Gokarna Mahabaleshwar Temple Karnataka- Information for visitors - Gokarna Puja

Gokarna Mahabaleshwar Temple Karnataka- Information for visitors

(Last Updated On: March 4, 2024)

The famous temple in Gokarna is Lord Mahabaleshwar also known as Shiva temple. The Atmalinga is situated inside this temple. In this article, we cover information related to Gokarna Mahabaleshwar temple history and mythological stories, temple timings, dress code, poojas, other temples,  places to visit in Gokarna, nearby places, accommodation, how to reach Gokarna, etc.

Historical Background of Gokarna Temple

The historical background of Gokarna Temple dates back to ancient times. The town of Gokarna itself is mentioned in various historical texts, including the Mahabharata, and Skanda Purana.
These texts highlight Gokarna’s significance as a sacred place and a place of pilgrimage.

The Skanda Purana is one of the eighteen Puranas. Following are the extracts from Skanda Purana.
King Shatanika asks the Soota Maharshi, ” Maharshi, where have you come from? ” The Maharshi says that he has come to his kingdom after staying for a few days in Gokarna after visiting many other pilgrimages.

The temple’s construction is believed to have been initiated by the rulers of the Kadamba dynasty during the 5th century. Over the centuries, various dynasties and rulers contributed to the temple’s expansion and renovation, leaving behind a rich architectural heritage. The Chalukyas, the Hoysalas, and the Vijayanagara Empire all played a part in enhancing the grandeur of the temple complex.

The architecture of Gokarna Temple reflects a blend of Dravidian and Nagara styles. The temple’s main entrance, intricately carved pillars, and towering gopuram (gateway tower) showcase the mastery of ancient craftsmen. The temple’s sanctum houses the Atmalinga, a magnificent representation of Lord Shiva. The temple’s complex also includes various other shrines dedicated to different deities, each with its unique architectural elements.

The historical background of Gokarna Temple not only highlights its architectural splendor but also sheds light on the cultural and religious significance it holds in the region.

The significance of Gokarna Temple in Hindu mythology

Gokarna Temple holds immense significance in Hindu mythology. According to legends, the temple marks the spot where Lord Shiva emerged from the ear of a cow (Gokarna) to bless the world. This divine event is believed to have taken place during the Treta Yuga, one of the four ages of Hindu cosmology. The temple is thus considered a sacred pilgrimage for devotees seeking the blessings and grace of Lord Shiva.

The mythology surrounding Gokarna Temple also includes the story of Lord Ravana, the demon king from the epic Ramayana. It is believed that Ravana, in his quest for immortality, received the Atmalinga (a powerful lingam representing Lord Shiva’s energy) from Lord Shiva himself. However, the gods feared Ravana’s growing power and conspired to take back the lingam.

As Ravana approached Gokarna, Lord Vishnu obscured the sun to create the illusion of dusk. Ravana became concerned because he needed to perform his evening rituals, but couldn’t do so with the Atma-Linga in his possession. At that moment, a Brahmin boy disguised as Lord Ganesha approached Ravana. Ravana asked the boy to hold the Atma-Linga while he completed his rituals, instructing him not to place it on the ground. The boy, Ganesh, made a deal with Ravana. He would call Ravana three times, and if Ravana didn’t return within that time, Ganesh would place the Atma-Linga on the ground.

Ganesh called out three times rapidly, but Ravana couldn’t make it back in time. Before Ravana could return, Ganesh tricked him by placing the Atma-Linga on the ground and disappeared along with his cows. Ravana chased after the only cow that was going underground, managing to grab hold of its ear as the rest of its body vanished beneath the ground. This ear is what gives the place its name “Gokarna,” which means “cow’s ear” in Sanskrit, with “gow” meaning “cow” and “karna” meaning “ear.

Afterward, Ravana made several attempts to lift the Shiv Linga but was unsuccessful due to its secure positioning. Ravana even lost consciousness during his efforts. As a result, he named the Atmalinga “Mahabaleshwar,” which translates to “all-powerful.” Thus, according to the legend, Gokarna now boasts three sacred entities: Gokarna itself, symbolized by the cow’s ear; the Mahabaleshwar Temple, where the deified Atmalinga or Shiva Linga is worshipped; and the Goddess Bhadrakali. All three places hold great significance in Gokarna’s religious worship.

The story does not end here. Ravana when trying to lift the linga, objects protecting the lingam, scattered to four other places. When these objects touched the ground they also became lingams. Hence all these temples are known as Panchalingeshwar temples.

  1. Gokarna Mahabaleshwara – the primary lingam
  2. Sajjeshwar – the box carrying the lingam. Located approximately 35 kilometers from Karwar, it takes a two-hour drive from Gokarna to reach this temple.
  3. Dhareshwar – the string that covers the lingam. Situated on NH17, about 45 kilometers south of Gokarna.
  4. Gunavanteshwar – the cover of the box containing the lingam. Also located on NH17, around 60 kilometers south of Gokarna.
  5. Murudeshwar – the cloth that covers the lingam. Positioned on NH17, roughly 70 kilometers south of Gokarna.

The divine presence of the Atmalinga within the Gokarna Temple attracts devotees from far and wide, who come to seek the blessings and spiritual solace it offers. The temple’s history is intertwined with these mythical tales, creating a sense of awe and reverence among those who visit.

Another popular legend associated with Gokarna Temple is the story of the demon king Bhasmasura. Bhasmasura, with the power to turn anyone into ashes by touching their heads, received a boon from Lord Shiva. However, this boon had a condition – anyone on whom Bhasmasura placed his hand would turn to ashes. Bhasmasura, driven by his newfound power, tried to use it against Lord Shiva himself. In a twist of fate, Lord Vishnu intervened and took the form of a beautiful woman named Mohini. Mohini tricked Bhasmasura into touching his own head, turning him into ashes. This event is believed to have taken place near Gokarna, and the temple stands as a reminder of this divine intervention.

Festivals and rituals celebrated at Gokarna Temple

Gokarna Temple is a hub of festivities and rituals that draw devotees from far and wide. The temple celebrates several festivals throughout the year, each with its unique significance and rituals.

One of the most prominent festivals celebrated at Gokarna Temple is Maha Shivaratri. This festival marks the night of Lord Shiva’s union with Goddess Parvati and is celebrated with great fervor. Devotees fast, offer prayers, and perform special rituals throughout the night, seeking the blessings of Lord Shiva. The temple is beautifully decorated, and an aura of spirituality fills the air as devotees immerse themselves in devotion and worship.

Other festivals celebrated at Gokarna Temple include Ganesh Chaturthi, Navratri, and Karthika Deepam. Each festival is characterized by vibrant decorations, devotional music, and rituals that honor the deities. Devotees come together to participate in these celebrations, creating an atmosphere of joy, unity, and spiritual awakening.

Apart from these festivals, the temple also conducts daily rituals and prayers that are an integral part of the devotees’ spiritual journey. These rituals include abhisheka (sacred bath) of the Atmalinga, aarti (ceremonial worship), and the chanting of sacred hymns. The temple priests perform these rituals with utmost devotion, creating a spiritual ambiance that resonates with the devotees.

The spiritual and cultural importance of Gokarna Temple

Gokarna Temple holds immense spiritual and cultural importance in the lives of devotees and the local community. It serves as a center of spirituality, where devotees seek solace, guidance, and blessings from Lord Shiva.

The temple is not only a place of worship but also a symbol of cultural heritage. Its architecture, sculptures, and intricate carvings reflect the artistic brilliance of ancient craftsmen. The temple complex itself is a testament to the cultural and architectural heritage of the region.

Gokarna Temple also plays a vital role in promoting religious tourism in Karnataka. Devotees and tourists from all over the world visit the temple, contributing to the local economy and supporting the preservation of the temple’s rich history. The temple serves as a bridge between the past and the present, connecting people to the ancient traditions and customs that have shaped their identities.

The spiritual and cultural importance of Gokarna Temple extends beyond its physical boundaries, touching the hearts and souls of those who seek its divine presence.

Gokarna Temple Darshan timings (Mahabaleshwar Temple)

DayOpen Time
Close TimeOpen Time
Close Time
Monday6:00 AM12:15 PM5:00 PM8:00 PM
Tuesday6:00 AM12:15 PM5:00 PM8:00 PM
Wednesday6:00 AM12:15 PM5:00 PM8:00 PM
Thursday6:00 AM12:15 PM5:00 PM8:00 PM
Friday6:00 AM12:15 PM5:00 PM8:00 PM
Saturday6:00 AM12:15 PM5:00 PM8:00 PM
Sunday6:00 AM12:15 PM5:00 PM8:00 PM

Important Note: Atmalinga Darshan and Sparsh are available to all visitors. Puja services are not available inside the Mahabaleshwar Temple. Foreigners are not allowed.

Gokarna Temple Dress code

Dhoti and Shallya (Towel) for men. Indian traditional dress Saree or Salawar suit (churidar) for women.
Half pants, Jeans, and trousers, skirts are strictly not allowed.

Gokarna temple address

The Mahabaleshwar Temple
Car Street, Gokarna
Kumta Taluk, Uttara Kannada District
Karnataka, India
Pin: 581326

Gokarna Temple Distance

Gokarna Road Railway Station 10 Km
Gokarna KSRTC bus stand 550 m
Om Beach 6.7 Km
Kudle Beach 1.1 Km
Main Beach 280 m
Paradise Beach 2.5 Km
Koti Teertha 350 m (By walking through a lane)
Police station Gokarna 650 m
Government Hospital 2.6 Km
Punyaashrama (by Car 2 Km, walking through a lane and auto 1km)

Mahabaleshwar Temple Gokarna
Mahabaleshwar Temple Gokarna

Temples and places to visit in Gokarna

Places in Gokarna can be classified into the following categories 1 Temples 2 Teertha 3 Linga 4 Beaches


Mahabaleshwar Temple, Maha Ganapati, Bhadrakaali, Kaal Bhariva, Vaitrani Durga Devi, Parashrama Temple, Shri Krishna temple, Durga Devi temple, Lakshmi Narasimha, Markendeshwara, Rama Lakshmana Sita temple, Vishnu temple, Indreshwara temple, Negeshawara, Subramanya, Venkateshwara, Durga, Smashana Kaali, Aadi Gokarna, Aadi Gokarneshwara, Dattatreya


Dattatreya tirtha, Ram tirtha, Koti tirtha, Indra tirtha, Saraswati and Savitri tirtha, Shalmali tirtha, Naga Tirtha, Kamandalu Titrtha, Kapila tirtha, Sakeshwara and tirtha, Uma Maheshwara tirtha, Unmajivini tirtha, Jatayu tirtha


Atmalinga, Gograbha cave and linga

Atmalinga Gokarna
Atmalinga Gokarna Mahabaleshwar temple


1 Main Beach, 2 Om Beach, 3 Kudle Beach, 4 Half Moon Beach

Nearby Places Gokarna

Mirjan Fort 21 Km
Vibhuti Falls 42 Km
Muredshwar 77 Km
Idugunji Mahaganapati temple 67 Km
Marikamba Temple Sirsi 79 Km
Banavasi 102 Km
Jogfalls119 Km
Kollur Mokambika 145 Km
Udupi 177 Km
Yana Caves 48 Km

How to reach Gokarna

Click here for details

Which temple is Gokarna famous for?

The Mahabaleshwar Temple, Gokarna.

Is Gokarna a jyotirlinga?

Lord Shiva’s Atmalinga at the Gokarna temple is just as holy as the Jyotirlinga at the Kashi shrine.

Can we touch Atmalinga in Gokarna?


What language is spoken in Gokarna?

Kannada is the native language. Priests from Gokarna speak Kannada, Hindi, Telugu, Marathi and Konkani. On-demand, Tamil/Malayalam/English-speaking priests will be available for puja rituals.

Where Moksha Narayan Bali Pitru dosha puja performed at Gokarna

Koti Tirtha is the place. Around 80% of puja is conducted here. Rest will be conducted at their own houses and other places in Gokarna.

What are the puja services available at the Mahabaleshwar temple Gokarna?

Currently, no puja services are available inside the temple. Atmalinga darshan and sparsh avialble for visitors

Gokarna Accommodation for Pooja and Temple Visitors

Non AC Room

Type: C
Double occupancy INR 1300
Triple occupancy INR 1700
Type: B
Double occupancy INR 1700
Triple occupancy INR 2000

On-Demand AC Room

For all Non AC double/triple rooms on-demand
AC charges INR 450 per day.
For quad rooms INR 600 per day

AC Room Deluxe

Type: A
Double occupancy INR 2449 with breakfast.
Triple occupancy INR 2999 with breakfast.

Non-Ac Quad Room

Quad room (Four persons)
INR 2000

Pooja and Accommodation Enquiry

Om Beach Road
Gokarna, Karnataka.
Pin code: 581326
E-Mail: gokarnapuja@gmail.com
Phone 1: 9663645980 (To speak in English/Hindi/Kannada)
Phone 2: 9448628918 (To speak in Kannada/Hindi/Telugu/Marathi

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