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Gokarna beach

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With its narrow streets, traditional houses and temples, the nondescript town of Gokarna has become the favourite haunt of Hindu pilgrims, Sanskrit scholars and beach buffs. Locals believe that Gokarna derives its name from a legend in which Lord Shiva emerged from the ear of a cow. Literally meaning 'cow's ear,' this village is formed by the ear-shaped confluence of two rivers. Adventurous travellers must be prepared for a bit of cliff-scrambling in this coastal town. Om beach, one of Gokarna's five famed beaches, takes the shape of an 'Om,' a spiritual symbol. The other beaches, wedged between gigantic cliffs that protrude like delicate fingers into the sea are Gokarna, Kudle, Half Moon, and Paradise. The drive up the winding path that leads to Gokarna is a scenic delight with rocky mountains and the Western Ghats on one side and the Arabian Sea on the other. Here, you can experience the famed Karnataka hospitality in friendly guesthouses run by local families.