A tiny temple town situated on the western coast of the state of Karnataka, Gokarna is presided by Lord Shiva, the popular deity of Hindu faith. Also called Mahabhaleshwara, this place of high religious worth, contains the original image of Shiva's lingam. Boasting of a host of other smaller shrines as well, Gokarna is located near Kumta and Ankola, on Highway 17. Ranking high on the list of Hindu pilgrimage centers in the country, Gokarna lies in the precincts of an erstwhile pristine unspoiled beach located near the estuary of River Aghanashini. The area is flush with colorful tropical fruits, beautiful palm trees and other flower trees. In recent times, the character of the town has changed to a large extent--with people reaching this venue for reasons more than just prayers and offering of worship.
Gokarna, once unspoiled and of rustic nature, was a natural getaway for younger western tourists and locals (almost a decade ago). However, this beach destination is now thriving with a host of restaurants and resorts of high value. A must visit for tourists of all ages and from all walks of life.