A statue of Lord Shiva that is 123 feet high is a breath-taking sight to look at. What makes it spectacular is that the statue is situated atop the Kanduka Hill that is surrounded on three sides by the majestic Arabian Sea. Sounds interesting? Catch a glimpse of the world’s second largest statue of Eshwara at Murudeshwar town in Bhatkal.
The Legend of Murudeshwar
The legend of the town, Murudeshwar, dates back to the Ramayan period. Ravana who was a staunch Shiv-bhakt prayed to the Lord and sought the atma-linga that would give him immortality and make him invincible. Now such a boon in the hand of a demon king is set to wreak havoc, so as fate would have it, the other gods intervened. Lord Ganesha was enlisted to snatch the atma-linga from the demon king and he hatched a clever plan. The atma-linga was handed over to Ravana upon a condition that he would never set it down till he reached Lanka.
Lord Ganesha intercepted Ravana as Lord Vishnu blocked the sun which made Ravana assume that it was time for his evening prayers. Ravana unsuspectingly entrusted the atma-linga to Lord Ganesha who appeared in the form of a little boy and set about performing his evening ritual.
Lord Ganesha set the atma-linga down thus enraging Ravana who was furious to know he was tricked. Unable to move the atma-linga any more, Ravana threw pieces of the divine linga all over the place. The cloth covering the atma-linga was tossed to Mrideshwara which we now know as Murudeshwar.
When to Visit
Being a coastal town, the place is hot and humid for most parts of the year and the best months to visit are from October to March. Shivrathri in the month of February is celebrated with much fanfare. The town is a popular tourist spot and there are multiple stay options for the budget traveler and the luxury stay seekers.
The Murudeshwara Statue
With such a rich history, the place attracts a large number of tourists from all over the country. Visit the place to view the awe-inspiring statue and the equally stunning twenty storied raja gopura in the temple complex. The 237 feet tall temple tower houses a lift and provides a brilliant sight of the incessant waves and the serene Lord.
The Murudeshwara Fort is right behind the temple and is said to be a relic from the Vijayanagar Empire that was later renovated by Tipu Sultan.
Other Places of Interest in Murudeshwar
For those who want to experience the divine, you can check out other popular pilgrim locations like Udupi and Kollur nearby. Both places can be covered by road and are located at about 100 kms and 60 kms from the town respectively.
Want to feel the wind in your hair and the sand in your feet? You can head to the town of Gokarna which is around 78 kms away and bask in the pristine Om and Kudle beaches.
If you are consumed by wanderlust and if you prefer unwinding by the sea, then plan your visit to the beaches of Uttara Kannada too.
How to Reach Murudeshwar
The town is well-connected by air, road, and rail.
This idle coastal town is situated around 165 kms from Mangalore which is the nearest international airport. There are multiple flights from all major cities to Mangalore airport. You will find taxis at the airport that will help you finish the last leg of the journey to Murudeshwar.
The distance by road is around 512 kms from Bangalore via the scenic NH 48. You also have the convenience of your own vehicle to check out other tourist spots like Agumbe and Jog Falls enroute.
You can reach the small town by Karwar Express (Train No.16523) which has a running time of about 17 hours and the train halts at the Murudeshwar railway station.