It is said that simply by entering Gokarna you are freed from the eternal cyle of rebirth and free of all your sins. Thats why the beaches here attract spriritual travelers and pilgrims from all over India and the world.
Four of the most beautiful beaches in India are located in this magical place. They are all different than each other, some are secluded, small and rocky while others are vast and open. One thing you are sure to find in Gokarna, which ever beach you choose, is a sense of deep peace and some great people.
The first of the beaches is Kudle beach which is about a 20 minute walk from the small town of Gokarna. It is a beautiful, kilometre long stretch of white sand with a volleyball net and a couple of bars with accommodation out the back. You will need to bring your own bedding as the huts are extremely basic but fresh food and water are brought round every day by boat.
Expect to exhaust yourself playing volleyball (if you can find enough people to play) during the day and by night, sat around a fire chatting; or go night swimming or whatever you want really.
To get to Kudle beach you have to take the path over the hill. The path starts on the south side of Ganapati temple and goes steeply up hill until you reach the crest and the beautiful beach is displayed in all her beauty.
Om beach is one of the biggest in Gokarna and also my recommendation. It's about a 30 minute walk over the hill from Kudle beach or you can take a rickshaw from Gokarna for fairly cheaply.
The beach got its name from its shape which is very similar to the Om sign. It does get quite busy at the weekends because of the large amounts of pilgrims that arrive and, of course, the various Indians that come for a weekend getaway. During the week it is extremely empty but there is still enough life to keep yourself entertained.
If you arrive by rickshaw, you will walk down through a small hotel resort place and a restaurant which also has internet. Keep walking along the beach and you will find the Dolphin cafe which is the cheapest place on the beach at 100 rupees a night with good food and great staff. Keep walking and you will find Ganesh Hotel and Cafe which is over a small bridge and is also a great place to stay, eat and play pool.
Half moon and Paradise Beach
Half moon is a really cool little beach which is about another 30 minute walk over the hill from Om. It is really small with a tiny beach and a few places to stay and eat. Come here if you really want some seclusion but if not, walk over for a day but even better hire some sea kayaks from Om and paddle round then back.
Paradise beach is another 30 minute walk and again is a little secluded. If you want to stay here then your best bet is to get a lift over from Gokarna or one of the beaches on one of the boats that brings the food.
Om Beach at Gokarna
Where to stay?
Hotels in Gokarna
A selection of loads of Hotels in Gokarna, categorised into price, location and quality! Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions!
Things to do
Things to do, hmm, that is a difficult question! To be perfectly honest, there is not a great deal of things to do. If you are staying in one of the fancy resorts tucked away in the jungle then you can go for a massage or swimming etc but if you are not, you can get quite bored.
As long as you are happy doing absolutely nothing then this is the place for you. Anyhow here is a small list of things to do for those of you with small imaginations.
1. Hire a Kayak
2. Play pool
3. Look at the internet
4. Explore the surrounding area
5. Play frizbee and swim in the sea.
6. Play chess or scrabble or something.
7. Or my favourite, sit around all day drinking beer talking to interesting people before going off to gather some fire wood to sit around a fire and sing and dance and be as happy as you can be.
Ok, im sorry, it is a bit of basic list but if you go the right time of year you can go see the Gokarna festival which is awesome. It is quite hard to explain so here are some photos instead.
Also if you wait until there is no moon and it is really dark you can go swimming in the sea with the luminous plankton which lights up when disturbed, it really has to be seen to believed.
Getting there and away
The beaches are not such popular tourist destinations at the moment so it can be quite difficult to get there. Not hard, just not that straightforward :-)
If you are coming by train then it can be fairly easy. Express trains stop at Karwar, Kumta (23km), and Ankola (25km). The passenger train stops at Gokarna Road (10km). A bus waits for the train at Margao to bring people from the station.
When I went to Gokarna I departed from Mangalore (250km) and got to Margao in the morning and then transferred to another bus. The overnight trip from Mangalore was the worst of whole trip and at one point, the bus seemed to have fallen off a small cliff.
There are state buses and private buses to Margao and Kumta from most places like Goa, Bangalore and Mysore.
I am sure I have made it more complicated than it actually is but this is the basics of it. You'll have to find out times and destinations when you are actually there as they change regularly.
In the centre of the map is Om beach and the big straight beach to the north is Kudle. If you zoom in a bit, you can see Half moon beach and Paradise beach to the right of Om.
When to go?
The best time to visit this beautiful place is between October and April when the weather is almost perfect. Between the months of December and February it can get a bit chilly over night so pack an extra jumper.
During the summer months it is too hot to be there and the storms destroy most of the beach huts and restaurants so don't turn up expecting to have fun!
Click here for more information on the
Indian climate and when to go
Return to India Beaches from the Gokarna travel guide