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20 Things to do in Gokarna

20 Things to do in Gokarna

By Avilasha Borthakur

26 Jul, 2023

Tucked away on the pristine coastline of Karnataka, Gokarna is a hidden gem that is home to pristine beaches, a spiritual aura and an ambience of calmness like none other. Renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and vibrant culture, this coastal town offers a myriad of experiences that captivate the hearts of travellers seeking solace and adventure.

So, whether you're a beach lover, an avid trekker, or a spiritual seeker, Gokarna has something for everyone. Here’s 20 incredible things to do in Gokarna, from exploring the world of yoga and spirituality, to relaxing on one of the many Gokarna beaches. 

1. Walk Along Half Moon Beach

Blue shores of the Half Moon Beach in Gokarna

Blue shores of the Half Moon Beach in Gokarna

If you want to escape the crowds and soak in the Gokarna sunset views, venture to Half Moon Beach, a secluded paradise accessible only by boat or trekking. With its pristine shoreline, turquoise waters, and serene ambiance, it's an ideal spot for relaxation and beachside picnics.

2. Say Hi to Dolphins at Kudle Beach

Dolphin spotting at Kudle Beach

Dolphins playing in the Arabian Sea (source: Aberaeron Wales)

With its golden sands, swaying palm trees, and laid-back atmosphere, Kudle Beach is a haven for beach lovers. Take a leisurely stroll, savour a beachside meal at one of the many shacks lining the shore, or better yet - take a boat ride into the ocean and watch dolphins frolic all around you.

3. Marvel at the Mirjan Fort

Mirjan Fort Gokarna

Moss covered walls of the Mirjan Fort

Take a step back in time and explore the magnificent Mirjan Fort. Built during the 16th century, this historical gem boasts impressive architecture, intricate carvings, and offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

4. Seek Blessings at Mahabaleshwar Temple

Mahabaleshwar Temple Gokarna

Entrance to the Mahabaleshwar Temple in Gokarna

Immerse yourself in the spiritual aura of Gokarna by visiting the ancient Mahabaleshwar Temple. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this revered temple showcases breath-taking Dravidian-style architecture made of white-marble. Legend has it that even one glimpse of the Shiv Linga can lead to heaps of luck for the visitor.

5. Witness the Majestic Vibhooti Falls

Vibhooti Falls Gokarna

The gushing Vibhooti Falls, nestled amidst greenery covered rock formations

Located amidst lush greenery, Vibhooti Falls is a scenic waterfall where you can bask in nature's beauty. It’s named after “Vibuth” which means limestone, referring to the limestone rocks that the water passes through. You can trek to the location and take a refreshing dip in the cool waters or simply revel in the tranquil surroundings.

6. Trek to Paradise Beach

Night at Paradise Beach Gokarna

Stunning view of the Paradise Beach at night (Source: Facebook)

Embark on a scenic trek through lush greenery and rocky cliffs to reach Paradise Beach, another haven away from the bustling crowds. The pristine shoreline, clear waters, and tranquil environment of the surrounding forests makes it a perfect spot for solitude and introspection.

7. Indulge in Yoga and Meditation

Gokarna yoga class

Yoga class in progress at one of Gokarna's many ashrams (Source: Justdial)

Owing to Gokarna’s age-old temples and the aura of spirituality that surrounds it, it is a hub for yogic practices and spiritual wellness. When you’re there, engage in yoga and meditation sessions offered by numerous ashrams and retreat centres, and discover inner peace while surrounded by serene natural beauty.

8. Enjoy Water Sports at Om Beach

Om Beach Gokarna

Sandy shores, blue waters, jet skis and boats on Om Beach

Satiate your adventurous spirit by trying various water sports at Om Beach. From banana boat rides to jet skiing, there are plenty of thrilling activities to keep you entertained. Named after its distinctive shape resembling the sacred Hindu symbol 'Om,' this beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing as well.

9. Visit the Koti Teertha Sacred Tank

Koti Teertha Gokarna

The colourful expanse of the Koti Teertha in Gokarna (source: HinduTemples.blogspot)

Explore the sacred Koti Teertha, a man-made tank believed to contain water from various holy rivers across India. “Koti Teertha” which stands for “a thousand springs”, is a significant place for religious rituals as it is surrounded by colourful temples and even has an illuminated shivling placed in the middle of the pond.

10. Walk On The Glowing Shores of Honey Beach

Bioluminescence in Honey Beach Gokarna

Bioluminescence under the night sky in Gokarna (source: Tripoto)

Have you ever seen waters that light up like a thousand, glowing stars? Well, you will now. In the night, head to Honey Beach for a walk and watch as the waves are awash with a blue glow. This is owing to bioluminescent phytoplankton, a sea organism that glows bright.

11. Trek to Yana Rocks

Yana Rocks Gokarna

The massive ancient rock formations of Yana Rocks

Embark on a thrilling trek to Yana Rocks, a unique rock formation nestled amidst dense forests. Marvel at the massive limestone monoliths, including the famous Bhairaveshwara Shikhara, and soak in the enchanting surroundings.

12. Explore the Colourful Gokarna Market

Gokarna local markets

Local charming markets of Gokarna selling souvenirs

Take a stroll through the bustling Gokarna Market, brimming with vibrant stalls selling local handicrafts, clothing, jewellery, and fresh produce. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere and shop for unique souvenirs, including handmade prayer beads, brass sculptures and frames adorned with deities.

13. Witness a Mesmerizing Sunset at Belekan Beach

Belekan Beach Gokarna

Beautiful pink-purple glow spreading on the skies in Belekan Beach (source: TripAdvisor)

Each of the Gokarna beaches are a mesmerising sight and Belekan Beach is no exception. Head to Belekan Beach in the evening and be treated to a breathtaking Gokarna sunset view. The serene surroundings and the play of colours across the sky make it a truly magical experience, paired with the waves.

14. Discover the Beauty of Kagal Fort

Aerial view of the Kagal fort and Kagal beach

Aerial view of the Kagal Fort and Kagal Beach area (source: Nirvana Beach WordPress)

Uncover the historical charm of Kagal Fort, a magnificent watchtower nestled in the Sahyadri mountain range. Explore the ruins, admire the stunning views, and soak in the rich heritage of the region. Since the Mirjaan town was a hub for pepper exportation, the fort was built to have sights on intruders on the banks of River Aghanashini.

15. Indulge in Ayurvedic Treatments

Ayurvedic Massage

A relaxing Ayurvedic oil massage in progress (source: Mumbai Resorts)

Pamper yourself with rejuvenating Ayurvedic treatments and massages offered by renowned wellness centers in Gokarna. Experience holistic healing techniques that will relax your mind, body, and soul. These treatments not only help in relaxation, but play a part in providing relief to those suffering from joint injuries, ENT disorders, hormonal issues and more.

16. Visit the Bhadrakali Temple

Pay your respects at the Bhadrakali Temple, a revered shrine dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali. Adorned with intricate carvings and religious motifs, this temple is a significant religious landmark in Gokarna. It is believed that the creation of the temple arose when Goddess Uma was cast away by Ravana, and was asked to remain indoors by Lord Vishnu.

17. Explore Apsarakonda

Apsarakonda Falls Gokarna

The majestic Apsarakonda Falls surrounded by multiple cave structures

About 60 kms away from Gokarna is the gorgeous abode of Apsarakonda - an ancient waterfall that drops from 50-feet high, and is said to be the “pond of angels” since legend has it that angels would bathe in the pool. The waterfall is also surrounded by caves around - caves which are said to have been the home of the Pandavas.

18. Visit Murudeshwar Temple

Murudeshwar Temple Gokarna

Giant Shiva statue at the Murudeshwar Temple

Home to the second largest statue of Lord Shiva in the country, the Murudeshwar temple is a sight to behold. Meant to represent Shiva arising from the waves, with a backdrop of the Arabian sea, the temple also has a 20-stories high Gopura. When you’re there, a must in the things to do in Gokarna is to take the lift inside the Gopura for a view of the 123-feet high statue, from the top.

19. Go Caving in Gogarbha

Gogarbha Caves Gokarna

Entrance to the Gogharbha or Shiva Caves

While exploring the many Gokarna beaches, take a detour and get the thrill of your life with a caving expedition. The Shiva Cave, also known as “Govina Kivi” which translates to “cow’s ear”, is a haven for tourists and devotees alike. Small steps lead into the interior of the cave, which is dome-like. Legend has it that about a 100 years ago, there used to be a tunnel that connected the cave to Utterkashi, in Uttarakhand.

20. Soak in the Serenity of Gokarna Beach

Gokarna city beach

People frolicking in the Gokarna city beach before sunset

Conclude your Gokarna adventure by spending peaceful moments at the namesake Gokarna Beach. Known for its pristine shoreline and soothing waves, it offers a serene atmosphere perfect for reflection and relaxation.

From serene beaches and historical landmarks to spiritual sites and thrilling treks, there are boundless things to do in Gokarna, offering a diverse range of experiences that will leave you spellbound. Pack your bags, embark on this soul-stirring journey, and create memories to cherish forever in this enchanting coastal haven.

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