Gokarna is only 10
kilometers from Kathmandu city,
in the northern area of the Kathmandu
Valley. Set in a quiet
forested area whose main
attraction is the impressive Gokarna
Mahadev temple compound.
Set beside a somewhat cleaner
portion of the Bagmati river the
temple compound was not aﬀected
by the 2015 earthquake. It’s
surrounded by a vast collection
of stone statues, funeral ghat
and some unique shrines not
found elsewhere in Nepal
Gokarna is easy to reach if you
avoid the mid-morning and
afternoon traffic jams of
Kathmandu. For hill-walkers
there’s plenty to enjoy in the
surrounding protected area. For
culture lovers Gokarna is one of
the lesser known places you can
easily add to your itinerary.
There are several "tour
operators" who offer
trips to Gokarna. Unless
you like tours, they are
not necessary and quite
to Nepal contains
information and walk
through to Gokarna at a
fraction of the cost.
makes for an excellent little
half day independent trip from
Kathmandu city. Hire a car/taxi or take
a local bus with ease.
are several transportation
methods to Gokarna depending on
your budget and schedule.
run from Ratna bus park every
30 or so minutes and
are the most budget friendly
ways to Gokarna (25 rupees).
Taxi's can be hard to find in
Gokarna. Book a two-way trip
between 1600- to 2000 rupees
with a waiting time from
you could hire a taxi there and
take a bus back.
all trips to Gokarna start from
just outside the main Gokarna
Mahadev temple complex.
The bus from Kathmandu will drop
you off here so long as you ask.
Alternatively the bus stops at a
terminal around the corner from
the temple. Just take a left from
the bus stop and follow the road
back to the temple if you get off a the bus stop.
If the bus or
taxi drops you outside the temple
complex then there are two
entrances to choose from. The most
popular is the main entrance
entered at the bottom of the hill
to the right. There's a large open
area there and then a small gate
just in front of the temple. The
building to your left here before
the gate is the ticket office (you
might have to call out to bring
the attendant out.
entrance is just before the main
entrance to the right near the
store where people wait for a bus
back to Kathmandu. There are a
series of steps leading down to
the temple complex. At the bottom
to the right is a building which
usually has someone who issues
temple complex is relatively small
but is one of the most feature
filled complexes in all Nepal.
temple takes center stage but
surrounding it is are a collection of
statues and sculptures that
outnumber many other places in the
In front of
the temple are the ghats which you
can walk along up to the
suspension bridge. It's worth
crossing over to the mid point of
the bridge to get a great look at
the temple area. To the left are
several other fascinating shrines which we'll also take a
look at below.
customary to walk clockwise around
the temple. Though walking back
and forth is fine when looking at
the statues and shrines.
three-roof temple was built in its
current form in 1582. It is said
the actual temple dates back
further due to the areas royal
history throughout the ages. The
temple is dedicated to Shiva in
Mahadev form (Shiva’s “great god”
front of the temple there is an
door and even more wonderful
torana above it.
The torana depicts Shiva and
his consort Parvati at the
center in the Uma Maheshwar
position (Parvati on Shiva’s
knee leaning on him). Above
them is Garuda.
Behind the door is the inner
sanctum which is
usually locked and contains a
revered Shiva lingam.
around Gokarna Complex:
the Gokarna temple are dozens of
Hindu and Nepali statues. The
large statues with circular bases
have depictions of Hindu gods that
are not found elsewhere.
To the side
near the main entrance is a statue
depicting Shashthi, next to it on
the right is Durga, then Mahagauri
(Durga), then one more of Durga
the mother goddess again. Finally
we come back to Shiva’s trident.
At the front of the temple past
the golden door is Ganesh, then a
lone Hanuman followed up by a
unique statue of Krishna with a
Gopi (one of his maiden
On the far
side of the temple near the steps
you'll find a rare statue of Indra
on an elephant.
To the rear
there is a Nandi statue which in
itself is unusually placed as it's
normally located to the front of a
In the rear
side corner is a small shrine to
Shiva's wife Parvati. The shrine
is usually open and there's a
statue of Parvati inside dressed
in a sari like dress.
To the front
of the temple and down the steps
by the river you'll come across an
unusual stone statue of Narayan
lying on a bed of snakes.
To the left
is a temple like building which is
dedicated to and Vishnu known as
Vishnu Paduka. Inside there’s a
statue to Vishnu along with a set
of his foot prints.
around the Vishnu temple to a
series of shrines and you'll
quickly come across one of the
best tree shrines in all Nepal.
Most likely this small Shiva
shrine looked like the others
beside it until a seed landed and
this large trees vast root system
took hold. Inside the shrine is a
small stone Shiva lingam.
river opens up in front of you as
stone steps lead down the ghats.
As you walk towards the bridge
you’ll pass the old ghats where
cremations still take place today.
Up ahead and closer to the bridge
are more modern ghats. Do be aware
that cremations take place and
taking photos of them is not
appropriate. From the top of the
bridge you should get a great view
looking back at the temple an
If you are
after a round of gold at a premier
location then the Gokarna Forest
Resort Golf Range should be a
familiar name to you. Designed by
same people who created Gleneagles
in Scotland it’s a premier course.
Costs range from 5,000/7,000
rupees for 18 holes during
weekdays and weekends. Equipment
rental starts at 2,000 rupees.
There is no
entrance fee to visit Gokarna.
However to enter the
Gokarna temple complex there's a
100 rupee ticket. Get
the ticket from either main
entrance or the one near the
bottom of the near the main road
are virtually non- existent in
Gokarna in terms of tourist
meals. There are a few
local cafes serving food near the
bus stop at the top of the steps
leading to the temple complex.
It's best to stick with basics
here like noodles.
Those on a
budget wanting to stay in the area
might want to look at Tranquil
Home stay: With 6 clean rooms &
very welcoming hosts it provides
very peaceful stay. Located near
Shiksyalaya School and Nepal
Engineering College. Tranquil
Homestay pricing and bookings
can be made here.
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