In terms of population, Gokarna is one of India’s smaller towns. The temple town, which is situated on the nation’s west coast, boasts a population of a little over 25,000. However, the town’s popularity has exploded since the turn of the century. This has transformed it into one of India’s best-loved destinations.
Reasons To Visit Gokarna
Given that it isn’t far from Goa, a lot of tourists enjoy combining the two destinations for one perfect holiday. Then again, the growth of Gokarna’s tourism industry has inevitably allowed it to evolve into a truly magical place on its own.
Travelers from all over the world can revel in the state of Karnataka’s newest major attraction. Here are just 15 incredible ways to pass the time. Oh and save on travel and hotel booking using our Yatra Coupons.
1. Visit Kudle Beach
First on the long list of things to do in Gokarna is visiting the Kudle beach. Gokarna is blessed with a number of magical beaches, which is one of the main reasons for the popularity boom. Kudle beach is undoubtedly one of the best in the area and arguably the whole of India. Quite simply, no trip is complete without at least one day spent relaxing on the sand looking out at the Arabian Sea.
Kudle beach has become one of Gokarna’s biggest selling points in recent times. Unsurprisingly, it does get quite crowded during the tourist season. That’s not to say visitors can’t still have a wonderful time. Moreover, the locals have realized that there is money to be made. This means that the local vicinity has become far more accommodating also. On a quiet day, though, it’s one of the most serene places you could ever wish to spend an afternoon of luxury chilling.
How to get there: The beach is 2.4 km away from Gokarna Railway Station, and you can get there by a bus or cab
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2. Or Try Om Beach Instead
Another popular beach in the Gokarna area is the Om beach. From the top of the slopes, visitors are treated to some breathtaking views of the sandy beach, and pretty rock. Meanwhile, it’s all set against a backdrop that looks particularly beautiful during the times of sunrise and sunset.
As with Kudle beach, the growing popularity has resulted in a number of shacks being built. Those facilities ensure that all visitors are provided with everything needed to enjoy a full day of relaxed comfort. Meanwhile, the extremely calm waters are a great place to cool off or make a splash.
Meanwhile, there are several nice places to stay nearby too.
How to get there: Om Beach is 7.1 km from Gokarna Railway Station, and you can get there by a 16 minutes’ drive on Om Beach Road
3. See The Shiva Caves
A little relaxation is vital for any vacation, but it’s also an opportunity to see unique sights. The Shiva Caves certainly provide that and should be on every holidaymaker’s agenda.
The caves aren’t overly large but are an enjoyable walk that’s bound to fill you with awe. Time your visit at the right time, and you’ll see the bats leave the cave too. As you exit the cave at the end of your trip, you’ll see the horizon open up in front of your eyes too. That’s a sight that no visitor ever forgets.
Just remember to use a torchlight at all times.
How to get there: The Shiva Cave is about 5.5 km away from Gokarna Bus Stand, Banglegudda
4. Eat At Cafe 1987
Every holidaymaker appreciates that delighting the taste buds is one of the most enjoyable parts of any vacation. A trip to Gokarna should be no different, especially as Indian cuisine is genuinely one of the most versatile and tasty options on the planet.
There are a number of cool restaurants in Gokarna, but Cafe 1987 boasts a unique vibe. The vibrant interior design creates an authentic and memorable atmosphere. More importantly, the food is simply delicious.
With an extensive menu on offer too, all diners should find something to put a smile on their faces. Best of all, the food is extremely well priced.
How to get there: Cafe 1987 can be reached from Gokarna Railway Station within 15 minutes if you take the Om Beach Road
5. Attend The Holy Shivaratri Festival
As with any other destination, the time of year will influence the trip massively. The climate of Gokarna, and India as a whole, offers a pleasant atmosphere at all times. However, some periods are more exciting than others. Time your trip to coincide with the Shivaratri festival, and you will not be short of entertainment.
The annual festival takes place between February and March, and celebrates the Hindu god Shiva. It is a nationwide festival rather than one that’s limited to Gokarna. Nevertheless, the fact that it’s a night festival allows it to transform the area into a far more energetic location.
If you enjoy the bright colours, vibrant music, and culture that gives western India its identity, you’ll love this festival. And if you are planning to visit other towns and cities, your experiences in those places are sure to be enhanced also.
6. Try Water Sports
As mentioned, most of the beaches sit proudly on the edge of the Arabian Sea. Unfortunately, the water is probably a little too salty for most people to truly enjoy a swim. Having said that, it shouldn’t stop you from participating in other water-based activities.
Surfing is a particularly popular option, and boards can be rented. Alternatively, there is a surfing school at Gokarna beach. Meanwhile, there are a number of other activities taking place across the various beaches. Another option is to go diving with an instructor. This in an experience that you’ll treasure forever.
While the waters are calm in some places, others are hit with quite strong currents. Lifeguards are present at most of the beaches. Nevertheless, it’s important to test the waters to check you’re not leaving your comfort zone.
7. Enjoy A Luxury Spa
Gokarna has become a far more entertaining destination thanks to the growth of its tourism. This is one of the reasons that the crowds tend to come from a younger demographic than some of India’s other locations. But even if you are looking to pack a lot of adventure into your trip, nobody should say no to a day in a luxury spa.
Kudle Beach View Resort and Spa is a very popular option. The spa offers a wealth of luxury treatments. Whether you’re staying at the hotel or not, indulging in those moments is the perfect supplement to a day on the beaches or in the town.
It’s a great way to spend a bit of ‘me time’ or can be equally enjoyable for romantic couples.
8. Yoga Classes
In addition to a spa day, visitors often enjoy taking yoga classes. Even those that aren’t usually that way inclined can be won over by the peaceful and holy nature of Gokarna in general. There’s arguably no better way to get in touch with your soul than through specialist yoga classes.
Religion and spirituality are two different things. Even guests that don’t fall into either category can find that yoga is the perfect way to relax, especially on holiday. After all, the stresses of work and commitments aren’t present.
Classes take place in several locations, but Kudle beach is the most popular. Individually or in a group, it’s the perfect way to start the day.
9. Go Shopping
The area has been impacted by the tourist trade, but Gokarna still boasts its natural charm. That’s certainly visible when walking through the various shops and stools throughout the town.
Authentic products include religious items as well as Malas beads. Whether treating yourself or a loved one, those gifts bring a far greater impact than the mass produced goods found in many destinations. Aside from buying wonderful items, it’s a great way to meet more locals and soak in the culture.
Do this on the day of your arrival, and you’ll immediately gain a better insight into the workings of the town too. Just remember to have cash on your possession.
10. Go Trekking
Walking through the shops is fun, but there’s nothing quite like trekking through the local terrains. Gokarna boasts some truly magnificent mountain ranges and bushes. With the help of a trusted and experienced guide, this can be one of the greatest activities on offer.
Trekking can be tough work, although the Gokarna region doesn’t require peak fitness from explorers. Still, the sense of achievement upon completion is quite something. Moreover, this is an opportunity to see the area in a completely new light.
For those who are not into trekking, mountain biking offers an enjoyable alternatively. Either way, gaining a unique perspective of the area will enhance the trip without question.
11. Take A Trip Mirjan Fort
Mirjan Fort actually sits just outside of Gokarna. However, the short 10km trip to the fort is well worthwhile. History buffs will enjoy learning about the significance of the fort during several battles throughout the ages. Everyone else will simply be blown away by the architectural beauty.
Built in the 16th century and refurbished in the 17th, Mirjan Fort is a crucial landmark in this part of the world. The fact it is supported by a backdrop of stunning skies and natural beauty is simply a bonus. Albeit a massive one.
Many tourists even turn the ride into an adventure by taking a scooter cab. Or for the fitness freaks, it’s yet another fantastic bike ride route. Either way, it’s an excursion that no visitor ever regrets taking, and is the perfect way to break up a week or two spent in the Gokarna area.
How to get there: Mirjan Fort is 21.5 km away from the railway station, and you have to take NH66 to get there
12. Visit Mahabaleshwar Temple
Gokarna is a pilgrimage town, and the Mahabaleshwar temple is a major focus for this element. From a tourist’s perspective, it’s also an iconic attraction of immense importance.
The Hindu temple dates back to somewhere around 350CE. It plays a crucial role in the history of this holy town, and is vital for the Shivaratri festival also. Most of the locals visit it on a regular basis, and most visitors should place a visit on their to-do lists too.
Without being the largest temple in India, it carries one of the most intriguing designs. Whether a visitor is religious or not isn’t overly important. It is a key ingredient for enjoying the trip either way.
How to get there: A drive for 7 minutes on the main road from the railway station will get you to the Mahabaleswar Temple.
13. And Maha Ganapati Temple
Being a relatively small town means that many of the attractions are in proximity. This is great news for visitors trying to see as much of the place as physically possible. After visiting the main temple of Mahabaleshwar, the Maha Ganapati is just a stone’s throw away.
It may be small, but the temple is kept in great condition. A lot of visitors enjoy arriving for the evening Aarti ritual. Even for non religious people, a quick look around will brighten up the day even further. Moreover, it often leaves the visitor with a new perspective on life and the world in general.
If that’s not an incentive to take this in on those travels, what is?
How to get there: Maha Ganapathi Temple is also 7 minutes away from the railway station
14. See Koti Teertha
The name Koti Teertha translates to ‘a thousand springs’ and the sacred tank is idolised by locals. The tank is used for a number of rituals and is surrounded by temples. Visitors probably won’t quite understand its importance, but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy a short trip to the tank.
Gokarna is a holy town and has only really opened its doors to tourists in the last couple of decades. Koti Teertha is perhaps the best example of a location still undamaged by those touristy elements. While it’ll almost certainly retain its presence, seeing it before the local area is affected is advised.
When combined with a trip to the nearby Venkateshwara temple, it’s the ideal way to pass a busy morning or afternoon. This is one thing that should on your to-do list for things to do in Gokarna.
15. Relax On Half Moon Beach
Gokarna has plenty to offer its tourists. First and foremost, though, it’s the perfect location for a relaxed vacation. The combination of great weather, unique culture, and unspoiled tourism are all key ingredients. But it’s those lovely beaches that truly take the fun to another level.
Of all the beaches, Half Moon is probably the best bet for privacy and calmness. The surrounding trees and rocks create a romantic atmosphere. Or it can become your backdrop for personal relaxation and reflection. Accessing the beach can be a little hassle, but getting off is the real challenge. Not due to practical issues; due to the fact no guest ever wants to leave.Whether staying in this area or not, the serenity is the ideal way topper for any vacation. Don’t miss out on all these fun things to do in Gokarna for your next trip.
How to get there: Walk towards the southern end of Om Beach and take a narrow trail leading to Dolphin café. The café will have a sign board indicating the direction towards Half Moon Beach.