By Road: 32 km from Kumta / 42 km from OmBodhi Retreat.
By River & Road: 14 km from OmBodhi Retreat by crossing the river Aghanashini (combination of road & river ferry)
Gokarna is a small town famous as a pilgrimage centre and also known as Kashi of the South India.
The main attraction of Gokarna is Mahabaleshwar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva and houses the Atmalinga. According to Hindu mythology, the Atmalinga was given to ‘demon’ king Ravanaof Lanka by Lord Shiva himself.
On his way back to his kingdom Lanka, Ravana stopped here for his evening prayers. He had been instructed by Lord Shiva not to keep the Atmalinga on the ground, since it would be fixed wherever it touched ground. Atmalinga was a powerful weapon and Devatas did not want Ravana to get such a powerful weapon, fearing destruction.
Lord Ganesh took the avatar of a boy and offered Ravana to hold the Atmalinga during his prayer. Ganesha then kept the Atmalinga on ground before Ravana returned from prayer. Ravana, in extreme anger, tried pulling out the Atmalinga from the ground, breaking it in the process. Due to extreme force exerted by Ravana to remove Atmalinga from the ground, it broke into pieces and flew all over the region.
Besides Mahabaleshwara temple, the other prominent temples in Gokarna include Maha Ganapathi temple, Bhadrakali Temple, Varadaraja temple and Venkataramana temple.
Gokarna is also popular for its beaches like Om Beach, Kudle Beach, Gokarna Beach, Paradise Beach, Half-moon Beach etc.
Rock formations and Caves
By Road: 28 km from Kumta / 38 km from OmBodhi Retreat
Yana is famous for its two unique and massive rock formations in the mountains of Western Ghats known as the Bhairaveshwara Shikhara and the Mohini Shikhara. These huge rocks are composed of solid black, crystalline Karst limestone. Bhairaveshwara Shikhara is 120 m (390 feet) high,
while the smaller, Mohini Shikhara, is 90 m (300 feet) high. A cave temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is at the base of the Bhairaveshwara Shikhara. The idol of
Goddess Parvathi is found at the base of the Mohini Shikhara.
According to Hindu mythology, once the demon king Bhasmasura performed penance to
for a boon from Lord Shiva. As per the boon, whatever he touched would burn into ashes. Once the boon was granted, Bhasmasura chased Lord Shiva in order to destroy him. Shiva found refuge in the Bhairaveshwara peak at Yana. The other peak called Mohini is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, who took the form of beautiful damsel, Mohini, and saved Lord Shiva’s life.
These unique rock formations have made Yana a popular destination for pilgrims, trekkers and nature lovers. There is also a small waterfall nearby. Shivaratri is the major annual festival held for 10 days with great religious fervor at Yana.
The best time to visit Yana is during the months of October to April (avoid monsoon season).
Vibhooti Falls is a beautiful waterfall hidden in the Western Ghats and not yet one of those over-crowded popular tourist destinations.
Legend of Vibhooti Falls is linked to the legend of Yana Rocks. It is believed that the water that comes from Yana is the Vibhooti or sacred ash; hence the name of this perennial falls.
There is a nominal entrance fee for the Falls and you have to walk about 1-1.5 km to reach the falls. Like most waterfalls, you see the falls only once you reach the view point. There are spread benches along the way to relax and admire the nature all around. The first half of the path is paved while the second half is unpaved.
This multi-tiered waterfall is surrounded by green foliage and is a very pleasant place to spend time listening to the gurgling sound of the falling water.
Keep about half a day for the Falls.
Fort ruins with a beautiful sea view, Architectur
By Road: 12 km from Kumta / 22 km from OmBodhi Retreat
Mirjan Fort is a beautiful ruins of a fort located in the village of Mirjan on the west coast of the Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka.
According to the first historical version, Queen Chennabhairadevi of Gersoppa, which was under the Vijayanagara Empire, was initially credited with building the Mirjan Fort in the 16th century. She ruled for 54 years and also lived in the fort. Her reign was one of the longest in the history of female domination in Indian history, from the year 1552 to 1606. During her reign, the port at Mirjan was used for shipping pepper, saltpetre and betel nut to Surat. The Portuguese gave the epithet “Rani, the Pepper queen” (“Rainha de Pimenta” in Portuguese) to the Queen of Gersoppa. In 1757, the Marathas gained control of the fort and later in 1784 it was seized by the British.
Located on the banks of river Aganashini, the fort is known for its architectural elegance. It is a small yet elegant fort built over an area of about 10 acres, and is approached through a series of wide steps that lead to its interior. Its high double walls are built by laterite stones and has bastions with high turrets. The fort has four entrances and is surrounded by a moat with interconnected wells.
During the year 2000-01, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) carried out excavations in the precincts of the fort. These excavations unearthed laterite structures of medieval period in the form of channeled water tank, a gold coin minted in 1652 with inscriptions attributing it to the Portuguese Viceroy Conde De Sarzedas, cannonballs, Chinese porcelain, clay tablets with Islamic inscriptions, etc.
Timings of the fort are from 6 am to 6 pm.
Temples,Shiva statue, Park with mythological statues
By Road: 44 km from Kumta / 54 km from OmBodhi Retreat
Murudeshwar is a well known important pilgrimage destination in Karnataka with picturesque views.Murudeshwara temple is famous abode of Lord Shiva. According to the Hindu mythology, one of the pieces of Atmalingam that demon king Ravana brought from Mount Kailash after praying to Lord Shiva, fell at Murudeshwar on his way to Lanka. The covering cloth of the Atmaingam fell at Kanduka Giri and the Murudeshwar temple was built at the site.
Murudeshwar is famous for one of the tallest Shiva statues (123 ft) and among the tallest temples (249 ft), the Murudeshwar Temple. The Arabian sea on three sides surrounds the temple towering on the small hill called Kanduka Giri. There are number of mythological statues spread across the park, which is developed on this hill. This is a great place to watch the sunset.
One can also take an hour long boat ride to reach the interesting Netrani Island, a popular spot for travellers, as it offers snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities.
India’s highest waterfalls
By Road: 80 km from Kumta / 90 km from OmBodhi Retreat
Jog Falls is the one of the highest and most beautiful waterfalls in India, situated in Karnataka state. It is one of the top destinations of Karnataka and is formed over the Sharavathi River falling from a height of 253 m (830 ft).
The water comes down in four distinct falls known as Raja, Rani, Rover and Rocket. These four distinct cascades merge to form this beautiful waterfall. The Raja Fall pours in one unbroken column sheer to the depth of 253 m (830 ft). Halfway down, it is merged with Rover Fall. Together they rush violently downwards to meet the Rocket, the third fall, which shoots downwards in a series of jets. The fourth fall, Rani, quietly falls over the mountain side. It is a breathtaking sight.
The best time to visit Jog Falls is from August to January, though the peak season is from September to December.
By Road: 61 km from Kumta / 71 km from OmBodhi Retreat
Unchalli Falls is one of the very magnificent and popular waterfalls in the region with a height of 380 feet.
The falls are situated in dense forest and Aghanashini River flows through several cascades before dropping into a big pool from a height of over 200 feet.
From the parking area it takes 30 minutes trek (one way) to reach the falls. The path is wide and not very steep. There is a view point at the top from where the steps lead downwards to another view point that offers a complete view of the falls. There is no path to reach bottom of the falls / pool and any attempt can very dangerous.
Post-monsoon and winters are the best seasons to visit the falls.
By Road: 148 km from Kumta / 158 km from OmBodhi Retreat
Dandeli is one of the top destinations of Karnataka. It is famous for its beautiful natural backdrop, wildlife and adventure activities. The dense forest cover makes it one of the best natural habitats in the world.
Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary is the second largest wildlife sanctuary in Karnataka and is also designated Tiger Reserve. Spread over an area of 866.41 sq. km, the sanctuary lies between 100 m to 970 m. The dense forests of the sanctuary are criss-crossed by smaller meandering rivers Kaneri and Nagzari, both tributaries of River Kali. The sanctuary is contiguous with the Mahaveer Sanctuary in Goa and Anshi National Park in Karnataka.
Dandeli is a natural habitat for several wild animals like tigers, leopards, black panthers, elephants, gaur, deer, antelopes, macaques, crocodiles and variety of snakes including the famous King Cobra. This sanctuary is also a birdwatchers paradise, housing nearly 200 species of birds including the golden-backed woodpecker, crested serpent eagle, white breasted kingfisher, grey hornbill, great pied hornbill, Malabar pied hornbill and many more.
Dandeli is one of the top water sports destinations too. One can indulge in water rafting, kayaking, canyoning on the Kali River. In addition, Dandeli also offers crocodile spotting, nature walks, treks, boating, bird watching, angling, and mountain biking.
Other popular attractions in Dandeli include the Ulavi Temple, Syntheri Rocks and Kavala Caves, Molangi, Syke’s Point, Nagajhari viewpoint and Supa Dam are other places of interest for travellers.
By Road: 143 km from Kumta / 153 km from OmBodhi Retreat
Udupi is a famous temple town and is the source of Udupi cuisine which is famous across the world. It is also one of the most famous tourist places to visit in Karnataka, mainly for its pilgrimage importance.
Udupi is the land of breathtaking beauty, located between the verdant mountains of the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea. It is famous for Sri Krishna Temple and Udupi Krishna Math was established in the 13th century by the great philosopher, Madhavacharya. The temple attracts pilgrims from all over India and is also a centre for the Dvaita philosophy. Famous Hindu saints such as Chaitanya, Purandaradasa and Kanakadasa visited this temple for the ‘darshan’ of Lord Krishna. There is also a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, believed to be more than 1000 years old.
One of the very popular festivals, Paryaya festival, attracts large number of devotees. The roads are flooded with chariots with processions that display cultural shows such as folk dances and religious hymns. Holi, Ramanavami, Rathasaptami, Krishna Janmastami, Dusshera and Diwali are the other festivals that are celebrated with great enthusiasm.