Located in the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka, Gokarna is one of the prominent places of pilgrimage in Karnataka and South India. The temple town is also well known for its pristine beaches and breathtaking landscapes. However, its reputation as a temple town stands for good reason. The name Gokarna means “Cow’s ear”, and it is believed that Lord Shiva emerged from the ear of a cow here. There are beautiful temples, interesting stories and legends surrounding Atma Lingam, Shatashrunga Mountain, Lord Shiva and Vishnu, and much more. In this blog, we will tell you about some of the most prominent temples to visit in Gokarna as part of the Karnataka tour packages.
Sri Mahabaleshwara Temple
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Sri Mahabaleshwar Temple is one of the important Hindu pilgrimage centers in South India and among the prime places to visit in Gokarna. This 4th-century temple is popular for its Aatmalinga or Pranalinga of Lord Shiva. This temple is regarded second only to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi and is often called the Dakshina Kashi. The 1500-year-old carved stone image of Lord Shiva in the standing position, is also worshipped here. Sri Mahabaleshwara temple in Gokarna is said to be one of the seven sacred Muktikshetras and is visited by Hindus to perform the death rites for their ancestors. Maha Shivarathri is the main festival celebrated here and tourists from all over India visit the temple on this auspicious occasion.
Maha Ganapathi Temple
Maha Ganapathi Temple is another ancient shrine located in Gokarna. Dedicated to Lord Ganesha, this temple is situated near Mahabaleshwar Temple and is quite popular among pilgrims visiting Gokarna. According to legend, the temple was built to commemorate Lord Ganesha’s successful capture of Ravana’s Atma Linga. The architecture of the temple is quite stunning, and it houses a 1.3-meter-high black stone idol of Lord Ganesh in standing posture at the sanctum sanctorum. This temple is usually visited before heading to the main Mahabaleshwar Temple, among the must-include places in the Gokarna tour packages.
Sri Bhadrakali Temple
Bhadrakali Temple is another famous religious site in Gokarna, and is dedicated Goddess Uma, who is an avatar of Goddess Kali, and the wife of Lord Shiva, who is also considered to be the protector of the town. It is believed that the formation of the temple took place, as Lord Vishnu instructed Goddess Uma to remain indoors after she was abandoned by Ravana. The entrance of the temple has 2 ferocious lions and two warriors on either side of the main gate of this temple in Gokarna, among the top places to visit near Mangalore. Besides, Friday is considered as the auspicious day of the Goddess where the devotees come here to pay respects, offer flowers, and pray for their overall well-being.
Mahalasa Temple is one of the most sacred temples to visit in Gokarna. Also called Shri Mahalasa Siddhivinayaka Temple, the structure was built 150 years ago and is dedicated to Shri Siddhivinayaka. The temple is situated near Gokarna Railway Station. Devotees visit this temple throughout the year, but the best time to visit is during the Ganesh Chaturthi and Shravana Sankashti celebrations which are celebrated with much pomp and fervor. Gokarna is one of the top places to visit near Bangalore.
Koti Tirtha Temple
Situated near the famous Mahabaleshwar Temple, Koti Tirtha is a man-made temple pond and is one of the most famous places in Gokarna. According to mythology, Kotiteertha is the source of a thousand springs in Gokarna. Surrounded by rows of coconut trees, this place has colorful temples spread over 6 acres of land. There is a Shiva Lingam in the center of the pond. Some devotees prefer having a dip in the pond before entering the main Mahabaleshwar Temple in Gokarna, among the top places to visit near Mysore.
Santhi is an avid traveler and primary contributor to the blogs at Trawell.in. She has explored most of the states in India and gained vast knowledge on tourist destinations in India and abroad. She also contributes content to other travel websites.