KARNATAKA – World’s 2nd Tallest Shiva Statue Shines in Murdeshwar
A beautiful combination of spirituality and seaside heaven is Murdeshwar. A coastal town nestled in Uttara Kannada district is attracting tourists worldwide for so many reasons which we have covered in this blog.
Since 2006, the Shiva statue has stood as an illuminating symbol of peace and enlightenment. It is visible from quite a distance because of its staggering height of 123 ft. The mythology and history linked with Murdeshwar is captivating because of its reference in the ancient Indian epic – Ramayana.
According to the legend, demon King Ravana was returning to Lanka (his home) with Atma Lingam (helps in attaining immortality) given by Lord Shiva on one condition that it must not be kept on the ground except Lanka.
But Lord Ganesha with help of Lord Vishnu tricked Ravana and Atma lingam was placed on the earth. It made Ravana furious who used all his strength to remove the lingam from the ground and in that pursuit some parts were scattered nearby.
So, Gokarna was the place where Aatmalingam was placed and now it is worshipped as Mahabaleshwara. The cloth on the Atma lingam fell on the Kanduka hill which is now worshipped as Murdeshwara.
Once you visit the artificial cave beneath the Shiva statue, an interesting light and sound show depicts the same mythological tale with the use of beautiful and colourful scriptures. It is the best highlight after the statue in this coastal town of Karnataka.
Must-visit places in and around Murdeshwar
Murdeshwar Temple and Raja Gopuram
Legend has that, this place is the home of Lord Shiva and known for its mesmerizing carvings and statues which are quite huge. Bounded by the Arabian Sea and the hills of the Western Ghats, this Shiva temple is surrounded by sea on three sides which offers great views of the sunset and sunrise.
Another marvel is the 21 storey Raja Gopuram which is the 2nd tallest in the world. The 18th floor has an observation deck which can be reached via a lift. It gives a fabulous view of the statue with the beautiful shoreline alongside. Temple timings: 6 am to 1 pm & 3 pm to 8 pm.
Families who have completed their spiritual journey can continue enjoying the safe and clean beach which is at walking distance from the statue. During weekends or holidays, it is a bit crowded. You can relish street food or can go to nearby restaurants for lip smacking Karwari and Udupi cuisine
Many of us have a dull impression on old forts and monuments but this is something extraordinary. It is around 60 kms (1 hr 20 mins drive) from Murdeshwar. This fort was built in the 16th century by Queen Chennabhaira Devi (popular as ‘pepper queen’). A great place for history buffs to explore the story and fusion of Deccan as well as Mughal architecture.
This place is quite deserted and ominous even on bright days. The massive structure of the Mirjan Fort has a rusty look which is mighty and impressive at first sight itself. You can witness deep wells, the infrastructure, the prayer hall, secret doors, watchtowers, tunnels, flag poles, and images of many Hindu goddesses which are the main attractions of this fort!
Image Courtesy – tripadvisor
Famous for its heart shape and known as the Pigeon Island is around 19 kms from the Murdeshwara Temple. The main significance of this Island is its well-preserved coral reefs and species of fishes around it. The Island is prohibited from diving around on your own without safety equipment due to its steep and pointed rocks.
The boats are well equipped and suitable for professional divers. It’s a limited visual range of coral reefs and species of fishes. Whale sharks and eels could also be spotted at times. The scuba diving costs around Rs. 4500 per person and Snorkelling cost is around Rs. 2500 per person. These are the main highlights for the adrenaline seekers.
Apsara Konda Falls
It is a small waterfall yet mesmerizing for your eyes. The elegant sunset from the hill truly gives a positive vibe. The place looks like a lagoon with a 10-12m waterfall and you could take dips in the cool waters to refresh yourself. It is around 25 kms from Murdeshwar.
Kollur Mookambika Temple
The temple of Goddess Parvathi is one of the most popular pilgrimages in Southern India. With more than 1200 years of history, the idol of the goddess is sculptured amazingly using an alloy called Panchaloha which has five metals namely Gold, Silver, Copper, Iron, and Lead.
There are few rules to abide by to enter the temple such as the dress code, timings, type of Puja, and others. The distance of this temple from Murdeshwar town is around 65 kms (1.5 hrs drive).
Situated on the coastline of the Bhaktal town, Jali beach is the jolly beach acquainted with beach resorts, houses, mansions, and shopping complexes. The beach is arched with numerous coconut trees that adds scenic beauty to this place. This beach is only 40 mins drive from Murdeshwar.
Image Courtesy – Karnataka.com
It is also known as Kudumari or Belligundi falls and considered as one of the best trekking places in Karnataka. The waterfall drops from a height of 300 ft. offering a scenic delight. To witness this beauty, it is suggested to hire a local guide or join a trekking club because the trek route through the dense forest might be difficult. There are high chances to miss the right path. It’s recommended to carry essentials like water bottle, snacks and extra pair of clothing as the trail is arduous. One could spot different species of birds on the way and during monsoon it will be a treat to visit this spot which is around 1-hour drive (40 kms) from Murdeshwar.
This Port town of Karnataka is connected to several tourist attractions like the Bhatkal falls, beaches, Jog falls, the Lighthouse, temples, and mosques.
This place is also known as the hidden destination where you can discover places unknown to the regular itinerary. Bhatkal is only 20 mins drive (15 kms) from Murdeshwar.
These caves were formed out of vertical black limestones and are surrounded by thick green forest. Thus, it seems like a beautiful artwork of nature which can be reached through a trek.
Also, you can explore nearby mighty Vibhooti waterfalls which is around 70 ft. and surrounded by lush greenery.
From parking lot there is a 1.5 km trek to reach this thrilling place. The water is clean and perfect spot for unlimited fun. From Murdeshwar, both these places are 90 minutes’ drive away.
This blog will be incomplete without the mention of the seaside heaven which is 80 kms from Murdeshwar. It’s popular worldwide and considered by many as a better alternative to Goa. Thrill seekers are attracted by the Hilly Beach trek which covers Om, Kudle, Half moon, Paradise and Belekan beaches.
The best part about Gokarna are its crystal clean beaches, comparatively lesser crowd than Goa, blend of Indian & International Culture, beach shacks party, Yoga at the beach, and Ayurvedic Spa & Massage. We suggest exploring Gokarna before or after your Murdeshwar trip as a day visit to Gokarna will not satisfy your wanderlust!
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best time to visit Murdeshwar is between October to March for enjoying the weather and to experience the scenic beauty of this place.
Maha Shivaratri (around end of February or early march) is an important festival which is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm in Murdeshwar.
How to Reach?
By Air – The nearest airport and the most accessible airport is Mangalore International Airport which is around 170 km away from Murdeshwar. Other accessible airports are Bengaluru International Airport (500 km away) and Goa airport (210 km away).
By Road – Karnataka State Buses (KSRTC) connect Murudeshwar with major cities like Bengaluru, Kumta, Karwar, Hubli, Mangalore, and Panjim (Goa), etc. Also, one can self-drive from these cities and it is better to use your own vehicle as Auto rickshaws and local transports are expensive. The temple is just a km away from the National Highway (Kanyakumari-Mumbai) so it is easily accessible.
By Train – Murudeshwar (MRDW) is the railway station that is connected with majority of railway junctions in India. Also, one can opt for a train halting at Bhatkal or Honnavar railway station as they are close to Murudeshwar.
There is a certain mystique about this place which makes us feel at peace even in the hustle bustle of this coastal town. Consider it as a personal invitation to visit the mighty Shiva’s abode.
Blog by: Explore Your Plan Team