Gokarna had the untapped potential of a holiday destination, much like Goa. It has everything, beaches, lots of greenery, a laid-back vibe, pleasant weather, and friendly natives. It offers spiritual solace to everyone that is seeking one. The town is also synonymous with good times and entertainment. This little article of our suggestions is here to elevate your trip from a vacation to a memorable episode in your life. These are our picks for 11 offbeat things to do in Gokarna.
This one should be a tradition for everyone who visits Gokarna. The quaint little town is blessed with many beaches and it's possible to visit five of them on foot in one day! This is different than your usual stroll on the beach. Small hills carpeted with greenery separate these beaches from each other. It is going to be a lot of walking and hiking on rough terrain.
No matter what the month is, we would advise you to carry a cap, sunscreen, snacks and water. The entire trek is around 10 km and will take you five to six hours. The best part about this is you can take plenty of breaks and every single one is an opportunity to take amazing photos. You don’t have to be the next Bear Grylls to embark on this, anyone with a basic amount of fitness and zeal can ace it.
Also Read: Gokarna Travel Guide
Ditch the AC, the Wi-Fi, and the four walls of your room for a day and replace them with the cold windy atmosphere, wide open sky and countless stars. Whether you are an outdoorsy soul or a rookie camper, Gokarna is going to be one of your favorite camping spots. Because here, there are many campsites near the beaches. So you get a panoramic view of the Arabian sea and a vivid sunset right from your tent.
But this is just the beginning. As the sun starts to wind down, the whole surrounding transforms into a serene fairyland that's bathing in the soft moonlight. This is the cue for starting the campfire. Don’t forget to look up, a breathtaking view of the inky sky adorned with stars awaits you. Then get some sleep and wake early, you have a beautiful morning to enjoy. There are several campsites on the main beach.
Also Read: Preparing For A Camping Trip
Gokarna is a treasure trove of beaches and the town offers many ways to enjoy them. One of the most thrilling ones (and the coolest) is surfing. The surfing shops and schools with their professional trainers here offer everything you need to enjoy riding the waves. Don't expect the waves to be gigantic though. Cause you need to be a properly trained surfer to ride them and such tall waves are not seen in Gokarna anyway. The water here is usually calm with light waves, which makes it perfect for beginners. We suggest you head to Gokarna beach as it’s touted as the best one there.
Also Read: Top Surfing Spots In India
We think it's no surprise that Gokarna is a watersport enthusiast’s dream come true. There are so many beaches here and all are filled with enthusiastic tourists just waiting to get their adrenaline rush. Sitting in on the shore with your feet in the sand and just looking at the horizon is amazing, but so is using the wide-open blue sea as your playing field. The most popular watersports here are jet skiing, parasailing, and banana boat riding.
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Yoga on the beach? Why not. Even though we don’t see this very often, this combination is made in heaven. The act of yoga itself is one of the most rejuvenating things you can do. It improves your physical and mental health and can be done anywhere there’s peace. So what better than the tranquil beaches of Gokarna? There are many yoga schools here that arrange meditation sessions on the beaches. There are courses for beginners and advanced practitioners too so you can choose whichever suits you.
Shop your way back in time, back to the era of the hippies. Gokarna has markets and flea markets where you find the items that are sold everywhere, so we are just gonna focus on their offbeat offerings. By this, we mean the wide selection of items iconic of the 60s and 70s. Loose clothes, headbands, rings, flip-flops, and more with psychedelic and religious prints.
Gokarna attracts a lot of foreigners and Indians who are stuck in the groovy disco era and love to wear those clothes. They look like walking relics and it’s fun to see them. It’s even more fun to dress up like them and explore your own hippie side. You can find some really cool clothes at Car street as it’s the ultimate destination in Gokarna for all things hippie.
A less than an hour and a half drive will take you to Yana village which is home to one of the most unique rock formations in the country, the Yana rocks. These towering rocks soar up to 390 ft and are surrounded by lush Malenadu forests. You will immediately be amazed by their sheer size and stellar black color. It has two peaks, the tallest one is called Bhairaveshwara Shikhara and the other is Mohini Shikhara.
Yana rocks have several gaps near their foot and people can enter them and explore. Being there, inside this colossal art piece of nature is a surreal experience. Along with being a tourist attraction, it is also a holy site. At the foot of Bhairaveshwara Shikhara is a cave temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and it has a naturally formed Shiv ling!
Also Read: 7 Offbeat Caves To Experience In India
Didn’t you envy those kids in American movies who had a tree house? Having a little room up in the tree still feels like such a cool thing and now you can experience it yourself at the Namaste Yoga Farm. Located just a few minutes of walking distance from Kudle beach, is a beautiful hotel that not only provides comfortable stays but also yoga classes. Most importantly, you can stay in one of their tree houses.
None of the Taj or Oberoi hotels can provide you with this luxury! The tree houses have the most basic amenities required for a one-of-a-kind fun experience. Watch the little birds chirping just a few feet away from you and soak in the soft hum of the waves from the nearby beach. It’s every bit as magical as you think it is.
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Your trip to Gokarna cannot be complete without a visit here. You must have already guessed from its name that this is a french cafe. It receives a lot of love from its patrons for its food, ambiance, and special live music performances. Chez Christophe is located on the Gokarna beach and it oozes laid-back vibes.
It is a spacious shack with thoughtful little touches like, comfortable chairs, lots of trees and smart decor ideas, which greatly enhance its look. Pain Au Chocolat, Chocolate Mousse and Prawns biriyani are just some of its great offerings.
Also Read: Malvan Travel Guide
Just 15 mins drive away from Gokarna sits the second tallest Shiva statue in the world. It is a part of the Murudeshwara temple in Murdeshwar. If you are wondering, the tallest one is in Nathdwara in Rajasthan. The Murudeshwara temple's gopura (an entrance to the temple) is special because it is of 20 stories and it looks magnificent in every way.
While the two structures of Murudeshwara are epic, the views behind the Shiva statue are nothing short of it either. The view is composed of a wide open sky and a massive sea. If you are a religious person, then come for the temple and enjoy the view. If you are not a religious person, then just enjoy the view. Either way, you are going to love it.
Also Read: Jorhat Travel Guide
Exploring the world that's underwater is a magical experience. In Gokarna, scuba diving means taking a trip to Netrani Island. This island is a paradise and it’s in the shape of a heart! It is located 19 km away from the coast of Murudeshwar beach. But when Gokarna has so many beaches, why travel to this one island? Well, cause that's where most of the underwater population hangs out. That is their cafe, mall, goto spot, happy place and every things else.
You are going to find unique fishes such as the Parrot fish, butterfly fish and triggerfish. Let us tell you, being surrounded by them feels like being around a colorful vortex. It’s a sight that you won't forget.
Also Read: 10 Scuba Diving Safety Tips
Gokarna reminds us of those movies where the actor plays the role of twins who are very different from each other. Gokarna is that actor. You like Gokarna and your mother likes it too, highly possible that the reasons are different. She may like the spiritual bliss found in its temples and you might want to be out there on your surfboard hunting for that next big wave! This is the magic of this town. There’s something here for everyone.
Is Gokarna As Good As Goa?
Both are different. You shouldn't be comparing them. It is like comparing room fresheners and scented candles. They both smell good, but they are so different. Goa has its Portuguese charm, lots of churches, tourist attractions and a thriving nightlife. Gokarna has its own magic, but it is more of a peaceful and religious place.
Are 2 Days Enough For Gokarna?
Yes, you can cover all of the beaches, indulge in some watersports and check out the nearby attractions in two days.
Does Gokarna Beaches Glow In The Dark?
Half moon beach and Honey Beach are known to glow every night. The intensity of the glow won’t always be the same. They glow because of the presence of bioluminescent plankton in them. Plankton is single-celled microorganisms that glow up to scare away any potential predators.
Are There Dolphins In Gokarna?
There are dolphins in Gokarna, but their sighting is not guaranteed. You can take a boat ride from Om beach and you will spot if you are lucky!
Are There Leeches In Yana Caves?
Yes. These caves are filled with streams, so this area is always wet and this makes it a very good habitat for leeches. If you still want to venture into the caves, be very careful.
Is Scuba Diving Safe?
It is very safe. You have to make sure to follow your guide’s instructions and clear all of your doubts before you go into the water. If you are very nervous about being underwater, it is best to not do it. Wait till you are more comfortable with the idea.
What Is The Purpose Of Camping?
The best way to experience the true beauty of nature is to stay in it. Camping takes us closer to nature than any other activity. It is a proper detox from our daily life and exposes us to trees, stars, moonlight, birds, lakes, rocky terrains and a thousand other things. All of this comes together to noticeably improve our mental health.
Which Time Is Best To Visit Gokarna?
October to March is considered the best time. There won’t be any rain to ruin your plans and the weather will be nice and chilly.