A popular Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Murudeshwar (an avatar of Lord Shiva) known as “Murudeshwar Temple” is located in Karnataka. This “Lord Shiva” dedicated temple is situated in the coastal town of Murudeshwar in the Uttara Kannada district. Constructed upon a small hillock, this temple comprises of a twenty storied “Gopuram”. In addition, this temple also comprises of a Lord Shiva statue that is supposed to be the “second largest in the world”. Furthermore, a small temple devoted to Lord Shaneeshwara is also located in close proximity to the statue of Lord Shiva.
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a. How to reach Murudheshwar Temple
Murudheshwar Temple Map
1. By train:
The nearest railway station to this temple is located in the town of Murudeshwar. The Murudeshwar Railway Station is well connected to important towns in the state such as Mangalore, Mysore, Udupi, Hassan etc.
2. By road:
If you intend to drive to this temple the ideal starting points would be Mangalore, Bangalore, Karwar, Udupi, and Coimbatore.
- Via Mangalore:
There are two routes from Mangalore to this temple, and they are via NH66 and via SH27 and NH66.
- Via Bangalore:
There are three routes from Bangalore to this temple, and they are via NH48, via Bangalore Shimoga Road and NH69, and via NH66.
- Via Karwar:
There is one route from Karwar to this temple, and they are via NH66.
- Via Udupi:
There is one route from Udupi to this temple, and they are via NH66.
- Via Coimbatore:
There are three routes from Coimbatore to this temple, and they are via NH275 and NH66, via NH66, and via NH69.
3. By air:
The closest airport to this temple is located in Mangalore at a distance of 165 km. The Bajpe Airport is well connected to major cities in the country.
b. Religious significance of the Murudeshwar Temple
According to a popular mythological tale belonging to this region Ravana once travelled up to Mount Kailash to perform severe penance so as to impress Lord Shiva. Such was his passion to impress that he not only performed the “Tandava” (Shiva’s cosmic dance) but he also cut his ten heads and gifted it to Lord Shiva. Impressed by Ravana’s devotion, Shiva then granted him a wish. It was then that Ravana requested the lord to gift him an “atmalingam” as well as wife as beautiful as Goddess Parvati. In response Shiva gave Ravana the atmalingam with a condition that that this lingam during the course of his journey back home under no circumstances should be placed on the ground. In addition, Shiva also requested Parvati to accompany him since he considered his wife to be the most beautiful woman on the earth. Now this boon by Shiva to Ravana resulted in the other gods panicking since they sincerely believed that it would be misused. As a result Lord Vishnu in the guise of an old Brahmin approached Ravana, and asked him about his beautiful companion. In reply, he boasted that he had acquired Goddess Parvati as a gift from Lord Shiva himself. To this boastful answer Vishnu transformed the beautiful Goddess to an old and fragile woman forcing him to abandon her, and thereby continue with his journey (with the atmalingam) back home. Now Ravana wanted to take a break during his journey since he needed to have his routine evening bath. Now to do so he would have to find someone to hold the atmalingam for him. It is then that he encounters a small boy (who happens to be Lord Ganesha in disguise), and requests him to do so along with the instruction that he should avoid placing it on the ground. The small child then on purpose placed the atmalingam in the ground and disappeared. It is then (after bath) on seeing that the small boy has disappeared placing the atmalinga on the ground that Ravana gets extremely angry, and tries to pull the lingam from the ground. Unfortunately, though even after many attempts Ravana was unable to do so. However, finally after a lot of persistent efforts he did manage to break the atmalingam, which resulted in the cloth covering of this lingam falling at Murudeshwar. It was at this spot then that this temple devoted to Lord Shiva was eventually constructed.