Beaches in Gokarna are full of wonders and you would love to lay on the beaches to enjoy the serenity. Gokarna is an excellent example where religious devotees and beach chillers peacefully share the space.
Gokarna, meaning Ear of Cow, is a town in South Karnataka, 489 KM from Bangalore. People believe that Lord Shiva appeared in Gokarna through a cow's ear. Therefore, Gokarna has a lot of religious significance among people. There are plenty of famous temples as well, major being Mahabaleshwar Temple.
Most of us think that Goa is the ultimate place for chilling on the beach, in that case, I must tell you how amazingly beautiful Gokarna is. Also, whenever someone asks us about beaches in India, Goa and Andaman are the answers. No doubt these places are amazing but at the same time a bit expensive too. More of a holiday destination. But if you want to stare at night sky by the seaside, need a complete detox from city life, Gokarna is the place for you.
In Gokarna, you'll find the right mix of cultures, from Hinduism to Hippie. Most importantly everyone's space is respected. I remember lading on to Gokarna beach in shorts, only to find out that devotees come there to offer prayers. But I didn't go through weird stares, I stayed there for a while clicked some pictures and went back. A rare scene in India when you're not judged for the kind of clothes you wear.
How to Reach
Gokarna is a small town, hence direct train & airport connectivity is not there from major cities. Gokarna railway station is 8 km from the main Gokarna city. However, it is not connected with the major cities. Ankola, railway station is another option at 20 km from Gokarna. It has direct connectivity from cities like Bangalore, Mangalore, and Kochi.
Nearest Aiport is Goa International Airport - 157 km from Gokarna, almost 4 hours drive from Gokarna. Hubli Airport is another option which is 147 km from Gokarna and will save an hour of the drive.
Most people choose to travel by Bus, you will find a good number of buses from cities like Bangalore, Mangalore & Goa.
Well, we had hired a cab from Bangalore, it was a good decision as we didn't need to worry about transportation in Gokarna as well. Plus, there was a prediction of heavy rainfall so hiring two-wheeler was not a good idea. It cost us 17K in total, we also covered Jog falls while going back to Bangalore. So, it was a cheaper deal as we were six people in total.
Apt Time to Visit
Please avoid visiting Gokarna during monsoons, it rains heavily, and you will not be able to enjoy anything. The best time to visit is from October to February. During summer, April & May are really warm, avoid going during these months. I visited at the end of September and I believe it was the best time. During this time tourists flow was limited and hence I could enjoy the better. Although if you're looking for some water sports adventure, visit from the end of October to March.
Places to Stay
You'll find many options for accommodations in Gokarna. Budget Hostels, Resorts, and Camps, these all options are available. Well, I was on a budget trip hence I chose to stay at a hostel, Trippr at the middle beach. A lesser-known isolated beach. And I would highly recommend staying at Trippr Hostel. You will have an entire beach to chill with a minimum number of tourists. You will only see fellow travelers from the hostel and a few foreigners exploring the area.
The best part of staying at Trippr was the night sky, I laid down on the sand and spent hours and hours doing nothing but star gazing and listening to waves of the sea.
Other good options for stay are Zostel, HostelLaVie, Kudle Ocean Front and Namastey café.