Murudeshwara (Lord Shiva), is located in Bhatkal taluk town of Uttar Kannada district in the state of Karnataka, some 165 km from Mangalore. Surrounded by the Arabian sea from three sides, Murudeshwara temple stands tall just next to the beach.
The 123 ft. tall statue of Lord Shiva located inside the temple complex is the highest in the world, second to the 144 ft. tall, Kailashnath Mahadev statue, situated in Nepal.
If you are driving from Udupi to Gokarna, Murudeshwara falls on NH 66 and is a detour of hardly 10 mins. to 15 mins. On this beautiful stretch of NH 66, when you turn your ride to the road leading to Murudeshwara, it doesn’t feel much. Bhatkut Taluk is a humble place with colorful houses built on either sides of the road leading to the temple. From a far off distance, you could see the towering statue of Lord Shiva and an even taller 20 storeyed Gopura (Raja Gopura) at the entrance.
There is a beach adjoining to the temple housing the second tallest statue of Lord Shiva. Some of the tourist vehicles were parked right on beach. It was a pleasant morning of October, locals were taking a dip in the sea. Some were preparing their nets to go fishing and ladies in the houses (opposite to the beach) were getting their thaalis ready for prayer rituals.
Amidst all this, some of us travelled from far off distance to take a sneak peek of magnanimous statue of Lord Shiva that looks after the people of the place.
There is a famous legend about the spiritual significance of the place which goes like: once Ravana, in pursuit of immortality, worshipped Lord Shiva. In return, Lord Shiva gave him Atma – Linga at the condition that Ravana can’t keep the Atam Linga on ground before reaching Lanka. Fearing that Ravana might become invincible, sage Narada asked Lord Ganesha and Vishnu for help. Lord Vishnu thought a bit & devised a plan to hide the Sun with his power duping Ravana in thinking that it’s dusk. Come dusk and Ravana would pray to Lord Shiva, every day, without fail. That day couldn’t have been an exception which is why he began to look around for help. He spotted a Brahmin & asked him to hold Atma Linga till he offers prayers to Lord Shiva. The brahmin, was in fact, Lord Ganesha in disguise. As soon as Ravana got absorbed in his evening prayers, Lord Ganesha with an intent to ruin Ravana’s plans of invincibility, put the Atma Linga on ground. Without any delay, Lord Vishnu recalled his illusion & Ravana realised that it’s still day time. Ravana had been cheated. In a feat of furiousness, he attempted to destroy Atma Linga & threw its parts in all directions.
The cloth with which Atma Linga was covered, fell to a place called Mrideshwara in Kanduka-Giri (Kanduka Hill), which is known as Murudeshwara today.
Magic is felt in the most humble places where you would expect it to be felt the least. The same holds true for Murudeshwara. The town is very humble with a very simple bunch of people, taking bath in the sea, selling flowers on road side and offering prayers in the temple. In such simple setting, when you look at the temple and the statue of Lord Shiva, you feel you are part of something majestic even though your existence is so tiny in the cosmos.
Murudeshwar Temple timings:
3:00 PM – 8:00 PM
There are many tourist attractions within 150 kms. of Murudeshwara. You may club any of these destinations together when on a trip to Karnataka the next time.
- Murudeshwara to Udupi distance – 102 kms, estimated time of journey – 2.5 hours
- Murudeshwara to Jog Falls distance – 90 kms, estimated time of journey – 2 hours
Also read: Jog falls – a milky, misty marvel of nature
- Murudeshwara to Gokarna distance – 77 kms, estimated time of journey – 1.6 hours
- Murudeshwara to Managalore distance – 156 kms. estimated time of journey – 3hours