Gokarna, a coastal town which draws Hindu pilgrims and Sanskrit scholars, is situated near Karwar, the District headquarters of Uttara Kannada. It is described as a famous Shaiva Centre, as important as Kashi and Rameshwar in India. Gokarna is one among the seven Mukthistalas or pilgrimage centres in Karnataka.
Gokarna literally means Cow’s Ear and is named for the bovine ear shaped confluence of two rivers –the Gangavali and Agnashini, which marks Gokarna a pilgrimage centre. Apart from its beautiful beaches and the Centre for Sanskrit Learning, it is home to the ancient temple of Mahabaleshwar with its Aatmalinga, the Venkatramana Temple, the Ganapati Temple, and the Koti Theertha, a large temple tank where pilgrims perform their ablutions.
Another important must see in Gokarna are the enormous chariots which drawn ceremoniously along the main street between February and March. The place is famous for its dense green landscape as well.