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Located in a town in the taluk of Bhatkal, Murudeshwara is in the district of Uttara Kannada in the Karnataka state. This town is at a distance of 13km from Bhatkal. Murudeshwara has been famous as this has the 2nd largest statue of Lord Shiva. There is a railway station on the route of Mangalaru to Mumbai.
Chronicles and Etymology
Murudeshwara origin goes back in time to Ramayana. The Hindu Gods attained invincibility and immortality with the worshipping of a Linga, considered ‘divine’. This was named the ‘Atma-Linga’. Ravana, the king of Lanka, wished to attain immortality by obtaining the ‘Atma-Linga’ (soul of Shiva). He worshipped Shiva with total devotion. Shiva was pleased with this and appeared before him and asked him what he needed. Ravana asked for the ‘Atma-Linga’ and Shiva agreed to give this to him. This was given with a condition that this Linga never be placed on ground before reaching Lanka. He told him that if this ‘Atma-Linga’ was ever on the ground, he would find it impossible to move this. Ravana started his journey back to Lanka once he was granted this boon.
Lord Vishnu got to know of this incident. He realized that with this boon Ravana can create havoc on earth and attain immortality. He asked Ganesha to help in preventing the ‘Atma-Linga’ reaching Lanka. Ganesha ws aware that Ravana was an extremely devoted person who performed the rituals of prayer every evening. He decided on a plan based on this. He wanted to confiscate the ‘Atma-Linga’ from Ravana.
Vishnu managed to blot out the sun when Ravana was reaching Gokama. This gave the appearance of dusk. It was time for Ravanan to perform the rituals of the evening. He was a little worried as he was carrying the ‘Atma-Linga’ and would not be abe to perform the rituals. Ganesha, at this time, in the guise of a Brahmin boy, confronted him. Ravana requested Ganesha to hold the ‘Atma-Linga’. He requested him not to keep this on the ground. Ganesha told him that he would call ‘Ravana’ three times and, if by that time, Ravana had not returned he would place the ‘Atma-Linga’ on the ground.
When Ravan returned he found that the ‘Atma-Linga’ was already placed on the ground by Ganesha. By that time, Vishnu removed the illusion and there was daylight again. Ravana tried with all his might to uproot the ‘Atma-Linga’ once he realized he was tricked. Some pieces of the lina got scattered due to the force used by Ravana. One of the pieces from the linga’s head fell in Surathkal. The Sadashiva temple is built around that specific piece of linga. Ravana decided to destroy the ‘Atma-Linga’s’ covering. This was thrown to Sajjeshwar that is at a distance of 37kms away.
The lid of the case was thrown to Guneshwar and also Dhareshwar. This is almost 16 to 19 kms away. The cloth that was covering the ‘Atma-Linga’ was thrown to Mrideshwar, and this has been named as ‘Murudeshwara’.
Places to Visit in Murudeshwara
Here are some of the places you can visit when you travel to Murudeshwara.
This beach town of Murudeshwara looks at the Arabian Sea. On one side you find hills and mountains, and on the other, vast expanse of the Arabian Sea. After the temple, this works out to be the perfect place to visit. You can take a walk around the scenic and serene beach. Relax or take photos. There are food stalls, shacks, and also dhabas to enjoy a good meal.
This fort covers 4.1 hectares in area. Built by Rani Chennabharadevi, there were many battles fought here. Rani Chennabharadevi was also named ‘Pepper Queen’. This was built from 1609 to 1640 AD. There were multiple battles fought here till the arrival of the British in 17th century. This fort was captured by them and used as the armoury. This is one of the monuments that is protected at present by the Archeological Survey of India due to its significance historically.
This fort in Murudeshwara was constructed during the period of Vijayanagara. This was considered to be one of the glorious periods in the history of India. This was due to the fact that this period covered the whole of South India. The fort was well looked after, though the empire fell. This was later renovated by Tipu Sultan. It is easily accessible from the Murudeshwara temple.
Raja Gopura and Murudeshwara Temple
The temple was built on the hill of Kanduka. This is dedicated to Lord Lokankara. A gopura of 20 storeys is constructed here at the temple. There is a lift installed by the temple authorities. This offers you a view of the Sri Shiva of 123-feet from the gopura’s top. At the bottom of the hill you also have a Rameshwara linga. Here the devotees can, themselves do seva. Next to the Shri Akshaygua idol there is a Shaneshwara temple. There are two elephants that are life-size standing guard at the steps. The temple along with the temple complex is one of the tallest.
You find the Sun Chariot statue on the side of the park. You also find pool statues that depict Arjuna receiving the Geetopadesham from Krishna, manifestation of Shiva as Bhaghinath and Ganesha in disguise, deceiving Ravana.
This temple is modernized except for the sanctum sanctorium. This retains the composure and is dark. Sri Mridesa Linga is the main deity, and is called Murudeshwar. This linga is considered to be one piece of the ‘Atma-Linga’. This is a rough rock inside a spot that is hollow. Devotees are banned from entering the sanctum.
Statue of Shiva
In the temple complex there is a huge statue of Shiva that is visible from a distance. This is the 2nd largest statue of Lord Shiva. The tallest one is in Nepal. This statue is 37 m (123 ft) in height. It took almost 2 years to build this statue. This was built by Kashinath of Shivamogga. This was financed by philanthropist and businessman, Nagappa Shetty.
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