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Shree Mahaganapati Temple in Gokarna

About Gokarna

Gokarna is also known as Srikshetra. It is basically a temple town and is is one of the most important pilgrimages for Hindus. Gokarna is located on the west coast of North Karnataka along the Karwar coast and is not so easily accessible. It's a small and peaceful town with full of divine vibes and tranquil atmosphere.

The nearest Railway Station to Gokarna is Gokarna Road on the Konkan Railway. There are good number of auto-rickshaws available at the station. They charge around Rs.250/- or Rs.300/- from railway station to the town. Many buses also ply from Mangalore and Mumbai which halt at Kumta village. From here one has to take a cab / auto-rickshaw to Gokarna which costs around Rs.200/- or Rs.250/-. However, it is very difficult to get one from this place.

Shree Mahaganapati Temple

This is a small temple located on the shores of Arabian Sea. It is to the south of Shree Mahabaleshwar Temple. Shree Mahaganapati Temple is to the left of Shree Mahabaleshwar Temple. Shree Mahaganapathy Temple is to one's right as one faces Shree Mahabaleshwar Temple.
This is a small shrine dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Pilgrims visit these temples after taking a holy dip in the Arabian Sea facing Mahabaleshwar temple. However, it is not compulsory but is a personal choice. Pilgrims must visit Mahaganapti temple before they visit Mahabaleshwar temple.

Devotees who wish to perform 'abhishekam' i.e. pouring of water on the idol of Shree Mahaganapati, need to engage a temple priest for performing poojas / abhishekams in both the temples. There are different prices for performing different poojas.

Pilgrims who wish to perform abhishekam to the idol of Shri Mahaganapati, need to draw water from the well which is inside the temple premises.
After drawing water from the well, they are seated in the temple premises and the priest performs pooja with 'gotra namalu'. After pooja, devotees with the water pot in hand, go inside the sanctorum along with the priest. They are then allowed to touch the main idol of Shree Mahaganapati and pour milk / water with their own hands.
The main idol has a short stature and is in standing posture with short legs and protruding belly, a typical figure of Shree Mahaganapati. The idol is very lively with radiating power and it gives devotees a strange feeling on touching the idol. There is a feeling as if there is life in the idol.

During our recent visit to the temple on December 8th, 2018, on seeing and touching the feet of the idol of Shree Mahaganapati, we (self and spouse) had a strange feeling and we could feel some divine vibes. I felt as if there is some kind of life-force in the idol. It's really very very powerful.

After 'abhishekam' devotees place 'garika' i.e. blades of grass on Ganesha idol. They are allowed to touch the head of Shree Mahaganapati idol which has a dent in the middle.

Taking pictures is strictly not allowed to the main idol inside the sanctorum.
It is said that the dent was formed when King Ravana hit hard on Ganapati's head with a rod as he was tricked by Ganesha. There is a mythological story in connection with it.

After performing pooja / abhishekam to Shree Mahaganapati, devotees get inside Shree Mahabaleshwar temple to perform pooja / abhishekam to 'Atmalingam' of Lord Shiva in the sanctorum / garbha gruha. The temple priest whom the devotees engage, take care of getting all the pooja materials and devotees need not purchase any of the pooja materials from outside.

Temple Timings

The temple is not very heavily crowded but is moderately crowded with pilgrims mostly from different states of the country. The temple opens for devotees at 6 a.m and closes 12.30 p.m. It again opens at 5 in the evening and closes at 9 p.m (timings are subject to change)

Shopping

There is row of shops on either side of the street facing the temple. One can buy varieties of spices that spread aroma and dry fruits like khajur, cashew nuts etc at this place. These are sold at reasonable / fixed price and are worth buying.

Food

There are few small road side hotels. However, devotees can have free 'annaprasadam' offered by the temple. Free annaprasadam starts from 11.30 a.m till 2.00 p.m. Purely vegetarian food is offered at these places with one curry, rasam, sambar, sweet prasadam and butter milk. Food served here is okay from taste and hygienic point of view.

Devotees can donate money at the counter, however it is not compulsory.

Stay

There are few home-stays / guest houses very close to the main temple at reasonable price. They offer AC double bed room for around Rs.1500/- per night and non-AC double bed rooms for around Rs.800/- per night. These rooms are not with high comforts but are okay for a day's stay. 12.30 p.m is the check-in / check-out time in most of the guest houses.