Known for the second tallest statue of Lord Shiva in the world, the town of Murudeshwar gets its name from the Hindu god, Shiva. Located in Bhatkal taluk in the state of Karnataka, it is a beach town on the western coast of India.
The western most point of the town is the landmass that juts out of the mainland to form a small peninsula about 2 km west of the Murudeshwar Temple. The temple is on a hill known as Kanduka Giri.
The town is a popular pilgrimage and renowned for the Murudeshwar Temple. Legend has it that, Ravan brought the Atma Lingam also known as the Mahabaleshwar Lingam from Kailash Parbat (Kailash Mountain). However, Lord Ganesh tricked him and planted it at Gokarna. Angered by this, Ravan tried to uproot the lingam. In the process, pieces of the lingam broke and pieces of the lingam were cast away. The covering the lingam fell at Kanduka Giri and the Murudeshwar temple was built at the site.
The town is a holy place with amazing natural beauty. The small town is largely known for the 123 ft tall statue of Lord Shiva that was built close to the coast. The statue is placed in such a way that the back of the Shiva statue is towards the Arabian Sea.
The temple tower at 249 ft is among the tallest structures, It is called Rajagopuram.
Apart from the immense religious value of the place, it is also a popular picnic spot. The Murudeshwar beach stretches north of the temple for a few kilometres. It has silvery sand and the Western Ghats form a scenic backdrop to the beach. There is a fort near the Murudeshwar temple that was renovated by the ruler of Mysore, Tipu Sultan.
The town was earlier known as ‘Mrideshwara’, and was renamed after the age-old Murudeshwar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, was built. The town is believed to have been in existence since the Ramayana period.
When Ravan tried to uproot, he damaged the lingam and pieces of it were cast away. Wherever the parts fell were later visited by Lord Shiva along with Goddess Parvati and Lord Ganesh and aiedll the parts were installed at the same place. The five places where the pieces landed were named ‘pancha-khshetras’ by Lord Shiva. He also declared that worshipping his lingams will wash off sins of the devotees and help then in attaining Moksha or immortality.