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Where is Gokarna?

Gokarna is a small temple town located in the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka state in India. Known for its pristine beaches and ancient Hindu temples, Gokarna has become a popular tourist destination in recent years. But where exactly is this town located?

Where is Gokarna?

Location of Gokarna

Gokarna is situated along the coast of the Arabian Sea, about 518 km northwest of Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka. It lies between the Gangavali and Agnashini rivers, with the town itself resting on an ear-shaped shore between these two rivers.

Geographically, Gokarna is located at 14.5435° N latitude and 74.3208° E longitude. It borders Uttara Kannada district to the north and south, while the Arabian Sea provides a natural border to the west. The Western Ghats mountain range runs parallel to the coast at Gokarna.

Accessibility

The nearest airport to Gokarna is Dabolim Airport in Goa, around 140 km away. The town does not have its own railway station, with the closest one being in Ankola, around 26 km inland.

Visitors typically access Gokarna by road, with buses and taxis available from nearby towns and cities like Hubli, Mangalore, and Panaji in Goa. The National Highway NH-66 passes close to Gokarna, linking it to major destinations on the western coast of India.


District Details

Administratively, Gokarna falls under the Kumta taluk of the Uttara Kannada district. Uttara Kannada itself is one of the largest districts in Karnataka by area, occupying the northern part of the state's coastline alongside Goa.

Some other towns and villages located close to Gokarna within this district include Ankola, Kumta, Honavar, Bhatkal, Murudeshwar, Sirsi, Siddapur, and Mangeshi. However, apart from its world-famous beaches and temples, Gokarna is the main attraction for visitors.

Climate in Gokarna

The climate of Gokarna is classified as tropical monsoon climate, falling just short of the tropical wet and dry climate zone. It experiences distinct wet and dry seasons.

  • Summer lasts from March to May when temperatures reach 30-35°C. With the humidity, the summer heat can feel quite intense here.

  • Monsoons arrive in June and last till around September. Gokarna gets about 3,000mm of rain annually, mostly during this period.

  • Post-monsoon months of October and November see hot and humid weather. Temperatures remain in the low 30s °C.

  • Winter from December to February is relatively cool and dry with average temperatures between 20°C to 25°C. For most travelers, this is the ideal time to visit Gokarna.


Religious Significance

Gokarna derives its name from two Sanskrit words, “Go” meaning cow and “Karna” meaning ear. Legends state that Lord Shiva emerged from the ear of a cow here, thus giving the town its characteristic ear-like shape.

Pilgrims revere Gokarna primarily for the Mahabaleshwar Temple that houses the Atmalinga or God Shiva’s soul. Other temples like Maha Ganapathi Temple and Bhadrakali Temple also draw devotees. Once every 12 years, Gokarna also hosts the 5-day Maha Shivaratri festival.

Apart from Hindus, Gokarna sees a large number of visiting Buddhists too. It is believed Gautama Buddha resided here during the fourth monsoon period of his sannyasa (renunciation). Today, many Buddhists and Hindus alike congregate here to worship and practice their faith.

Conclusion

So in summary, Gokarna is a small yet extremely significant temple town located along Karnataka’s coast. Its beautiful beaches may attract tourists in droves, but the underlying pulse of Gokarna remains spiritual for pilgrims seeking peace and solitude in their travels.

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