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Gokarna beckons

D B N Murthy 18:34 IST

From here and there

The antiquity of Gokarna goes back to the time of the great epics Ramayana and Mahabharatha. It is the only one of its kind in the whole country as it contains the atmalinga, whereas there are 12 jyothirlingas across the country.

The beaches with their golden sands are an added attraction for pilgrims.

It is difficult to ascertain when the first temple was built. However it is said the Kadamba monarch Mayurasharma (325-345 AD) arranged for daily worship at the temple. There are no records showing when and how the temple came to be what it is now.

Visvesvaraya of Halasunadu-Kundapura built the Chandrasala pavilion and Nandi pavilion when Queen Chennammaji and her son Somasekharanayaka were ruling Keladi. In 1665, the Maratha emperor, Shivaji, came here to offer prayers to the deity.

The temple is a vast complex of shrines and much of it belongs to the later Vijayanagar period. On the left of the sanctum is a temple of Chintamani Ganapati and on the right, the temple of Durga. Other temples here include Tamra Gauri (Parvati) temple, Mahaganapati temple, Bhadra Kali temple and Kotithirtha, southeast of Mahabaleshwar temple.

Travel tips

Avoid the monsoons. From October to April, there is a rush of foreign tourists.
By air: The nearest airport is Panjim, which is about 185 km. Mangalore airport is 250 km.

By rail: The nearest railhead is Gokarna Road Station on the Konkan Railway, eight km from the town. However, as all trains do not stop here, make sure before you take the train. It is better to go to Kumta, 32 km from Gokarna.

By road: Gokarna is well connected by road to other towns and cities, both by State government buses as well as private buses.

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