Shri Murdeshwara temple of Lord Shiva is located in Bhatkal taluka of Uttarayana Kannada district in Karnataka state, India. Lord Shiva is called as Murudeshwara. The town lies on the coast of the Arabian Sea and is famous for the Murdeshwar Temple. Murdeshwar can be reached by railway conveniently as railway station is on the Mangalore-Mumbai Konkan railway route.
About the temple
The temple is 162 kms from Mangalore, 188 kms from Shimoga, 113 kms from Karwar, 219 kms from Hubli, 214 kms from Panjim & 497 km from Bangalore. Murudeshwar is a very popular pilgrimage and beach destination. Murudeshwar is a picture perfect place situated between Honnavar and Bhatkal. It is surrounded by the Arabian Sea and Western Ghats.
The Murudeshwar town was earlier known as 'Mrideshwara'. It was later renamed as Murudeshwar after the construction of the temple. Murudeshwar is famous abode of Lord Shiva and a popular pilgrimage center in South India. According to the legend, Ravana brought the Atma Lingam from Mount Kailash. Lord Ganesha using his trick fooled Ravana on his way to Lanka and put down the Linga on the ground at Gokarna. Angered by this, Ravana tried to uproot and destroy the Linga. The broken pieces of the lingam were cast away. The covering cloth of the lingam fell at Kanduka Giri and the Murudeshwar temple was built at the site.
Murudeshwara is famous for having world's second tallest Shiva statue of 123 ft & tallest temple tower of 249 ft of Murudeshwar Temple. The sea on three sides surrounds the temple that is on the small hill top called Kanduka Giri. This is a great place to watch the sunset. Murudeshwar is also known for the Murudeshwar Fort and wonderful beaches. Nearby Netrani Island is also a very popular spot for tourists as it offers excellent boating, snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities. Sirsi, Karwar, Gokarna, Kollur, Udupi, Mangalore, Dharmasthala and Subramanya are the nearby tourist and pilgrimage spots here.
About the Deity
The temple is famous for the world's second-tallest Shiva statue.
Legend and stories
The legend of Murudeshwar Temple is beautifully sculpted in the cave below Lord Shiva’s statue in Kanduka Hill (Kanduka-Giri). It is as below:
Ravana (the king of Lanka) prayed and worshiped Lord Shiva to attain immortality by getting the ‘Atma Linga’ of Lord Shiva. Pleased by his prayers, Lord Shiva appeared before him and asked him what he wanted. By this time Narada had asked Lord Vishnu to change Ravana’s mind. As a result of this plot, Ravana mistakenly asks for Goddess Parvati instead of the atma linga and lord Shiva offers Parvati to Ravana. On the way back to Lanka, Narada showing the Kali avatar of Goddess Parvati tricks Ravana that Shiva has not given him the real Parvathi and that the real Parvathi was in Pathala. Ravana frees Kali and went to Pathala and married Mandodari assuming her to be real Parvati. He then returns to Lanka, where his mother asks him for the Atma Linga. Ravana then realizes that he was tricked and starts worshiping Lord Shiva again with much more strong devotion. Lord Shiva appears again and this time, Ravana requests for the AtmaLinga as his wish. Lord Shiva agrees to grant him his wish on the condition that it should never be placed on the ground. If the Atma Linga was ever placed on the ground, all the powers would return to Lord Shiva again. Having obtained his wish, Ravana started back on his journey back to Lanka.
Sage Narada, who came to know of this incident, realised that with the Atma Linga, Ravana may obtain immortality and create havoc on earth and heaven. He approached Lord Ganesh and requested him to prevent the Atma Linga from reaching Lanka. Lord Ganesh knew that Ravana was a very devoted person who used to perform prayer ritual in the evening every day without fail. He decided to make use of this time and came up with a plan to take possession of the Atma Linga from Ravana.
As Ravana was nearing Gokarna, Lord Vishnu masked the sun to give an impression of dusk. Ravana having to perform his evening rituals but was worried because with the Atma Linga in his hands, he would not be able to do his rituals. At this time, Lord Ganesh in the disguise of a Brahmin boy came to him. Ravana requested him to hold the Atma Linga until he performed his rituals, and asked him not to place it on the ground come what may. Lord Ganesh struck a deal with him saying that he would call Ravana thrice, and if Ravana did not return within that time, he would place the Atma Linga on the ground and go.
As predicted, before Ravana could return completing his rituals, Lord Ganesh had already placed the Atma Linga on the ground. Vishnu then removed the mask on the sun and it was daylight again. Ravana, realising that he had been tricked again, tried to uproot and destroy it; Due to the force exerted by Ravana, some pieces of Atma Linga were scattered. One such piece from the head of the linga is said to have fallen in present day Surathkal .The famous Sadashiva temple is said to be built around that piece of linga. Then Ravana decided to destroy the covering of the Atma Linga, and threw the case covering it to a place called Sajjeshwara, 23 miles away. Then he threw the lid of the linga to a place called Guneshwara (now Gunavanthe) and Dhareshwara, 10–12 miles away. Finally, he threw the cloth covering the AtmaLinga to a placed called Mrideshwara in Kanduka-Giri (Kanduka Hill). Mrideshwara came to be known as Murudeshwara over a period of time.
Best time to visit
Maha Shivaratri during February is the most important festival celebrated here with much devotion and religious rituals.
Nearest airport is that of Mangalore Airport 160 Kms from the place and nearest railway station is Murudeshwara Railway station that is just 2 kms away. Bus stand is just at the Murudeshwara itself, so it is convenient for the tourists to reach the place.
NH 17, Bhatkal Taluk,
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- Relief from diseases
- Purchase of vehicles
- Gain Knowledge
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.
3:00 AM - 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM - 8:00 PM