Gokarna is a place filled with historical and mythological tales. There are beautiful temples, along with stories and legends surrounding Atma Lingam, Shatashrunga mountain, Lord Shiva and Vishnu, and much more.
If you are interested in Indian mythology, this is a great place to learn about it through the heritage sites, culture, traditions and people here. The main draw for those interested in this history has got to the beautiful temples that are scattered around.
All the temples are situated at a walkable distance from each other. So, It’s easy to cover all these places in a matter of days. In this article, we have listed some of the best temples that you should not miss when you’re in Gokarna.
Temples In Gokarna
1. Mahabaleshwar Temple
One of the seven sacred places of salvation in Karnataka, Mahabaleshwar Temple is a 4th century temple located in Gokarna. This ancient temple is dedicated to Lord Mahabaleshwar, an incarnation of Lord Shiva.
It is also known as Dakshin Kashi, as it is considered as sacred as the Shiva Temple in Varanasi. One of the greatest and most famous tourist attractions in Gokarna, this place is a beautiful spiritual retreat for all its devotees.
2. Shree Maha Ganapati Temple
Located just few kilometres away from Mahabaleshwar Temple, Maha Ganapati Temple is a renowned shrine with a 1.3 metre high black stone idol of Lord Ganesha. This temple is usually visited before heading to the main Mahabaleshwar Temple.
It was built in honour of Lord Ganesha for succeeding to take away the Atma Linga from Ravana. The architecture in this temple is something magnificent to witness. If you are looking for some peaceful time in a tranquil space then this temple is a must visit.
3. Bhadrakali Temple
The temple is dedicated to the Goddess Uma, wife of Lord Shiva, who is also considered to be the protector of the town. It is located at a distance of 1 kilometre from Gokarna.
It is said that when the demon Vetrasur conquered the three lokas, the trinity of Lord Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva created a feminine warrior, Durge, who was given all the powers to defeat the demon, after which she was named Bhadrakali by Shiva. There are two lions and warrior statues in front of the temple that are said to represent the power of Goddess Bhadrakali.
4. Tamra Gauri Temple
Located inside the compound of Mahabaleshwar Temple, it is dedicated to Goddess Parvati, who is worshipped for the wisdom that she displayed to help her husband. The temple has an idol of Goddess Parvati balancing the greatness of Gokarna against Kashi.
5. Mahalasa Temple
This temple was built 150 years ago with an idol of Sri Siddhivinayak. It is also known as Shri Mahalasa Siddhivinayak Temple and it is located 10 kilometres away from the main bus station.
This is a beautiful temple that needs to be on your must-see list in Gokarna. There are festivals celebrated here that are a treat to watch. The best time to visit is during the festivals of Ganesh Chaturthi and Shravana Sankashti.
6. Shree Venkataramana Temple
Shree Venkataramana Temple attracts devotees from all corners of India in large numbers. These devotees come here to obtain the grace of Lord Venkataramana, one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
The temple has beautifully-structured pillars along the entrance and the idol of Venkataramana facing the west. There are many vendors selling fruit outside the temple, which you can buy as an offering to the gods.
7. Kotiteertha – Holy Pond
Visited by many tourists, this place has colourful temples spread over 6 acres of land. Some devotees prefer having a dip in the pond before entering the temple. The Shiva Lingam is placed in the centre of the pond. The coconut trees give a slight green hue to the pond, creating an amazing atmosphere.
8. Shree Pattevinayak Temple
This temple is not as crowded of busy as some of the other temples in Gokarna and is the ideal place to visit if you are looking to spend a few quiet spiritual moments with yourself.
Located in the south-eastern region of Kotiteertha, Shree Pattevinayak Temple stands opposite the Shree Vishweshwar Vittal Temple.
9. Shree Gopal Krishna Temple
Sitting on the banks of Kotiteertha, Shree Gopal Krishna Temple houses an idol of Lord Krishna holding a flute. This statue is beautifully carved from stone.
The temple is a two-storey residential building with facade of blue coloured windows. Usually visited during the mornings, this temple is a must visit if you want to spend some peaceful time.
10. Shree Kalbhairav Temple
Located on the southern banks of river Kotiteertha, the Temple houses the idol of Kalbhairav, which sits on an elevated granite platform along with a small statue of a snake and a pair of footprints.
The temple is uniquely designed with staircases on the east and a common entrance on the west side. Darshan is easy when compared to other temples as it is not usually crowded.
11. Shree Shankar Narayan Temple
This temple is an epitome of the formlessness of God. It houses idols of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. It gives us a message that there is no difference between Hari (Vishnu or Narayan) and Hara (Shiva or Shankara), merging the forms of woman and man into an idol.
12. Shree Uma Maheshwar Temple
Uma Maheshwar Temple is located on top of the Shatashrunga Mountain between Om Beach and Kudle Beach. Reach here by hiking or walking from the town. You can even take an auto rickshaw or hire a bike.
This temple has a lingam in it – half of it depicts Mahesh, referred to as Lord Shiva, and the other half, Uma, referred to as Goddess Parvati. There is also a statue of a bull called Nandi. Best time to visit is at sunrise or sunset to get the best view.
If you are planning a pilgrimage tour in Gokarna, these places have to be on your checklist. Each temple has its own story, history and cultural significance.