Gokarna India – 6 Best Beaches and How to Get There
While Gokarna may be renowned for its numerous temples, shrines and holy rituals most Western tourists visit the town for its beautiful beaches. Due to its laid-back atmosphere and relatively rustic way of life, Gokarna has become the go-to destination favoured by long-term travellers looking to spend some time living on the Arabian coast.
Less than a half a mile away from the famous Mahabaleshwar Temple lies Gokarna’s Main Beach.
The start of the beach, which stretches over 4 miles, is mostly used by pilgrims for religious customs, which stipulate that they are only allowed to enter the aforementioned temple after a dip in the sea. This part of the beach is pretty unkempt and often very crowded, however, a little farther along and the vast sandy shore becomes entirely different.
Away from the town, the Main Beach is lined with towering palm trees and various restaurants, eateries, and guesthouses, which mostly cater for Western tourists. It may not be the prettiest beach in town, but it is one of the largest, most populated by long-term dwellers and loved for its authentic township atmosphere.
Kudle Beach, about three miles away from the town centre, is the preferred destination for most seasoned-travellers as well as the younger crowd, which lends it an interesting mix.
Kudle Beach can be reached via a footpath that begins south of the Maha Ganapathi Temple and leads to the coast. A 30 minute hike or a 15 minute rickshaw ride up the path will bring you to a barren headland with wonderfully, expansive, sea views. It is one of the most pristine beaches, known for its bohemian vibe, its sunset market, Bajans and a tight-knit community feel.
The beach has numerous restaurants, which double-up as guest houses, plenty of places to chill and a nice relaxed vibe facilitated by extraordinary sunsets.
South of Kudle Beach, a footpath leading over the next headland, which stretches to about a 40 minute walk, will take you to Om Beach, named so because it is shaped like the sacred symbol.
Om Beach offers incredible views of the sea, has clear blue waters and golden sands. It is where most people go to escape the hustle and bustle of Goa, therefore, if you’re after a serene setting inhabited by a fair mix of travellers including hippies, Tantric monks, young backpackers, yoga enthusiasts and local nomads Om is the one for you. The beach has plenty of shacks, cafes, accommodation and water activities, including surfing and speed-boating.
About another 40 minutes on foot heading south of Om Beach via a trail that goes over rust coloured boulders and jutting coconut trees, with spectacular vistas of the sea, is Half-Moon Beach.
You can also reach this more isolated, half-moon shaped beach as the name denotes, by boat which will set you back about INR300. The beach is pretty small, cove-like, with hills on either side. It is one of the least commercial and therefore most tranquil beaches in town with wonderful access to the sea and few inhabitants. Even during peak season (December to January) Half-Moon Beach remains a hub of serenity with a handful of cafes and tourists, therefore, you will be left in peace to meditate on the sunsets if that’s what you’re after.
Even farther south of Half Moon Beach, lies the southernmost beach in the whole of Gokarna. Paradise Beach, located nearby the little-known Belican Beach, can be reached on foot but it’s a pretty tough trek. We recommend you take a boat from any one of the other beaches, and make a few stops along the way.
Alternatively, you can take a rickshaw from Gokarna to Belican Beach and then head to Paradise, about a 30 minutes climb up a hill. Both Belican and Paradise beaches are pretty quiet and isolated from mainstream activity and tourism. Paradise Beach, however, is functional during peak season with cafes and restaurants serving pretty good local fare and music gatherings to accompany the bedazzling sunsets.