Murudeshwara is a town in the Bhatkal Taluk of Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka. "Murudeshwara" is another name of the Hindu god Shiva. Famous for the world's tallest Shiva statue and Murudeshwara Temple. This beach town lies on the coast of the Arabian Sea. Distance from Sirsi to Murdeshwar is 108.1 km and takes around 2 h 36 min via Kumta-Sirsi Rd and Edapally - Panvel Highway. Distance from Hubballi to Murdeshwar, Karnataka is 204.3 km and travelling takes around 4 h 5 min via NH52 and NH66.
The origin of the name "Murudeshwara" dates to the time of Ramayana. The Hindu gods attained immortality and invincibility by worshipping a divine lingam called the AtmaLinga. The Lanka king Ravana wanted to attain immortality by obtaining the AtmaLinga. Since the AtmaLinga 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 of this plot, Ravana asks for Goddess Parvathi, and Lord Shiva offers him.
On his way back to Lanka Narada tells Ravana that Lord has not given real Parvathi and that the real Parvathi was in Pathala. So Ravana lets off Parvathi and goes to Pathala and marries a king's daughter thinking that she was Parvathi. When he returns back to Lanka and tells that he had brought Parvathi, his mother then asks for linga. Ravana then comes to know that Vishnu had done all these tricks. Now Ravana goes back and meditates a lot to please Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva appears and Ravana asks for His forgiveness. This time, Ravana requests the AtmaLinga as his boon. Lord Shiva agreed to give him the boon with a 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 Lord Shiva again. Having obtained his boon, Ravana started back on his journey to Lanka.
Sage 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.
As Ravana was nearing Gokarna, Lord Vishnu blotted the sun to make it look like evening had appeared. Ravana now had to perform his evening rituals but was worried because with the AtmaLinga in his hands, he would not be able to do his rituals. At this time, Lord Ganesh in the disguise of a Brahmin boy came near him. Seeing him, Ravana requested him to hold the AtmaLinga until he performed his rituals, and asked him not to place it on the ground. Ganesh struck a deal with him saying that he would call Ravana thrice, and if Ravana did not return within that time, he would place the AtmaLinga on the ground.
As predicted, before Ravana could return after completing his rituals, Ganesh had already placed the AtmaLinga on the ground. Vishnu then removed his illusion and it was daylight again. Ravana, realising that he had been tricked, got really angry and tried to uproot and destroy it but could not. Then he decided to destroy the covering of the AtmaLinga, and threw the case covering it to a place called Sajjeshwara, 23 miles away. Then he threw the lid of the case to a placed called Guneshwara (now Gunavanthe)and Dhareshwara, 10-12 miles away. Finally, he threw the cloth covering the AtmaLinga to a placed called Mrideshwara in Kanduka-Giri (Kanduka Hill). Mrideshwara has been renamed to Murudeshwara.
Tourist Attractions In Murudeshwara
Murudeshwara Temple and Raja Gopura
This temple is built on the Kanduka Hill which is surrounded on three sides by the waters of the Arabian Sea. It is a temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva, and a 20-storied Gopura is being constructed on the temple. Two life-size elephants in concrete stand guard at the steps leading to the temple. The entire temple and temple complex, including the 249 feet tall Raja Gopura, which is considered the tallest gopura in the world, was constructed to its present form by businessman and philanthropist Mr R N Shetty.
A fort present behind the temple is said to have been renovated by Tipu Sultan.
Statue of Lord Shiva
A huge towering statue of Lord Shiva, visible from great distances, is present in the temple complex. It is the tallest statue of Shiva in the world. The statue is 123 feet (37 m) in height, and took about 2 years to build. The statue was built by Shivamogga's Kashinath and several other sculptors, financed by businessman and philanthropist Mr R.N. Shetty, at a cost of approximately 50 million Rs. The idol is designed such that it gets the sun light directly and thus appears sparkling.
Ganesha Temple, Idagunji
The Shree Vinayaka Devaru is a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Ganesha (Vinayaka), located on the West Coast of India in the Idagunji town, Uttara Kannada district, Karnataka. It is one of the six famous Ganesha temples on the west Coast of India, which is also popularly called the "Ganesha Coast".
The central icon of the Idagunji Temple dates to 4-5th century CE. The image of Ganesha in dvibhuja style, similar to that of the Gokarna Ganesha temple, nearby Idagunji. He has two arms and is standing on a stone slab. His right hand holds a lotus bud, and he holds a modak sweet in other hand. He wears a garland across the chest in the style of a yagnopavita (sacred thread). Ganesha is adorned with a necklace of small bells. A rat, the vahana or vehicle of Ganesha, always depicted alongside Ganesha, is not depicted in this image. The image is 83 centimetres (33 in) tall and 59 centimetres (23 in) in width and is placed on stone pedestal.
The importance of the temple is attributed to a legend, occurring at the end of the Dwapara Yuga (the third Hindu epoch or era) before the onset of Kali Yuga (the present epoch or era). Every one feared the advent of Kali Yuga, as the god Krishna was about to leave earth for his divine abode at the end of Dwapara Yuga. Sages started performing austerities and prayers seeking Krishna’s help to overcome all impediments of Kali Yuga. Sages led by Valakhilya started rituals in Kunjavana, a forest area on the banks of the Sharavati River in Karnataka which joins the Arabian Sea. During this period, he encountered many obstacles in performing the sacrifice and was very disturbed. He, therefore, sought the advice of the divine sage Narada, seeking suitable ways to tackle the problem. Narada advised Valakhilya to seek the blessings of Ganesha - the remover of obstacles - before restarting his sacrifice.
At the request of the sages, Narada selected a site for the rite on the banks of the River Sharavathi, at Kunjavana, seeking Ganesha's intervention. Even the Hindu Trinity (the gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) had visited this place in the past to bring an end to the demons who were involved in destroying the earth. The gods had even created the sacred lakes Chakratirtha and Brahmatirtha at that time. Narada and the other sages created a new sacred pond called Devatirtha. Narada invited the gods and requested Ganesha's mother Parvati to send Ganesha. The rites were performed and hymns recited extolled Ganesha. Pleased by their devotion, Ganesha consented to remain at the site to help them conduct the rituals without any trouble. On this occasion, one more lake was also created and named as Ganesha-tirtha to fetch water to the temple. The same location is now called the Idagunji, where the Ganesh Temple was built by the devotees around 4th-5th century CE.
Murudeshwara Fort, Murudeshwar Beach, Idagunji Temple - Murudeshwara, Netrani Island, Statue Park, Bhatkal Beach, Bhatkal Light House, Kadavinakatta Dam, Kethapayya Narayan Temple - Murudeshwara, Jamia Masjid, Noor Masjid, Sultani Masjid Mosque are the other popular tourist destinnations near Murudeshwara.
How To Reach Murudeshwara
Murudeshwara lies at a deviation of 1 kilometer from the National Highway NH-17 between the towns of Honnavar and Bhatkal. A big arched entrance on the Highway marks the entrance of the road to Murudeshwara. From Mumbai and Mangalore, one can take the NH-17 to reach Murudeshwara. From Bangalore one can take the NH-206 to reach Honnavar and then take NH-17 to reach Murudeshwara. Total distance from Bangalore to Murudeshwara works out to be 455 km.
Murudeshwara station lies on the Konkan Railway. Some trains from Mumbai and Mangalore stop here. There are no direct trains from Bangalore. Alternatively, one can alight at Bhatkal station.
Nearest airport is Mangalore International Airport, 165 km away. Hubli and Dabolim(Goa) airports are other alternatives.