Murudeshwar Temple in Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada district is one of the most revered and ancient religious shrines. Nestled atop Kanduka Hill and backed by the Arabian Sea, the temple attracts millions of devotees annually. The main attraction of the temple is the world’s second tallest Shiva statue, with Chalukya and Kadamba sculptures built in the Dravidian style of architecture.
The humongous statue of Lord Shiva, which is 123-ft tall, is undoubtedly a sight to behold. Furthermore, the statue has been built strategically so that it sparkles when the first ray of the dawn falls on it. Hence, morning is the best time of the day when the sheer magnanimity of the statue will leave you with a humble sense of tranquility. Tourists can book a flight to Karnataka and come visit.
How to Reach Murudeshwar Temple
The temple is located on the main Mangalore-Karwar highway and is sandwiched between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea. This setting is enough to make anyone fall in love with the picturesque views of the hills and the sea. However, being a popular tourist destination, it is well-connected with major cities via all means of transport.
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The distance from Bangalore to Murudeshwar temple is 500 km and from Mangalore, it is just 155 km. The road connectivity from all major cities of Karnataka to the temple is quite convenient and affordable. Public buses ply regularly from Bangalore and other cities.
Murudeshwar Railway Station is connected to Mangalore and Mumbai. The station is located just 2 km east of the town and can be reached by buses and auto rickshaws.
Mangalore International Airport is located just 153 km from Murudeswar and is the nearest airport. The airport is connected with all major domestic and a few international cities. Taxis and cabs are available from the airport to the temple. If interested in traveling by air, tourists can book a flight to Mangalore.
Murudeshwar Temple History
To know about the Murudeswar temple history, one has to go back to the era of Ramayana. The temple’s history is associated with Ravana and his penance to please Lord Shiva. According to Ramayana, Kaikesi, the mother of Ravana, was a devotee of Lord Shiva. She used to build Shiva Linga out of the beach sands and pray to them daily. However, the sea washed the lingas every night. Looking at his mother’s plight, Ravana went to Mount Kailash to attain the Atma-Linga.
He performed severe penance and finally his devotion paid off. Lord Shiva, pleased by his prayers, gave him the Atma Linga in one condition that it should not be placed on the ground before Ravana reaches Lanka.
However, Lord Vishnu, after knowing the incident, realized that Ravana once obtained immortality from the Atma Linga, will wreak havoc on earth. To stop him from attaining immortality, Lord Vishnu along with Lord Ganesha stopped him from bringing the Linga to Lanka. Lord Ganesha knew that Ravana was an avid devotee of Lord Shiva and never missed his evening prayer. When Ravana was in Gokarna, Lord Vishnu hid the sun to give the appearance of the evening. At this time, Lord Ganesha appeared in front of Ravana as a Brahmin boy and helped him by holding the Atma Linga, when Ravana was performing his evening prayer.
Lord Ganesha in disguise of a Brahmin boy made a deal with him that he will call Ravana thrice, and if he doesn’t come back, Lord Ganesha will place the Linga on ground. However, when Ravana returned, he found the Linga on the ground. At this moment, Lord Vishnu removed the illusion. Knowing he had been tricked, Ravana tried to uproot the Linga. Due to the force, some pieces of the Linga were scattered. He threw the cloth covering the Atma Linga to Mrideshwar.
When Lord Shiva came to know about this, he visited the five places where the pieces were scattered. He declared these places as the Pancha Kshetras and anyone who prays here will be free from all sins.
Although the structure of the temple is just a hundred years old, its significance dates to thousands of years ago. It houses the sacred cloth covering the holy Atma Linga, which originally resided in the heart of Lord Shiva. As per Hinduism, all Hindu Gods attained immortality invincibility by worshiping this divine Linga. However, Lord Shiva, pleased by Ravana’s penance, rewarded him Atma Linga. But failing to bring the Linga to Lanka, Ravana scattered the pieces of it to five places, which are now known as Pancha Kshetra. One of the Pancha Kshetra is in Murudeshwar. The other fours are- Nanjangud, Dharmasthala, Dhareshwara, and Gokarna.
In addition to its historic as well as religious significance, the Murudeshwar temple’s hundred years old structure as well as the Shiva statue are the main highlights of the temple. The statue at a height of 123 feet is the world’s second tallest Shiva statue after Kailashnath Mahadev statue in Nepal.
Furthermore, the statue was designed in such a way that the first light of the sun falls on it and illuminates the statue. In addition, the Gopuram (a monumental ornate entrance tower) of the temple is also the second tallest Gopuram in India at a height of 237.5 ft. Its unique feature is that devotees can enter and go up to the top from where they can see the panoramic views of the temple, surrounded by the hills of the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea.
There is a lamp inside the main temple that has been burning since the temple was first built. Devotees believe that pouring oil in it and looking at your reflection in the oil can bless you with health and prosperity.
Sevas and Poojas At The Temple
Daily or yearly Seva or services and poojas are performed by the devotees or on behalf of them. The daily Sevas and Poojas performed at the temple are listed below:
The significance of Rudrabhishekam is to convey the message that everything is Shiva and Shiva is everywhere and everything is contained within Shiva Tattva. The day at Murudeshwar Temple Karnataka, begins with the ritual, where Lord Shiva is worshiped in his Rudra form. It is believed that daily Rudrabhishekam removes bad luck and illness.
Sacred items like cow’s milk, ghee, curds, honey, and finely ground sugar are poured on the Shiva Linga. These five substances are known as five Amrit or nectars and are called Panchamitra. It is believed that the Pnachamitra is dearer to Lord Shiva and showering His idol or Linga daily with these five substances can please him.
Panchakajjaya is a kind of Prasad, popular in the region, which is mainly prepared with green gram, coconut, cardamon, sesame, ghee, and jaggery. The prasad is offered to the Lord as Naivadyam during the prayers.
Offering prayers or performing Pooja to seek blessings of Lord Shiva is incomplete without Bilva leaves. The Bilva leaves are considered sacred for many millennia. The three leaves are considered to represent the three eyes of Mahadeva or the Trishul, the emblematic weapon of Shiva.
No Hindu ritual is complete without applying Chandan on the idol of the God and the forehead of the devotees. Chandan is considered sacred. When you perform Chandan Abhisheka in the temple, it is believed that Lord Shiva will never leave your side and guide you to follow the right path.
The archana in Murudeshwar temple takes place by applying Bhasma or Vibhuti (ash) to the Linga. Human ashes signify purity and are free from earthly connections. Lord Shiva embraces the ashes that signifies its purity.
During Navagraha Pooja, the nine Gods, representing the nine planets are worshiped. The pooja is performed to pacify the malefic and to seek blessings of the nine gods of the nine planets.
According to all Hindu Puranas, Lord Shiva has eleven avatars or forms of Rudra. Each form is worshiped with their respective Shlokas and mantras. These eleven sacred forms are- Shiva, Maha Rudra, Mahadeva, Shankara, Neelalohita, Eesana, Bhima, Vijaya Rudra, Devadeva, Bhavobhava, and Adityamaka Srirudra.
Besides these aforementioned daily Sevas and Poojas, devotees who cannot visit the temple daily can offer yearly poojas as well. The yearly poojas are performed by the priests of the temple on behalf of the devotees. The yearly Sevas are:
Sarva Deva Pooja
Devotees worship all the shrines of the temple and daily poojas are performed in the temple on behalf of them on any particular day of the year.
Nanda Deepa Seva
The priest of the temple lights Nanda Deepa stambh on behalf of the devotees.
Annadanam takes place for a full day, where the temple feeds everyone on behalf of the devotee.
Murudeshwar Temple Dress Code
The temple does not impose any rules on Murudeshwar temple dress code. However, one visiting the temple must wear decent clothes, which should not be revealing.
Places to Visit Near Murudeshwar Temple
Just beside the Murudeshwar Temple, is Murudeshwar Beach. You may not find any water sports here, but its calm waters are perfect to swim. You will also find some boats, and upon request, you can enjoy boating. The beach gets crowded on weekends, when locals come here to visit the temple in the morning and spend the day at the beach picnicking.
The history of the fort dates back to the era of the Vijayanagara Kings. The fort was built in the 15th century by Vijayanagara rulers. However, the recent renovations were done by Tipu Sultan. The fort houses some elegant paintings, and artworks, and the walls are carved with elaborate sculptures. The fort is located right behind the temple.
Netrani Island is one of the popular spots in Murudeshwar for thrill-seekers. This heart-shaped island, rising above the calm waters of the Arabian Sea, is counted as one of the best sites for scuba diving. The waters here are suitable for snorkeling as well. Divers come here to admire the coral reef, exotic marine life, including eel, shrimp, butterfly fish, trigger fish, etc. However, whale sharks are also common here.
Apsara Konda Falls
Apsara Konda Falls is a small waterfall, falling from a height of 10m. Its picturesque setting attracts a large number of tourists. The waterfall can be accessed by an easy trail. As you trek through the trail, you get to see the region’s native flora and fauna. The local legend has it that Apsara or the angels come to the pond from heaven to take bath and that’s how it got its name.
This historic fort is another must-visit place in Murdeshwar temple. Located on the banks of river Aghanashini, this spectacular fort had witnessed several battles in the 16th and 17th centuries. The fort was believed to be built by Rani Chennabhairadevi of Gersoppa. It was initially used for shipping pepper, saltpeter, and betel nut to Surat. The fort was also a trading center for spices that used to trade with the Dutch, Portuguese, and the Britishers.
Best Places to Stay Near Murudeshwar Temple
Being a popular tourist site, you will find several hotels near Murudeshwar temple. From luxury to budget hotels, the options to stay near the temple are wide. Here are a few hotels, where you can plan your stay during your trip.
RNS Golf Resort & Nature Cure Center
- Address: Murdeshwar, Karnataka 581421
- Price: INR3,700-INR5,500
The Royal Oak Luxury Hotel
- Address: Bunder Rd, Near Bus Station, Belalkanda, Bhatkal, Karnataka 581320
- Price: INR3,300 – INR 5,200
Shree Vinayaka Residency
- Address: Murudeshwar Temple Main Road, Murudeshwara, Opp H.P Gas, Bhatkal, Karnataka 581350
- Price: INR1,500 – INR3,500
Staymaker Beach House
- Address: Murudeshwar Temple Hwy, Matadahitlu, Murdeshwar, Karnataka 581350
- Price: INR1,500 – INR2,500
- Address: Uttara Koppa Rd, Kaikini, Murdeshwar, Karnataka 581421
- Price: INR850 – INR 1,200
Whether you talk about the 20-storey Gopuram or the striking statue of Lord Shiva that was built in a way that the first light of the sun falls on it, Murudeshwar temple is a must-visit. Its historic as well religious significance has gained it popularity among the devotees. Visit the temple on Mahashivratri. The Mahashivratri festival is a big affair and thousands of devotees flock to the temple to perform puja and seek blessings of Mahadeva.