Gokarna – The Land of Shiva’s Origins…
Har Har Mahadev! Shiva has been certainly one of the God’s that enchant my sense of imagination and a purpose that fulfils me in it’s own entirety. Some believe that this Warrior of Death is the ultimate Lord amongst the trinity of Hindu mythology. Guru Bhrama, Guru Vishnu, Guru Devo, Maheshwara… Yes, Gokarana is believed to be the land of this Destroyer of Evil, the ultimately triumphant Lord of Lords!!! Lord Shiva…
Shiva has a tryst, a tryst with destiny and he knows how crucial he is to the whole eternity and this land of the abyss… To begin with, the most amazing thing about ‘Shiva’ is the meaning to his name… Yes, it means ‘the ‘auspicious one’. Surprised?? Don’t be… Yes, Lord Shiva is the auspicious one and no matter how much importance every other God gets, Lord Shiva’s tales are innumerable.. Some enchant you, some inspire you, some make you feel that you truly believe in the sense of this whole abyss we know as Earth!
Moving on…Gokarna means Cow’s Ear. It is believed that Lord Shiva emerged from the ear of a cow (Prithvi, the Mother Earth) here. It is also located at the ear-shaped confluence of two rivers Gangavali and Aghanashini. ..
This is where I’m headed to next… Yes next stop is going to be Gokarana, where the ultimate power of Mahabaleshwara lies… Friday the 22nd April, being a Good Friday seems to be the ultimate time to go there, on a long weekend…
So I’m going to head off, with my backpack to discover the beaches, the temples and the mysterious land of Gokarna… One that I’ve heard has achieved a lot of buzz amongst a lot of people.
So what’s so great about Gokarna you ask?
Well, here’s a short little review/research I’m doing before I actually get there…
Some History about the Place
Legends in the Sahyadri Khand of the Puranas indicate that the State of Kerala was reclaimed from the sea by the Warrior-Sage Parashurama who came from the North (of the Vindhya ranges) after his wanderings, in which he killed the Kshatriyas 21 times and threw his axe, the weapon by which he annihilated the Kshatriyas, into the sea, to prevent the erosion of the land stretching from Gokarna to the Southernmost tip of India.
Gokarna is also mentioned in the Shrimad Bhagavata Purana as being the home of the two brothers Gokarna and Dhundhakari and the Bhagawat also gives details of the differences in their temperament, nature and exploits. [Source: Wikipedia]
Beaches of Gokarna
Gokarna town has it’s own beach that’s popular with pilgrims. However, the beaches that are of most interest to tourists are located one after another a short distance away. There are four of them called Kudle Beach, Om Beach, Halfmoon Beach, and Paradise Beach. Each has its own appeal. Om Beach is the most happening beach, and is the only one that’s reachable by car or rickshaw. The others are around a 20 minute hike away from each other through the hills and over rocks, or a short boat ride away. The last beach, Paradise Beach, is not much more than a tiny protected cove that’s a patch of hippie paradise.
This is one of the major temples here. It houses the famous Atmalinga here. It is a very major attraction here. Before worshipping at the Mahabaleshwara temple, there is a custom that one has to bathe in the sea and pay respect to a Shivalingam, made out of sand.
There is six feet tall Atmalinga here enshrined in a square called Saligrama Peetha. It is opened for viewing once in forty years. Now only the tip of the Linga can be seen through a opening in the Peetha. Another Mythlogical reference to Gokarna describes how Ravana went to Mount Kailasa to perform penance and get “Atmalinga” from lord Shiva. Lord Shiva handed the Atmalinga and instructed him not to place it on the ground till he reached Lanka.If he placed it down then it would establish itself on the ground. On seeing this other Gods got threatened and went to seek Lord Shiva’s help, who devised a plan with Lord Ganesha.
On his way back to Lanka, Ravana stops for a prayer in Gokarana. Ganesha disguises himself as a Brahman boy and tells Ravana that he will hold the Atmalinga till he finishes his prayers on the condition that he would hold it till he can bear its weight and thereafter he would call Ravana three times. If Ravana failed to come back in time he would place the Atmalinga on the ground. Before Ravana could come he places the Atmalinga on the ground it firmly gets attached to the Earth.
Ravana furiously with all his effort tries to extricate it resulted in his throwing the coverings of the Linga to Dhareshwar, Gunavanteshwara, Murdeshwar and Shejjeshwar temples (the last places is very near Karwar).
All in all, I’m looking forward to have a great time and ensure I get the best stories and pictures out of this place… :)