The temple town Gokarna in the Karnataka state of India is a popular pilgrim town. One can explore the best of Gokarna in a day from its serene untouched beaches to the ancient temples steeped in history. Or you can spend days lazing out on these beaches and sauntering the nooks and cranny exploring the quintessential charm of an Indian village.
If you have more days in Gokarna you can head to explore the popular attractions in the neighborhood of Gokarna. We list here some of the interesting places around Gokarna which do make for great memorable day excursions.
Explore the untouched beaches of Kumta
A small deviation from NH 17 drove us into the small village of Kumta. The quaint untouched village in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka some 30 km from Gokarna is also famous for ancient temples. A visit to Kumta was also part of our road trip along the west coast of India. We drove past a large fish market through mud road which ended at the long stretch of desolate Kumta beach. A climb up the huge rocks ashore offers never ending vistas of the Arabian sea.
Some ten minutes drive further our route ended onto another stretch of white sandy Honnalli beach lined with colorful fishing boats. Kumta yet another typical rustic village offers some of the pristine hidden beaches. Kumta is famous for cashew nut, betel nut, and handicrafts products.
Explore the unusual hillocks and caves of Yana
Yana is a small village in Uttara Kannada of Karnataka some 50 km from Gokarna is famous for the colossal rock outcrops nestled amidst the lush green of Sahyadri mountains. The jagged rocky hills composed of unusual black crystalline limestones can be reached by a light trek through the dense forests. Apart from the avid trekkers, Yana is also frequented by devotees visiting the small cave temple in one of the hillocks which house a Swayambhu linga and an incarnation of the goddess Durga. There are believed to be more than 60 such hillocks in Yana to be explored by adventurists. One can also visit the Vibhuti Falls some 8 km from Yana.
Explore the pristine beaches and mouthwatering seafood in Karwar
Karwar is a pretty beach town and the port city of Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka around 60 km from Gokarna. Karwar located along the west coast of the Indian peninsula has a bounty of clean pristine beaches. Cradled in the lap of western ghats at the confluence of the Arabian Sea and River Kali makes it rich with flora and fauna with some marvelous scenic vistas of the coastal lush green. The desolate beaches lined with colorful fishing boats are more often flocked by fishermen than the touristy crowd. Karwar makes for a great laid back getaway. When in Karwar devouring on some scrumptious seafood, especially fish is definitely a must.
Explore the marvelous temple complex of Murdeshwar
Murdeshwar town in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka state around 80 km from Gokarna is popular for the wonderful Murudeshwara temple and magnificent Shiva Statue. The temple is built on the Kanduka Hill bounded by the Arabian Sea on three sides and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple complex houses a colossal statue of Lord Shiva dominating the city skyline. The 123 feet statue is the second highest statue of Lord Shiva in the world. The entrance to the temple is through a 249 ft 20-storied gopura adorned with reliefs from the Hindu mythology. A top floor of gopura accessed via lift offers a breathtaking panorama of the surrounding and the Shiva statue. There are several smaller temples in the complex few of which are century old.
Explore the magnificent Magod falls
Magod Falls in Uttar Kannada district of Karnataka state is located some 85 km from Gokarna. The river Bedti cascading from a height of 200m makes for a magnificent scenic vista. We drove to a parking on a hill opposite the falls where we were issued entrance tickets. From here we climbed the walkway through the forest punctuated with vantage points of the falls gushing amidst the lush green forests. One can also trek down to the bottom of the falls which would require an expert guidance. Best time to visit the falls is during the monsoons that are from June to September. The large Kavade lake on the way to Magod Falls makes for a great picnic spot.
There is both private and public transport available for Kumta, Karwar, and Murdeshwar from Gokarna. To reach Magod take a bus to Yellapur from Gokarna and then hire a private vehicle to Magod falls. For Yana, it is feasible to hire a private vehicle/taxi from Gokarna itself.
Goa the beach destination favorite with the party lovers is only 140 km from Gokarna and is well connected by bus. The best way to reach Goa from Gokarna is to board one of the three direct trains which will take you a little more than an hour.
Have you already been to Gokarna? Then start planning for trips around the temple town and explore the hidden gems.