About GokarnaGokarna 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
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.
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.
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 TimingsThe 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)
ShoppingThere 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.
FoodThere 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.