Murudeshwar Temple is known to be the second-highest statue of Lord Shiva, the huge structure can be seen from afar. It is 123 feet tall and was built over two years. The sight of sunlight falling on the statue is one to behold as the statue has been strategically placed in a way that it sparkles when the morning light falls on it.
A 20-story gopura has been built right next to the statue in the temple complex. An elevator has been installed here to provide breathtaking views of the magnificent statue to devotees. There is a Rameshwara linga at the bottom of the hill but the sanctum where it is placed is off-limits to devotees.
The legend of Murudeshwar dates back to the age of Ramayana. Ravana, the asura king of Lanka, wanted to have the powerful Atmalinga of Shiva so that he can become invincible and immortal by worshipping it. Pleased by his severe atonement, Lord Shiva gave him the Atmalinga but warned him not to place it on the ground till he reached his destination.
Upset by the thought that Ravana would become more powerful by worshipping the Atmalinga, the Gods devised a plan to take it away from Ravana. The Gods knew that Ravana being a pious devotee of Lord Shiva was punctual in performing the periodical rites every day.
As Ravana approached Gokarna, Lord Vishnu blotted the sun with his Sudharshana Chakra. Thinking that it was evening, Ravana was in two minds whether to put down the Atmalinga or skip his evening rites. Just then, Lord Ganesh came to that place in the guise of a brahmin boy. Ravana called the boy and asked him to hold the linga until he completed his evening rites. The boy agreed on the condition that he’d keep the linga down if Ravana didn’t return before the boy called out his name thrice. Ravana agreed and went about his rituals, but by then the boy called out his name thrice and placed the Atmalinga on the earth, and it got firmly established in the earth.
When Vishnu withdrew his Sudharshan chakra, Ravana saw bright sunlight and understood that he was tricked by the Gods. He became furious. He came to the Linga and tried to uproot it with all his might. But the idol did not budge even a little. The idol’s shape now looked like a cow’s ear. Hence, the place is known as Gokarna. [Go means Cow and Karna means Ear in Sanskrit.] The crestfallen Ravana was deeply upset and beat the boy on his head. In anger, he pulled and threw the case of linga, which fell 23 miles away at Sajjeshwar. He threw the lid to the south 27 miles away at Guneshwara in the form of “Vamdev Linga”. He threw the cloth wrapped to the idol to south, 32 miles away at Kanduka hills on shore of the sea. It took the form of “Aghora” at Murudeshwar. The thread winding the idol was flung to the south at Dhareshwara, came to know as “Tathpurusha Linga”.
Shiva learned all this from wind god Vayu. He came on earth along with Parvathi and Ganesha and visited all these five places and worshipped the linga. He declared that these would be his Panchakshetras and those who worshipped lingas at those places would be free from all sins and their wishes would be fulfilled and ultimately reach the abode of Shiva.
Timings to Visit
06:00 AM – 01:00 PM, 03:00 PM – 08:15 PM
Pooja Timings of Murudeshwar Temple
Best Time to Visit
October to March
Festivals: Shravan, Mahashivratri, Karthika
Visit Duration: 3 to 4hrs
How to Reach
By Air: Mangalore International Airport – 165 km
By Train: Bhatkal Train Station 14.5 km, Byndoor Railway Station 34.7 km, Kumta Railway Station 38.8 km
By Road: Murudeshwar Bus Station – 0.5 km, Udipi – 104 km, Mangalore – 156 km.
Murudeshwar Temple, Murudeshwar Temple Main Road, Murdeshwar Bhatkal Taluk, Murdeshwar, Karnataka 581350