Gokarna Hindu Pilgrimage Site Karnataka

Gokarna is a famous Hindu pilgrimage destination situated in the coastal region of Arabian Sea in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka State, India. The Uttara Kannada district is known for its scenic beauty and magnificent temples. Gokarna is blessed as a Shaiva pilgrimage center and is considered as the southern Kashi (Varanasi). This small and holy town is given the same importance as Kashi and Rameshwaram pilgrimage sites in India. Also is one of the best Bhaskara Kshetras among the 10 holy places and there are significant references about Gokarna derived from Purnas. Gokarna is a town of contrasts as it both a pilgrimage centre and a holiday tourist destination. Click here to read about the famous temples in Gokarna.

Gokarana or the Cow’s Ear

The name Gokarna literally means ‘Cow’s Ear’, as the Arabian Sea on one side and the rivers Aghanasini and Gangavati on the other make an angle resembling a cow’s ear. Gokarna is renowned as Mukti Stala, the place where Hindus come to perform the funeral rites, after the death of their close relative. Gokarna has been an important center for Sanskrit learning from ancient times.

Picture of Gokarna Hindu Pilgrimage destination in Karnataka India

Gokarna is also known for the small and beautiful beaches on the Arabian Sea and opposing mountains of the Western Ghats.

Tourist Places in Gokarna

Mahabaleshwar Temple, Bhandakeri Math and Toggu Math, Kotiteertha (Koti Thirtha), Gokarna Beach and OM Beach are some of the famous tourist attractions in Gokarna.

History and Mythology

Gokarna is said to have been born 2.3 million years ago. Gokarna's name has several references in many Puranas, also the great 2 epic of Hindu mythology - Mahabharatha and Ramayana.

The earliest documented history of the town is not known. But during the 6th Century Tamil saints Nayanars Appars and Sambathar have praised the deity of Gokarna in their Hymn. It is been proven that the Kadamba King Mayurvarma had brought many learned Vaidika Brahmin from Ahichchathra to rejuvenate Brahminic faiths, perform royal rituals and teach Sanskrit. Also a team of Brahmins escaped from Gomantak (Goa) due to forcible conversions by Portuguese and British who settled in and around Gokarna in 15th century during the reign of Vijayanagar Empire. Later, Portuguese occupied Konkan including Goa under their rule.

How to reach Gokarna in Karnataka

By Bus

Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operates daily long journey bus services from major cities such as Mangalore, Bangalore, and Panaji to Gokarna. Gokarna is 59 km from Karwar, 238 km north of Mangalore, and 453 km from Bangalore. Several private bus services also runs daily buses connecting Gokarna with other majore cities in India.

Railway Station

Gokarna Road Railway Station is 6 km away from Gokarna. The town is situated on the Konkan Railway line on the Mumbai to Mangalore route.


Mangalore International Airport at Bajpe and Dabolim Airport at Goa are the nearest airports to reach Gokarna.


You might also be interested in

Famous Temples in Karnataka

Kukke Subramanya Temple
Kollur Mookambika Temple
Hampi Virupaksha Temple
Murudeshwar Shiva Temple

Tourist Destinations in India

Shirdi Sacred Town
Agasthyakoodam Mountain Trekking
Karla Caves



  1. I would like to add a couple of things to the Information in the post. The Mahabhaleshwara temple of Gokarna is one of the 5 Aatma lingas. The other are Gunavanteshwara near Idagunji, Murdeshwara, Dhareshwara and Siddeshwara. I have visited 4 (except Siddeshwara) out of these 5 Aatma Lingas. There is a legend about the Aatma linga. I shall write a post in my blog and link it here soon.



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