A small town on banks of Arabian sea, Gokarna, literally meaning Cow's Ear, is a temple town in the Uttara Kannada district of the Karnataka. As per Hindu mythology, Cow has a special religious place as Mother Earth. It is believed that Lord Rudra (Shiva) was sent to Patalaloka by Brahma to undergo penance. He eventually emerged from the ear of a cow named Prithvi synonym for the Mother Earth and hence the name of Gokarna. Thus this place served Rudra as a womb and so, this place is also known as Rudra Yoni and Adi Gokarna. Gokarna is placed at the ear-shaped confluence of two rivers Gangavali and Aghanashini, a natural picturesque scene anybody can never forget.
The earliest history of the city is not known. It is an established fact that Mayurvarma of the Kadamba kings brought Brahmins from Ahicchatra. It was a center for India's traditional and ancient Ganja Culture. A sect of Brahmins fled from the Gomantak to escape forcible conversions by the Portuguese and British and settled in and around Gokarna in the 15th century. It was part of the Sodhe and Vijayanagar kingdoms. Later, when the Konkan region including Goa was occupied by the Portuguese, it became part of their rule. A few temples were destroyed by the Portuguese in 1714 and then rebuilt later in the 18th century and also under the supervision of Guru H. H. Shrimat Anandashram Swamiji in 1928.
Around the town lie a number of beaches sefving as a major attraction for travelers. This coastline is surrounded by natural beauty of five beaches (Gokarna beach, Kudle beach, Om beach, Half moon beach and Paradise beach) and hills alongside, the traveler can choose his favorites for himself. This is not a place to hurry. One should just drift up the coast, enjoying the scenic beauty of this coastal area and marvelous cultural heritage of India.