Gokarna Mutts

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Have split Gokarna pics into 2 parts. One is Gokarna Mutt which has pics of cave associated with Shri Ram, temples, various Mutts, homes of locals and buildings. Idea is to give u a a feel of life in Gokarna. Part two is Gokarna beaches. U see the much revered Koti Tirtha Kund (reservoir). It is believed to be created by Garuda. There are houses all around Koti Tirtha.

Entrance to cave where Shri Ram lived in vanvas (exile). When u go from the market to Kudli beach and reach the top of the hill on the left hand side in this cave. To go to Kudli beach need to walk down the hill. U have to make an effort to find the cave.

I was not expecting to see a House Full inside the cave. Saw a learned Swami (extreme right) giving a discourse to a group of around fifty devotees. The Swami was speaking to two foreign devotees about Jesus, all religions are equal. A number of Indian swamis say that all religions are equal. If that were indeed the case Christian Missionaries would not convert Hindus or Muslim invaders would not have converted Hindus after defeating them in war (note that Hindus never converted Muslims after defeating them in war).

A view of the devotees. They had come from Delhi, Ambala etc. Gokarna means ''cows ear''.

This is the point through which light comes into the cave. The light was enough to see everyone clearly. There is a local train from Mangalore to Goa and back. Leaves Goa about 2pm and Mangalore 6.30am. U can get off at Gokarna road and take a auto/shared bus to Gokarna. Gokarna to Goa via bus is a great drive through Karwar takes about four hours. If you are taking a Mumbai Mangalore bus u will need to get off at Kumta ie about 25kms away from Gokarna.

Now see temples of Gokarna. Since photography not permitted clicked the board for u. This is Mahableshwar Mandir (temple). This Siva temple is said to be next in sanctity only to the Kashi Vishwanath Siva mandir. It is often called the Kashi of the South. "The Lingam is 3 feet tall is actually under the ground and twisted on the top. This is covered by a huge Saligrama stone, supposed to be the largest ever, with a hole on the top from which one can touch the tip of the lingam". Hindus come to Gokarna to perform the death rites of their departed ancestors. The usual custom is to take a bath in the sea, then in Koti Teertha (which is very clean) before going to the temple.

Shri Ganapathi Mahadev. Something different about this image that attracted me towards it. To go to Kudli beach take a left turn from this temple, walk up the hill for about 15 minutes and then walk downhill. There are autos that take you from the market to the top of the hill for Rs 70/.

Entrance to Shri Venkataraman Mandir (temple). It is at the beginning of car street the main road of Gokarna. Also see the Mahakali amman temple.

Just outside the Venkataraman temple saw this man selling flowers. Our temples provide indirect employment to so many people. Seeing me click this picture a Japanese woman bought a garland of the flowers that are in the center of the pic and put them round her neck.

Most houses in Gokarna have thatched roofs like these. It lends a old world charm to the place - less of concrete and steel structures. Hope it remains that way. This is the house of the Head Priest of the Mahableshwar Temple.

This is Car Street the main street in Gokarna. It goes straight and takes a slight detour to the left that u see shall in the next pic. A few scenes from Ajay Devgan movie Singham were shot on this road. There are some nice dosa, juice restaurents on this street whose names I forget.

End of pic u see a Ratha (chariot). That is why perhaps the street got its name. During Shivaratri (Feb March) the deity of Lord Shiva is placed on the chariot. Road is for ever crowded with vehicles and people.

Next few pics are of local people. U see a person reading the morning newspaper.

An elderly man chanting his prayers in the morning. He was reading from the book in hand, happily allowed me to click him.

This house is that of the Joglekars situated opp the Mahableshwar Mandir entrance. Note that wood used extensively in the house be it the railing or for roof support. Big house so decided to enter the house and check it out for myself.

As I entered saw a priest perform a ceremony for the devotee deceased ancestors. Note the pictures of the Joglekar forefathers hung on the wall, style of turban and clothing.

As I walked further into the house saw a pleasant sight of these young priests chanting verses from the Rig Veda in the presence of a young child. The Pandits that I spoke to though briefly gave me a good feel meaning felt good after interacting with them.

Opp those priests sat this group of people. As in Kashi it is the custom to perform the rituals at Gokarna. The group that you see are waiting for the ceremony to begin.

This is a Kali mandir (temple) close to the Gokarna beach made in 1866 by one K Krishna Rao Madras. It is also called Smashan Kali since it is close to the cemetery.

This is another home that I walked into. Temple is part of the home. Hung on the wall are pics of their forefathers.

Now we cover the various Mutts. The most impressive one was the Bhandikeri Mutt. Coming from the market u walk around the Kota Tirtha resorvoir and go up hill in the direction shown in right of the pic.

I walked up this narrow path uphill for about 4 minutes to reach the Bhandikeri Mutt. Inspite of it such a small road an autorickshaw could drive through.

This is an overview of the Bhandikeri Mutt. My host told me that different types of Brahmins are attached to different Maths for eg Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmins go to the Bhandikeri Mutt. A 70 plus friend told me that her maternal grandfather was the Head Pandit of that Mutt. Every summer holidays kids were put in a train and sent to Gokarna, then a small village. By virtue of visiting grandpa every summer she remembers the importance of the mutt. Since her children live abroad (born and brought up in Mumbai) wonder how much importance they and her grandchildren would give to such an association. Is Urbanization breaking the connect with our village roots?

When I entered the Mutt the whole enviornment around me changed. It was so quite, calm - felt like I was meditating. Very positive and powerful vibrations. Spotlessly clean as well. U see a temple on crossing the main door.

I went there in the afternoon around Aarti time. The two of them were playing musical instruments when the aarti was being performed.

Another view of the interiors of the Mutt. Loved this place. If u are looking for a homestay in Gokarna recommend Haripriya Residency. Very good, clean rooms and nice host. In December 2011 charged Rs 500/ per day for a double room. Email anand@haripriyaresidency.com or call 0836257203, 9480604196, 9379568673. Ask for Anand Nadkarni. It is a three minute walk from the bus stand.

Such a road exists all around Kota Tirtha resorvoir. In recently released movie Singhum they showed cars/S.U.V. racing down this narrow road. Wonder how they managed that.

As I walking back from the Bhandikeri Mutt on the banks of the Kota Tirtha resorvoir saw a Pandit performing a ritual for what appears is a deceased parent. Both of the boys look like brothers. Like many Hindus go to Nasik/Kashi to immerse the ashes of their family so also people come to Gokarna. There is a pond behind the Parvati Mandir where the ashes are immersed.

Ahead of the bus stand is the Partangali Jeevottam Mutt ie a GSB Math meaning Goud Saraswat Brahmins. U see the entrance. It was established in 1476, is a Vaishnavite Mutt.

Interiors of the same Math with worshipped deity in the centre of the pic.

On the same road is the Sringeri Math. Did not go there. Also see Veershaiv Math ie the followers of Basavana.

This is the Shri Madroud Padacharya Math. It is after the bus stand on the road before u turn right to car street. Most of the restaurants in Gokarna are vegetarian. Recommend Pai Refreshments. Good breakfast and wholesome meals.

When u come straight down car street the road ends at Gokarna beach. On the left is Ramtirth hill that you see, jutting into the sea with a sweet water spring called Ramtirth on it. Gokarna is also the site of Jatayu tirth where Jatayu was killed by Ravana.

U see a spring on Ramtirth Hill. Water is believed to be full of minerals and good for health. I saw both Indians and foreigners fill bottles and bottles of water. A small temple exists next to Ramtirth.

A view of Gokarna beach from the top of Ram Tirth hill. I found the whole coastal Karnataka belt awesome.

Clicked these loving kids on Gokarna beach. The other beaches in Gokarna are Kudli, Om, Half-moon, Paradise.

In the morning saw a number of Pandits, men and women walk to the temple chanting mantras all along the way. U see one of them. Gokarna gives u a very nice feeling - of a small town, quiet, clean (though not as clean before it became popular with tourist), serene, calm, green and cheap. Just loved it.

During my morning walk saw a lady make a Rangoli outside her home.

Car street is full of shops selling everything from garments, music instruments, artificial jewellery to these lovely Ganeshas.

I was about to go sleep when I heard sounds of chanting and music. When I came to the balcony saw Sabarimala devotees pull this chariot in a procession.