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Sometimes a beach vacation is all we need to get away from the busy hustle and noise of the mundane city life. If your dream vacation of Goa with friends does not seem possible shortly, fret not because there is a cheaper and more economical alternative – Gokarna. Located on the western coast of Uttara Karnataka district of Karnataka, Gokarna is a small temple town filled with sunny, palm-fringed beaches and exciting trekking trails. A popular site for Hindu pilgrims earlier, now the city has younger visitors due to the presence of beaches and forests which are areas for adventures. Due to the rise in tourists from almost all over the country, local people have begun setting up shops and restaurants which embody the local culture of the place, creating space for experiencing fun shopping in Gokarna!

About Shopping In Gokarna

One of the most popular attractions of this coastal town is the presence of small street shops that sell various things from local handicrafts to books. Now, shopping at Gokarna might not be as glamorous as shopping in large malls filled with international brands but nonetheless, it has a charm that attracts every shopaholic looking for a souvenir from their vacation. Also, no matter how much the beach and the forest trails and the temples excite you, it is always enthralling to wander through the local shops, bargain, and take home more than just good memories of the trip. Although there are many shopping places in Gokarna where you spend a day frolicking through shops, there are limited items to buy that are simply unique to Gokarna and its culture. Let us look at those things to buy.

6 Best Things To Buy In Gokarna

Gokarna not only smells of beaches and the sand but also the culture and mores of the lifestyle there. Such a culture can be experienced and felt deeply on a trip, but to truly carry them home, you must shop for the things that are true to the story of Gokarna. So, here are some things you can buy on your trip.

1. Clothes


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While street shopping in Gokarna, you must buy the beachwear that is commonly sold at the beaches of Gokarna. You can buy the best beach apparel at Car Street which is quite ideal for those living the hippie-life because this place is a goldmine for t-shirts with psychedelic patterns and designs. At Car Street, which is undoubtedly one of the best shopping places in Gokarna, Karnataka, you can also buy the famous panchesalya (wrap around) sarees.

Where To Buy: Car Street

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2. Kallu Sakkare

Kallu Sakkare

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Kallu Sakkare literally translates to ‘palm sugar crystals’ which is a popular local candy that is often made in the homes of the people of the town. This candy can be eaten by itself like toffee or used as sugar substitutes for the more health-conscious ones and the ones with diabetes who do not wish to compromise on sweetness.

Where To Buy: Any general store

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3. Brass Lamps

Brass Lamps

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Since Gokarna is a famous pilgrimage town, there are quite a few shops that sell brass lamps and other Hindu pooja paraphernalia. It also sells other things like paintings of deities, trishul (trident owned by Lord Shiva and few other goddesses), rudraksha malas, conchs, fragrant incense sticks and so much more. Coming back to brass lamps, there are exquisite and well crafted and there is a touch of serenity when a brass lamp lights up a room just dim enough to feel the warmth that fills up space around.

Where To Buy: Outside the temples

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4. Books


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Books on a beach vacation? Why not?! For the bookworms and those who enjoy sitting by the beach, basking under the sun and relaxing with their favorite novel, Sri Radhakrishna Bookstore is a must-visit for it is a bookstore that sells an extensive collection of books ranging from spiritual literature to second-hand books in European languages and Indian fiction.

Where To Buy: Sri Radhakrishna Bookstore

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5. Handicrafts


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For all the artsy people who enjoy decking up their houses and office spaces with creative handicrafts from various places across the country, a visit to Paent market street ( a street in Kumta) is mandatory. These handicrafts are made by local artisans and are often reflections of the local culture, making it unique and irreplaceable. For the best collection of handicrafts, one should check out the Mahalasa handicrafts shop near Shantika Parameshwari temple.

Where To Buy: Paent market street, Mahalasa handicrafts shop

6. Musical Instruments

Musical Instruments

Image Credit: Jan Kraus for Wikimedia Commons

If you are a music lover and then one of the best things to buy in Gokarna for you is musical instruments. From sitars to guitars, Gokarna has all types of instruments that you can buy on your vacation. Head to the Car street in Gokarna and there you will find shops where you can buy your favorite musical instrument. If you don’t want to buy one then you can have a look at all these beautiful instruments stored in these shops.

Where To Buy: Car street, Gokarna

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Tips For Shopping In Gokarna

Here are a few tips to keep in mind while indulging in street shopping in Gokarna:

  • Never hesitate to bargain with the vendors. Since tourists are from all over the country and from various countries, some shops might charge exorbitant prices for their products, so it is always wise to bargain before buying any product
  • Most locals here speak Kannada or Konkani, so it is advisable to have someone who knows the local language while going street shopping
  • It is always good to visit a few shops which sell the same product before buying them because the more you explore, the more options you have
  • If you want to understand the culture of the people and interact with the residents of the coastal town, visiting these shops is the ideal way to do that

So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and drive off to Gokarna to have a sunny vacation by the beach and explore the forest trails if the salt and the sand tire you. But most importantly, do not miss out on the street shopping in Gokarna because the things that you see on the colorful shops there – ranging from trinkets to second-hand books are so unique that finding them anywhere else in the country, even in the most popular malls is nearly impossible. So, plan your trip to Gokarna soon and explore the beautiful lanes as you shop the most exquisite items there!

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Frequently Asked Questions About Shopping In Gokarna

What can one buy in Gokarna?

One can shop for the following things in Gokarna:
1. Incense sticks
2. Paintings of Hindu gods and goddesses
3. Jewelry made out of seashells
4. Conchs
5. Spices
6. Handicrafts

Where can one shop in Gokarna?

Some of the best places to shop in Gokarna are:
1. Car Street
2. Paent Street, Kumta
3. Mahalasa Handicrafts Shop
4. Shantika Parameshwari Temple
5. Sahyadri Cashew

What are some of the must-visit temples in Gokarna?

Some of the best temples to visit in Gokarna are:
1. Mahabaleshwar Temple
2. Maha Ganapati Temple
3. Bhadrakali Temple
4. Tamra Gauri Temple
5. Venkatarama Temple

What is the best time of the year to visit Gokarna?

The best time to visit Gokarna is between October and March when the weather is pleasant and likable, and the temperatures are usually around 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit)

Are there water sports in Gokarna?

Yes, there are many water sports to experience in Gokarna such as:
1. Jet Skiing
2. Banana Boat Ride
3. Scuba Diving
4. Surfing
5. Parasailing

What is the closest airport to Gokarna?

The closest airport to Gokarna is in Dabolim in Goa. It is 140 kilometers from Gokarna. The coastal town can be usually reached by a cab from the airport.

Is there a trekking trail in Gokarna?

Yes, one can trek in Gokarana for about eight kilometers, and the trail is relatively easy. The trek begins from Paradise Beach and goes all the way to Half Moon Beach, which is an ideal place to relax and unwind after a long trek.

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