The temple is half a kilometer away from NH17. It is the place where the lid of the casket, in which the Athma Lingamm was carried, fell. This is another huge temple, but better maintained. This temple has a huge pond nearby. Devotees visit the temple in thousands on Mahashivaratri day.
Legend and Stories
In Threthayuga, Ravan (Demon King of Lanka) reaches Kailasa and performed rigorous penance to get the "Atma Lingam" from Lord Shiva, as Ravan's mother expressed a keen desire to worship the atma-lingam of Lord Shiva.
After a long meditation, Lord Shiva gave the "Atma lingam" to Ravan as a boon and instructs Ravan to carry it home by walk, that he should never keep it on the earth even for a short while failing which the lingam would get eternally embedded at the place where he broke his commands.
Lord Vishnu learned that Ravan will become all powerful by worshipping the 'Atma lingam' and menace to the world and Ravan's conviction that nobody could defeat him, once he acquired the very power of Lord Shiva. Vishnu devised a plan to install the lingam somewhere and as he thought that Lord Ganapathi was alone capable of doing it, he along with all the gods pleased Ganapathi to execute the plan. Lord Ganapathi accepts and reaches Gokarna as a Brahmin boy.
Ravan asking lord Ganapathi to hold the Atma lingam As Ravan was coming near Gokarna. Vishnu who had known well that Ravan was punctual in performing his periodical rites (Sandyavandhana), hides sun with his Sudarshana Chakra (Wheel). Thinking that it was time to perform the evening rites, Ravan finds a Brahmin boy and asked him to hold the Atma lingam in his hand till he came back after finishing the rites.
Lord Ganapathi agreed to hold the lingam on one condition that he would do so till he would be able to bear the weight of Lingam and that thereafter he would call Ravan three times and if failed to come to him by then he would place the lingam on the earth.
Lord Ganapathi calls Ravan three times when he was performing his rites and places the lingam on the earth and he vanished. The Atma lingam at once got firmly entrenched in the earth. Ravan learned that he had been tricked by the Gods.
The depressed demon king Ravan was deeply agitated and tried to pull up the lingam, but the lingam did not budge a little. It resulted in his throwing the coverings of the Lingam to Dhareshwar, Gunavanteshwara, Murdeshwar and Shejjeshwar temples. Ravan was unable to lift the Lingam from the ground again and called shiva lingam as Mahabala (you are too strong). And ever since the Lingam illustrious as Mahabaleshwara.
Lord Shiva learnt all these from Vayu deva (Wind god), and came on to Earth with Godess Parvathi devi and his train of Gods, he visited these five places and worshipped the lingam which had now taken five forms. He acknowledged that these five places would be his "Pancha kshetras" (Five Holy Places).
It is said that the second part of the Lingamm got twisted around and came to be known as Murdeshwar. Overlooking the sea, there is a lovely temple constructed over this part of the Lingamm. This place known as Murdeshwar is situated between Bhatkal and Honnavar, on the west coast highway.
The remnant of the Atmalingamm which came off like a blade, is known as Dhareshwar (Dhar means a sharp edge) and is at a place called Dhareshwar nearby.
Interestingly, there are a total of six temples on the coast, between Gokarna and Kasargod, all of which show Ganesha in the same posture. These temples are located at Idagunji (66 Km), Anegudde (150 Km), Hattiangady (142 Km), Mangalore (Sharavu Mahaganapathy, 230 Km) and Kasargod (Madhur Mahaganapathy 280 Km).
Also, the legend of the Atmalingamm doesn’t end with the Mahabaleshwara temple. It is said that, frustrated with the events, Ravan flung off all the accessories the lingamm came with, and as each of them touched the ground, each turned into a lingam! There are 5 such temples around Gokarna. Other than the main temple, these are at Sajjeshwar (the casket carrying the lingamm, 35 Kms from Karwar), Dhareshwar (the string covering the lingamm. 45 Km from Gokarna) Gunavanteshwar (the lid of the casket carrying the lingamm, 60 Km from Gokarna) Murudeshwar, the cloth covering the lingamm, 70 Km from Gokarna).
Kumta does not have an airport. Nearest airport is Dabolim Airport.
You can easily get regular trains to Kumta from other major cities of the country.
There are regular buses from other major cities of the country to Kumta.
Kumta, Uttara Kannada,
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
Kailaasarana Shiva Chandramouli Phaneendra Maathaa Mukutee Zalaalee Kaarunya Sindhu Bhava Dukha Haaree Thujaveena Shambho Maja Kona Taaree
Meaning -Oh Lord Shiva who is seated on Mount Kailash, where the moon decorates his forehead and the king of serpents crown his head, who is merciful and removes delusion, You alone can protect me. I surrender to thee.
Aum Trayambakam Yajaamahey Sugandhim Pusti Vardhanam Urvaarukamiva Bandhanaath Mrutyor Muksheeya Maamritaat
Meaning -We worship the fragrant Lord Shiva, who has 3 eyes and who cultivates all beings. May He free me from death, for immortality, as even a cucumber is separated from its bond with the vine.
This temple is open from 06:00 am to 01:00 pm and from 03:00 pm to 08:15 pm.