Legends: Vinayakar (Dwibhuja Vinayakar shrine) tricked the demon Ravana into leaving behind a Shivalingam here. In spite of the might exerted by Ravana (Maha Bala), the Shivalingam stayed fixed, hence the name Mahabaleshwar. The pressure exerted by Ravana caused the Shivalingam to resemble a cow's ear and hence the name Gokarnam.
Temple: The temple faces the west and enshrines Mahabaleshwar, in a square Saligrama Peetham. A golden rekha ((line) on the peetham, and a small hole in its middle permits devotees to catch a glimpse of the top of the Aatma Lingam. The six foot tall Shivalingam is enclosed inside the peetham, and can be seen once in 40 years, when the Ashta bandana Kumbhahishekam is performed. There are shrines here to Vinayaka, Chandikeswara, Aadi Gokarneswara and Dattatreya. Gokarnanayaki is also known as Taamragowri, and her shrine is behind the sanctum.
The thirtham is called the Koti theertham. The image of Vinayaka bears a dent and was created when Ravana, enraged hit him.
Festivals: It is customary here to have a dip in the sea and then worship a Shivalingam made out of sand, before worshipping at the temple. Maha Sivaratri is of great significance here.