Gokarna is a small temple town located on the western coast Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka. This temple houses what is believed to be the original image of Lord Shiva’s lingam. Ankola and Kumta on Highway 17 are the main towns near Gokarna. It is known as one of the seven important Hindu pilgrimage centers. Gokarna is located near the river Aghanashini with its beautiful palm trees, other colorful tropical fruit and flower trees. Due to the large number of tourist inflow the character of this town has changed. This town is no longer just a center of pilgrimage though massive numbers of devotees still visit the town for the purposes of offering prayers and worship to Lord Shiva.
Gokarna is also an important centre of Sanskrit learning and houses Bhandikeri Math and Toggu Math. It is a place where Sanskrit knowledge is passed down from generations in Brahmin families. Many Hindus also perform the last rites of a person here. Gokarna is about 583 km from Bangalore and 238 km north of Mangalore . It lies between the Gangavali and Agnashini rivers and situated along the Karwar coast by the Arabian Sea.
Gokarna can be reached by buses and maxicabs from Ankola (26 km), Kumta (30 km)and Karwar (59 km) on National Highway 17. Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) also runs long-journey buses from many cities like Panaji, Bangalore and Mangalore. Private buses operate daily, night journeys from Bangalore to Gokarna .It can be reached by train by Konkan Railway on the Mumbai to Mangalore route. The railway station is 6 km away from the town. The nearest airports are Dabolim at Goa and Mangalore International Airport.