Pilgrimage tourism in Uttara Kannada district consists in visiting a number of beautifully constructed ancient temples located here. Most of these temples date back several centuries and are architecturally quite superior in their construction. Apart from temples, there are also churches and monasteries to be found in the district which are much frequented among the various places of pilgrimage tourism in the Uttara Kannada district.
The Shejjeswar Temple, Shejwad, boasts of a thousand year old ancient temple of Shejjeswar or Siddeswar. The temple is said to be one of the five temples of Gokarna mythology where pieces of Atmalinga, which Ravana was carrying, fell. Devotees visit the temple in thousands on Mahashivratri day. The Shanta Durga temple, Sadashivagad, is a 600 year old temple known for its serenity. It is situated on the northern bank of the Kali River, midway on the Sadashivagad hill. Also found here is a 17th century Darga which attracts a lot of Muslim pilgrims. There is a famous Katyayani temple at Aversa, about 25 Kms from Karwar. The distinct feature of this temple is that the shrine is in the shape of a ship. It is family goddess of Kharvis, a fishermen clan. The image of the goddess is said to have been found in the sea. The godess is worshipped with great solemnity during the nine nights of 'Navarathri' which precede 'Dussera' in October. Besides Kharvis the festival is solemnly attended by many dancing-girls and Konkanis. At Gokarna is a very popular pilgrimage site is known as Dakshina Kashi. Mythology says, Ravana kept the Atmalinga down on the ground against the instructions and could not lift it again. Hence the belief that Gokarn is Lord Shiva's permanent abode. Kotitheertha is the holy pond near the temple. Devotees usually take bath in the pond before they enter the temple for pooja. On the hillslopes at Dhareswar is the Mahadev temple, said to be around 800 years old. There are four inscribed tablets in the temple. It appears that the construction of temple was started by Rudroji Pandit and completed by Sonappa somewhere between 1500 and 1559. The temple is built of black stone and its walls are ornamented with sculptures. Around the temple are 5 holy pools, Rudra kund, Chakra, Shankh, Vasudha and Nagatirth. A fair is held every year in the middle of January which is attended by a number of devotees. Originally a temple of Chalukya style, the Channabasaveshwara Temple at Ulavi has been renovated and coloured. The pyre of the temple is adorned with statues of Shiva Sharanas (devotees of Lord Shiva). A very famous Jatra is held on 'Megha Purnima' with great pomp. The famous Mahtobara Temple at Murdeshwar can today boast of the tallest Shiva statue in the world. The statue has special reflecting eyes, which makes it seem alive. The temple on the beach itself attracts a large number of tourists because of the sea shore ambience. 15 Kms from Honnavar and around 23 Kms from Murdeswar is the ancient Idagunji Ganapati Temple. One has to take a detour from National Highway and travel around 7 kms interior to reach this beautiful temple. The temple is said to be around 800 years old, one of the oldest temples in Uttara Kannada district. The Sri Tulaja Bhavani Temple, Haliyal, was established in 1996, by Sri Tulaja Bhavani Education and Dharmadatti trust, Haliyal, The 4 feet black stone idol of Godess Bhavani was carved in Sivar town, Kolar district. Thousands of devotees from all over Karnataka and states of Maharashtra and Goa visit this temple everyday. The Marikamba Temple at Sirsi is one of the most popular places of religious significance. The present statue of 'Devi' was installed in 1669. The temple itself is more than 300 years old. The 'Devi' is worshipped as 'Amba" the mother. The Marikamba jatra which is held once in every two years is one of the largest jatra in the state. Situated on the banks of the Kawadikere lake is the historic Durgadevi Temple. The temple recently underwent a renovation with beautiful statues of goddesses and angels. The temple is well frequented by devotees and tourists.
Apart from the many ancient temples located here, pilgrimage places for devotees belonging to other religious beliefs are also seen at Uttara Kannada district.
The Gaden Jangtse Monastic University for Advanced Budhist Learning and Practice is the biggest monastery in Asia. It had become near extinct in Tibet, and was rebuilt on the Indian soil at Doeguling Tibetan Settlement, Mundgod. The construction of New Monastic University building started on June 1998 and was inaugurated on 19 Dec 2001. Inside the prayer hall is a 21 feet tall statute of Lord Buddha. Besides this there are statues of Green Tara, Maitrieya Buddha, Manjushri Buddha and Chenrezig statue. The St. Francis Xavier Church at Chandaver is a large Roman Catholic Church which is held in great veneration by local populace of all communities. The original church of St. Francis Xavier is recorded to have been built in 1678 during the reign of Basappa Nayak of Keladi Nayak dynasty. The church was destroyed in the end of 18th century which is and rebuilt in 1801. The church was rebuilt a second time in 1874. The old church, though an imposing edifice was judged to be beyond normal repairs, and so a new church was built in the area adjacent to the old church. 16 Kms from Bhatkal at Haduvalli is a 14th century Jain temple. 24 Theerthankara idols are installed there. The place was formerly capital of the queen Channabyra Devi. There are two hills Chandragiri and Indragiri which attract the tourists for their scenic beauty.
Uttara Kannada district is therefore extremely rich in its share of religious monuments, offering the tourist a truly enriching experience in pilgrimage tourism.