Murudeshwar is a small town in the state of Karnataka and is famous for the world’s second-tallest Shiva statue. Murudeshwar temple is a well known pilgrimage center surrounded by Arabian sea on its 3 sides.
Murudeshwar is 78 KMs away from Gokarna and can be reached either by road or train.The trains available are Matsyagandha Express and Mao Maq Pass,their fare being Rs.105 & Rs.85 respectively. Every morning buses leave from the main bus stand of Gokarna Town to Murudeshwar, it approximately takes 2 hours and charges around Rs.130 per person.The cheapest and the fastest way to reach Mududeshwar is by train which takes 1 hour. As I traveled by road the bus dropped me on the highway. From the highway Autorickshaws are available which dropped me to the temple entrance charging Rs.30 for one way.
A 20 storied monumental tower, known as Gopuram, is built on top of the temple.The tower is installed with a lift inside which gives a breath taking aerial view of the Shiva statue.
There is mythological story behind Murudeshwar temple. Ravana wanted to be immortal and invincible. The only way he could be that was to have the Atma – Lingam (Soul of Shiva). He was a huge devotee of Shiva and worshiped him with great dedication. Pleased by his penance Lord Shiva appeared in front of Ravana and promised to fulfill his one wish. Ravana asked for Atma – Lingam, Shiva agreed with a condition that the Atma – lingam should not be kept on floor till Ravana reaches his destination (Lanka). Terrified with the fact that Ravana will become invincible and destroy earth, Narad approached Ganesha with a plan. As it was a known fact that during dusk Ravana performs his rituals. When Ravana was nearing Gokarna, Lord Vishnu with his power created the illusion of dusk. Ganesha appeared in front of Ravana as a young brahiman boy. Ravana asked Ganesha to hold the Atma – Lingam till the time he finishes his prayers. 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 placed the Atmalinga on the earth.When Vishnu withdrew his Sudharshan chakra, Ravana saw sunlight and felt cheated. He tried to remove the lingam but the idol did not move. He threw the cloth wrapped to the idol too. It took the form of “Aghora” at Murudeshwar.
Murudeshwar calls for a one day trip as there are no other attractions apart from the temple. The accommodation available is also limited with few lodges and hotels around. You can find enough souvenirs to fill your shopping bag. From beads, beaded jewelry, hand made home decor, bags and lot more. Whether you are religious or not, Murudeshwar deserves one trip in your lifetime.