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.
WHERE TO STAY
There are a many budget hotels near the Murudeshwar railway station. There are a few mid-range hotels near the bus stand. There is a luxury hotel near the Murudeshwar Temple which faces the Arabian Sea and is close to the beach.
WHERE TO EAT
Being a temple town there are many restaurants that serve vegetarian South Indian cuisine. The best restaurants are on National Highway 17 and near Murudeshwar beach. There are a few fast food joints near the railway station that serve Chinese and Punjabi cuisine. Non-vegetarian cuisine is also available in many eateries near the railway station and near Murudeshwar bypass.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best time to visit Murudeshwar is between October to March.
WHAT TO SEE
Murudeshwar Temple: Built on a hill, the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and there are two life-sized statues of elephants at the main entrance. The Lord Shiva shrine is placed about two feet below ground level and it is believed to be a part of the original Atma Lingam (a divine lingam that gave Hindu gods immortality).There is a Natraj statue made of brass and a Jattiga shrine inside the temple. Only priests are allowed into the sanctum sanctorum.
Raja Gopura: It is a 20 storied tower that was constructed inside the temple and inaugurated in 2008. The tower is one of the tallest temple towers in the world.
Statue of Lord Shiva: The huge statue is among the tallest Shiva statues in the world. The statue has been designed in such a way that it gets direct sunlight which seems to make it sparkle adding to the godly charm of the statue. Originally the statue had four arms.
Murudeshwar Beach: One of the popular tourist attractions of the town, Murudeshwar beach is a great place to spend time with family and friends. It is a clean beach and offers great view of the sunset.
Murudeshwar Fort: The fort is near the Murudeshwar Temple and is believed to have been built during the Vijayanagara period.
NEAR TO MURUDESHWAR
Bhatkal Temples: About 15 km southeast of the town, Bhatkal is famous for the many temples belonging to the Vijayanagara and Jain period.
Netrani Island: About 20 km or 11 nautical miles off the coast of Bhatkal, the Netrani Island also known as the Pigeon Island is an excellent picnic spot that can be reached by hiring a fishing trawler from Bhatkal or Honavar. The shoreline and the cities on the Indian mainland look like a different world at night from the island.
Malpe: About 104 km south of the town, it is a prominent fishing harbour on the Karnataka coast and known for its pristine beach. About six km from the temple town of Udupi, the beach town is located at the mouth of the Udyavara River. Besides its port and the beach, Malpe is also known for its temple dedicated to Vadabhandeshwara.
Gokarna: About 76 km north of the town, it is located in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka. Gokarna is renowned for its temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and pristine beaches.
Yana Hills: About 65 km north of the town, Yana Hills is a beautiful spot famous for its natural beauty and two huge rock formations. The hills appear to have an ash like surface with two summits called Bhairaveshawar Shikhar and Mohini Shikhar.
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Murudeshwar is as given below. The best time to visit Murudeshwar is also specified.