The coastal town of Gokarna, situated in the Uttara Kannada district, in the state of Karnataka, India attracts both pilgrims and beach lovers and is a major component of any travel plan to this side. Gokarna is situated at the ear-shaped confluence of two rivers Gangavali and Agnashini. In Sanskrit, Gokarna means ‘cow’s ears’. According to legends, Lord Shiva is said to have emerged from a cow’s ear. The Mahabaleshwara temple, where Lord Shiva is worshipped, attracts large numbers of devotees during the four day Sivarathri festival. The six foot tall Shivalingam can be seen fully only once in 40 years when the Ashta Bandhana Kumbhabhishekam is performed. Other important temples in the locality are Sejjeshwara, Gunavanteshwara, Murudeshwara and Dhareshwara.
Gokarna is famous for its beautiful beaches, which can be reached through a breathtakingly beautiful route crossing hills and cliffs. Four of the most beautiful beaches in India can be found in Gokarna - Kundle beach, Om beach which is shaped like the auspicious Om sign, Half Moon and Paradise.
This temple town is now slowly beginning to be recognized as a tourists’ haven. Today Gokarna is known as a centre for learning Sanskrit.