Just over an hour south of the Goa border in the State of Karnataka, the small and remote holy village of Gokarna (meaning cow’s ear) draws religious pilgrims, yoga enthusiasts and backpackers with equal enthusiasm. It is one of the most sacred holy villages for Hindus in South India and has some of the most important temples in the region, including the famous Shiva Temple. This is an ancient village full of tradition with two main streets lined by shops and traditional brick houses with tiled roofs.
The village has a small beach which is popular with pilgrims, however, tourists tend to frequent one of the four lovely beaches in the surrounding area. Each of the beaches; Kudle Beach, Om Beach, Halfmoon Beach and Paradise Beach have their own appeal, the most popular being Om Beach in Gokarna which has a selection of cafes and beach huts and is the only one accessible by road. Day and nightlife here is a very relaxed affair with a bohemian quality, somewhat reminiscent of the early days in Goa during the ‘hippie’ heyday. Officially, alcohol is not allowed in the area because of the village’s religious significance, however, you won’t have a problem getting a cold beer on the beach. Dolphins are often sighted swimming in the waters just off the two coves of Om Beach Gokarna.