Murudeshwara is a bustling coastal temple-beach town in Bhatkal, Karnataka. Murdeshwara should be on your list if you love endless pristine stretches of beach, enjoy water sports or are of a spiritual mindset.
My first memory of Murudeshwara was a visit with my parents when I was in school. I remember visiting the beautiful Murudeshwara temple, view of the never ending shoreline from the hotel and gushing sound of the sea waves crashing onshore.
A few decades later, I decided to take a trip back memory lane and visit the temple-beach town of Murudeshwara.
I was fascinated by the modern developments in the town like the mammoth 237.5 ft tall Raja Gopura (Tallest temple structure in the world) and 360 degree views of the Arabian sea from its 18th floor. Also, the spellbinding 123 ft tall Shiva statue which is world’s second-tallest Shiva statue. Long stretches of beach with a constant buzz of speedboats and jet-skis. I immensely enjoyed snorkeling with tropical fish amidst the crystal clear waters of Nethrani island, 10 miles from Murudeshwara.
So, Here are my top 10 reasons to visit Murudeshwara in 2016:
- Visit the Cave temple to understand the Ancient story behind the Temple
- (Each plot of this story is intricately sculpted and depicted using life size models of Gods and Demons in the cave.)
The name “Murudeshwara” means Shiva or Eeshwara. The significance of this holy town dates back to the times of Ramayana. The divine Lingam of Shiva, AtmaLinga gave invincibility and immortality to the Hindu Gods. Ravana, the Demon King of Lanka worshiped Shiva with devotion to attain immortality by obtaining the AtmaLinga. Lord Shiva appeared before Ravana and asked him what he wanted. Knowing Ravana would ask for the AtmaLinga, DevRishi Narada approach Lord Vishnu. On the request of DevRishi Narada, Lord Vishnu decided to magically influence Ravana’s mind and make him forget about the AtmaLinga.
As a result, Ravana asks for Goddess Parvathi, and Lord Shiva offers her to him. On his way back to Lanka, DevRishi Narada tricks Ravana that the real Goddess Parvathi was in Pathala (The region below the Earth). So Ravana lets Goddess Parvathi go, proceeds to Pathala and marries the king’s daughter thinking that she was Goddess Parvathi. When he returns back to Lanka his mother asks for Atmalinga. Ravana realizing that he was tricked gets furious. He goes back to the woods and again meditates to please Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva appears and Ravana asks for His forgiveness. And this time, Ravana requests the AtmaLinga as his boon. Lord Shiva agrees to give him the boon with a condition that it should never be placed on the ground. If the AtmaLinga is 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. DevRishi Narada, realizes that with the AtmaLinga, Ravana may obtain immortality and cause havoc on earth. He approaches Lord Ganesh to help him. As Ravana was nearing Gokarna, Lord Vishnu blocked the sun to make it appear as it was dusk. Ravana now had to perform his evening rituals but was worried he would not be able to do his rituals, holding the AtmaLinga in his hands. At this time, Lord Ganesh, disguised as a Brahmin boy came near him.Ravana requested him to hold the AtmaLinga until he performed his evening rituals, and told him not to place it on the ground. Lord 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 anticipated, before Ravana could return from his rituals, Lord Ganesh had already placed the AtmaLinga on the ground. Lord Vishnu then removed the illusion and it returned to daylight again. Ravana got really angry that he was tricked and tried to uproot the AtmaLinga and destroy it. But, he could not lift the AtmaLinga.In a fit of rage he 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 (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 is now called Murudeshwara.
Entry Charge to the cave temple: Rs. 10
Next to the cave temple, there is a small temple with Rameshwar linga where devotees may perform pooja in person by entering the sanctum.
- Pay a spiritual visit to the main Murdeshwara temple – Sri Mridesa Linga temple
Surrounded by waters of the Arabian Sea on the Kundaka hill, lies the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Murdeshwara, Sri Mridesa Linga. The linga is a piece of the original Atma Linga and is placed two feet below ground level.
Once you reach the entrance of the sanctum, all the worries of the world disappear and a sense of warmth, comfort and blessing overwhelms you. Illuminated by only oil lamps around it, the sheer beauty of the Shiva Linga will please your senses and will make you come back for another view.
Do not miss the free lunch prasadam served at the temple at 12:30 pm. Simple, hygienic, healthy and tasty, this meal will satiate your appetite and will remain in your memory for a long time.
Noon lunch is served everyday to all the devotees and you may pay a humble donation to the Annadanam fund (Mid-day meal) run by the temple.
- Admire the World’s second largest statue of Lord Shiva seated at 123 ft tall
A huge towering statue of Lord Shiva, visible even from the highway road miles away, is the World’s second largest statue of Lord Shiva. The tallest being Kailashnath Mahadev Statue in Nepal. The statue is designed to get the sunlight directly and thus appears sparkling. It took 2 years and 5 crore rupees to construct the immense statue by Architect Kashinath, financed by businessman RN Shetty.
Surrounding the Lord Shiva statue are several other statues of Divine Sages in yogic postures.
- Visit the observation deck on the top floor of the Tallest Raja Gopura in the World
Standing at a height of 237.5 ft, the Raja Gopura of Murdeshwara temple is the tallest temple entrance in the world. What’s really amazing is within this traditional looking temple structure lies a modern lift which takes visitors to the 18th floor Observation deck. Once at the top, you can experience a 360 degree breath taking view of the Arabian sea, Western Ghats, long winding beaches and the best view of 123ft statue of Lord Shiva.
- Go Scuba or Snorkeling in Netrani island
Netrani is an isolated island in the Arabian sea located 20 kms from the shores of Murdeshwara. Its the only unique coral reef ecosystem on the western coastline of India with some of the rarest species of life underwater and was discovered accidentally only in 2005. The fresh non-salty waters, rich marine life, crystal clear visibility under water as far as 15-20 meter range and dive range as deep as 30 meters makes Netrani island ideal for a superlative dive. Expect to mingle with large schools of butterfly fish, trigger fish, parrot fish, eels, puffer fish and shrimps.
Click on this link to know more about Netrani island:
- Dine at the Naveen beach restaurant and watch the waves splash around.
Naveen beach restaurant is a famous landmark here and build on the ocean floor and its supported by just pillars. At first look, it appears as a floating restaurant and has a bridge which connects to the sea shore. They serve North and South Indian food but people visit this restaurant only for the view of the ocean.
- Visit the sun set point at Tipu Sultan’s Murudeshwara Fort for the best views at dusk
Built by the Vijaynagara empire and renovated by Tipu Sultan lies the old fort of Murudeshwara, and is considered the best spot to watch the sun set over the Arabian sea behind Nethrani islands in Murudeshwara.
- For a sense of adventure, Try some adrenaline pumping water sports
Plenty of safe and affordable water sports activities are available to visitors in Murudeshwara like Speed boat, Jet Ski, Paragliding.
- Take a long stroll from Murudeshwara to Bhatkal beach
- Visit the surreal Mhatobar Shri Vinayaka temple in Idagunji, located 20 kms from Murudeshwara.
The famous temple at Idagunji dedicated to Lord Ganapati receives more than 1 million devotees per year. The two handed Ganapati is holding Modaka and Padma (Lotus) in his hands. Ganapathi idol at Idagunji is similar to the Ganapathi at Gokarna. According to the legend Lord Ganapati stayed in the place Kunjaranya which is now renowned as Idagunji (Idakuñja) and is said to be a place of penance selected by ancient Rishis (Saints).
Mhatobar Shri Vinayaka Devaru has been granting the wishes of thousands of people who regularly visit this place from year to year.
- Visit Marvanthe beach localted 50 kms from Murudeshwara
One of the most beautiful and unique beaches in the world. NH-66 runs right next to the beach and the Suparnika River flows right next to the road. It is considered only one of its kind in the world and offers a spectacular scenery.
- Also, visit a few places on route from Murudeshwara
- Gokarna – Located around 80 kms from Murudeshwar Temple is the Gokarna Mahabaleshwar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. A Pranalinga also known as Atmalinga is worshipped in the temple. Visit Gokarna for its sun kissed beaches, chill vibes and a taste of the hippy culture. Read my recommendation for Things to Do in Gokarna
- Udupi – Udupi Sri Krishna Matha, a sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Krishna is located around 100 kms from here. A beautiful temple town, with immense culture, heritage and charm.
- Malpe beach – It’s the best beach for a family outing, with plenty of activities and restaurants nearby and located in Udupi.
- Shaka Surf Club, Kode Bengare – Visit the surf club for surfing lessons and enjoy the white sand beaches.
- Dharmasthala Sree Manjunatha Temple – Located around 210 kms is the sacred Dharmasthala temple dedicated to Lord Manjunatha (Shiva). Come here and be blessed by the divine.
- Sringeri Temple – Sri Sharadamba Temple dedicated to goddess Saraswati is about 150 kms from Murudeshwar Temple.
- Horanadu – Horanadu Temple dedicated to Goddess Annapoorneshwari is around 220 kms from Murudeshwar Temple.
- Kukke Subramanya Temple – Located around 150 kms is the sacred Kukke Sri Subramanya temple. Lord Subrahmanya is worshipped as the lord of all serpents. The temple is located in the valley of the ever green Kumara parvata and taking a dip in the Kumaradhare river is a rejuvenating experience.
- Kollur Mookambika Temple – It is around 60 kms from Murudeshwar Temple and dedicated to Mookambika Devi (Parvati Devi), who is considered the source of all weapons and powers.
How to Reach:
- By Road: Murudeshwara Temple is connected by KSRTC and private transport from Mangalore (165km) and Bangalore (455km). Most buses plying between Mangalore and Mumbai stop at Murudeshwara.
- By Train: Murudeshwara lies on the Konkan Railway route. There are multiple trains from Mangalore or Bangalore (Yeshwantpur- Karwar Express) and the station to stop at is Murudeshwara railway station.
- By Air: Mangalore is the nearest Airport and is around 165 kms from Murudeshwara Temple.
Where to Stay:
- RNS Residency – Best views over looking the beach and next to the temple.
- RNS Guest house – Rooms over looking the beach next to RNS Residency.
- Sea View Beach Resort – Great offers on water sports, scuba, snorkeling with affordable stay.
- Naveen Beach Resort – 1 km away from the temple.
Best time to visit: October to March.