This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to lawyer turned travel entrepreneur Paro from rawdiaries.in!
Today's destination: Gokarna, Karnataka
Nearest Airport: Goa International Airport - GOI
Nearest Railway Station: Gokarna Road Station (GOK)
Prerequisites - NA
Packing - Pack clothes for the beach, sunscreen, sunglasses and your flipflops
Time of the year - Oct to March
Length of the itinerary: 5 days
Paro starts with the origin story of Gokarna and the etymology of the name Gokarna which means cow’s ear. She discusses the importance of gods Ganesha and Shiva to Gokarna as well as the important temples for these deities.
We discuss the religious circuit of Gokarna which is also referred to as the Dakshin Kashi or Kashi of the south. The most important temples are around the Gokarna main beach. The Ganesha temple and Mahabaleshwar temple are the most important temples of the circuit.
The Ganapathi temple is dedicated to lord Ganesha in the standing form, and relates back to the story of how Ganesha takes the form of a young brahmin boy to trick Ravana in letting go of the Atmalinga which was awarded to Ravana for his penance. The deity is in the standing form and also has short legs that reflect the episode with Ravana
The other important temple is the Mahabaleshwar temple that is dedicated to Shiva, it is believed that the atmalinga was placed here by lord Ganesh, who had taken the form of a young boy. The deity is usually submerged in water and only surfaces fully every 40 years.
The third temple that is quite important is the Mallikarjuna temple, it is believed to be the only temple that is oval in shape and is a bit away from the Gokarna main beach. The architecture of the temple is really beautiful and offers one an opportunity to spend some time in solitude away from the crowds.
The other important temples are the Ram thirth, Jatayu thirth and the Shiva cave that have their own significance. The Ram thirth has a very unique architecture and is situated very close to the beach and offers some great views.
Moving over to the beach town of Gokarna, the best way to explore some of the prominent beaches is to do the 5 beach trek. It is best to start early in the day, preferably by 5am and takes about 5-6 hours to complete.
The first beach is the Belekan beach, a rocky beach then going to Paradise beach.
The third beach is the half moon beach that appears in a crescent shape from a height and has phytoplanktons that can be viewed at night.
The next beach is the Om beach which is popular with the locals and has a variety of water sports. The final beach is the kudle beach that also has some water sports as well as shacks and restaurants.
There are a couple of other beautiful and offbeat beaches including Nirvana beach and the Honey beach. One has to take a ferry to reach these beaches and hence they are not very crowded. Make sure to catch a sunset at kudle hilltop while in Gokarna
The other things one can indulge in includes cafe/shack hopping - important cafes include white elephant, Levis, half way home, mantra cafe, bhagwan cafe, Prema’s cafe, Lagoon.
Places in the vicinity include Murdeshwar temple town, Mirjan Fort, Yana caves, Vibhuti falls and Honnavar. These places are within about 100kms from Gokarna.
Raw Diaries on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rawdiaries.in/
Raw Diaries on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSJD6yexHqBB-2VYMCnwMjg
Gokarna video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBCu62LFSMo&t=9s
Photo byDarshan Gajara onUnsplash
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