Gokarna Tourism, India: Places, Best Time & Travel Guides 2021
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Gokarna is a city located in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka, and is etymologically translated to ‘cow’s ear.’ According to popular mythological belief, it is the place where Lord Shiva emerged from the incarnation of Mother Earth in the form of a cow. Interspersed with ancient temples, the town is home to one of the oldest temples since time immemorial known as Mahabaleshwar, enshrined with Lord Shiva. The town is about 59 km from Karwar, 483 km from Bengaluru, and 238 km from Mangalore. 

Furthermore, the rustic outlook of the town has attracted the attention of a lot of travelers and foreigners. There are several beaches, pilgrimage sights, and waterfalls that are reverberating tourist attractions. In fact, the town is situated around the River Aghanashini, which is considered to be deemed and sacred site for devotees.

However, due to the recent tourist influx, the town attracts both adrenaline seekers and those looking for spiritual solace. It is the town of golden beaches named after the way they are shaped like Om Beach and Half Moon Beach. Paradise Beach does no injustice to its name! The tall palm trees, serene waves of the ocean gushing towards the rocks, and the evenings spent watching the sun melting into the ocean add a surrealistic appeal to the place.

Apart from beaches, there is the Mahabaleshwar Temple that attracts many devotees and saints. Yana is another dainty town located in the vicinity of Gokarna, whose lavish surroundings and rocky terrain is perfect for activities like cycling and trekking. Mountaineering is another popular sport.

The serene beaches pose as perfect sites for watersport activities like surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, parasailing, and jet skiing. If you want to indulge in watersport activities, then the best time to visit the place is post-monsoon, from September to December. Winters in Gokarna are flamboyant, with a mildly cold climate and lush green surroundings. Summers in Gokarna are hot and humid, followed by the showers that cool the surroundings down with heavy rainfall. 

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Latest Information on Travelling to GOKARNA?

Entry is open from all domestic states for all kind of travel. However, every incoming tourist will be required to present a negative RT-PCR report to enter the state boundaries.

  • Face masks to be worn when in public
  • No e-passes, test certificates or accommodation proof are required by travellers before entering Gokarna.
  • Lockdown imposed in whole Gokarna.
  • Supermarkets, malls, parks and other attractions, others can cinema halls, pools, theatres and open-air theatres have been closed .
  • Social distancing norms are to be followed when out in public or using public transports.
  • Restaurants, pubs and clubs are functioning with just the home delivery services.
  • Inter-state and Intra-state travelers shall NOT have to undergo any form or institutional or home quarantine upon arrival in Gokarna.
  • Asymptomatic travelers are advised to self-monitor their health status for the next 14 days after arrival. In case of symptom appearance, they are to call the Apthamitra helpline number 14410.
  • Symptomatic inter-state passengers must immediately self-isolate and seek medical attention by calling on the Apthamitra helpline number 14410.
Flights

The nearest airport to Gokarna is the Dabolim Airport of Goa. Flights to this airport are functional from Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and 2+ other destinations.

Local Transport

Buses, autorickshaws, taxis and ferries are plying as normal in Gokarna. Travellers can also hire private two-wheelers for the duration of their stay.

The state government of Karnataka has taken several steps to curb the spread of Covid-19 while tourists to visit Gokarna. Thrillophilia recommends you follow all guidelines and safety measures issued by the government and practice personal hygiene to keep yourself safe.

Curfew imposed in Gokarna till 25th of May Updated: 15 May 2021

The locales of Gokarna will undergo day as well as night curfew keeping in sight the rising covid-19 cases.

Gokarna scraps e-pass requirement for inter-state and intra-state entry Updated: 15 May 2021

According to the new guidelines released by the state of Karnataka, inter-state and intra-state travelers do not need to get an e-pass to enter Gokarna. Hand stamping for inter-state travellers has also been done away with. In addition to this, a negative RT-PCR test report is required to enter the state borders.

Covid guidelines for travellers coming to Karnataka Updated: 04 May 2021

Travellers visiting Karnataka will be screened at the airport and will need to provide a Covid-19 negative certificate. However, the test has to be done 72 hours prior to the visit. The negative report will be verified by the airline staff at the time of boarding.

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Newly Added Gokarna Experience

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I booked this with Thrillophilia and everything was arranged properly. The staff there were very professional helps us with details and demo about the activities. the equipment was good and the instructor was there beside us which we felt safe the whole experience. Nice videos and photos at additional cost but that's okay coz it is once a lifetime expereince.
Once in a lifetime expereince, we really enjoyed boating to the exact location for the activity, the staff was helpful and friendly the dive was amazing with the beautiful corals and cute creatures of the Waterworld... An overall unforgettable experience.
My whole family enjoyed it and this was the best trip with the camping till date. Such a corporative staff we haven’t seen anywhere and also the food was alright. Recommended.
Good deal with Thrillophilia from the price, service, and operator, the bike was dropped off on time and in good condition, the pick-up of the bike as well was smooth...Genuine companies to deal with no doubt would advise others too.
I'm happy with my experience, the pick-up of the bike from the rental company was easy, I had a great ride with a couple of friends there the whole day... and the return of the bike too was easy... Thanks
18 January 2021
Excellent
Best place to rest while in Gokarna. It is a very peaceful and beautiful place. We went to Gokarna for 3 days. The first day at the beach we were tired and 2nd day we stayed at this place. It was amazing, we got to rest and enjoyed ourselves in their beautiful room. The cottages are really spacious and luxurious. There is a pool outside where you can sit. The room has AC, bathtub, TV, Fridge etc. It was really comfortable and relaxing. The food was also great. Happy to stay there anytime. The staff was very helpful and helped to arrange auto/taxi to move around. When you are in Gokarna, take a rest day and this place is perfect for that.
friendly staff and good ambience
It was an awesome experience. Thanks to thrillophilia and pramod. It is near Riya beach of Gokarna off beat location. Private beach, nice food, live music, tent, cottages, drinks everything was an awesome. Note : vehicle can't go till end almost 1 km walk on the beach.
I was there for 2 days with my friends. The atmosphere is very calm and quiet and it is on the beachside. I recommend this place for people looking for budget and pleasant stay
We went for a family trip and we booked this homestay through Thrillophilia, it was an amazing experience, The room was comfortable and all the other facilities provided were up to mark, the meals included in the package was delicious. The activities included in the stay package were amazing, totally loved the beachside stay, Thanks Thrillophilia for such an amazing package at the best price.

How to Reach

  • How to reach Gokarna by air: The closest airport is Dabolim Airport that is located in Goa and it is 106 kilometres away. It takes around 3 hours and 19 minutes to reach if you drive or you can go by bus or even train.
  • How to reach Gokarna by Rail: There is Gokarna Road train station that is around 8 kilometres from the main part of the city. Another station that you can travel to is Ankola, which is just 20 kilometres from the city and is the best-connected station.
  • How to reach Gokarna by Car/Bike:
  • From Goa:
  • Distance: 144 kilometres
  • Travelling Time: 3 hours 13 minutes
  • Route Map: Goa – Palolem – Arga - Gokarna
  • From Pune:
  • Distance: 563 kilometres
  • Travelling Time: 9 hours 22 minutes
  • Route Map: Pune – Karad – Belgaum - Gokarna
  • From Bangalore:
  • Distance: 485 kilometres
  • Travelling Time: 8 hours 26 minutes
  • Route Map: Bangalore – Harihar – Sirsi - Gokarna
  • How to reach Gokarna By Bus:
  • From Goa:
  • Total Distance: 173 kilometres
  • Travelling Time: 3 hours 54 minutes
  • Ticket Price Volvo: Not easily available
  • Ticket Price Non AC: Rs.600
  • Starting Bus Stand: Mapusa Carvalho Petrol Pump
  • Ending Bus Stop: Gokarna Cross Highway NH66
  • Route Map: Goa – Margao – Karwar - Gokarna
  • From Pune:
  • Total Distance: 552 kilometres
  • Travelling Time: 10 hours 10 minutes
  • Ticket Price Volvo: Starts at Rs.1105
  • Ticket Price Non AC: Starts at Rs.700
  • Starting Bus Stand: Swargate, Pune
  • Ending Bus Stop: Madangeri
  • Route Map: Pune – Karad – Belgaum - Gokarna
  • From Bangalore:
  • Total Distance: 487 kilometres
  • Travelling Time: 8 hours 16 minutes
  • Ticket Price Volvo: Starts At Rs700
  • Ticket Price Non AC: Starts At Rs 600
  • Starting Bus Stand: Giri Nagar
  • Ending Bus Stop: Gokarna
  • Route Map: Bangalore – Hiriyur – Ranebennur - Gokarna

People Also Ask About Gokarna

  1. Which are the famous places to visit in Gokarna?

    If you are a devotee, adrenaline seeker, or somebody looking for solace and peace, Gokarna is the perfect place for you. Here are some of the famous attractions of Gokarna.

    1. Om Beach:
    Om Beach, located in Gokarna, has a spiritual significance as the beach matches the symbol 'Om.' You can see the unison of two diverse pieces of land here that have a semi-crescent shape that gives it a distinct identity.

    The sand granules of this beach are extremely delicate, and the rocks are equally astounding. Also, fishermen boats are present throughout the shores, who organize the fishing activity for tourists in the deep sea. You can also try here other adventurous activities like dolphin spotting, banana boat ride, and jet-skiing.

    Location:
    Gokarna, Karnataka 581326.

    2. Nirvana Beach:
    Secluded from the scores of crowds and offering solace to those seeking to unwind by the coastline makes Nirvana Beach a must-visit place in Gokarna. This is one of the offbeat places in the town where one can dive into the cool blue waters and enjoy a refreshing getaway. Experiencing the sunset and sunrise from this beach is absolute bliss.

    Location: Gokarna, Karnataka 581351.
    Timing: 4 AM- 6:30 PM.

    3. Half Moon Beach:
    This popular tourist attraction in Gokarna is reminiscent of the shape of a half-moon. It is considered to be a paradise for those looking to enjoy adventurous activities like beach trekking.  The beach is recognized for its clear sparkling sands against the crystalline blue waters.

    Away from the huge crowd, the beach is a pleasant spot to enjoy some of the fun activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling.  You can also enjoy scrumptious food at the cafes and beach shacks located nearby.

    Location: Gokarna, Karnataka 581326.
    Timing: 12 hours from 6 am to 6 pm.

    4. Paradise Beach:
    The beach is an ideal place to spend your night gazing at the stars and moon and trying activities like canoeing and jet-skiing. There is a freshwater well at the beach, which makes lodging a great choice for adventurers. The water currents at the beach are believed to be very strong, and it is not an appropriate spot for swimming.

    Location: Patong's Beach Road, Gokarna.
    Timing: 9AM-6PM.

    5. Mirjan Fort:
    The Mirjan Fort is flanked by the shores of the Agnanishi River and is loaded with large roofs and bastions. There are four main approaches to the fort, each of which is laid out by steps built out of laterite stone. It is sprinkled with several wells linked to the channel. You can walk through the history of Gokarna by visiting this beach.

    Location: talluk, Mirjan Fort Road, Mirjan, Karnataka 581333.

    6. Koti Tirtha:
    Koti Tirtha is located close to Mahabaleshwar Temple and is considered to be a spiritual stopover as the tourists take a dip in the pond before visiting the religious places in the area. This popular and sacred man-made tank holds great reverence amongst the locals and tourists alike, as it is known to purify their souls by washing away their sins.

    Location: Kotiteertha, Gokarna, Karnataka 581326.
    Timings: From 12 am to 12 pm.

    7. Mahabaleshwara Temple:
    Located on the Kothi Teertha Road in Gokarna, this 4th-century temple has a 1500-year-old deity of Lord Shiva. There is a popular belief that the deity will bestow immense blessings on devotees who just get a glimpse of it. This popular tourist attraction is a beautiful masterpiece of Dravidian art and culture for tourists to appreciate.

    Location:Koti Tirtha Rd, Kotiteertha, Dandebagh, Gokarna, Karnataka 581326.
    Timings: 6 am to 12:30 pm and 5 pm to 8:30 pm.

  2. What are the best things to do in Gokarna?

    Gokarna offers innumerable adventurous and serene activities for all visitors who walk in here –

    1. Scuba Diving:
    Owing to the rich coastline of Gokarna, scuba diving here is a must and offers you a chance to witness sea animals like sea cucumbers and clownfishes! After being given the basic training by a divemaster, you are taken by a boat to witness the underwater world.

    Location: Om Beach, Kudle Beach, and the diving site close to Murudeshwar.
    Entry Fee/Price (Only if applicable): around 5000 INR per person.

    2. Dolphin Spotting in Gokarna:
    The tropical weather and sparkling waters are ideal for an exciting dolphin spotting trip in Gokarna. Om Beach is one of the best sites to witness the dolphins playing around and jumping in the water.

    Timing: 10 am to 3 pm.
    Entry Fee/Price (Only if applicable): Rs 500 per person.

    3. Jet Skiing:
    Enjoy a fun session of jet skiing with your friends and family at the beautiful Om Beach that is embraced with the soothing currents of the Arabian Sea. Grab your life jacket and get ready to create some everlasting memories as you cruise through the waves while enjoying this activity.

    Timing: 10-15 minutes per session.
    Entry Fee/Price (Only if applicable): around 1000 INR per person.

    4. Fishing in Gokarna:
    One can experience the joy of fishing at the pristine Om Beach and Kundle Beach in Gokarna, where the water is ideal for enjoying this activity. If you're inexperienced, then the local fishermen will also assist you in knowing about the tidbits of this activity. The activity is around an hour-long, and the prices vary depending on the mediator.

    Timing: The activity begins around 10 am.

    5. Banana Boat Ride in Gokarna:
    This 10 to 15-minute mini-adventure will be a fun-filled experience that you will cherish for a lifetime. Hold on tight as the boats take you away from the shoreline and then bring you back towards the shore. Both experienced as well as novices can enjoy this jovial water-based activity, and a guide is always there to assist you.

    Entry Fee/Price (Only if applicable): 700 INR to 1000 INR per.

    6. Beach Trekking and Camping:
    One can set up tents and trek up to and from the number of exotic beaches of Gokarna for an authentic experience. You can also mingle with the locals while trekking through the popular beaches like Om Paradise Beach and Nirvana Beach.

    These beaches have long stretches of sand that are an absolute delight for the trekking enthusiasts. The beaches of Gokarna are so famous that it is often called the beach town of Karnataka. This is the reason that most of the tourists and trekkers also enjoy camping close to these beaches.

    7. Shopping:
    If you’re in Gokarna then shopping at the Flea market should be the most preferred activity to stock up souvenirs for your family. Gift items like artificial jewelry, magazines, and a range of fancy products that will coil up your memories in Gokarna can be bought from here. However, without good bargaining skills, it is generally not very much possible to crack a fair deal in the Flea Market.

  3. What are the best adventure activities to do in Gokarna?

    Gokarna is one of the places where you can enjoy a variety of adventure sports/activities and have the best moments of your life.

    1. Jet Skiing: 
    Getting on a motorbike and moving it around in the waters never gets boring at the famous Gokarna beaches. It is advised that the noobs take a guide with them for some initial help.

    2. Snorkeling: 
    There is no shortage of snorkeling sites in Gokarna, for a fun and leisure experience. The Gokarna water is claimed to be rip tide free and very suitable for this activity. An entirely different world awaits for you as you take a plunge into the deep waters of Om Beach.

    3. River Rafting: 
    The clean white waters of the Uttara Kannada region are ideal for a river rafting adventure. This is one of the most sought after adventurous activities due to good weather, high-intensity tides, and several agencies present here. While bobbing down the water rushing through the deep gorges, you're up for limitless adventure and fun.

    4. Scuba Diving: 
    All the water sports lovers should once try Scuba diving at Gokarna which is much cheaper and easier as compared to other famous beach destinations. Netrani Island is the best location for scuba diving as you can see a large variety of marine life.

  4. What is the best time to visit Gokarna?

    March to October is considered to be the best time to visit Gokarna due to the pleasant weather and temperature that ranges around 32 degrees Celsius. This time is also ideal for enjoying most of the adventurous activities in the beaches of Gokarna as the tides are low.
  5. What can I buy in Gokarna?

    You can buy a variety of different things in Gokarna such as:

    -Incense sticks
    -Brass lamps
    -Picture frames
    -Prayer beads
    -Psychedelic T-shirts
    -Hippie clothes
    -Musical instruments
    -Books
    -Homemade soaps
    -Spices.

  6. Is Gokarna beach safe?

    Yes, Gokarna beach is extremely safe as it is always brimming with the crowd, and it has many lifeguards who'll take care of your safety. There is a constant patrolling on the beach so that you stay extremely safe while enjoying water-based activities at this beach.

  7. How many days are enough for Gokarna?

    Two days are enough to have an enthralling tour of Gokarna. You can reserve day one to witness the beaches and enjoy water based activities. On the second day, you can shop for souvenirs at flea markets, and you can have a tour of the temples.
  8. Which are the best water sports to do in Gokarna?

    Gokarna has one of the most loved beaches across India, where you can try some of the crazy water sports.

    1. Banana Boat Ride:
    This water sport is the best of all as it is full of thrill and gives you a memorable experience which you never imagined. The sharp twist and turn of the boat upside-down will give you a unique experience. Two of the most loved beaches, the Om beach, and the Gokarna beach, are ideal to try this water sports activity.

    2. Scuba Diving:
    Explore the underwater sea beauties as you dive into the famous beaches of Gokarna. This adventure activity can be experienced at the Om beach, Gokarna Beach, or Kudle Beach. You'll also witness a varied range of corals as well as beautiful sea flowers while trying this activity.

    3. Parasailing:
    The exciting sport involves two major components – a big parachute and a quick speedboat. Considered to be the most thrilling beach sports activity, it gives you the bird's eye view of the coastlines of Gokarna. A strong rope is attached to the parachute at one end and the speed boat on the other end into which you are securely harnessed.

  9. Which are the best trekking trails in Gokarna?

    Gokarna is known for its famous beach trek that attracts most of the public visiting there. It starts from Gokarna beach and goes via the Kudle beach, Om beach and the Half Moon beach; it ends somewhere at the Paradise beach.

    1. Gokarna Beach:
    The Gokarna beach trek is a moderate to easy trekking trail well suited for the beginners as well as the experienced hikers. The entire trek is interspersed by forests and lush greenery and offers you amazing views.

    2. The Kudle Beach:
    The next stop in the trekking tour is The Kudle Beach that is home to many local cafes and small eating joints. You can relax here for a bit while sipping some great chilled beer. This beach has a great staircase that directly opens up to the main road, which helps you continue your journey further.

    3. Om Beach:
    After approximately a 3 km stretch from Kudle Beach, you will reach this beautiful beach, which has a lot of activities at the offer like scuba diving and banana boat riding. This beach has many cafes and resting areas for a little stoppage during your trekking tour.

    4. Half Moon Beach:
    Half Moon Beach trekking route is full of steep walkways and rocks, and while trekking over here, you'll witness some of the most amazing sites.  After a long walk of somewhat 15-20 minutes from Half Moon Beach, you will come to the final point of your trekking adventure at Paradise beach.
  10. Which are the best places for shopping in Gokarna?

    Splurging in the local Gokarna markets is a sheer delight. Get ready to bargain to get a good price though.

    1. Street shopping:
    Small local shops carry trinkets and interesting products for you to purchase.
    2. Temple shopping: While the loca shops share quite a variety of products, shops around the temples sell more religious souvenirs like the statues, spices, flowers and incense sticks etc.
  11. What are the best sites for camping in Gokarna?

    Here is the list of the top-most sites for camping in Gokarna.

    1. Om Beach:
    Have the best adventure of your life as you set up your tent close to Om Beach to enjoy a memorable camping experience. You can gaze at the stars at midnight, and you can enjoy the waves gushing towards the shoreline while camping here.

    2. Paradise Beach:
    Enjoy a hippie vibe as you set your camp at Paradise Beach that is a scenic gateway for the bohemians and free wandering souls. While camping here, you can enjoy the splendid view of the shoreline, and you can even roast your own fish in the open.

    3. Half Moon Beach:
    Enjoy the best view of the sunrise and sunset as you enjoy a camping experience close to Half Moon Beach. The campsite here is not very crowded and organizes campfires, offering you the best experience of your life. The tents are well-equipped with blankets, LED lights, and pillows.
  12. Which are the best places for scuba diving in Gokarna?

    Here are the most popular scuba diving sites in Gokarna.

    1. Netrani Island:
    This is the ideal site for scuba diving adventure in Gokarna, where you can spot a variety of sea animals like sea cucumbers and rays. If you're a novice in this field, then you can also take the guidance of an instructor before trying this activity.

    2. Om Beach:
    Brace yourself for the best experience of your life as you enjoy an amazing scuba diving adventure at Om Beach. You'll not only get to explore the underwater world of this beach, but you'll also witness coral reefs and seashells while enjoying this activity.

  13. What is the best local food in Gokarna? Where can I get to try it out?

    Due to its religious background, several places serve only vegetarian food. However, its proximity from the sea also makes it possible to access some authentic seafood dishes. You could try the authentic Karnataka dishes or even order in for a complete thali. Some of the local restaurants to try out are as below.

    1. Mahalaxmi Restaurant: Backpacker haven known for its Banana pancakes and Indian curries.
    2. Prema: A multi cuisine restaurant known for its Icecreams and Italian dishes.
    3. Shree Shakti Restaurant: One of the oldest restaurants that has been around for over 3 decades. Its known for its sweet lassi.
    4. Dolphin View Restaurant: A vegetarian only restaurant known especially for its Masala Cashew Curry paired best with rice.
    5. Namaste Cafe: Seafood lovers should definitely check this out. It is known for its King fish sizzler and other delectable cuisines like mexican and Israeli.
  14. Where can I spot dolphins in Gokarna?

    Guided sessions are usually organized for tourists. There are abundant Humpback Dolphins to watch out for.

    - The guided session is usually organised between 10am - 3pm.
    - Lasts between half an hour and an hour basis the water currents.
  15. What are the famous pilgrimage spots in Gokarna?

    The temples have a significant history surrounding them. While Shiva is the main deity, there are several temples that are a must-visit.

    1. Mahabaleshwara: It is a classic example of the beauty of Dravidian architecture. It Faces Karwar city and the Arabian Sea.
    2. Koti Tirtha: Man made tank is surrounded by temples and used to immerse the Idols.
    3. Maha Ganpati Temple: As per legend, the temple was made to honor boy Ganesha for deceiving Ravana and keeping him from completing his penance.