The ancient yet modernized Murudeshwar Temple (Murdeshwar) dedicated to Sri Murudeshwara, a form of Lord Shiva is located in the coastal town of Murudeshwar in the Bhatkal Taluk of the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka.
The land on which the temple has been built just protrudes out of the mainland. Hence, the Murudeshwar Temple is surrounded on three sides by the Arabian Sea. The Temple Complex begins with a huge 20-storied Gopuram. The world’s second largest Shiva statue commands attention in the blue skyline surrounded by sea.
The Murudeshwar Temple has been constructed on a small hillock named as the Kanduka Hill. The 20-storied Gopuram is called Raja Gopuram which is approximately 237.5 feet tall. A lift is present which carries devotees to the top floor of the Gopuram.
The view of the statue of Lord Shiva and the enchanting seashore is a must visit for the pilgrims. A Temple dedicated to Sri Rameshwara can be seen in the foothills of the Kanduka Hill. A small shrine dedicated to Lord Shaneeshwara is also present next to the idol of Lord Shiva.
A cave is located just below the statue of Lord Shiva which depicts the legend of the Temple. Two large elephant statues can be seen at the entrance which acts as guards for the Temple. The holy act of the Geeta Upadesha by Lord Krishna to Arjuna is depicted as an idol within the complex.
The handing over of the Atma Linga by Ravana to Ganesha is also depicted. The whole Murudeshwar Temple Complex has been modernized except the main Sanctum which is still dark and retains the old form. The new Temple Complex was constructed by businessman and philanthropist R.N. Shetty.
Murudeshwar Temple History and Legend
The original Murudeshwar Temple at the site still exists and is believed to date back to the period of the epic Ramayana. The place has been mentioned in the epic as the place where Ravana, in a fit of rage threw the piece of cloth covering the Atma Linga of Lord Shiva.
The huge statue of Lord Shiva was built by Sri Kashinath from the Shimoga district of Karnataka. He was financed by businessman R.N. Shetty. The statue took 2 years to build and cost around Rupees 50 million.
The second tallest Gopuram in the world was built at the entrance of the Murudeshwar Temple in 2008. The Gopuram is 20 stories tall with lift facility that allows devotees to go to the top.
As per the legends and mentions in the chapters of the epic Ramayana, Kaikesi who was the mother of Ravana worshiped Lord Shiva ardently. She used to make Lingas out of the beach sand and pray to them daily. However, every night the Linga used to get washed away by the sea. Seeing the distraught mother, Ravana promised to her that he will proceed to Mount Kailash and bring back Lord Shiva’s Atma Linga itself to her.
Ravana went to Mount Kailash and performed severe penance to impress Lord Shiva. He sang his praises in the acclaimed Shiva Tandava Stotram. He chopped one of his ten heads as a gift for Lord Shiva. Eventually, Lord Shiva granted him a wish. Ravana asked for the Atma Linga from Lord Shiva.
Lord Shiva then took out the Atma Linga from his heart and offered it to Ravana but placed a condition that the Linga should not be kept down until he reaches his destination. If the Linga is kept down, the Linga will become affixed and nothing can separate it. Ravana agreed and started proceeding southwards towards his kingdom. All the other Lords were disturbed by the occurrence as they were sure that Ravana will misuse the Atma Linga to create havoc in the world.
Narada approached Lord Ganesha to request help for interrupting Ravana’s journey. Lord Ganesha was aware of Ravana’s daily rituals especially about the evening bath Ravana would take. With the help of Lord Vishnu, who blotted out the Sun to give an appearance of dusk, Lord Ganesha turned himself into a small boy. Ravana wanted to take a bath but could not put down the idol.
Lord Ganesha disguised as a boy passed him. Ravana called him and passed on the idol to him giving instructions that the idol must not be placed on the ground. The boy placed the idol on the ground before Ravana returned from his bath. Lord Vishnu unblocked the sun and it was daylight again. The place where Lord Ganesha placed the idol is known as Gokarna.
Ravana became furious and tried to uproot the Linga but he could not accomplish it. He threw the case covering the Linga which fell to a place called Sajjeshwara. The lid of the case which held the Linga fell in a place called Gunavanthe and the string covering the Linga fell at Dhareshwara. The cloth covering the Linga fell in Murudeshwar.
When Lord Shiva learned of this, he visited these five places and worshiped the Lingas there. He declared that these places will be known as the Pancha Kshetras and anyone who worships here will be free from all their sins.
Significance of Murudeshwar Temple
The Murudeshwar Temple houses the cloth covering the famed and sacred Atma Linga of Lord Shiva. As per Hinduism, all the Gods attained mortality and invincibility by worshiping the Atma Linga of Lord Shiva. The Atma Linga originally resided in the heart of Lord Shiva but the Lord gave it to Ravana as a reward for his penance.
The Sri Murudeshwar Temple is one of the five Temples known in Karnataka as the Pancha Kshetras of Lord Shiva. The other four Temples are in Nanjanagud, Dharmasthala, Dhareshwara and Gokarna.
The gigantic statue of Lord Shiva that can be seen from a distance is the main highlight of the Murudeshwar Temple. The statue is the world’s second largest Shiva statue at a height of 123 feet. The tallest statue of Lord Shiva is the Kailashnath Mahadev statue in Nepal. The statue is designed in such a way that the first rays of the Sun that falls on the coast illuminates Lord Shiva first.
The towering Gopuram built at the entrance of the Murudeshwar Temple is the second tallest Gopuram in India at a height of 237.5 feet. The Tallest Gopuram is present at the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam, Tamilnadu. The unique feature of this Gopuram is that devotees are allowed to enter the Gopuram and are taken to the top from where they can view the surroundings. The Gopuram construction was completed in 2008.
Devotees can perform various Sevas like Abhishekam to the Linga of Lord Rameshwara by themselves.
A Lamp or Deepam is kept inside the main shrine of Lord Murudeshwara, is said to be burning since the Murudeshwar Temple was built. It is believed that pouring oil into it and then glancing at your image on the oil surface blesses one with luck and prosperity.
Murudeshwar Temple Timings
- Murudeshwar Temple opens at 6 am and closes at 8:30 pm.
- However, the murudeshwar temple is closed in the afternoon between 1 pm and 3 pm.
- The Morning Pooja is performed between 6:30 AM to 7:30 AM.
- The afternoon Maha Pooja is performed between 12:15 PM to 1 PM.
- The Night Pooja is performed between 7:15 PM to 8:15 PM.
The Murudeshwar Temple does not impose any particular dress code for entering into the Temple Complex. However, it is recommended to wear decent clothes to the Temple.
Festivals celebrated at Murudeshwar Temple
- Maha Shivaratri –The festival is celebrated in February or March. The festival signifies the marriage of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati. Some also believe that this is the day when Lord Shiva absorbed the poison that turned him blue during the churning of Amrit episode in mythology. The day is celebrated with great reverence. Devotees keep fast and sing bhajans throughout the night and into the day. Special Poojas are performed for the Linga. Thousands of pilgrims from in and around Karnataka visit the shrine to receive blessings from the God themselves.
- Karthik Purnima – The festive day is celebrated in the month of Karthik, usually in November – December. It is believed that Lord Shiva destroyed the three demon cities, collectively known as Tripura of the Tripurasura demon on this day. Some also believe that the day signified the birth of Lord Karthikeyan (Murugan), son of Lord Shiva.
Murudeshwar Temple Poojas and Sevas
The Sevas can be divided into the Daily Sevas and the Yearly Sevas. The Daily Sevas at the Murudeshwar Temple are listed below:
- Rudrabhishekam – The Pooja is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is worshiped as fire or Rudra. The puja wipes out all sins and purifies the atmosphere. It also removes all sorts of planetary related ill-occurrences.
- Panchamritha Abhishekam – The Linga is bathed with five “Amrit” or “Nectars”. They are Milk, Honey, Ghee, Sugar, and Curd.
- Panchakajjaya – The Panchakajjaya is a Prasadam unique to the region of Karnataka. Several types of Panchakajjaya can be made but the most common one uses Green Gram, Coconut, Jaggery, Sesame, Cardamom, and Ghee. This is offered as Naivedyam to the God during the prayers.
- Bilvarchane – This Archana is performed by offering Bilva leaves to the Linga of the God.
- Chandan Abhishekam – The idol of the Lord is bathed with Chandan or the Sandalwood paste.
- Bhasmarchane – The Archana is performed by applying “Bhasm” or ash (Vibhuti) to the Linga of Lord Shiva.
- Navagraha Pooja – The nine Gods representing the nine planets are worshiped for good luck and fortune in one’s life.
- Ekadasa Rudra – In all the major Puranas, it has been mentioned that Lord Shiva has eleven forms of Rudra that are worshiped with their respective shlokas and mantras. These eleven forms are Mahadeva, Shiva, Maha Rudra, Shankara, Neelalohita, Eesana, Vijaya Rudra, Bhima, Devadeva, Bhavodbhava and Adityamaka Srirudra.
Besides the above Sevas, the other daily Sevas include Aanastharpana, Thilarchane, Shivasahasranama, Sudarshana Japa, Lalitha Sahasranama Pooja, Kumkumarchane, Durga Sahasranama, Ganapathi and Subramanya Sahasranama and Anjaneya Sahasranama.
The Yearly Sevas at the Murudeshwar Temple are listed below:
- Sarva Deva Pooja – All the shrines of the Murudeshwar Temple are worshiped and the daily Poojas are performed on the devotee’s behalf on any particular day of the year.
- Nanda Deepa Seva – The Nanda Deepa Stambh is lit with lamps on behalf of the devotee,
- Annastarpana Seva – The Annadanam is conducted for devotees for one full day on behalf of the devotee.
How to reach Murudeshwar Temple
- By Air – The nearest airport is the Mangalore International Airport which is at a distance of 165 km from the Murudeshwar Temple. The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operates regular buses from Mangalore to Murudeshwar. One can also avail the services of private taxis and buses.
- By Train – The Murudeshwar Temple is located at a distance of just 2 km from the nearest railway station, Murudeshwar. However, many trains do not stop here. The Karwar express from Bengaluru connects Murudeshwar to other important towns like Gokarna, Mookambika, Udupi, Mangalore, Subramanya, Hassan, Mysore and Mandya. The Nethravati express from Mumbai connects Murudeshwar to important areas like Trivandrum, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Cochin, Ratnagiri and Thane.
- By Road – Regular bus services are available from all major cities and towns of Karnataka lie Bengaluru, Mangalore, Mysore, Udupi, and Bhatkal.
Murudeshwar Temple Accommodation
Several options for a stay are available for the pilgrims in the town of Murudeshwar as well as in Bhatkal which is just 16 km away. The RNS Residency Hotel is located just beside the Murudeshwar Temple and offers sea facing rooms. Amenities like a swimming pool and a gym are also available. Apart from that, resorts are available a few kilometers away from Murudeshwar. The Naveen Beach Resort and the Kamath Yatri Nivas are the nearest to the Temple Complex.
Where to eat near Murudeshwar Temple
A canteen located near the Parking place in front of the Murudeshwar Temple Complex can be visited for small meals like Dosas, Vadas, Coffee, and Tea.
The town of Murudeshwar is host to a large number of small restaurants that serve authentic South Indian cuisine. The majority of the hotels in the town are located either near the Beach or near the railway station. Certain hotels near the railway station serve North Indian dishes as well as Chinese cuisine. Non-vegetarian hotels can also be visited to get a taste of delicious seafood native to the beaches.
Temples near Murudeshwar Temple
- Sri Mahabaleshwar Temple, Gokarna – The Temple is located 54 km away from Murudeshwar Temple. The Linga of the temple is called as the Atma Linga, which was given to Ravana by Lord Shiva himself. Gokarna is also considered as a Mukti Sthala, where funeral rites of departed souls are performed.
- Idagunji Maha Ganapathi Temple – The famous and ancient Temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha is situated about 20 km away from Murudeshwar Temple. It dates back to about 1500 years. It is believed that several saints and sages wanted to do penance here to convince Lord Krishna to not depart from Earth that would eventually lead to the start of the Kaliyuga. They faced several obstacles for this purpose. On Narada’s advice, they created a tank here called the Devathirtha tank and prayed to Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha obliged to their requests and stayed at the place to allow the Sages to perform their penance. The place came to be known as Idagunji.
- Kollur Mookambika Temple – The famous Temple is located 60 km away from Murudeshwar Temple. The presiding deity is Goddess Mookambikai also known as Devi and in front of her idol, is a Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva. The unique feature of the Linga is that it is divided into two unequal parts – The Smaller right part represents Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and the larger Left part represents Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati.