Gokarna, at its very heart, is idyllic and laid-back. Courted by the Arabian sea on one hand and the Western Ghats on the other, Gokarna is nothing short of a picture of perfection. Soft, unblemished sands laze on its Konkan coast while lively rivers like Kalli, Sharavathi, Gangavalli and Aghanashini hurtle from hills, meander and find their way home to the Arabian Sea. Around Gokarna, the landscapes seem to dramatically veer from densely forested hills to cliffs to an unending ocean pursued by soft sand beaches freckled with rocks. Quaint villages, temples and a sparse population add to Gokarna’s charm.
Like Gokarna, like its people. As serene and comforting Gokarna is, it is in the warm hospitality and genuine smiles of its people you find home. The locals are unobtrusive and hold visitors in high regard. Speaking everything from Kannada to Marathi to Konkani to Hindi and even Tulu, languages isn’t where the potpourri ends. The mix of cultures evolves into a rich cuisine that feels like Gokarna hospitality – fills your stomach and warms you heart.
But beyond the temples and beaches, Gokarna lives on in the two streets that run through the town. It lives in the first rays of the sun that sees fishermen haul the day’s first catch to the shore, in the chants that reverberate through temple walls as priests perform their morning rites. It blazes with life as tourists pick out and nuzzle into their spot on the beach for the day. It lives in golden, pink and purple sunsets that streak the horizon day after glorious day. It resonates with the squeal of someone trying surfing for the first time in their life.
Ankola is a town set a little more than 9 km away from Red Earth Gokarna. Temples, beaches, scenic Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea is all that Ankola shares in common with Gokarna. This quaint town offers green paddy fields, fragrant mango groves that bear the local speciality – kari ishaad, and an opportunity to get to know the local tribes – Halakki Gowdas.
Ankola is flanked by schools alongside temples – which may explain the near-perfect 90% literacy rate. Ankola is a story of progress – but this is just one among the many stories it hides so well in its bosom.
Red Earth is a Gokarna beach resort that sits on our pristine Honey Beach – midway to Ankola from Gokarna. Culture, wilderness, beaches blend into one sweet symphony here.
You’re out of breath but you made it. Take two. The sun blazes above you. Shielding, you walk the last 100 yards and hold yourself. Your heart’s pounding away but you barely notice as you breathe in the mountain air. You made it.
Conquering heights at Gokarna is one of the best laid plans. With Western Ghats about 4kms away, plan a day’s worth and ride into the forests on the Yellapur, Sirsi or Joida stretches on your bike. You will be rewarded with fresh forest air and pristine locals – almost completely untouched. And just like that, you’d have found your piece of paradise in Gokarna!
Gokarna is the perfect weekend getaway from Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Mangalore. Enjoy a pleasant day’s drive to Gokarna or take a train and alight at the Ankola railway station. For people flying down to the beach town, your most convenient stop is either the Hubli airport in Karnataka or Dabolim in Goa.
When to travel?
October – March: This is perhaps the best period to travel to Gokarna. With an average temperature of 32 degrees celsius, Gokarna will welcome you with warm and pleasant weather.
April – May: The hottest months for Gokarna, expect the temperature to reach upto 38 degrees celsius. Weather will get hot and humid during these months.
June – August: Gokarna experiences monsoon in these months. With temperature averaging around 24 degrees celsius, the waters become unsafe for swimming or any sort of water sports.