Monday, 1 September 2014


Shri Murudewshwar Temple

Murudeshwar is a town in Bhatkal Taluk of Uttara Kannada district in the state of KarnatakaIndia. Murudeshwar is another name of the Hindu god Shiva. Famous for the world's second-tallest Shiva statue, the town lies on the coast of the Arabian Sea and is also famous for the Murudeshwar Temple. Murudeshwar has a railway station on the Mangalore-Mumbai Konkan railway route.

The origin of the name "Murudeshwar" dates to the time of Ramayana.
The Hindu Gods attained immortality and invincibility by worshiping a divine Lingam called the Atma-Linga. The Lanka King Ravana wanted to attain immortality by obtaining the Atma-Linga (Soul of Shiva). Since the Atma-Linga belonged to Lord Shiva, Ravana worshipped Shiva with devotion. Pleased by his prayers, Lord Shiva appeared before him and asked him what he wanted. By this time Narada had asked Lord Vishnu to change Ravana's mind. As a result, Ravana asks for Goddess Parvati, and Lord Shiva offers her to him. On his way back to Lanka Narada tells Ravana that Lord had not given him the real Parvathi and that the real Parvathi was in Pathala. So Ravana frees his companion, goes to Pathala and marries a king's daughter, assuming her to be the real Parvathi. He then returns to Lanka, where his mother asks him for the Linga. Ravana then comes to know of the tricks played on him by Lord Vishnu. He therefore prays to Lord Shiva again, begging for his forgiveness.
Lord Shiva appears and this time, Ravana requests the AtmaLinga as his boon. Lord Shiva agrees to give him the boon with the condition that it should never be placed on the ground. If the AtmaLinga was ever placed on the ground, all the powers would return to Shiva again. Having obtained his boon, Ravana started back on his journey to Lanka. Narada, who came to know of this incident, realised that with the AtmaLinga, Ravana may obtain immortality and create havoc on earth. He approached the Lord Ganesh and requested him to prevent the AtmaLinga from reaching Lanka. Lord Ganesh knew that Ravana was a very devoted person who used to perform prayer ritual in the evening every day without fail. He decided to make use of this fact and came up with a plan to confiscate the AtmaLinga from Ravana.
Upset by the thought that Ravana would become more powerful by worshipping the Atmalinga; the Gods devised a plan to take it away from Ravana. The Gods knew that Ravana being a pious devotee of Lord Shiva was punctual in performing the periodical rites everyday.
 As Ravana approached Gokarna, Lord Vishnu blotted the sun with his Sudarshana Chakra. Thinking that it was evening, Ravana was in two minds whether to put down the Atmalinga or skip his evening rites. Just then, Lord Ganesh came to that place in the guise of a Brahmin boy. Ravana called the boy and asked him to hold the linga until he completed his evening rites. The boy agreed on the condition that he'd keep the linga down if Ravana didn't return before the boy called out his name thrice. Ravana agreed and went about his rituals, but by then the boy called out his name thrice and place the Atmalinga on the earth, and it got firmly entrenched in the earth.
When Vishnu withdrew his Sudarshan chakra, Ravana saw bright sunlight and understood that he was tricked by the Gods. He became furious. Due to the force exerted by Ravana, some pieces were scattered. One such piece from the head of the linga is said to have fallen in present day Suratkhal. The famous Sadashiva temple is said to be built around that piece of linga. He came to the Linga and tried to uproot it with all his might. But the idol did not budge even a little. The idol's shape now looked like a cow's ear. Hence, the place is known as Gokarna. [Go means Cow and karna means Ear in sanskrit.] The crest fallen Ravana was deeply upset and beat the boy on his head. In anger he pulled and threw the case of linga, which fell 23 miles away at Sajjeshwar. He threw the lid to the south 27 miles away at Guneshwara (now Gunavanthe) in the form of “Vamdev Linga”. He threw the cloth wrapped to the idol to south, 32 miles to a place called Mrideshwar in Kanduka-Giri (Kanduka Hill) on shore of sea. Mrideshwar has been renamed to Murudeshwar. It took the form of “Aghora” at Murudeshwar. The thread winding the idol was flung to south at Dhareshwara, came to known as “Tathpurusha Linga”. There is a depiction of this story below the Shiva idol in the form of a cave.
Shiva learnt all this from wind god Vayu. He came on earth along with Parvathi and Ganesha and visited all these five places and worshipped the linga. He declared that these would be his Panchakshetras and those who worshipped lingas at those places would be free from all sins and their wishes would be fulfilled and ultimately reach the abode of Shiva.
The temple is entirely modernized with exception of the sanctum sanctorum which is still dark and retains its composure. The main deity is Sri Mridesa Linga, also called Murudeswara. The linga is believed to be a piece of the original Atma Linga and is about two feet below ground level. The devotees performing special sevas like Abhisheka, Rudrabhisheka, and Rathotsava etc. can view the deity by standing before the threshold of the sanctum and the Lingam is illuminated by oil lamps held close by the priests. The Lingam is essentially a rough rock inside a hollowed spot in the ground. Entry into the sanctum is banned for all devotees.

This temple, dedicated to Shiva, is built on the Kanduka Hill which is surrounded on three sides by the waters of the Arabian Sea

The Rajagopura at the entrance of the Temple is the world's tallest, standing at 249 feet. Inaugurated in May 2008, this mammoth structure is the latest addition to the TempleThe Gopura has 22 floors and is the only Gopura to be fitted with elevators. On the top floor, one can enjoy beautiful view of the entire place.

There is also a Rameshwar linga at the bottom of the hill, where devotees can do seva themselves. A Shaneswara temple has been built next to the idol of Shiva. Two life-size elephants in concrete stand guard at the steps leading to it. The entire temple and temple complex, including the 237.5-feet-tall Raja Gopura, is one among the tallest, was constructed to its present form by businessman and philanthropist R. N. Shetty.
A huge towering statue of Lord Shiva, visible from great distances, is present in the temple complex. It is the second highest statue of Lord Shiva in the world. The tallest Shiva statue is in Nepal known as the (Kailashnath Mahadev Statue). The statue is 123 feet (37 m) in height and took about two years to build. The statue was built by Shivamogga's Kashinath and several other sculptors, financed by businessman and philanthropist R.N. Shetty, at a cost of approximately Rupees 50 million. The idol is designed such that it gets the sunlight directly and thus appears sparkling. Originally, the statue had four arms and was adorned in gold paint. However, large wind gusts blew one arm off (the one that held a small drum), and rain dissolved the paint.
Besides the temple, the pilgrim finds himself in the midst of numerous sculptures on the Kanduka hill. The Geetopadesha, Sun chariot, the sculpture of Lord Ganesh receiving the Atmalinga from Ravana in the form of a young boy, and others dot the landscape of the hill. On the very top is the Shiva statue. Beneath the statue is a cavern with impressive life-size sculptures depicting the story of Murudeshwar narrated through an impressive sound and light show.
Not to be missed out are the Thirthas (water streams) like Bheema thirtha and Agni thirtha which originate on the hillock.
This tranquil temple town surrounded by the sea on three sides, is the ideal destination for the seeker.
Murudeshwar, the temple town with a vibrant scenic beauty and golden history, is located on the Arabian seafront in North Kanada District, Karnataka. It is situated on the NH-17, about 160 kms north of the port city of Mangalore.
The nearest airport is also at Mangalore. Daily flights operate from Bangalore to Mangalore. Murudeshwar is well connected by road and most buses plying on the NH-17 between Mangalore and Mumbai stop at Murudeshwar. There are overnight buses also from Bangalore to Murudeshwar.
But the most picturesque and memorable experience would be to reach Murudeshwar from Mangalore or Goa by Konkan Railway and alight at Murudeshwar railway station adjoining the National Highway. Many trains stop at this station.
Murudeshwar can be visited throughout the year. Each season brings out a different hue of the coastal town.
The ancient temple which stood for ages was fast dilapidating. The locals tried rebuilding the sanctum sanctorum earlier, but it did not last long. The present temple complex is the result of the painstaking efforts of Sri. R. N Shetty. He started renovation in 1977 with a team of craftsmen and artisans brought in from Tamilnadu. The temple is mainly built of granite.
The calm and wide sea soothes the senses even before you enter the water. A stroll along the seaside pathway with green landscape on one side and the sea on the other is the ultimate relaxation.
There's more for the children, and the child in the vacationer. There's a wave pool and water park also nestled on the hillock.
Definitely not to be missed on a trip to Murudeshwar, is the spectacular sunset across the sea on a clear evening. The best view would be from the Sunset Point next to the wave pool.
And if you just want to relax and unwind, head to the seaside canteen that's built on piers raised from the seabed.
Mhatobar Sri Murudeshwar Temple
NH - 17, Bhatkal Taluk
North Kanada District
Karnataka. India.
Phone: 08385 - 268524, 268972

SPECIAL THANKS  All pictures courtesy Shri Shubhang Tiwari, Bangalore