Gokarna – Story of Ravana

Gokarna (means Cow’s Ear), a small town on the sea front in the western Karnataka, is a well known destination with holiday-makers and pilgrims. The pristine beaches, attracts travelers from India and abroad alike.

Getting There

Gokarna is situated at approximately 210 kms from the town of Mangalore, and 150 odd kms from Panaji, on the NH 17.
By Road: This is probably one of the best way to get to Gokarna.

From Mangalore the route is Mangalore-Udipi-Kundapur-Murudeshwar-Honnavar-Kumta-Gokarna
From Bangalore, the shortest route would be Bangalore-Shimoga-Jog-Honnavar-Kumta-Gokarna.

Story of Gokarna

Gokarna also has an mythological significance which attracts pilgrims. There are a lot of stories about Gokarna, but the most famous one is the story of Ravana and the Atmalinga.

Ravana and the Atmalinga



Ravana, the demon-king of Lanka, received the atmalinga from Shiva after he had performed a penance at Mount Kailash reciting self-written Shivatandavastotram. Shiva instructed Ravana that the sacred atmalinga should not be placed on the ground as it would establish itself where placed on earth. On his way back to Lanka, Ravana stops for his evening prayers at Gokarna.
As Ravana was coming near Gokarna. Maha Vishnu who had known well that Ravana was punctual in performing his periodical rites (Sandyavandhana), hides sun with his Sudarshana Chakra (Wheel). Thinking that it was time to perform the evening rites, Ravana finds a Brahmin boy (Lord Ganesha in disguise) and asked him to hold the Atma linga in his hand till he came back after finishing the rites. Lord Ganesha agreed to hold the linga on one condition that he would do so till he would be able to bear the weight of Linga and that thereafter he would call Ravana three times and if failed to come to him by then he would place the linga on the earth.Lord Ganapathi calls Ravana three times when he was performing his rites and places the linga on the earth and he vanished. The Atma linga at once got firmly entrenched in the earth. Ravana learned that he had been tricked by the Gods.
To prevent Ravana from getting a weapon as powerful as the atmalinga, Ganesha, in the disguise of a Brahmin boy, tells Ravana that he will hold the atmalinga until Ravana finishes his prayers. As soon as he receives the atmalinga, Ganesh promptly puts it down. Ravana tries to extricate it, resulting in throwing the coverings of the Linga to Surathkal, Dhareshwar, Gunavanteshwar, Murudeshwar and Shejjeshwar temples.

As soon as you get down of car/van, you would find a “priest” heading towards you and explaining the kind of puja that are done and also promise you a closer look at the atma-linga shrine. This is a way of earning for them. If you just want to get a glimpse of the linga, just go right ahead into the sanctum sanctorum. If you are accompanied by one of the “priest”, you would be made to go closer to the atma-linga and even touch it. If you are on your own, be prepared for some glares from the “priests”.

Most of the pilgrims that come to the temple, visit the beach thats behind the temple. The approach is narrow at places.

Gokarna Beach


Beaches in Gokarna

Gokarna is famous for the pristine beaches that attracts party-makers and tourists from all over. There are four major beaches in Gokarna.

  • Om Beach
  • Kudle Beach
  • Half moon beach
  • Paradise Beach

The Gokarna beach forms the coast of the town while the other four beaches lie to the south of Gokarna. Kudle and Om are around 6 km from Gokarna town along a muddy hill; they are accessible by road rickshaw or foot.  Om beach is named so because it is shaped like the auspicious ॐ [Om] symbol. Two other beaches – Paradise and Half Moon – are smaller and remote beaches.

To get to Om beach, from the main temple road, look out for an arch. The muddy(sometimes cobbled) roads leads up a hill and down to Om beach. The drive to OM beach takes you through you a small hill. Driving through the hilly roads, provide you with a view of the scenic beach down below. Om beach has a resort named after it called the OM beach resort. This is equipped with internet facilities to keep you connected to the external world in this isolated beach. I am told that this place usually runs full and is better to have prior reservation.

Om Beach


Half moon and Paradise are beyond Om beach and are accessible only by foot or boat.
Things to do

One of the things apart from relaxing on the beach is to take a ride on the water scooter. The ride costs anywhere between 250 and 300 rupees depending on the bargaining.

Om beach has lot of small rocks that one can climb on to and enjoy the lashing waves.
You could also take a trek along the long coastline; and its secluded beaches that are dotted with rocky cliffs and hillocks make it ideal for trekkers. You can also hire a boat to reach the more secluded beaches and enjoy a day’s outing by trekking or sunbathing.

If you happen to drive from Gokarna to Mangalore, then stop over at the nearest town of Kumta for food at Kamat. Kumta is also famous for handicrafts and one can find a series of shops on the national highway passing through Kumta.

26 Comments

  • Vipin says:

    Karthik ji, thanks for sharing nice information with beautiful pictures on Gokarna……some more photos (temple / beaches) must have added an extra charm to the post………..i think the beaches are now calling me (have never been to any beach so far)…….let’s see……keep writing………

    • Karthik says:

      Hi Vipin,

      Thanks for the comment. I would have put more pictures here, but I did not want to take away the “WOW” factor when you visit the place. :-) ..Good time to go now before the rain starts.

      Regards
      Karthik

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  • Deepak says:

    Badhiya hai. I have always been impressed with Ravana’s prowess. Agreed, that he got corrupted and became ruthless and all (so we are told) but he was the most learned and accomplished. His arrogance (if he had any) had a solid foundation (one cant be arrogant without being accomplished) and he did have a City of Gold and knowledge and power out of serious hard work. Our Devas have always tricked and cheated the hard working demons rather than beat them by hard work themselves. Our myths are littered with similar tales, not once have I come across a tale where a Deva attained some powerful boon from the Supreme Lords, all they did was to watch Apsaras dance and partake of Somrasa while Ravanas and other hard working demons were doing hard penance standing on one toe, or hanging upside down etc. in harsh cold or heat in order to get boons. Why couldn’t the so called good Devas have worked as hard and fought fair and square instead of lies, cheats and deceits !!!
    A nice post, I like it. A lot of beaches and water sports too, hmmm, paradise for many …

    • Karthik says:

      Hi Deepak,

      This is indeed a paradise for many. Calm and serene, close to nature, etc. Do visit when you get the opportunity.

      Cheers
      Karthik

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Welcome Back !

    Nice informative post.

  • venkatt says:

    Karthik, nice writeup. I was wondering if the first picture on the post was from Murdeshwar.

    • Karthik says:

      Hello Venkatt,

      You are right. The first pic is from Murudeshwar. one of the many sculptures found on the kanduka hill.

      Cheers
      Karthik

  • Hi kartik jee

    After long time in ghumakkar……………………..

    Very good one . Even I am going to come with Gokarna in next few days…………………….

    Thanks for showing Gokarna and refreshing memories…………

    • Karthik says:

      Hi Vishal,

      Thanks for the comments. Indeed a long time!! had been hibernating for a while i guess :-).

      Cheers
      Karthik

  • Monty says:

    very nice

  • Virag Sharma says:

    Wanna go Gokarna for long time. But canceled every time. Now , i can say visited Gokarna ( at least virtually :) ) . Nice post Thanks

  • Gaurav Aggarwal says:

    Interesting information on Gokarna and the stories associated with it. I have added it to my to-be-visited list. In the meanwhile, check out for some more interesting facts about Ravana at the link below:
    http://www.slideshare.net/leadstartpublishing/ravanas-dasamukha-12700586

  • Manish Kumar says:

    First time heard abt this place. Nice to know the story behind it. Om beach looks impressive.

  • Nandan says:

    Long time Carthick. Short and Sweet post. More details and pics would have further added to the charm as Vipin observed.

    I am also looking fwd to European tales form you :-)

    Please respond to comments as you find time. Take Care.

    • Karthik says:

      Jha,

      indeed a long time!! laziness I shd say was holding me back. Hope to be more active .
      Have a long list of places to write abt.

      Cheers
      Karthik

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Hi Karthik, this is the first time you have posted here after I joined the ghumakkar fraternity. You have an easy and fluent way of writing and when the post ended, one felt hungry for more. You should share your experiences with us here more often.

    The story of Ravana is remniscent of the story of Vibhishana and how he was tricked by Ganesha into placing the idol of Lord Ranganatha in Trichy. I think that Mr. Vishal Rathod had narrated that story here a few months ago.

    • Karthik says:

      Hello Mr Narayan,

      Thanks for the lovely comments. I have written quite a few posts earlier. more to follow.

      Cheers
      Karthik

  • geetha says:

    nice place frnds ,in gokarna the linga is to different to see, and the beach is aswom,
    i just planned a supriese touier for my parents on there wedding aniversey ,there were to happy to see beautiful linga.

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