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The Uttara Kannada district is known for its scenic beauty and magnificent temples. The five places of Gokarna, Murudeshwara, Gunavante, Dhareshwara and Sajjeshwara are believed to be Linga Kshetras.

Of the five, Gokarna is said to have been born about 2.3 million years ago. The temple here was set on fire by a Portuguese commander in 1714, but the rangamantapa (theatre hall) was later re-constructed. Mahabaleshwara temple is the most ancient among all the temples of Gokarna and is a vast complex with 108 Thirthas and 108 Kshetras. It was built in the Dravidian style and several additions were carried out in the post- Vijayanagaraperiod

Any Shiva temple is more auspicious and more powerful if it is west facing.  This shrine too is west facing.  Devotees are allowed to have a darshan of the top of Aatma Lingam through a golden rekha(line) on the altarand a small hole in the middle.  The six foot tall Shivalingam is encased inside the altar and can be seen only once in 40 years, when the Ashta Bandana Kumbhabishekam is performed.  A dent on the idol of Sri Ganesha is said to have caused by Ravana when he was infuriated at the loss.  There are shrines dedicated to Chandikeswara, Aadi Gokarneswaa and Dattathreya, Gokarnanayakai (known as) Taamragowri (behind the sanctum).0


The other deties in the temple are : Bhadrakaali, Patti Vinayakar - in this Badrakali dwells south-facing and considered as "protecting deity" while Pattiviyanakar shrine is in North-west side. According to Sri Gokarna Purana - Nageshwar, Kapalabhairaveshwar, Bheemakonda, Kameshwar, Brahmeshwar, Umamaheshwar, Gokarbam, Sri Ram Theerth are important among other deities.


Gokarnam is one among the three most revered holy Kshetras and the other two being Kashi and Rameshwaram.  It also carries additional fame as one of the best Bhaskara Kshetras among 10 holy places and innumerable references are drawn from Puranas.  Puranas boasts of this place and talks highly about the significance of this place from time immemorial. Due to its importance of highly revered Theertams and rivers and performance of religious rites to the departed souls play a pivotal role in bringing the devotees together.


Ashtabandana Mahakumbabishekam was performed on May 1983.  According to Sastras (religious edict) once in 12 years such holy cleansing has to be performed.  However, due to various unknown factors, only in 1903 and 1930 besides 1983 was performed.  On normal days, the Shiva Lingam (Aatmalinga) is closed with a case and devotees can see only the one portion of it.  Only during this auspicious Kumbabishekam day, they are allowed to have full vision of the Aatmalinga.  The crooked shape of the Aatmalinga is due to Ravana trying to remove with full force of the Linga which got rooted to the ground.  Devotees can witness the shape of the Linga in a rather unshaped form.  Several Yagnas and Homams were performed.  Shri. Ganapathi Atharvasheersha Homam, Purusha Sookta Homam, Gayathri Homam, Athirudra Yagam, Sahasra Chandi Yagana were conducted.

Discourses were also held during the festive days.  The even was blessed by the presence of Shri. Peshavar Vishweshwar Theertha Swamiji of Udupp, Shri. Gokarna Parthakaalimatha Swamiji, Shri Ramachandrapoor Mathadasar and other holy elders graced the occasion.  The Kumbabishekam was performed  by Sringeri Sri Bharatheertha Swamiji.  Stalwarts like Morarji Desai, the then Karnataka Chief Minister R.Hegde attended the occasion and received the blessings of the Lord.  About three lakh devotees attended.

  • Shivararthi festival for 9 days celebrated attracting millions of pilgrims and devotees 8th day ofMahashivaratri festival is Brahmotsav.

  • Tripuradahana - an enactment of Lord Shiva burning the three worlds is performed during  Kruthika Poornima (Karthigai Pournami). Devotees decorate their houses, light lamps and  draw "Rangoli" in front of their houses.

  • Kamadhenu Utsav - Chithirai 18 (Mesha Masam), Datheeshigo Utsav (Shravan 9), Seemollanga Manotsav (Ashvini 10), Ganga Vivaahotsav (Ashvini 14), Gowri Vivaahotsav (Vruschikam 1). All these three are very important festivals.

  • Big chariot is drawn during Shivarathri Brahmotsav while small chariot is drawn during First  Vishaka Amavasya, Mahavadyam 11 to 30, Ratha Sapthami days.

  • Mahavadyam 14, Phalguni 2, Kruthika 15 - during these 3 days, they erect four float-raft together and place Mahableshwar with Koteeswar Vigrahas and perform float-utsav on the Kotitheertham. On this festive occasion, devotees line up lip up lamps added with fire-works on the tank's banks.

  • Festivals for other deities are performed between 5th and 10th Kruthika month.  Besides this, upon the request of devotees, small-chariot is drawn sponsored by individuals.

  • Panchamrutha, Baalapanchamrutha, Ekadara, Rudra, Shatarudra, Maharudra, Athirudra, Vilva Archana, Koti Archana are conducted and allowed by temple authorities based on special request by visiting devotees.
  • Morning 6:00 am temple opens, closes at 12:30 noon Evening 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm
    For all temple rituals and other religious performance activities may contact : Administrator, Shri Samsthana Mahabala Deva, Gokarna, PO : Gokarna Uttara Kannada, Karnataka, India - Email: and phone: +91-9449595208, temple Telephone: 08386-256167, 257167.   
    How to Reach and Where to Stay

    You can reach from Karwar : 60 kms, Kumata: 32 Kms, from Bangalore: 460 Kms, from Mangalore: 225 Kms, from Konkan Railway station 10 kms. To Book your train,

    Private buses also ply and details are as follows :-

    SRI KUMAR, Private Bus: 2+1 sleeper, 7.15 pm from Gokarna and reaching at Bangalore at 6.30 am - Ph: 9449710485
    SRL Travels, Lalbhag West Gate, RV Road, Bangalore : Ph: (080)26677142, (080)22975440
    Route: B'Lore, Shivmoga, Sagar, Honnavar, Kumta, Gokarna.

    VRL, 2+1 Sleeper, 7.30 pm from Jayanagara 9th Block, B'Lore (080)22971272 -
    VRL, 2+1 Sleeper, 7.15 pm from Gokarna
    VRL Travels, Rathbeedi Gokarna,

    You can also get direct buses to Gokarna from Ankola or Kumta or take tempos. Buses from Karwar at  7 am, 8 am and 4 pm available.  Direct bus from Goa (5 hours) availabel at 8 am.

    There is a direct bus leaving to Mangalore (about 253 km) at  7 am and from Bangalore and Mysore varieties of buses available. 

    TRAIN   book your ticket through internet----->

    Train services from various destinations - check and book now......



    Konkan Railway passes very close to Gokarna, Express trains do stop at Karwar, Kumta (23 km) and Ankola (25 km).  The passenger train stops at Gokarna Road (10 km).  Buses available from Gokarna at 11 am to meet the train going to Margao at 11.30 am.  Gokarna Road Station is 9 km from the town of Gokarna. 


    Gokarna International (088386 56622),

    on the main road, has modern rooms with hot water and a nice balcony for Rs 250/300 up to Rs 750 for an A/C deluxe room. It overlooks a palm tree grove. It is a good place. Checkout time up to 4 pm. Recommended. 

    OM LODGE (56445) has basic rooms with bath Rs.175 and A/c Rs.400

    KSTDC’s Hotel Samudra (TEL: 56236),

    On a hill overlooking the sea 2km from town, has clean rooms with bath for Rs 150 for a double and Rs 250 for a room with four beds.

    New Prasad Nilaya (56250, 57135), about half a 
    km from temple, is a modern place with clean rooms with bath for Rs.200 and 250.  Hot water available.


    PREMA - this is a decent pure Veg. eatable place, located across from the Main Shiva temple

    HOTEL PAI - Main Street has good, competitive vegetarian meals and Dosas/snacks.

    SHRI RAGHAVENDRA : Good veg. food

    HOTEL VINAYA : on the Main street, veg. food.

    VISHWA NIWAS : Recommended for breakfasts

    SHRI SHAKTI COLD DRINKS: Car street, near temple, Fresh Juice, homemade cheese, breads and cakes

    Places where you can eat
    Lodging Details