- Karnataka.com Gokarna
North Kanara district
110 km (71 miles) North of Mangalore. Spectacularly situated by the
Arabian Sea, Gokarna has now become a favourite destination of visitors
in search of sun, sea and sand. A charming little town with two principal
streets and clusters of traditional tile - roofed brick houses, Gokarna
is also an important centre of Sanskrit learning.
The ancient Mahabaleshvara Temple, at the western end of the main
street, was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1714 and then rebuilt later
in the 18th century. In the sanctuary is a stone linga, encased in
brass, placed on a colied stone serpent. The floor of the hall in
front has an intricate engraving of a gaint tortoise. Shiva's birthday
(Feb/Mar) is celebrated here with great fanfare. The two great temple
chariots lead a procession through the town's narrow streets, while
priests and pilgrims chant hymns in praise of Shiva.
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