checkin="" checkout="" price="$47-$89/night" lat="" long="" email="info@kairali.com" fax="+91-80-25586163">Run by Jungle Lodges and Resorts, offers one bedroom villa packages for B & B Rs. 2100/- or all meals, Rs 4000/- per couple. </sleep>
+
* <sleep name="Om Beach Resort" alt="" address="Om Beach road, Bungle gudde, Gokarna" directions="" phone="+91-08386 - 257052/257718" url="http://www.ombeach@junglelodges.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="" email="info@kairali.com" fax="+91-80-25586163">Run by Jungle Lodges and Resorts Ltd., Govt. of Karnataka Undertaking, offers revised rate as on 15/5/2013 as 2200 rs per person per night on twin sharing basis (includes accommodation in A/C Suite room, all the three meals{breakfast,lunch,dinner},evening tea/snacks and all the taxes.   </sleep>
  
 
* <sleep name="Swa Swara" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" url="http://www.swaswara.com/" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">An upscale retreat with 24 villas, with a focus on yoga, meditation, art and clean, healthy food, having direct access to OM beach.
 
* <sleep name="Swa Swara" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" url="http://www.swaswara.com/" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">An upscale retreat with 24 villas, with a focus on yoga, meditation, art and clean, healthy food, having direct access to OM beach.
 
No single night stays available. The resort provides a 5 night Yoga & meditation package for two people sharing for around EURO 1500 + taxes which is inclusive of F & B. Ayurveda is available at extra cost.</sleep>
 
No single night stays available. The resort provides a 5 night Yoga & meditation package for two people sharing for around EURO 1500 + taxes which is inclusive of F & B. Ayurveda is available at extra cost.</sleep>
  
* <sleep name="Kudle Palace Resort" alt="" address="Right at Kudle beach" directions="A 30-minute trek from Om beach. You have to take a cab from main bus stop. The cab will charge Rs. 150/- till this resort." phone="08386 257843" url="" checkin="24-Hrs" checkout="24-Hrs" price="Rs. 800/night for a double room with attached toilet, no TV, 1 balcony facing sea" lat="" long="" email="hotelgokarn@yahoo.com" fax="08386 256848"></sleep>
+
* <sleep name="Kudle Palace Resort" alt="" address="Right at Kudle beach" directions="" phone="" url="" checkin="24-Hrs" checkout="24-Hrs" price="Rs. 800/night for a double room with attached toilet, no TV, 1 balcony facing sea" lat="" long="" email="hotelgokarn@yahoo.com" fax="08386 256848"></sleep>
  
 
* <sleep name="Om Shakti Cafe" alt="" address="Right at Paradise beach" directions="A 50-minute trek from Om beach." phone="" url="" checkin="24-Hrs" checkout="24-Hrs" price="Rs. 250/night for a double room (beach side thatched hut) with common bath room, no TV, cafeteria facing sea" lat="14.5195723" long="74.3373156">Open only from November through March.</sleep>
 
* <sleep name="Om Shakti Cafe" alt="" address="Right at Paradise beach" directions="A 50-minute trek from Om beach." phone="" url="" checkin="24-Hrs" checkout="24-Hrs" price="Rs. 250/night for a double room (beach side thatched hut) with common bath room, no TV, cafeteria facing sea" lat="14.5195723" long="74.3373156">Open only from November through March.</sleep>
  
* <sleep name="Cafe Paradise - Kudle Beach" alt="" address="Kudle Beach, Contact Person - Murali Kamath " directions="20 Minutes in auto or 40 Minutes walk from Gokarna Bus Stand." phone="09980888597" url="" checkin="24-Hrs" checkout="24-Hrs" price="Rs. 250/night for a double room (beach side thatched hut) with common bath room, no TV,cafetaria facing sea" lat="14.5195723" long="74.3373156"></sleep>
+
* <sleep name="CAFE PARADISE - HALF MOON BEACH" alt="" address=" Contact person sahil 9945059205" directions="30 Minutes in auto or 50 Minutes walk from Gokarna Bus Stand." phone="" url="" checkin="24-Hrs" checkout="Noon" price="Rs. 400/night for a double room (beach side thatched hut) with common bath room, no TV,cafetaria facing sea" lat="14.5195723" long="74.3373156"></sleep>
 +
 
 +
* <sleep name="LITTLE PARADISE INN- kudle beach open october through april" alt="" address="Right at kudle beach gokarna" directions="25minute trek from gokarna kudle beach" phone="contact personSAHIL BHAT.+91 9945059205 /9805379377/9736225776/E.mail(sahilbhatkashmir@gmail.com)" url=")" checkin="24-Hrs" checkout="24-Hrs" price="Rs.500/700/night for a double room (beach side thatched hut) with common bath room, no TV,cafetaria facing sea" lat="14.5195723" long="74.3373156"></sleep>
 +
 
 +
* <sleep name="Sunset Cafe" alt="" address="On Kude Beach" directions="" phone="" url="" checkin="24-Hrs" checkout="24-Hrs" price="" lat="14.5195723" long="74.3373156">Rooms range from Rs.250 to Rs.500. Rs. 250 for a basic shack, Rs. 350 for a room with fan and Rs. 500 for a room with attached bath. There are common bathrooms about a minutes walk away. </sleep>
  
* <sleep name="Cafe Paradise-Open only from November through March, Half Moon Beach" alt="" address="Right at Half Moon beach, Contact Person - Sahil " directions="40-minute trek from Om beach." phone="09945059205" url="" checkin="24-Hrs" checkout="24-Hrs" price="Rs. 250/night for a double room (beach side thatched hut) with common bath room, no TV,cafetaria facing sea" lat="14.5195723" long="74.3373156"></sleep>
+
==WARNING==
  
* <sleep name="Sunset Cafe" alt="" address="On Kude Beach" directions="" phone="9448526270, 9341079315" url="" checkin="24-Hrs" checkout="24-Hrs" price="" lat="14.5195723" long="74.3373156">Rooms range from Rs.250 to Rs.500. Rs. 250 for a basic shack, Rs. 350 for a room with fan and Rs. 500 for a room with attached bath. There are common bathrooms about a minutes walk away. </sleep>
+
Gokarna is a pilgrimage town : so try to remain quiet and respectful of local traditions, ask permission (and remove your footwear) before entering a temple, as anywhere else in the country. Actually, outside of the main street (ratha bidi or car street) and the water tank area (kothitheerta), very few people are vegeterian and absolutely nobody among the farmers. These are even eating turtles and their eggs, when they come to lay on the beach. So, feel free to eat what you want !
  
* <eat name="" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price=""></eat>==Respect==
+
Gokarna used to be a haven of peace for smokers but the tide has really turned. Even a cigarette can cost you a 200 rps in Car street. Anyone carrying charas should be particularly careful. A famous local dealer has recently been found hanging from a tree! If you see Sadhus sitting in a haze of ganja smoke, don't assume that it's ok for you to do it too. Locals will report you to the police if they see you doing it. Extortion by corrupt police officers is rampant, with searches on people entering or leaving Gokarna, between the beaches and even in the lodges. Large amounts of money (up to 20000 Rps ) have been paid under the threat of a trip to the police station. The season 2013/14 has seen all the foreigners on arrival having to open their luggages in a special police check-point at the entrance of the town, even those coming with the matsyaghandha express in the middle of the night.
 +
Extortion of money under any pretext has really become the favorite sport of the cops in Gokarna : on Valentine-Day, the police attacked foreigners partying on the beach. Several young tourists were so shocked, that they called their embassy to report the assault. Everybody heard about it on the social networks. ( see http://www.bangaloremirror.com/bangalore/cover-story/200-foreigners-accuse-Gokarna-cops-of-brutal-assault-at-V-Day-party/articleshow/30633255.cms).
 +
If you are interested in attending a police show, there is a regular one every new year's day : drunk policemen are racketing the local shops to get some bier and then, once they are overdrunk, they start making the life impossible to every group of tourists trying peacefully to party on the beach around a fire. In conservative India today,  celebrating anything has definitely become a challenge !
  
Gokarna is a pilgrimage town first and foremost, so it's best to keep this in mind - remain quiet and respectful of local traditions, ask permission (and remove your footwear) before entering any of the temples, and if you must consume alcohol here, do it on the premises of your guesthouse (if you're staying at one of the beaches), not in town.
 
  
Anyone carrying charas should be particularly careful. It is common to see Sadhus sitting a haze of ganja smoke, but don't assume that it's ok for you to do it to. Locals will report you to the police if they see you doing it or smell it about you and the police will treat you politely but firmly and won't accept baksheesh particularly during Shiva Ratri. Expect a term in jail with absolutely no sympathy from the consular office. Having said that, there seems to be an "agreement" with the police and the restaurants not to hassle the locals. Use caution at all times, of course.
 
  
There are several other temples near Gokarna. Murudeshwara temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is 45 mins to 1 hour drive from Gokarna.
+
There are several other temples near Gokarna. Murudeshwara temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is 45 mins to 1 hour drive from Gokarna. If you want to visit a more welcoming religious town, Udupi and its incredibly pristine atmosphere is just about four hours from Gokarna by train.
  
 
==Get out==
 
==Get out==

Latest revision as of 19:14, 21 September 2014

Gokarna is a small pilgrimage town on the coast in the Karnataka state of India.

Understand[edit]

Gokarna, is a small town centered around temples with pilgrims coming throughout the year and tourists -indians, russians and europeans - coming from december to february for the beaches. The name Gokarna, means cow's ear (go=cow karna=ear) in Sanskrit and is based on Hindu mythology. The town is popular among Hindu pilgrims as Gokarna has one of the few Shiva's holy temples with what is claimed to be original image of the god (a lingam). It is also the home of several religious celebrations, and some of them denote a good sense of dramaturgy. The most famous is the colorful "Shiva Ratri" festival at the end of february. If you are averse to massive crowd, unfamiliar with local culture, it is advisable to keep away during that time. For a few years now, a new God has also being honored : the God of Business. Gokarna is a very business oriented town !

Originally pioneering European tourists visited the place for its warm winter climate and the not-so-crowded atmospheric beaches. The golden age is over ! An increasing number of foreigners have visited the area over the last 10 years and more recently, the boom of the domestic tourism and the buses with russians on a package tour have really changed the face of Gokarna. Noise and traffic-jams have become common. Large groups of indian tourists are coming daily from Bangalore or Hubli. Moreover, foreign tourists have to face an increasing police harassment, because smoking ganja, that was relatively tolerated in the past, has become a easy way for them to make money - see the chapter WARNING. Unexpected visits in the beach shops or the rooms even at night, fines of 20 thousands of Rps or more extorted and detestable atmosphere have pushed a lot of people (smokers or not) to leave for greener pastures. Last but not least : with the growing success of the city among indian tourists, the already not-so-welcoming and peacocky people of Gokarna has also started to look down to foreigners. So far, the money of the foreign tourists is still paying for the gasoline of their brand new noisy motorbikes. The four decent beaches south of the town are Kudlee Beach, about a 20 minute walk from town, followed by the beautiful and clean Om Beach, Half Moon Beach and the secluded Paradise Beach.

Gokarna Beach[edit]

Gokarna beach is several kilometers long and is situated at the edge of the town. This beach looks more pathetic every year. It is quite popular with pilgrims and indian groups but less with foreign tourists. Just the wind and the waves are cleaning this place. When the season is starting, the young workers of the beach-shops are collecting a few plastic bags, but only in front of their business. Nobody's cleaning outside these areas, except sometimes, an heroic foreign tourist (if you do so, be sure, locals will laugh at you... ). After Shivaratri - the biggest festival and picnic in town - it is a seven-kilometers-long garbage dumb. Moreover, a solid local tradition will remind where you are (in India, of course!) : many people still use the beach as open-air public toilets. So, don't take your shoes off ! Swimming may also be a challenge, since the water has an almost permanent dead fish smell. On the top of it all, the brown foamy stagnant liquid of "Gokarna river" is from time to time released into the sea. No wise person would enter the water on that day!

Walk a couple of kilometres north from town along the beach, and things are much nicer and more pristine. The part of the beach closer to the Gangavalli River is actually quite stunning and not crowded at all.

Kudle Beach[edit]

South of Gokarna beach, and accessible by a short downhill walk from auto drop off points at the northern and southern ends of this beach. The northern drop off point is closer to Gokarna town, but the southern drop off point is suitable if you are planning to stay at a place in the southern stretch of Kudle beach. This beautiful site has suffered from the local building ambitions : coconut trees have been cut and the rice paddies have totally disappeared. On both sides, the hills have been destroyed to build terraces for some rival resort projects. The long sandy beach has ample (too many ?)accommodations ranging from more expensive attached rooms with balcony to overpriced small huts attached to the many restaurants. During the rainy season (including August 2013) this beach is quite dirty and options for food are also very limited.

Om Beach[edit]

Om Beach is further along the coast from Kudle, and named for its shape as it is split by a rocky island. It is the most popular tourist beach in Gokarna, the only clean one and may be visited all around the year. It can be reached by auto, the nearer half is dominated by the Namaste Cafe and an expensive hotel development. The second half of the beach is packed with restaurants offering cheap accomodation in the form of bamboo or concrete beach huts. Internet and travel booking are available on the beach, but there are no ATM facilities. In the rainy season there are very limited options for boarding and lodging. This beach is reasonably clean all year round.

Half Moon Beach[edit]

Half Moon beach is smaller and less developed than Om Beach, and is reached by walking over the headland from Om. Facilities are limited, there are a couple of small restaurants and a limited number of huts.

Paradise Beach[edit]

Paradise beach is the furthest from Gokarna town, but does not offer any facilities. The lodges and restaurants have been demolished by land owners (actually the forest department) and the police visit this beach at times to evict any residents and extort large bribes from anyone seen smoking charas. There are absolutely no facilities available here anymore except a man selling melted chocolate bars.

Get in[edit]

By train[edit]

Gokarna is accessible by rail from Karwar, Ankola, Kumta, Mangalore and Madgaon (also called Margao). Kumta (35 km) and Ankola (20 km) are the nearest major railway stations, from where public or private transportation is available during day time. The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation [1] operates buses (Red colored KSRTC buses) from nearby towns like Karwar, Ankola and Kumta to Gokarna.

The Konkan Railway [2] passes through nearby. Only some trains like "Matsyagandha Express" (Mangalore to Mumbai via Madgaon) stops here. This train station is appropriately called as "Gokarna Road". The train station is actually about 8 kilometers away from Gokarna. Taxi fare is about Rs 250 whereas Rickshaws should be in the range of Rs 120-200 (unless you arrive at nighttime during the monsoon). If you want to save some money, just take a right at the road right in front of the train station and walk to the nearby main road. There's a bus stop where you can catch a bus that will take you into Gokarna for Rs 10.

By bus[edit]

From Bangalore, depending on the day of travel, there are anywhere from 1-4 buses operating. It is a 12 hour overnight journey from Bangalore to Gokarna. the experience taking the overnight sleeper was described as "being driven in a bouncy castle driven by the wicked witch of the west" - beware. There are direct train services between Bangalore and Gokarna Road. There is a day train and a night train that stop at Gokarna. Private buses also operate to/from Hampi/Hospet. You can book online ticket to gokarna from any one of the operator's websites(RedBus, Travelyarri,[Abhibus],[TicketGoose] etc.). National highway 17 is about 9 km from the town. The Bangalore - Goa highway passes through Ankola which is 20 km from the town. Coming down to Kumta is good option because one can easily catch buses to different places (especially Mangalore) as it is well connected.

If arriving from Goa, you can take a local bus from Madgaon or Canacona to Karwar, then catch another bus to Gokarna.

By air[edit]

The nearest airport is in Goa at Dabolim. (Rail link via Margao)

Get around[edit]

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Walking is the most common way to get around within town, as it is small and compact. The town is also famous for 4 beaches located to the south. From Gokarna beach,Kudle (pronounced Kudlee) is the first that you come to, about a 20 minute walk. Om (the most famous of the beaches) is another 20 minute walk, and an additional 20 and 40 minute walk will bring you to Half-moon Beach and Paradise Beach respectively.

At the left end of the Gokarna beach, a narrow path goes up a hill, where you cross a (Rama) temple en-route. This temple also has a natural water spring which according to the locals never stops running. The water is quite drinkable. After climbing up some stairs, you will find flat ground and some breath-taking views of Gokarna beach as you turn-around to see the distance you covered. As you move along, about 10 minutes walk from this place, the flat ground leads to a narrow lane, which goes down to Kudle beach, the second of Gokarna's beaches. This beach looks very unkempt, desolate and dirty in off-seasons. You will hardly find a soul here then. But come season time between November - February, this beach will be dotted with hippies. Very few Indians are sighted on this beach, and mostly day trippers. Sunset-Cafe , on Kudle beach, is heaven if you are lazy and like to dig yourself into a rice pudding (and dozing off in between).

At the extreme end of the Kudle beach, a small meandering path leads up the hill and we came onto a well-laid pitched road. The shortest way from here to Om beach is to walk straight up the small hill along the well used path. If the path is not clearly visible, look for the white arrows marked on the rocks that point the way from Kudle beach towards Om beach. A 7-10 minute walk will take you to the top of some cemented steps. These will take you straight down to Om beach, which will take 5-7 minutes. If you don't feel like taking this meandering path that goes up the hill, from the same starting point near Kudle beach, you can take the pitched road going down the hill towards the left. This will take you around 20-30 minutes to reach Om beach and is a much longer path, but easier to walk. After the initial 10 minutes of walk this pitched road meets the main paved road leading to Om beach.

It is possible to get to Om beach by taxi or rickshaw (Rs.100-150 after a bit of bargaining - and the price is not unreasonable, the road winds around the hills and is much longer than coastal walking trail, This is also a nice 2-3 Km walk). There is a branch of the same road, that ends on a hill between Om and Kudle, but from there you still have to walk 5-6 minutes down to the Kudle beach. So this option is worth checking only if you have a lot of heavy bags and you are heading to the south end of Kudle beach. Rickshaw drivers parked near Om beach often can offer transportation to Kudle (quoting that it is far away) - but this is a scam, he'll just take you to the parking area above Kudle mentioned above, and you can easily walk there in 10 minutes across the hill (just look for the white arrows on the stones showing the right way). These drivers also tend to quote higher prices to go to town - bargain, and if this does not work - walk along the road, you'll certainly encounter some rickshaw who'll be happy to get you to town for the proper fare.

To get to the beaches beyond Om (Half moon and Paradise) generally you have to walk from Om. This is not advisable during the monsoon as the walk is quite treacherous. In high season, however, during daytime there are boats cruising between the beaches and picking up the passengers. Usual price for a "shared" boat ride is Rs.100 (Rs.150 for a more remote ride, say from Kudle to Paradise), but you have to wait until there will be several people going roughly in the same direction. You can also "charter" boat (this can cost you say Rs.400 for a return trip to Paradise beach with one-hour stop there), or can be asked if you want to pay more (200 or 250) if there are not enough passengers but you do not want to wait.

OM beach is so named, because the shape is like that of the Hindu religious symbol "OM". OM beach is about a kilometre from the main Gokarna town and fully approachable by road, unlike Kudle. In fact out of the 5 beaches, only Gokarna and OM beach are approachable by road. This usually means there are more Indian folks on the beach. For the other 3 beaches including Kudle, hiking or taking a boat ride are the two ways.

At the end of the OM beach, there is a path going up the hill. Here one has to get around a hillock(about 20-minutes walk) to reach Half-Moon beach. take this trail, and when you reach a fork in the trail, take a right for the coast route, and left for the forest route. They will both take you to the same place. Half-moon beach is so named because the shape resembles that of a half-moon. During season, the path is pretty well laid out. But at start of season, look out for thorns in the bushes. They hurt!!! In between one can take a diversion and take some rest below a palm tree on the edge of a cliff, from where one can try to catch a glimpse of the horizon. There will be many zig-zags , but make sure that one gets around the hill rather than unnecessarily climb up the hill. Once one gets down to Half-moon beach, he or she can see the pure beauty of this beach. During season , a couple of shacks operate on this beach. This is no electric power on this beach. Hence its totally cut off from civilization. But during off-season, you might be the sole inhabitant of this beach without any shacks operational. The rooms on this beach are pretty basic. They set you back by around 250 INR per night in peak season time.

At the end of the half-moon beach, a small trail leads to Paradise beach, also known as Full-moon beach. Its around 20 minutes walk from Half-moon beach. The thing to remember here is after crossing the first set of rocks, one should not try to climb the hill. Rather try getting around the hill. Its a much easier climb. The steep climb up the hill will take you to the next village, Bellekan. This is the last of the Gokarna beaches. Pretty much isolated from the crowd, Paradise, the name suits this beach well. Its an absolute paradise! Its a very rocky beach, with sand in between. Waves are very strong, and it is quite dangerous to go out very far into the sea. Evergreen cafe is the first shack on this beach, It has a few basic huts. Rooms on this beach are basically huts on the hillock. Cafe Paradise had fantastic food as well.

Half-moon and Paradise beaches can be approached by walk or boat. Boat charges from Om beach to Paradise is around 100 INR and from Gokarna Beach to Paradise beach is around 150-175 INR. There are buses from Bellekan village to Gokarna.

There are regular buses from Gokarna to Belakan, a village that is around a kilometer from Paradise beach. The walk is through a bit of hilly terrain. The bus trip itself is quite picturesque and for a good part of the journey runs parallel to the river Aghanashini that finally meets the sea at Belakan. A boat ride (available in season) across the Aghanashini river leads to butterfly beach (which can alternatively be approached via road from Kumta).

See[edit][add listing]

  • The Mahabaleshvara Temple is one of the largest in town and is the main place of pilgrimage, at the western end towards the beach.
  • The Maha Ganapati Temple is just meters away from the Shiva Temple and made in honour of Lord Ganesha having played a hand in taking the Atma Linga from Ravana. It is common protocol to first visit the Ganapati Temple & then move to the Shiva Temple.
  • Koti Tirtha is an artificial water tank used for ritual bathing and is regarded as very holy by the locals. Koti Tirtha with its surroundings has an old world feel to it and makes an interesting trip. It is approachable by a short westward walk from Venkateshwara temple.
  • Beaches: The five beaches are Gokarna beach, Kudle beach, Om beach, Half-moon beach and Paradise beach. Gokarna is popular with pilgrims, while Kudle and Om are popular with tourists.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Visit one of the four beautiful beaches to the south (see above). Kudle is popular with those that are staying in town but want to spend the day at the beach, while Om is popular with those wanting to stay a few days or weeks and stare at the sea. Accommodation in huts or shacks and food are available always on all the beaches from 100 (basic bamboo hut on Kudle beach with mosquito net and electricity, outside shower and toilet) to 600/- (small cottage-type house with all necessary amenities) per night in the peak season. Om beach, due to it's popularity, tends to be a bit more expensive. Also there are several restaurant-type cafes on this beach. Enjoy the sea, sunlight, beer by sitting in any of the cafes near the beach. Since it is not possible to go to Kudle beach when it is dark without a torch light (the way to the beach winds around a hillock) it is better to stay in the town for the night and trek to the beach the next morning.
  • kudle and Om beach are reasonably clean (in season), but ask locally about swimming, as the currents can be very strong. Groups of 100 per cent indian men may obviously be a source of desagrement especially for women travellers.
  • Visit during Shiva Ratri (February-March) festival. The celebrations are a tremendous sight to watch as thousands of pilgrims descend on the town.

Don't fall for the dolphin sight seeing gimmick from the speed boat vendor. All you get is a 10 min. ride and a distant glimpse of something in the water that might be a dolphin.

Buy[edit][add listing]

The small shops in the town sell religious items, psychedelic T-shirts and clothes for cheap. Trance music CDs and if you spin fire, (cotton) pois are available as well.

Malas (prayer beads), incense, cheap jewelry and religious paraphernalia are sold in dozens of stalls along the main road and gathered around temple entrances.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • There are a handful of local restaurants and dhabas in the town proper (including a couple of good options at the end of the main road where it hits Gokarna Beach).
  • Excellent local restaurants on the right just before the arch that leads into the main street. Incredibly cheap all-you-can-eat thalis, just don't drink the regular water though; buy yourself some bottled water. Street food is good, particularly the little fried pies and bhel puri. And don't forget to enjoy fish (pomfret, kingfish, seer being the popular ones) served fried, roasted or curried; as you like it.
  • All the beaches have basic accommodation and beach shacks (in season) serving food and drink.
  • In Namaste cafe at Om beach you can get Mexican, Israeli and Indian food. Don't forget to taste delicious sea food like Prawn Masala and King Fish Sizzler. Some Nepali people also run a really good restaurant from a straw and bamboo hut on Kudlee beach.
  • Shree Shakti Cold Drinks and Restaurant, Car Street Main Road. (Temple Road), 08386 257836. An old restaurant running from thirty years. Famous for Indian dishes and ice cream ,fruit juice,lassies.Fresh and tasty. The very friendly owners are Brahmins and the kitchen is the cleanest of Gokarna. Confortable rooms, with attached bathroom are available.  edit
  • Pai hotel, (Temple Road. About 1 km from Shiva Temple). Excellent Upma, Dosa, Idli, Vada and other south indian items. A decent thaali for dinner.  edit
  • Pritish Love Cafe, (Temple Mount Road. About 1 km from Shailendra Temple).  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Fresh coconuts are widely available as are delicious lassis.
  • You may be able to find beer (a 60 rupees bottle will cost you around 120 rupees) at any of the guesthouse restaurants on Om Beach. most have harder liqueur that you would have to ask for, since it's not legal for the restaurants to sell harder alcohol.

There is a wine shop selling all sort of liquor right outside the bus stand in the main town. This dark and grubby dive - you cannot call it a bar !- is permanently full of drunk local human detritus. Have a small walk up to the bar of Gokarn international (on the way to post office), which has a much better atmosphere and a friendlier staff. Actually wherever you go, beer and whisky are outrageously overcharged under the pretext you are in a holy town !

Sleep[edit][add listing]

It is next to impossible to find some accommodation during the peak season. So, book in advance. (This might be outdated, since there are MANY guesthouses in Kudle Beach these days.)

  • Hotel Shivaprasad. Hotel Shivaprasad is located in middle of the town and at walkable distance from the beaches and temples. The hotel is very clean and affordable with friendly staff and caring management., ☎ 91-8386-257032. Rs 135/ for a double bed room with attached bath and air-conditioner. airconditioned double room Rs 850/night. You can get a triple bed A/C room for 850/- A/C..  edit
  • Namaste Yoga Farm (Namaste Holiday Home), Kudle beach. checkin: 12pm; checkout: 12am. An oasis of peace just 3 minutes walk from the golden sands of Kudle beach and the famous Rama temple/Shiva cave of Gokarna. Sleep in ocean view rooms or luxurious cottages with their own veranda or Yoga deck or amidst lush greenery in one of the enchanting tree houses or bamboo huts build under a canopy of stars and palm leaves. Organic vegetables,fruits and herbs grow amongst tropical flowers, healing plants and abundant bird life. Explore nearby beaches, local villages, ancient temples and caves. Transform mind, body and spirit through yoga and meditation, indulge in thai massage or take a river-kayak tour into the backwaters. Enjoy free reiki healing, art classes and chess club on Thursday's … or perhaps just simply relax, unwind and enjoy the magic of Gokarna. (14.533219,74.315957) edit

In town[edit]

  • Hotel New Prasad Nilay, (1 km from the main temple..), +91-8386-257135,+91-9483939434. Rs 800/ for a double bed room with attached bath and air-conditioner.etc Single room Rs. 300/night..  edit


  • Gokarna International, (1 km from the main temple..), +91-8386-256622. Rs 1500/ for a double bed room with attached bath and air-conditioner.etc Single room Rs. 300/night, airconditioned double room Rs 850/night. You can get a triple bed A/C room for 500/- if you return the A/C remote..  edit
  • Hotel Om, Next to KSRTC bus stand (A 30-minute walk from the Om beach).  edit
  • Hotel Ram, Next to KSRTC bus stand (A 10-minute walk from the Om beach). Rs. 60/night for a single room with common toilet/bathroom facilities.  edit
  • Seabird Resort. Nice place to stay Non-airconditioned rooms Rs. 1000/night, airconditioned rooms Rs.1500/night.  edit
  • Shastri Guest House, (Temple Road). Double & Triple Non A/C Bed rooms for 150-200 INR/night..  edit
  • Padmalaxmi Guest House, close to Gokarna main beach (Near Gokarna MAin Temple). Nice place to stay Double non a/c Bed rooms for 200-300 INR/night.  edit

At the beaches[edit]

  • Linger at Bavikodla, Bavikodla, Gokarna (4 kms north of the Gokarna beach), +91-9590050001 (), [3]. checkin: 24 hrs; checkout: 24 hrs. Large thatched huts made with replenishable, local materials set in a coconut grove right next to the beach. This is in a quiet, non-touristy part of Gokarna with nobody but a fishing village at a distance, and the very pretty meeting of the River Gangavalli is a short walk north of here. Cycles, hammocks, local food and books keep you comapny.  edit
  • (start of OM beach), 08386257141. Remains open all round the year Rooms or huts are available at rates ranging from Rs. 150 to Rs. 800. Rent for single rooms without bathroom is Rs. 200.. (74°19'6E,)
  • Gokarna International, Kudle Beach, +91-8386-257843. Non- airconditioned double room Rs 650/night.  edit
  • Om Beach Resort, Om Beach road, Bungle gudde, Gokarna, +91-08386 - 257052/257718 (, fax: +91-80-25586163), [4]. Run by Jungle Lodges and Resorts Ltd., Govt. of Karnataka Undertaking, offers revised rate as on 15/5/2013 as 2200 rs per person per night on twin sharing basis (includes accommodation in A/C Suite room, all the three meals{breakfast,lunch,dinner},evening tea/snacks and all the taxes.  edit
  • Swa Swara, [5]. An upscale retreat with 24 villas, with a focus on yoga, meditation, art and clean, healthy food, having direct access to OM beach. No single night stays available. The resort provides a 5 night Yoga & meditation package for two people sharing for around EURO 1500 + taxes which is inclusive of F & B. Ayurveda is available at extra cost.  edit
  • Kudle Palace Resort, Right at Kudle beach, (, fax: 08386 256848). checkin: 24-Hrs; checkout: 24-Hrs. Rs. 800/night for a double room with attached toilet, no TV, 1 balcony facing sea.  edit
  • Om Shakti Cafe, Right at Paradise beach (A 50-minute trek from Om beach.). checkin: 24-Hrs; checkout: 24-Hrs. Open only from November through March. Rs. 250/night for a double room (beach side thatched hut) with common bath room, no TV, cafeteria facing sea. (14.5195723,74.3373156) edit
  • CAFE PARADISE - HALF MOON BEACH, Contact person sahil 9945059205 (30 Minutes in auto or 50 Minutes walk from Gokarna Bus Stand.). checkin: 24-Hrs; checkout: Noon. Rs. 400/night for a double room (beach side thatched hut) with common bath room, no TV,cafetaria facing sea. (14.5195723,74.3373156) edit
  • LITTLE PARADISE INN- kudle beach open october through april, Right at kudle beach gokarna (25minute trek from gokarna kudle beach), contact personSAHIL BHAT.+91 9945059205 /9805379377/9736225776/E.mail(sahilbhatkashmir@gmail.com), [6]. checkin: 24-Hrs; checkout: 24-Hrs. Rs.500/700/night for a double room (beach side thatched hut) with common bath room, no TV,cafetaria facing sea. (14.5195723,74.3373156) edit
  • Sunset Cafe, On Kude Beach. checkin: 24-Hrs; checkout: 24-Hrs. Rooms range from Rs.250 to Rs.500. Rs. 250 for a basic shack, Rs. 350 for a room with fan and Rs. 500 for a room with attached bath. There are common bathrooms about a minutes walk away. (14.5195723,74.3373156) edit

WARNING[edit]

Gokarna is a pilgrimage town : so try to remain quiet and respectful of local traditions, ask permission (and remove your footwear) before entering a temple, as anywhere else in the country. Actually, outside of the main street (ratha bidi or car street) and the water tank area (kothitheerta), very few people are vegeterian and absolutely nobody among the farmers. These are even eating turtles and their eggs, when they come to lay on the beach. So, feel free to eat what you want !

Gokarna used to be a haven of peace for smokers but the tide has really turned. Even a cigarette can cost you a 200 rps in Car street. Anyone carrying charas should be particularly careful. A famous local dealer has recently been found hanging from a tree! If you see Sadhus sitting in a haze of ganja smoke, don't assume that it's ok for you to do it too. Locals will report you to the police if they see you doing it. Extortion by corrupt police officers is rampant, with searches on people entering or leaving Gokarna, between the beaches and even in the lodges. Large amounts of money (up to 20000 Rps ) have been paid under the threat of a trip to the police station. The season 2013/14 has seen all the foreigners on arrival having to open their luggages in a special police check-point at the entrance of the town, even those coming with the matsyaghandha express in the middle of the night. Extortion of money under any pretext has really become the favorite sport of the cops in Gokarna : on Valentine-Day, the police attacked foreigners partying on the beach. Several young tourists were so shocked, that they called their embassy to report the assault. Everybody heard about it on the social networks. ( see http://www.bangaloremirror.com/bangalore/cover-story/200-foreigners-accuse-Gokarna-cops-of-brutal-assault-at-V-Day-party/articleshow/30633255.cms). If you are interested in attending a police show, there is a regular one every new year's day : drunk policemen are racketing the local shops to get some bier and then, once they are overdrunk, they start making the life impossible to every group of tourists trying peacefully to party on the beach around a fire. In conservative India today, celebrating anything has definitely become a challenge !


There are several other temples near Gokarna. Murudeshwara temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is 45 mins to 1 hour drive from Gokarna. If you want to visit a more welcoming religious town, Udupi and its incredibly pristine atmosphere is just about four hours from Gokarna by train.

Get out[edit]

  • Karwar — An easy day trip by train, bus or taxi since it is merely 55 kms away. Not too many direct buses. Ask at the Gokarna bus station. Last update puts the direct buses at 0730 & 1030. The better way to go is to go to Ankola and then take another bus to Karwar from there. You can also take the KR-2 train from the Gokarna Road train station. The station is around 9 kms outside the Gokarna town. Auto rickshaws charge something between 100-130 INR for the trip. The train journey between Gokarna & Karwar is around 45 minutes. You may not get a seat as the train is in the last leg of its journey. The fare is a very reasonable 9 INR. The train is scheduled to arrive at Gokarna Road at around 1020 but is often late by an hour.




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