Gokarna is an ancient Tirtha Kshetra or a pilgrimage place. Placed uniquely on the beautiful west coast of India, it is surrounded by hills on the rest of the sides. In fact, Indian scriptures define it as Shatashringi or a place with 100s of horn-like hillocks. As I walked around the town, tracing ancient temples and tirthas, I could see the small hillocks everywhere. The sacred geography is bound by the waters of Gangavalli and Aghnashini rivers on two sides and sea on the other. Even then the town is full of water tanks or Tirthas, the biggest being Koti Tirtha that is the heart of this sacred town. Get to know a list of the places to visit in Gokarna for devotees and leisure travelers.
There are several temples in this small holy town. You should visit some of them at least and seek blessings.
# Mahabaleshwar Temple Complex and around
Mahabaleshwar Temple is the main temple at Gokarna. It is the one that houses the Atmalinga. You can actually touch the Atmalinga through an opening in the silver cover that covers it. At specific times during the day, you can see the linga too.The temple is the most popular and important place in Gokarna. You have to walk through many doors to reach the Garbhagriha.
There are vigrahas of Devi and Ganesha too inside the temple. I found a beautiful Veergal next to the temple. There are some even outside side entrance, with Naga sculptures on them.Men need to wear a dhoti and no upper clothes while visiting the temple. Women can be dressed in any Indian attire.
# Adi Gokarna Temple
As you walk clockwise around the main temple, the first temple you meet is the Adi Gokarna temple. You have to go down a few steps to see the ancient linga. This temple in stone has beautiful wooden panels all around it. This temple is being renovated.
# Skandeshwar Temple
This is an old Shivalinga in a small temple. The three walls have windows with a swastika on them.
# Veerabhadra Temple
Moving on you see this small temple in bright yellow color dedicated to Veerabhadra. This is the Swaroop of Shiva that destroyed the Daksha Yagna.
# Tamra Gauri Temple
Tamra Gauri is the presiding Shakti of Gokarna. Her temple is behind the Mahabaleshwar temple. It is believed that Gauri came here from Tamranchal Parvat following Shankar, and hence called Tamra Gauri. Tamra means copper. They say that she holds a balance in her hand. Some interpret that she is weighing the virtues of Varanasi and Gokarna and naturally being in Gokarna, it weighs more.
# Gautameshwara Temple
This is a Shivalinga that is believed to be installed and worshipped by Gautam Rishi. It is simply placed on a platform.
# Dattatreya Temple
A small Dattatreya temple can is located almost in the wall of the temple. It has a Paduka Peetha or a platform with footprints and a Dattatreya Murti.